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  1. #1
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    How clearly can you imagine your drawings before you draw them?

    Hi! I'm a 16 year old noob who likes to draw. I've got some problems drawing from my mind. When I draw my mind is usually blank and I don't have any images in my head whatsoever, so I end up experimenting on paper which isn't really the thing I'm after. Then when I go to bed, the images start popping into my head>. Do you have the ability to capture your imagination on paper? Did it come naturally or did you have to practise it? How did you practise it and for how long? Am I driving you mad with these questions?
    Waiting to get answers soon

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  3. #2
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    What are you trying to draw? Put down the pencil and try to imagine what you want. Try putting it into words in your head, or try consciously to imagine what it looks like. If your doing a concept for a warrior, for example, and having problems with his costume, try to think about how his costume works, how it wraps around his body. Does his armour look like a roman legionary's? Does he have big puffy clothes? Does he have a helmet? Is it ornate with lots of detail, or is it plain and practical? Does he have a sword or an axe or a bow? Is his weapon big or small? etc....

    If you're trying to create a full illustration with a beautiful scenery and multiple figures, you need to think even bigger. You might even want to pick up your pencil again and do some small thumbnail sketches. Where is this scene? Indoors? In the mountains? What's happening? Is it serene, or is it dramatic? Who's trying to do what? Who is important? How much of the action do you want to show, do you want the viewer to understand exactly what's going on, or do you want it to be sublime? Is there going to be much light, or is it night? Do you want a closeup of the people or is it a far shot? Etc, etc, etc....

    Draw some quick sketches. Does it work? Do you want to change something? Does the picture need more detail, or do you want to make it more plain?

    And finally, if you're in bed and you get a perfectly clear image in your mind, get up and do a sketch, or write the idea down. Maybe it's a keeper.

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  5. #3
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    You need the technical ability first. If I can’t draw what I wanted I find a good soak in the bath while redrawing it in my head helps.

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  7. #4
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    Obtain 3 markers, 1 20% grey, 1 30% grey, 1 black
    Obtain 1 pen, prismacolor will do

    Make shapes with the lightest colored grey marker sort of in the form or what you are going for, either humanoid, vehicle, entire scene, etc. Take pen, dont worry about persepective, anatomy etc. Draw what you think you see out of your blocked in goo. If you do this a few times, then something you think is cool comes out of it use it. What came out of your mind is now on paper and you can use it the same way you would use a photo for reference to refine and detail.

    Hope that helps.



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  9. #5
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    To within 95% or so on most pieces...

    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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  11. #6
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    its crazy how clear u can see ur drawings laying quietly in the night, thats usually where i do all my thinking for the drawings the next day, i try to just get the gist of it all. the detail will come after i lay down the ground work. and alot of improvising.

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    Maybe first check out if you can draw images you see in reality. If not then drawing from mind also won't give you good results.

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    Most people don't imagine with anywhere near as much detail as they think they do. When you are trying to draw and coming up with blanks, it's most likely because you don't have a big enough internal reference file to work from. Instead you are stuck trying to make very specific marks on the paper to get only a vague idea across. The more you fill your brain with good and accurate details to draw from, the better your images will be, and the easier it will be to come come up with idea. This is done by studying things that relate to the things you'd like to draw. For example, if you love fantasy, research actual armors. Don't just look at them, but STUDY them. How do they go together? What covers what, and where are the fastenings? The more you know, the easier it is to draw, and the easier it is to come up with your own variation that will look good because it's based on understanding.

    Any serious art you want to do, should start with an information gathering session. If you just need to draw to practice and get better than pick a topic and kill two birds with one stone.

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    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=141354
    heres a similar thread i started
    And also Its been awhile since i made that thread after all the practice i can imagine things much better than before, so just draw and it will come.






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    Try zooming into the details of your picture in your mind. Takes a bit of practice at first.

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    yes the zooming in thing is a good idea, also shut ur eyes when u do it and really try to see it clearly....

    its crazy how the brain can render an entire scene, like in dreams, with perfect lighing, perspective, color... its like the brain knows all the rules already. if only we can tap into that and take a snapshot

    maybe in the future we wont have artist.. and drawing with ur hand with any medium will seem ancient, artist will be instead called imaginist... these peoples job function is solely to imagine characters, scenes, even movies in their head, and display it on a monitor to use as conceptual art or assets. who knows! it could be limitless

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    I have no problems imagining a painting in detail; whenever I do that my work usually turns out 95% the way I wanted it to look. But that does NOT necessarily make a good painting for me. Many of my works are rather mediocre for my standards, even if they turned out "right"; and I'm always trying to beat myself. Which is getting harder and harder.

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  25. #13
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    Zoni-- Great topic!

    riceface-- I'm glad I'm not the only one that notion occurred to. Imagine how fascinating that would be! Too bad the brain fills in so many gaps with memories and expectations. The "screenshot" might be very vague, filled with the brain's personal data compression. Meaning that only one individual can fill the "gaps" to make it an actual "image" perhaps... but that's me speculating with only an intro to psychology course to my credit. In theory it's so fun to think about!
    And oh man, imagine if people could take whole videos of their dreams! :-D

    Black Spot-- I was just going to suggest the same thing. I find I can zoom in anywhere and plan out an immensely detailed piece, without the ability to see all of the detail perfectly at once. Frustrating.


    Ok, now for my own bit of advice: write down your idea. It may seem hard at first, but if you like to write (like me) you might find it valuable. Try planning out the composition in words, and describe the scene just as a poet or descriptive novelist would. Then depict what you wrote as an illustration. It might help hone in on your imagination visualization skills.

    Finally, a "photographic imagination" isn't really required for successful art. In his first boss monster video, Andrew Jones said he really can't imagine what his final image would or should look like. If you take a look at his work you can't really say it's hindered him.
    What's more important is being able to decide whether what you put on your paper is working or not, and just choose what works.

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  27. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zirngibism View Post
    Zoni-- Great topic!

    riceface-- I'm glad I'm not the only one that notion occurred to. Imagine how fascinating that would be! Too bad the brain fills in so many gaps with memories and expectations. The "screenshot" might be very vague, filled with the brain's personal data compression. Meaning that only one individual can fill the "gaps" to make it an actual "image" perhaps... but that's me speculating with only an intro to psychology course to my credit. In theory it's so fun to think about!
    And oh man, imagine if people could take whole videos of their dreams! :-D

    Black Spot-- I was just going to suggest the same thing. I find I can zoom in anywhere and plan out an immensely detailed piece, without the ability to see all of the detail perfectly at once. Frustrating.


    Ok, now for my own bit of advice: write down your idea. It may seem hard at first, but if you like to write (like me) you might find it valuable. Try planning out the composition in words, and describe the scene just as a poet or descriptive novelist would. Then depict what you wrote as an illustration. It might help hone in on your imagination visualization skills.

    Finally, a "photographic imagination" isn't really required for successful art. In his first boss monster video, Andrew Jones said he really can't imagine what his final image would or should look like. If you take a look at his work you can't really say it's hindered him.
    What's more important is being able to decide whether what you put on your paper is working or not, and just choose what works.
    actually, have u seen teh article where the japanese scientist did an experiment and they successfully pulled images right out of the brain, they made people think of a picture and a crude version of it was displayed on the monitor from their brain

    and they said specifically this could revolutionized the art industry

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    I think we lose this ability as we age. Watch the looseness of imagination exhibited when children play.

    I had this problem to the extent that all I saw was a black void when I closed my eyes. I slowly stopped judging my ability and my ideas and allowed a sense of flow, and now I have worlds in my head clearly visualized. Not that I have the technical ability to realize them yet ...

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  30. #16
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    I usually imagine my drawings very clearly before I start. The final product doesn't always look like I had imagined, however.

    The truth will set you free,
    but first it's gonna piss you off!

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  32. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maidith View Post
    I have no problems imagining a painting in detail; whenever I do that my work usually turns out 95% the way I wanted it to look. But that does NOT necessarily make a good painting for me. Many of my works are rather mediocre for my standards, even if they turned out "right"; and I'm always trying to beat myself. Which is getting harder and harder.
    I got that too .

    As for the first question. If there are images start pop into your head, describe them with words and write on paper. Then search for the things you have written on the net to see how they really look like. Draw those objects and when you remembered general shapes, start drawing your mental image. It might not be good method for everybody but you could give it a try.

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  34. #18
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    Usually ill start with an image in my head, it depends on the circumstances really. If i am set a certain brief, often particularly un inspiring ones, sometimes it might take a while for me to come up with an idea, but im guessing you are refering to your personal work.

    With personal work i tend to have an idea first, usually its the idea of the image that inspires me to actually draw it out, sometimes i have numerous ideas for compositions but just not enough time to do them! If you cant think of what to draw then i wouldnt force ideas, instead practice anatomy by drawing from reference - Its good time management!

    The best ideas usually always come before i fall asleep for me aswel, just remember to make a mental note or jump out of bed and write something to help you remember!

    As for putting visual thought or message down onto paper.. thats just the technical aspect of art summed up in one! keep practicing and soon enough you will have enough visual reference in your head to draw whatever you want to draw.

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  36. #19
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    I was just about to start a thread like this but I'll just hijack this one,
    Because I think it might help the OP aswell.

    After reading everything said in http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...47#post2006347 and this thread I came to one question.

    How do you practice your imagination?

    All of you say the same thing "I have no problem imagining stuff" "I have no problem coming up with ideas"
    Okay... what about us who do?
    As some say, having a huge library of references in your mind to draw from helps. Personally I just see these references piece by piece, I can't put them together into something interesting. It just looks .. "meh" describes it pretty well.

    So how do you practice imagination? How do you practice those crazy thoughts that make people look at you twice wondering if you're on medication or just weird?

    When having a strict direction to go, say an art director or commissioner you have a base.

    But when you just get up one day and realize you havent painted in days and when you sit down you just get a big black void of boringness in your mind. And no music or reading or looking at art helps.
    I'm not asking about "how do you get inspired" I'm asking how to fuel your imagination and how to trigger it. In a perfect world all we'd have to do would be to tilt our head to the left, look up and just float away... Like J.D in Scrubs.

    On that note, how can you possibly draw everyday? Sure you can practice stuff like anatomy everyday but i find it hard to believe you can paint something everyday.. It takes me weeks to come up with something to paint.

    "Sadly, most artists prefer to give the elite their attention."
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    I don't believe anyone has more than just a gesture and direction in their head when they start.
    It's like drawing a dot pattern from 1 to 300.

    In your mind you will see the overall pattern, so you know what it's about, you know both the gesture the figure is making and the direction of the strokes.

    But it's knowledge and repetition that lets you put the dots exactly where they need to be while you're drawing.

    So in short, normally you don't know where all the dots are going to be because there's no need, you fill them in as you go. You you do see a quick sketch before you start in your head normally.

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  38. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pawkfox View Post
    How do you practice your imagination?

    All of you say the same thing "I have no problem imagining stuff" "I have no problem coming up with ideas"
    Okay... what about us who do?
    As some say, having a huge library of references in your mind to draw from helps. Personally I just see these references piece by piece, I can't put them together into something interesting. It just looks .. "meh" describes it pretty well.

    So how do you practice imagination? How do you practice those crazy thoughts that make people look at you twice wondering if you're on medication or just weird?

    When having a strict direction to go, say an art director or commissioner you have a base.

    But when you just get up one day and realize you havent painted in days and when you sit down you just get a big black void of boringness in your mind. And no music or reading or looking at art helps.
    I'm not asking about "how do you get inspired" I'm asking how to fuel your imagination and how to trigger it. In a perfect world all we'd have to do would be to tilt our head to the left, look up and just float away... Like J.D in Scrubs.

    On that note, how can you possibly draw everyday? Sure you can practice stuff like anatomy everyday but i find it hard to believe you can paint something everyday.. It takes me weeks to come up with something to paint.
    Just repetition. People mix references without knowing it.

    It's funny that people often say "I just came up with it". I don't believe that ever happens, people still get it from somewhere, it doesn't just magically appear. So either it's a mix of references or something they saw, or something they remember.

    I believe they don't always consiously think about where they got it though, so often artists will answer 'from my mind', which is correct, but only after they were influenced by real-life. Something doesn't just 'appear' in your mind without some influence of RL and then they fill in the dots by basic knowledge about the subject, either anatomy or gestures etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pawkfox View Post
    So how do you practice imagination? How do you practice those crazy thoughts that make people look at you twice wondering if you're on medication or just weird?
    You need to open your mind and change your perspective on the world. Imagine yourself 3 inches high, imagine youre a giant- what would look different? how would you solve the problem of getting food or drink? how would you communicate with people? How would you get to work and what would you work as? - How will all of this make you feel?

    You dont have to be drawing practise imaginative thinking- heck it probably helps if youre not. Dont be afraid to daydream .

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  40. #23
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    I'm the same. I canot draw things as I imagine them.

    But then I realised that my mental picture just isn't as clear as I thought it was.

    I've not found a way to resolve the problem, because I havn't had to yet. It's not an issue. I kind of like that when I draw something it's different to how I thought. Everything I do is an experiment, I guess.

    Really wouldn't worry about it.

    I echo what Jem'... said.

    Sketchbook | Art Blog | Portfolio

    True progress means matching the world to the vision in our heads.
    But we always change the vision instead.
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    pretty clearly, though i usually find the details that swam in my head are no more than fragments, respetitions or vague gestures.
    Everything looks better in your head.

    I like to animate my figures and put them in stories, I usually try rotating the thing i'm looking at in my mind, from all perspectives and changing the source of light etc, ALSO, THINK SYNESTHETICALLY (across senses)! That's the single biggest help and stimulus i've found for my imagination.

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    I find that I can imagine an image I want to draw in a lot of detail, however, I just don't have the skills and technicality needed to get that image down onto paper. Something which I am working on I find that researching and gathing imformation helps to make that image even sharper, but will need to practice and hone my skills before i can draw thise images in my head!

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    mainly constructive (anatomy) drawing and things of that nature help, picking apart and understanding is what you want above all else, for working from the imagination, how to communicate what you see.

    You should try thinking of it as if you were to draw from a very unclear reference, how you have to know far more than if you draw from life and even more than from other drawings.

    Listen to the massive black guys(dvds, interviews, tutorials etc), they know what they're talking about when it comes to things like this.

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    How much I imagine or prejudge an image depends on what I need it to do. I usually have no preconceptions when working in my sketchbook, but my professional work has a process starting with thumbnails, roughs, line drawings and either inks or digital paints. The latter has a self-determining result even if it looks like nothing I imagined when I started.

    ~Richard

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    I found out that I have a very bad visual memory. f.e. when I see a car I can't remember what colour it was, when I see a guy I don't remember if he had a beard or glasses etc.
    That said, I still have some sort of fuzzy internal image, but it's rather a strong feeling that I know what I want. Like I know it's there and feel it, but its veiled. And when I start painting, it gradually becomes clearer or rather, I immediately feel when something is wrong. and so I end up with images that are very close to what I had in mind, if that makes any sense-

    Trivia: Dorothy Sayers describes different types of painters (one with photographic memory, one who works from extensive sketches etc) in her crime novel Five Red Herrings. The book is not her best but that part is very interesting. She actually describes her own artist friends, so its pretty realistic.

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