Question about memory drawing

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Optics wrote
on 27 Jan 2014 1:01 PM


Hey everyone!


I'm more or less a beginner: I've been studying drawing for about a year - year and a half, and I've seen tremendous results in my ability to draw from a live subject in front of me. That being said, if I am not literally starring at my subject while I draw, I'm unable to draw at all, period. I'd love to be able to draw from my imagination, and so I realize that being able to tap into 'memory drawing' - that is recalling a subject after I have seen it - is crucial to my development.


Here's my question: What sort of thought process should go into looking at a subject in order to retain visual information? I've been trying to set a kitchen timer to about five minutes while I look at a model, and then to turn away from the model afterward and try to draw it from memory.


The problem I'm having is that during those five minutes while I stare at the model, I'm just staring. It's like I don't know what to do in order to remember what I'm seeing. Is it bad if I use words? Such as: "This is twice as long as that; the eyes form this kind of shape.." and so on. I'm hesitant to use words because it seems like its counter intuitive to being visual, but I just don't know how else to retain what I'm seeing.


Advice would be appreciated. Thanks guys!

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C. Brown wrote
on 29 Jan 2014 3:22 PM

Optics...If you go to the Blog section here on the Artists Daily site and go to the Oil Painting Blog and scroll down to an entry entitled Visual Memory posted on Dec. 23, 2013, you will find a really interesting article about this subject. In this blog entry there is mention of some further reading on the subject and one of the books was entitled Memory Drawing: Perceptual Training and Recall written by Darren R. Rousar. I just got that book via Amazon a few weeks ago and it seems pretty interesting with a lot of info and some exercises to do.  I hope this helps.

Catherine Brown

C&C's are welcome.

(No digital alterations please)

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