Question about memory drawing [Archive] - Artist Forum

: Question about memory drawing

01-27-2014, 11:56 AM
Hey everyone!

I'm more or less a beginner: I've been studying drawing for about a year - year and a half, and I've seen tremendous results in my ability to draw from a live subject in front of me. That being said, if I am not literally staring at my subject while I draw, I'm unable to draw at all, period. I'd love to be able to draw from my imagination, and so I realize that being able to tap into 'memory drawing' - that is recalling a subject after I have seen it - is crucial to my development.

Here's my question: What sort of thought process should go into looking at a subject in order to retain visual information? I've been trying to set a kitchen timer to about five minutes while I look at a model, and then to turn away from the model afterward and try to draw it from memory.

The problem I'm having is that during those five minutes while I stare at the model, I'm just staring. It's like I don't know what to do in order to remember what I'm seeing. Is it bad if I use words? Such as: "This is twice as long as that; the eyes form this kind of shape.." and so on. I'm hesitant to use words because it seems like its counter intuitive to being visual, but I just don't know how else to retain what I'm seeing.

Advice would be appreciated. Thanks guys!

01-27-2014, 12:58 PM
Drawing from memory and drawing from imagination are not the same. If you want to draw something specific as a certain person, then you will need to have to draw more accurately than you would for something generic. If it is from your imagination, It's your creative baby. If you're not getting anything remembered from starring, don't worry about it. Maybe you are not at that skill level yet. Work on drawing from photos.

01-28-2014, 03:35 AM
Sounds to me like you just have been at it long enough, thats all. Personally I think imagination can be linked to memory, Dali said he painted his dreams and unless he was a sleep walker, he painted from what he recalled of his dreams. When I draw say, fruit, for example, I don`t need to have them in front of me anymore, I`ve done so many of them I know what they look like, when I write I don`t need to have the alphabet in front of me, so all I can suggest is draw, draw, draw...everyday if you can. If you need to have an object in front of you then do that, you always have one free hand so draw it, eventually you should be able to draw a hand without having one there. Photos are a very useful tool, I`ve been drawing and painting for 44 years and still use them sometimes for inspiration, I don`t always try to draw exactly what I see and sometimes I do, depends...I can see an image and get ideas from it or I can see an image that inspires me to draw it as real as possible.

01-28-2014, 03:46 AM
This was a photo of an entire tiger but the eyes captivated me, thats what drew me to the photo so thats what I concentrated on, will I draw the entire tiger someday? Maybe but they`ve been done before, seen one tiger seen em all but the eyes of this image were haunting, so thats why I drew them.

01-28-2014, 03:54 AM
So don`t give up, keep working hard and if you`re lucky someday you may develop your own style but you have to work at it, make mistakes, thats OK but learn from them, the more you put into it the more you get out, there are no shortcuts that I`m aware of. Can`t tell you how many hours I spent as a kid in my room by myself just drawing, I wonder how many reams of paper I went through and you know, I still love drawing as much now as I did when I was 14, don`t think it`ll ever go away...hope not anyways.