One of the best ways to get inexpensive fantasy reference is to head over to the local Renaissance Fairs. I try to make it to at least a few a year. There is one fair in particular that is unique to the others. The Tournament of the Phoenix! I was lucky to catch this event a couple of years ago, and from here on out I think I'll make it a yearly thing. At this fair, they have all of the same things you might find at any Ren Fair, with the exception of one thing...full contact Jousting!
A group of people from all over the world get together and hold tournaments. Just like in medieval times. They have Jousting, Skill at Arms, Archery, and various other competitions. Each event is narrated by a professional who turns each event into a great informative show.
I use the opportunity to snap hundreds of pictures. Everything from the action to details on armor. I was at this event this weekend for about 3 1/2hrs and I shot almost 900 pictures. Maybe I should just get a digital camcorder.
I even came away with a little souvenir. One vendor had a really cool display of handmade leather sketchbooks. Full with cotton paper. I couldn't pass this up!
Here are a couple of sketches from some of the reference I shot.
Mark English at the Marriott Lounge
22 hours ago