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Thread: The importance of visual memory

  1. #131
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    All of this discussion of the theory of visual memory is so not the point.

    Visual memory is not a theory, it is something that we all use already in drawing, and have done for hundreds of years.

    What is needed is to do some work to give it exercise. This is not a new idea, but it seems to be a widely forgotten idea.

    To again quote Roberrt Henri, using memory does not mean looking at the subject less but looking more.

    Next time you are doing life drawing, try just memorizing alternate gesture poses, and then drawing them during the next pose.

    When you are getting comfortable with that exercises, try this:

    For the first 60 seconds of a long pose, seriously pretend to yourself that you are going to have to draw that pose from memory. Check all the things that you know you should check, but often don't because you are too busy copying. Then start drawing. Don't try to draw the pose from memory; look back and check as much as you want, but just see if it doesn't help to start from a position of knowing what you are drawing.

    As the drawing develops, whenever you catch yourself passively "looking and putting" one detail at a time, stop again and memorize a set of related details.

    The amusing thing about this whole discussion is that the benefits of giving your visual memory some exercise are not even controversial to anyone who has actually tried it.
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  4. #132
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    Vay: Not really trying to "argue" with you on this one. (I'm sure we can get into a real argument sometime in the future!) I'm basically saying that the OP's description sounds more to me like briggsy's "looking and putting" of small pieces of data (rather than the more total view of his Henri "snapshot".) As such, this "looking and putting" would seem to partake of short term memory in the way that you would have someone spoon feed you pieces of a phone number that you punch into your cell phone with no real intention of really retaining the number in your long term memory.

    briggsy: I'll try that! And, I'll stand back while dpaint beats the crap outta Henri. . .
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  5. #133
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    sb most art copied to page 1
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  6. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    They got that tech from the Krell in Forbidden Planet
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  8. #135
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    Only we can barely move the first needle.
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  10. #136
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    Yeah, but judging by their doorways, the Krell were easy to draw - they were just a big pentagon shape. That's why they didn't have any pictures of themselves - they could remember what they looked like.
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  12. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    110%?!
    They need to string that cap up with heavy gauge wiring and amp that sucker up, to get to 1% of the VM that this guy’s got:

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  13. #138
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    My main dilemma here from reading all the advice on these forums is that there is a central conflict that even the pro artists disagree on.

    One voice says to "Just draw". Just draw. Just Draw?

    Just draw.


    Then, the other voice says "No, that's dumb. There is practice and there is good practice"


    And then myself and other beginners end up going "f this" and log off and continue drawing.


    I've been 'into drawing' for my whole life. I've started 'seriously' being into doing art professionally a few years ago. I've been following a dedicated daily schedule of serious practice for the last few months.

    Over these last few months I've seen major breakthroughs in my drawing. I've attended figure drawing classes (these always bring improvement in my human figures, improvement that does stick in my memory) and started to 'get' perspective and drawing shapes in 3d space.

    But still, there are those 'blocks' that come really really slowly, but always remain 'unsolved' in ways other artists appear to eventually overcome (maybe that's just me being insecure or too self-critical). I wonder if I'm 'doing it wrong', and wasting my time on certain things.

    Like using photo reference. I think I'm getting to the point where I'm wasting my time with photo references, or that I am too dependent on the photo. I become a slave to the reference and take the sight-size method to its absolute limit. Sometimes I feel like I'm just mindlessly copying. Not retaining information of a 3d shape or understanding the proportions of the features of that 3d head. The Reilly method is helping though.

    Now, I do think I get better at getting likeness from drawing from photo. I've had my drawings critiqued by Chris Legaspi in his weekly webinars and he can tell the likeness from the refs I draw from. So in that sense I am getting better. But the whole structural feeling of a 3d object is still missing.

    Proportions of the face are that stumbling block for me. I can focus on a photo ref and create a passable drawing, drawings that get better with time, but there is an enormous gap in quality between my drawings done from from photo ref and drawings done from my memory. My heads from memory are still pretty bad at this stage. I don't think I'm making any headway on understanding the proportions of the features of the face.

    That could just come with time. But how long would it take if I stick with photographs? Would I be wasting my time?

    I think continuing to practice drawing heads from photographs is what is keeping that an issue. So I need to draw from life more, start with my mirror and really try to study my own face.


    So I guess for me there is a better way to practice the face other than what I was doing before, and it's not by saying 'just draw' and burning myself out by trying to be a machine copying an already flattened 2d image. I won't stop using photo refs entirely, but I will focus more on the self portrait.
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  15. #139
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    And then myself and other beginners end up going "f this" and log off and continue drawing.
    Always listen to the artist whose work is so good that you trust their advice.

    The quality of an artist's work is in large measure due to their understanding of the extent of their craft and how it can be used to maximize their talents.

    So, ask yourself... who are you absolutely favorite artist... and then see if they wrote books, left lecture notes, sell dvds, write posts, etc.

    I mean, there is a whole collection of posts by Craig Mullins out there that is full up of good advice, if he's someone you respect as an artist.
    At least Icarus tried!


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  17. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cortes View Post
    And then myself and other beginners end up going "f this" and log off and continue drawing.
    i cant help myself but envisioning the situation of a kid running up to his/her parents and their friends after they had a healthy argument all evening long, asking "and what am i supposed to make out of all this?"

    the correct answer is "nothing. you werent supposed to hear that."

    go for the things you can gain something from, but dont complain about others having fun argueing about matters that dont suit you.

    the internet is full of possible answers... you are on your own, spotting which ones speak to you and which dont.
    Last edited by sone_one; December 25th, 2012 at 10:55 PM.
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  18. #141
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    During the latest blackout James Gurney posted a piece promoting a new book by Darren Rousar that covers many aspects of memory drawing. I was pleased to see from his post and the comments that more people are aware of the importance and long history of training visual memory than it might have seemed from this thread!

    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com.au...y-drawing.html
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0980045444
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