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Can´t draw from imagination

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Thread replies: 52
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>used to draw from imagination
>after looking on the internet, discovered that doing live and photo studies would help to improve
>months after doing studies from reference I can notice a huge improvement, can reproduce images with increasing precision
>can´t draw from imagination anymore
>just looking at the blank paper and trying to put figures in a constructed 3D space without any reference is terrifying
>my attempts and drawing stylized or imaginated figures fail miserably
>all my drawings nowdays are lifeless studies from life OR a constructed picture made from combining various references together
>watch people like kjg spontaneously drawing and feel bad
>show people my sketchbooks, they say my past drawings used to be more interesting than the ones now, despite having a lot of errors
>lie down and cry

tl;dr after months of studying from reference I can't draw from imagination anymore, wat to do?

Serious issue here. I´m having a very bad time criticising myself for this. Where did I go wrong? How can I improve my imagination and constructed drawing skills? What types of excercises are optimal to resolve this problem?

Pic is a study from life.
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>>2283987
drawing from imagination is an overrated skill on /ic/. "Visual libraries" don't make you a better artist. That's just fancy words for symbol drawing.

More useful skills would be being able to copy a photograph, being able to draw from life realistically, and being able to write cohesive concepts for your personal work.

So other than not mentioning practicing writing I would say you are on the right track. But practice writing.
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>>2283991
>drawing from imagination is an overrated skill on /ic/. "Visual libraries" don't make you a better artist. That's just fancy words for symbol drawing.
jesus christ, are you literally retarded?
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>>2283991
>rawing from imagination is an overrated skill on /ic/


Actually just about every post, instructional, and tutorial I've ever read from /ic/ has been "draw from life"
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>>2283991
>More useful skills would be being able to copy a photograph, being able to draw from life realistically, and being able to write cohesive concepts for your personal work.

2/8, made me respond while I am on a laptop
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>>2283991
Ladies and gentlemen, the average /ic/ poster
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>>2283997
id say it's 50/50. half of /ic/ wants to be kim jung gi and the other half aren't idiots.

see >>2283994
>>2284000
>>2284001
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>>2283991
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Maybe try doing some expressive drawing? Not focusing on a live drawing and just putting emotions on page. Drawing what's inside of you. I am doing art theraphy right now and I am personally overdoing expressive drawing sometimes, and probably would need to draw from life more as I can't do it but you can't have everything. Or maybe just try stop feeling bad about it and accept decisions that you made before. You learnt a lot things that other people don't have. Maybe you overdid it, try to find what suits you, what is your style and where do you feel like "that's really me, that's what I like doing and it really feels like me". Take care mate.
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>training all your life to be a copying machine

The killing joke of /ic/.
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>>2283987
What I think is happening is you're in the process of updating your mental image of anatomy and stuff. Your brain is becoming more accustomed to observation. This is ok! Let it happen. After every couple long studies, do a few pages of the same subject without references while it's still fresh in your short term memory to help you commit it to long term memory. It won't be the same, nor should it be. Don't freak out about it. Just play! Let yourself have fun with it. Then do another round of observational drawings, repeat.

When you're pushing yourself to another level, there's always an awkward phase that lacks fluidity. This is normal. Keep it up!
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>>2284021
I have thought about these exercises: practice laying same-sized boxes in a 3D setting, trying to make them coherent. Practice drawing people inside boxes in diverse points of view. Practice drawing full scenes after getting the hang of the two other exercises.

Is that good enough?
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I'm the same way. I've had a few years of private art lessons and I can copy what I see perfectly and make it beautiful.

But I can barely draw deviantart-tier things when using only my imagination.

It's only when I draw though. When I sculpt or use photoshop, I'm fine. I hate drawing now. All I wanted was to be a good porn artist that gets my OC circlejerked all the time.
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>>2283987
oh god, the same thing happened to me! I used to draw from imagination all the time and had loads of sketches... but now I can't bring myself to doing it, because it feels like I can't live up to my own expectations...
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I have been in the same place you are, OP. Why are you surprised? You've spent months learning how to draw from observation, why would you be any good at drawing from imagination when you haven't put the time in?

Point is, don't beat yourself up about it. I sound like a broken record, but you just need to practice drawing imaginatively and completely abolish the ego you've spent months building up. Will the drawings suck at first? Probably. But will they get better if you keep at it? YES.

You'll get to a point where drawing from reference seems boring, and you'll want to make up your own stuff. Nothing is as freeing as drawing with only your mind for resource.
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>>2284001
kek gets me everytime
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>>2284166
Omg I guess you are completely right. I haven't drawn from imagination for around a year. Its clear.
Well, I hope my observation skills will enhance my learning on imagination drawing.
Thanks for the simple insight.
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>>2284196
oh i get it now. OP was looking for a hugbox
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>>2283987
i was the same way, important thing is to keep drawing. even if it's not interesting yet, it's better than not drawing; also, you need to figure out what you would like to draw before you put your pen or pencil to paper, imagination happens in your head first, then the motor neurons move your hand, unless you're a freak like KJG.
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>>2283991
Drawing from life is literally just learning to be a human Xerox Machine. Stylised drawing from imagination may be riddled with mistakes but at least there is creative thinking gone into it
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frazetta drew/painted exclusively from imagination. Let that sink in.
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>>2283987
it is time to accept you're bad at it and just start training doing stuff from imagination again.
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>>2283987
drawing from imagination is a skill that has to be trained and is harder to get good at, thats why you should first learn to draw from reference really good, and then go heavily into stylization, it also needs to said that you need a good chunk of knowledge of anatomy, light and shadow, edges and perspective to make use of stuff that you studied from reference. it also is way more frustrating in the beginning, speaking from my own experience because it mostly looks like shit compared to referenced work, but it pays off to stay with it.
>>2284215
>you are sharing a board with someone who thinks like this
Kill me already
Or rather, kill him
>>2284503
Shut the fuck up you stupid piece of shit, for most of his work he actually used photos of himself as reference.
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I'm new have shouldn't be throwing in my shitty opinion but isn't the whole 'construction' thing mentioned in the sticky supposed to be for this kinda stuff? The ball and plane shit?
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>>2284513
How the fuck do you know what frazetta used as reference? His work is pretty loose I don't get why its so hard to believe that he had a strong intuition, his work doesn't even look referenced. Take a look at Boris vallejo and you'll see the difference
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I'd say most of your work should be from memory, but definitely some studying here and there. Like a 60/40 or 70/30 ratio.
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>>2284518
Are you this fucking dense that you think your perception of Frazettas work equals to him having painted the way you imagine? Its public knowledge that he used photo reference all the time, and for most of the male characters he actually used himself, every 2nd character looks almost exactly like Frazetta. Your ignorance doesnt mean you can throw around garbage assumptions
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>>2284520
you are some special kind of dumbass too are you? How do you think you get to draw halfway decent from Mem(e)ory? You first have to study a shit ton of reference, how do you think it jumps into your head? Just by drawing it? I swear people like you, who probably dont even study every day and have been on this board for 3 weeks think theyve figured it all out
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>>2283991
It might not get you better jobs or anything but being able to get my ideas from my head onto the page makes me happy. Even if it's then only used as a sketch for a later illustration where I use reference.

Getting gud isn't just about making fat stacks anon, it's about being happy with your own abilities. If anything more important than the work itself is the way you make it, and whether you enjoy said process.
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>>2283991

who would even hire a human copy machine
people are interested in an artists ability to design
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>>2284737

but using a reference for posing your characters didn't refrain him to add a fucking lot of elements in his drawings which are pure imagination (ie : fantasy)
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>>2284780
thats why i said
>and being able to write cohesive concepts for your personal work
be the best at using reference, be the best at drawing from life, and most importantly be the best at writing good projects and concepts.

i know i say "write concepts" and you guys just go DOY WHAT DOES THAT MEAN but if you've ever written a good story for an illustration that wasn't "space man shoots alien" or "knight kills dragon" or "man fucks pony" you know exactly what I'm talking about
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>>2284738
I can't really understand whether you're advocating for the idea that imagination is useless, or that imagination is secondary to being able to render reality accurately.
If it is that drawing from memory/imagination is a useless skill, then I would have to disagree with you, as creative works are quite literally derived from the imagination. Even in still-life paintings the artist adjusts the image to his liking so that it is not necessarily with accordance to reality, but that it reflects his idealized version of reality - and is thus dependent on imagination. Not only that, but it is extremely useful to know the underlying structures of objects e.g. anatomy, as it greatly improves representative works. When you look at how Vilppu draws the model, you can see that he is not merely copying what he sees (a point he emphasizes at several instances), but he is constantly exaggerating and modifying, which not only reflects his underlying knowledge, but also makes his work look more aesthetically pleasing. This is not something you can do when you are only accustomed to copying what you see. Kim Jung Gi spent countless hours drawing in order to be able to create whole scenarios without looking at a single piece of reference, which is a very admirable skill. It also depends on your specific needs: in the realm of concept art, being able to create accurate designs out of your 'visual library' is simply a must.
If you are saying that the artist must first be able to transfer reality onto the canvas before he engages in imaginative works, then I may agree with you. If the artist can render what he sees to a point of mastery, then his paintings will be improved regardless of whether he is copying reality or creating without reference. To bring up concept art again - if you are not able to render realistic objects (a skill you learn from drawing and painting reality) then your designs look shit regardless of the imagination behind it.
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>>2284797
A recent example for artists who can render but have no imagination: the ARC Salon competition winners. Too many of the paintings looked shitty and boring as the creativity just wasn't there. Although their rendering wasn't bad, it just lacked that element that distinguishes a decent artist from a great artist.
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>>2284797
nice block of text.

in the realm of concept art visual libraries aren't important. CONCEPTS ARE IMPORTANT. if you do not know how to write a concept, write. write write write. right? write. words. writing words on paper. making associations between images and manipulating language to fit thematic ideas. writing. nobody will like your work.

kim jung gi doesn't write concepts. he isn't a concept artist. he is more fine arts than illustration.

idk man you guys just don't seem to get what concept art is because so much concept art is terrible. you're under the impression that overdesigning "visual library ejaculate" is good, and clever cohesive design is bad.
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>>2284797
I think that this drawing from imagination stuff is thrown around too lightly, it is not something that you are able to pull off to a mediocre degree until you are already quite good, every guy who is good at working from imagination had to study intensely and smart to make his pictures come out looking good, let alone great. People who say shit like drawing from imagination is way more important and that it's the first and foremost goal of your career are mostly not in any position to tell this to others.
I don't really like Villpu's stuff, I mean it's pretty impressive that he can build all those figures and shit, but they don't look very good and I don't really see how these are supposed to be more lively or flowing with the c's and s', they just look wonky, and his portrait work isn't great either, there are in fact very few "teachers" that have a great style and nice way of teaching, Bridgman for example is way better in my opinion.

To sum it up: To draw from imagination, you not only need extensive studying and practice from life and reference in general, and you have to be decent or at least mediocre to even get into drawing from memory.
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>>2284780
>there are people on /ic/ who think being an artist with realistic intents is just one of those trash tier photo copiers.

Guys like you need to lurk more before actually posting, you're dragging everyone down with your stupidity and ignorance.

Do you think pre rapahelites were xerox machines, do you think Michelangelo was a human xerox, do you think Russian academic painters are xerox machines, or impressionists like Zorn and Sargent. Not ever your great illustrators painted from memory, the only, guys not using reference are usually concept artists because it is their job to design according to a reference that isn't a picture or person but as the word implies a concept.
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I think I'm a pretty good artist. I still have issues with many things as all artists forever will but I can 100% attest to the fact that drawing from your imagination is just as important if not more so than drawing from life.

If you focus on only drawing from life, you're not understanding the underlying structures of what make up the 2d image you are seeing. IF you focus only on drawing from imagination you lose the ability to see with your eyes and thus will not be able to improve your imagination drawing.

You have to have both. My advice, summarized is you should continue drawing as you do but spend an equal amount of time drawing from what you remember as you do drawing from what you see. Spend some hours drawing photos of hands. Spend some hours drawing hands from memory but from made up angles. The point is you're constantly comparing and contrasting what you THINK is going on vs what is ACTUALLY going on, the more you do this the more your imagination and the real world will become alike.

And once you're good at you can draw a photo of a woman from a different angle than in the photo and it will still look just like her. Similarly, during life drawing having a little imagination and understanding of the forms will give you an edge in life drawing.

Pic related: it's a dumb commission I'm working on
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>>2284874
Also I should say I did that all from imagination. The ref is to help with skin texture/minor fixups. It's all still a work in progress though.
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>>2283987
I now feel completely empty inside when I draw. In the past I was brimming with creativity and ideas. After much of studying, my technical skills have seen great improvement, but I have been turned into a soulless copy machine and am completely incapable of creating anything remotely interesting.
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>>2285280
post work from when you were brimming with creativity and ideas and post your work you've done lately

my guess is when you were "brimming with creativity" you had just started and not yet hit any walls or learned your limitations, and now that you have things you know you need to work on it feels more like work.
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>>2283987
I know how you feel, I'm stuck in the same spot.
It's ok bro, we all feel that way.
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>>2284814
>concepts are more important
But how do you assemble these concepts? In order to create the concept, you are basing your designs off of data that you have assembled into your brain, then using your imagination to bring the schemes together. You are literally taking ideas from your 'visual library', deconstructing them, and assembling them into your own original concepts. When the concept artist is first starting out, his 'visual library' is lacking, and therefore he must conduct research on different subjects in order to create good designs. As he progresses in his career, the research element does not disappear, but the accumulated knowledge on the world around him, which he has gathered over the years - the visual library - assists him in creating more effective and interesting designs.
I don't understand why you're placing so much importance on writing. Now, of course it's an important skill. When I see posts on the Muddy Colors blog, for example, that artists have written, and which read like a 16 year old wrote them, then of course that's gonna leave a bad impression. When an individual possesses the skill of being able to articulate his ideas in a clear an effective fashion, then that will assist him in communicating the design for his contemporaries. However, an artist should not be writing more than he is practicing art. Making associations between images is not a skill that you can learn through writing, but it is a separate thought process which, although present in analytical texts, would be better exercised by actually looking at existing concepts one the market which catch your eye, then evaluating the design in terms of the thought processes which went behind them.
If you are writing more than you are actively evaluating and creating designs - which is the fucking job of a concept artist - then perhaps you should instead be aspiring to become an author or a journalist.
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>>2285657
>But how do you assemble these concepts?
you assemble these concepts from writing, and drawing from things personal to you.

Pic related is two pages out of one of my notebooks where I was trying to come up with some new concepts.

This isn't literary writing or blog posting it is more akin to stand up comedy writing or poetry/music, but specific to illustration because the associations I am making are purely visual.

And the associations I am making aren't based on my drawing visual library they are based on my vocabulary, my past experiences, what I've learned and the visual library I have of things that already exist in the world.

I am writing things that are specific to my interests, and then basing what I draw on those ideas I make, and not the other way around. I don't draw lions for a year then try to think of a good lion concept, I base what I am going to practice next on the things I have already written.

One person might make a concept about the Tower of Babel, another person might make a concept about eye makeup, another might make it about a math concept. But you need to learn to write concepts because they don't just pop in your head after drawing a porcupine for the thousandth time.
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>>2284783
Then it's not exclusively from imagination you shit for brains.

There is no GREAT artist that doesn't use references
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>>2283991
oh jesus
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>>2283987
>>can´t draw from imagination anymore

It's just that now you would like to draw everything with the same result than what you drew from references.
There's a part in your brain that hates "failing" and so it stops you and insists for using references.

I know because I'm stuck there at the moment. I recently draw a rose for someone, using a real rose for model, and while the result was average at best, I know that any flower I would draw on the fly would look like a kid's work (even without comparing it with my previous work).

This is a very subtle kind of hell. Damn you, inner Xerox, just leave my inner Monkey flings his things.
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>>2285676
Never seen anyone keep a notebook like this. This is way beyond the realm of mainstream concept design. I was speaking of creating visual design pieces which are utilized in creative works, but you're trying to come up with completely original ideas on a whole new level. Maybe you should try writing your thoughts in complete sentences, even if you can make sense of it now, so then it's nice to read and forms a complete thought, instead of fragments of one.
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>some teacher puts a board on the college hall, in the design/art building so the older students show their work to the new students that were arriving
>classmate who can draw awesome stuff from memory draws a expressive face with a permanent marker
>turns to me and says 'cmon anon, its freestyle now' while handing the marker over to me
>new students watching
>i know that if try to draw anything, it will suck
>most terrible sensation in my life
>draw some simple geometrical shit from a three point perspective, hand over the marker and run away
>the other day only my drawing and his are on the board, aside for some anime shit doodles
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>>2283991
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i swear ive met a person irl that looks like the one in that drawing weird
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>>2283987
Draw any and everything you can.

Apply your new knowledge to transferring your imagination to paper.

Use gesture underlays, draw loosely. Decide beforehand what bodytype you are going for.

Remember to have fun and don't stop drawing.

I usually draw the thumbnail full body then I draw a bigger version.

All depends are you doing character design or just fine arts?

Everything will lead back to life drawing. Virtual library helps a ton for drawing from imagination. It is part of your muscle memory so I would have at least 10 different gesture poses down (most start with 3 or 4 ) it will be good. Patience and persistence. Think about your idea as if it were a replaying movie.
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