Kim Jung Ji ..
this excellent artist has the ablity to visualise
the drawing before making his marks..
this ability is enhanced by drawing everyday..
with mental pictures in your head before draw it
is possible to create a large picture by physically
enlarging it..it is a creative gift
i have known a few people in my profession (illustrator)
who could do this without references.. straight onto
board..a number of them were comic strip artists
drawing and inking up to six pages a week..
the fact that they drew so much for years
gave them the facility to dispense with
pencil roughs on a tight deadline...a rigid editors nightmare
...experience and discipline
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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!
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".
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
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.
From Gegarin's point of view
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
However, the good news is that even without any talent, the ceiling is pretty high. So high that for many practical purposes it actually doesn't matter. Not everyone gets to be Mozart, but work hard enough and you can reach professional or near professional level in just about any field.
The question is how hard you are willing to work. I think willingness to endure frustration and boredom for the sake of some goal is perhaps part of talent, or is a unique talent in itself. :-)
"Talent"-- the ability to meticulously copy your reference photo and render it so smoothly that the average person on the street will think that your drawing "looks exactly like a photograph."
Mmmm, glad I could set you all straight on that!
(Warning: the comments section to the above article is likely to cause spontaneous bloody head-banging in some CA members.)
JFierce: Do not be so quick to dismiss the connection between writing and images. I believe you hve missed something that is very useful to this discussion.
Is visual memory different from any other form of memory? Is the ability to remember a sequence of events different from visualising those events?
'Memory showmen' use techniques of story association to remember quantities of unrelated information that appears superhuman to onlookers.
That is to say, they have structured the information to facilitate access. For what is a story but the structuring of life events to give comprehension, context and meaning to them, and when a thing has meaning it is much easier to remember.
Stucture is salient to story and pictures.
In what way?
Nouns and objects do not a story or picture make. Verbs, connections, beats and links are what shape it into pattern: And we remember pattern. It's what our minds are wired up to do in order to survive. Pattern is organised, and organised means it can either eat me or be eaten, dangerous or useful. The better we recognise pattern the better the chance to survive.
As we improve our pattern recognition (grammar and vocabulary of shape in its broadest sense) in any discipline; so our memory appears to improve.
Last edited by Chris Bennett; October 26th, 2012 at 03:50 AM.
From Gegarin's point of view
It's hilarious, actually.
I didn't knew photoshop art is forbidden!
However the most important point to repeat is that applying visual memory doesn't necessarily involve running up and down stairs. It's something you can apply in every drawing you do. The difference between that and passive copying is well explained in the Henri quote and its continuation in the book.
I've never been a big fan of the term "visual memory" and what it implies, or does not imply. For one it's just a catch phrase that essentially means "learning to draw". You don't have to break it down into technical minutiae and then banter about semantics and definitions all day long. For another how is it different from "musical memory"...or "literary memory"? There is just a craft to these endeavors that is part of their experience and learning curve.
The reason I don't like the term is because I think, whether it exists or not and is part of how we process visual interpretation, it can be confusing to the beginner and is really a minor sideling aspect of drawing. Just my two yen...
It seems like not everyone finds fascinating the ability to visualize an image in your mind and project that image into the paper, either you are working from observation or from imagination, specially doing it from imagination, it must be a great feeling to project your initial idea in the paper with as much detail as you can. The final result might look very different, but it gives you a kind of control over your ideas.
But we are all different, some people prefer to first put marks on the paper and then visualize as they go..
" See, observe, remember." Famous Artists Schools
The imagination works with the material stored in the memory. The consequence of that statement is obvious: no memory no art.
"Beliefs are rules for action"
"Knowledge is proven in action."
"It's use is it's meaning."