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Thread: The importance of visual memory
October 25th, 2012 #66
I get the same feeling when working from life. I look at the object from life and then visualize a portion of the information in the paper (a mental snapshot like Queen said). But like I said, it happens sporadically. I wish I could do that all the time, maybe with practice. I think it would be really helpful when working from imagination, visualizing want you want to draw before drawing it.
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The brain is a pattern recognizing and pattern making organ.
There is more to observational skill than visual memory. I think visual memory comprises a small portion of the suite.
Visual memory is, in many cases, ineffective without understanding. The two aren’t mutually inclusive. Qualitative/differentiated memory (detailed memory) follows the understanding of what it is you are observing. I can memorize a page of text in an unfamiliar language, but what good is that if I don’t understand a word of it. Like the lifeless copying of photos, my reciting it would certainly fall flat on the ear of someone fluent in that language.
It’s most important being able to recognize, or to resonate with, the essence that makes a subject what it is. To be able to see what those essential characteristics or caricatures are that distinguish a subject. You have to be able to see the ‘poetry’ in things.
Every artist needs a heaping helping of form, shade and light empathy to go along with their voyeurin’--to get things right. It’s not all about keeping a checklist in the head of things seen on the fly.
Last edited by bill618; October 25th, 2012 at 04:22 PM.
October 25th, 2012 #68
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October 25th, 2012 #69
I think all this discussion on visual memory thing is pointless since any and every drawing from observation helps this imo. I remember Queen on the last page mentioning drawing something fast so you learn it out of necessity. I live in the middle of nowhere I don't get to draw people that often just sitting around. I went on a ferry with a friend earlier in the year I brought an old sketchbook of mine from years ago that had a few empty sheets in it since I couldn't find any paper. While waiting for the ferry I was drawing people. Usually didn't even have 5 minutes before someone moved. I compared the drawings from years ago where I had like a half hour or more to draw people eating lunch to 5 minute drawings now and I was amazed. Because I never had a time limit or anything. I never practiced jotting something down quickly, or limited myself. I just gained a better skill level at it from just drawing in general.
That's the thing. Draw often, draw from observation, experiment and draw in ways or mediums you may not have tried before and your probably improving in ways you aren't even conscious of. When your starting out getting all caught up in the what should I do and how should I do it doesn't matter half as much.
Last edited by JFierce; October 25th, 2012 at 04:18 PM.
October 25th, 2012 #70
Drawing a lot certainly hones your graphic language skills, and is a vital necessity in becoming better at the skill.
I've driven a lot and walked a whole lot. I’m not exceptional in either task--yet.
October 25th, 2012 #71
an example of visual memory..
drawing a comic book serial..the first two or three instalment are slower to draw
after that your memory remembers the main points of character and scenario
by the 4th installment its plain sailing until finished.. episode 12
drawing part 2 of a 12 part serial is by then very easy as you have remembered all the
points that make the serial..and you follow the narrative as any other strips you have drawn..
weekly serial 30 frames ..120 frames per month..
weekly single comic stories 30 frames per week..120 frames per month
total monthly frames 240 frames...
continue for twenty years ...a visual memory is created both in technique Brush/pen and recalling shortcuts and references..
any named image can be drawn almost without references..you are now a production artist..on short deadlines..and living on adrenalin..
October 25th, 2012 #72
He's using his short-term memory to reproduce pieces of the drawing as he progresses. How's that any different than how anybody draws an object within their visual range? From what he's described, he would have been running up Degas' stairs quite a number of times to complete his master copy.
Now, for actually drawing an object completely from memory, I would think having a "schema" would be doubly important in organizing just what it is that you are going to put on the blank paper after you return from the barnyard. That's why I bring up Hale and Hogarth. Marko Djurjevic [sp.], as a child, spent long hours copying Hogarth's DFD thinking at the time that all real artists worked from memory. This paid off, and I think there's video of him doing realistic detailed figure drawings without any prior construction devices.
But, Hale would say this is because he internalized those devices and can now visualize where his contours need to go. This would be different than just either eyeballing contour and reproducing it or memorizing complete complex contours and reproducing them solely from memory.
For instance, if we put a map of the coastline of Lake Michigan up on Degas 4th floor, how long do you want to study it before you go downstairs and try to draw it!
October 25th, 2012 #73Registered User
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I will add to this discussion that there is no such thing as "talent". I believe that is a word invented by people who simply cannot comprehend how much a person loved what they did and and how much work went into it. What we are really admiring about someone's "talent" is usually a relentless quest to really master something they care a lot about.
If you want to be a basketball player, it helps to be tall. People obviously have unique characteristics that color their success. I bet most artists wish they had a photographic memory, I sure could use one of those lol.
Look at anyone who is really successful at something and what you will find without fail is that they lived and breathed their "thing" to get to where they are. I see this same theme repeated whether you are talking a race car driver, artist, athlete, musician, entrepreneurs etc.
There was this great reply to someone complaining that they wish they could play like one of the top Korean Starcraft players. The reply was very appropriate. "Dude, all you have to do is practice 12 hours a day against the best progamers in the world".
October 25th, 2012 #74
Curiosity shouldn't do any harm, I thought so at least.
Responses like "just draw" and "I think this is stupid because the important thing you should do is drawing and shut up"...this responses don't make sense to me. If someone is curious about something and if that something doesn't interest you then, yes, shut up and draw.
For me, I got amazing insights from some people, and thanks for that
October 25th, 2012 #75
Talent is a predisposition to performing a particular novel task at a higher capacity than would be deemed normal. Talent plateaus out fast, requiring the same hard work that anyone has to do to develop a skill.
If 8000 5 year olds perform a novel task and the vast majority of them perform the task like the average 5 year old and 4 perform, the first time attempted, task like a 10 year old, what would you call those 4 performers?
I’d call them talented.
October 25th, 2012 #76
From Gegarin's point of view
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October 25th, 2012 #77
I feel like there is no way to reply to the comparison of writing and art without getting into a long discussion about the similarities and differences of writing vs visual art. Feels like a trap haha.
I'll just reply that I have actually heard the advice from professional writers to beginners to "read a lot, observe the world around you, and write constantly". My sister was given similar advice when she sent a story to a writer she liked which was nice enough to actually reply.
Besides that I'm opting out of the writing vs visual art discussion lol
October 25th, 2012 #78Five percent inspiration and ninety five percent transpiration.
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