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  1. #1
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    Question Best Memory Drawing Exercises?

    Unfortunately I'm not too knowledgeable on memory drawing exercises, what is the best course, how to apply myself towards it, etc.

    Mainly what I'm looking for are exercises, maybe something that was part of your training or something you've had good experiences with on your own that I could get ideas from or even a course of practice to sharpen up my visual memory while I work.

    If anyone knows of a good course or practices, please post them up here, hopefully plenty of others could use it as well. Thanks.


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    My art teacher last year told us to practise drawing something sitting with our backs facing it. So every time you wanted to see what the heck you were drawing you had to turn around. It wasn't very fun haha but it really made you look and try to remember. Not sure if that's exactly what your are thinhking of, but I think it might help

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    Why draw from memory? . . . when I draw I have every little bit of referance around me that may have anything to do with the project. I have the old Bridgman figure Drawing Books, Random comic books and "Making of Movie" books as well as books on assorted painters that may help out, a movie in the DVD player with the same mood as the drawing I'm working on, music in the background, my walls are plastered with notes and studies from other artists, as well as other drawings that I have worked on in the past that have the same elements that I may need in my present drawing . . . even reference photographs of the subject.

    So really don't worry about trying to draw from memory . . . it just kind of happens with age and practice . . . to worry about this is like worrying about why leaves fall during Autumn.

    So in other words . . . its the research that you put into your work that will make or break it, yo!

    Hope this helps . . . later bra!

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    Xezor - Thanks, that exercise I'm actually familiar with. We used to have to do that when I was in graphic art school years ago. It's probably a life drawing mainstay

    Musselfarmstudios - Thanks, but don't get me wrong, I use reference religiously, either from life, photos I take, or other art. I would never shun using reference. But I've found that my lack of a strong visual memory is something I run into quite a few times while painting. I know a strong visual memory was something master painters in years past practiced and sharpened, but the exercises or methods maybe they used I haven't came across.

    Right now I do visual memory exercises on my own while sketching from life, trying to memorize what's in front of me and placing as accurately and fully as I can without looking up after the initial study, but I'm wondering if I'm trying to jump the gun somewhere or shortcut the process and if what I'm doing right now may not, at my stage of development, be the best step.

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    I think it's just a matter of practice more than anything else.

    Degas was like this, he was the impressionist that painted the Ballet dancers, and was so good that he no longer needed to use models to paint them. So I know what you mean . . . but practice is all I can really say

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    Musselfarm: A correct solution to pinpoint a problem will solve it faster.


    Look at something and draw it, then it draw it again without the reference. I can't think of a more straight forward way of doing it.

    It also helps to study and analyze the subject, e.g. breaking down human anatomy into geometric forms, which are easier to remember.

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    Drawing specific subjects from memory comes from doing hundreds or even thousands of drawings by sight. It's not a conscious process, but a subconscious one.

    The more important "drawing from memory" has nothing to do with any specific subject. That's what ref is for. It's teaching your body/hand/arm movements to do certain things from "memory" without thinking about it, whether you're drawing a human figure or a tree house. This comes with practice, and is what most beginning artists don't understand or appreciate.

    Your brain should be free to interpret your subject, not bogged down with trying to remember which finger is on the pencil and which one is up your nose or ass...
    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary

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    Drawing from memory will develop over time I believe. There's a lot you need to learn and take in. I would suggest breaking things down into simple forms and then attempting to draw it from memory. So in practice this would go as follows
    1. Do a study of whatever.
    2. Whilst doing the study break the complex forms down into simpler ones such as cubes, cylinders etc.
    3. Put away the study and draw the subject again from memory
    4. Review and compare

    For specific memory drawing exercises skip to page 9 of this
    http://issuu.com/londonatelier/docs/...seful_articles
    Last edited by Nibras; August 30th, 2012 at 12:20 PM. Reason: I was a young idiot

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    Drawing specific subjects from memory comes from doing hundreds or even thousands of drawings by sight. It's not a conscious process, but a subconscious one.

    The more important "drawing from memory" has nothing to do with any specific subject. That's what ref is for. It's teaching your body/hand/arm movements to do certain things from "memory" without thinking about it, whether you're drawing a human figure or a tree house. This comes with practice, and is what most beginning artists don't understand or appreciate.

    Your brain should be free to interpret your subject, not bogged down with trying to remember which finger is on the pencil and which one is up your nose or ass...
    This is pretty much what I was trying to get at . . . practice equals muscle memory . . . its why gun fighters practice there quick draw (pun intended) technique til it's second nature . . . same goes for an artist and memory

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    Your brain should be free to interpret your subject, not bogged down with trying to remember which finger is on the pencil and which one is up your nose or ass...
    So... drawing with my thumb up my butt is wrong then? Damn.

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    Unless you're left-handed, yes...
    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary

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    I am left-handed. Whew, scared me there for a second.

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    This was taken from Prometheus tutorial on his webpage:

    Study everything! You need to build a large library of shapes and things in your head to be able to draw intuitively. This takes about a lifetime or more to do, so you better start now!

    ~JB

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