I need to use reference more. The trick with successfully using a reference image is knowing where to change things. Simple things like altering the position of an arm or leg. Then making one of them robotic. That’s where you fuse your imagination and knowledge of anatomy with what you see in front of you.
Reference images are good springboards to other ideas. Don’t try and copy directly. Pick the information you need. How the torso sits, how the weight is distributed, basic proportions. Then get away from it as soon as you can.
If you’re on a deadline don’t waste time redrawing that pose 100 times. You have a phone, take a picture of yourself or a friend. All the painting/illustration masters of the past used reference. You’re probably not better than them. I’m not.
Just know where to draw the line on drawing everything exactly as you see it.
Here’s the link to the livestream where I drew this monster-slaying lady.