Most of the time, I prefer to use photo references to do my work. It helps me get accurate shadows, light, and overall color scheme of the animals or landscape. There are things I’ve drawn from mental memory or fantasy, but they do require a bit of knowledge in terms of anatomy, and lighting.
Now, when I have used photos/images from online sources such as Google search, I may use the pose of the animal, but change the background and/or colors of the animal to avoid full on copying. Remember, if you want a reference for an entire image, I suggest getting either royalty free stock images, or taking photos yourself.
You don’t need a high end camera in order to get decent shots to work from. I personally use a Sony Cyber-shot(DSC-W20) which does a fine job of getting me the images I need. I can’t zoom in from far away and get fine details, but if I can get close enough, I can get what I need.
That’s it for this week.