What is the Reference Image Library?

The Reference Image Library is a compilation of photographs uploaded by your fellow Art Colony members that can be used in the making of your own original art. In a nutshell:

  • You are invited to upload photographs for others to use, as long as they follow the guidelines below.
  • You are allowed to freely draw and/or paint any of the images in the Reference Image Library without asking prior permission, as long as credit is given to the photographer.

Before you use the Reference Image Library, please familiarize yourself with the following guidelines.  It'll only take a second and it'll probably answer any questions you may have. 

Copyright Notice for Images in the Reference Image Library

This is very important, so pay close attention:

Uploading images

  • You are only permitted to upload photos that you yourself have taken, or photos that you have express permission to share in this manner (for instance, a friend or relative's photos, but only if they gave you permission).
  • You cannot upload "stock imagery" or any photos you find on the Internet. To do so constitutes copyright infringement. (Trust me, you don't want to go there.)
  • Please only upload medium to large-sized photos that you consider to be high quality. Keep in mind that small, grainy, blurry or pixelated photos are generally not as useful to artists as crisp, clear reference photos.
  • Do not upload your own artwork, or photographs that you intend to sell either as fine art photography or stock photography.  (Too many cans of worms there.)
  • Do not start any new threads, as they will be deleted. Instead, select the best category for your photo and upload it in that thread. To suggest a new category, post in the Site Help forum
  • If you want to upload photos that prominently feature a person in such a way that they are easily recognizable, you need to have that person's express permission to upload their photo.
  • When you upload your photos, you retain the copyright to your photos, but you grant permission for other artists to use your photos as reference material for their art. You also grant them permission to sell the resulting artwork.
  • When you upload your photos to the Reference Image Library, you will be allowing others to use your photos under the following Creative Commons License:

Creative Commons License          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


  • We thank you in advance for your generosity in sharing your wonderful and inspiring photos!

Using the Reference Image Library

  • You are welcome to use any of the images in the Reference Image Library as source material for your art. The photographers who uploaded these photos have granted you permission to draw and/or paint any of the images in the Library without needing to ask permission. This applies to the images in the Reference Image Library only, and not to any of the other images on this site.
  • If you use an image from The Art Colony's Reference Image Library, you are required to acknowledge the photographer when you display your artwork, whether online (on any website) or in public. You must provide a credit such as "Title of artwork, based on a photograph by ___". A link to the photo in the Reference Image Library is appreciated, but not required.
  • Images from the Reference Image Library cannot be sold or distributed as-is. For example, you cannot download a photo from the collection, upload the photo onto a site like Zazzle or Cafepress, and then create and sell products using the image. This is a violation of the photographer's copyright, and infringers can be held liable for damages.
  • You are also not permitted to download these photos and then upload them on to other photo-sharing sites or image libraries. This too constitutes copyright infringement.

If you have any questions about how the photos in the Reference Image Library can or can't be used, please post your question on the Site Help forum. 


Thank you & enjoy!

Last updated by Thaneeya McArdle May 25, 2012.


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