Profile PictureDavid C. Simon

Bird reference photos for Creature Artists (2022)

6 ratings

If you're designing dragons, drawing dinosaurs, or painting other weird and wonderful creatures, then this collection is for you! Over 1000 photos of birds curated especially for creature artists, focusing on details such as eyes, beaks, wings, feet, crests, casques, and more!

UPDATE: Click here for contact sheets showing previews of every image in this pack, with dimensions.


  • Dimensions/resolution vary considerably from 1k to 8k along the longest edge.
  • All subjects are living.
  • Most subjects are Australian.
  • Photos are grouped according to theme, and named according to species.
    • There are a few cases where I didn't know the exact species, so I used the broader name (eg: "Duck")
  • Some photos use focus stacking (multiple photos at different focal depths blended together to create a single image with more detail than otherwise possible). These photos have "stacked" in their filename.
    • This process can cause artifacts if the subject moved, so low-priority areas of these photos may look a little weird.
  • I've chosen crisp, high-quality photos where possible, but if a photo shows something unique or particularly useful I felt a bit of noise and/or blur would be acceptable.

Zip contents:

  • Faces
    • Beaks, mouths, eyes, neres, ears, throats etc.
      • Butcherbirds (50 photos)
      • Flightless Birds (53 photos)
      • Other Birds (75 photos)
      • Owls & Raptors (26 photos)
      • Parrots & Cockatoos (142 photos)
      • Pigeons & Doves (31 photos)
      • Small Birds (37 photos)
      • Water Birds (105 photos)
  • Feathers
    • Crests (66 photos)
    • Textures & Details (95 photos)
    • Wings & Flying (205 photos)
  • Feet
    • Flightless Birds (25 photos)
    • Other Birds (55 photos)
    • Water Birds (63 photos)


I'd love to be able to give this pack away for free, but Gumroad has size limits on free digital assets, and this does represent hundreds of hours of work on my part. I'm also still paying for the camera & lens that I used to take these photos, so please tip if you can!

Equipment/Software used:

  • Canon EOS R5 camera
  • Canon RF 100-500mm lens
  • Developed in Adobe Lightroom
  • Focus Stacking done in Adobe Photoshop


The author of these photos, David C. Simon, does NOT relinquish copyright ownership of said photos.

The license for these photos allows you to use them as reference material for your own original artwork, royalty-free. All other uses, including (but not limited to) redistribution & printing, are not allowed. Attribution is only required if the final product is primarily derived from these photos.

What does "original artwork" mean?

For the purposes of this license, "original artwork" means something you create from nothing, using reference material as inspiration and/or guidance. This allows you to paint or draw over a photo ("tracing"), but not to make minor changes to a photo and call the result a new product.

What does "primarily derived" mean, in terms of attribution?

This is hard to quantify, but if your final painting or drawing looks more or less identical to the original photo, then attribution is required. Also, if most of your final painting has elements that are identical to elements of my photos, then attribution is required.

Here are some examples:

Attribution REQUIRED:

- A work that is mostly identical to the photo, with minor changes to colours, lighting, or composition (flipping horizontally is considered "minor")

- A work that puts the head of one bird on the body of another, but is otherwise unchanged

Attribution *NOT* REQUIRED:

- A work where the bird makes up a minor part of the overall composition, such as perched on a distant branch in a painting of a landscape

- A work of a dinosaur where only the eyes and feet are based on these photos

- A work of a fantastical creature with wings and crest inspired based on these photos

How to attribute:

Please mention me by name or twitter handle, and link to either my twitter account or the page where you downloaded these photos from, if possible.


After a photo by David C. Simon (


After multiple photos by @davidcsimon

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1000+ photos in JPG format, grouped by theme and species


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Bird reference photos for Creature Artists (2022)

6 ratings
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