Artists take visual reference from wherever they can, and often use themselves. Most artists I know have volumes of photos of themselves in silly poses, making absurd faces. One of these artists even had to explain himself when his wife found his pictures and told him: "...We need to talk..." I told him that was his wife's "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" moment. My expressions are prevalent throughout "Izzy Hagbah," a book I illustrated some years back.
Even the most famous artists used visual reference, and sometimes it's better to create some of that visual reference yourself by whatever means necessary. So, here's a little peek at what I've done to digitally build my own model for reference in creating some potentially-upcoming pieces of artwork. Set to totally awesome, super intense music of course.