For a long time now, I've thought about the problem of drawing images from your minds eye.   Have you ever wanted to draw a cartoon for a funny idea or an image from a vivid dream?  Me too.  And I've always wondered why I could never find a class that would help you learn to draw from your own imagination.  All of them insist that you draw from life or photographic reference.  That is all very good for painting landscapes and portraits.  But I thought it was strange that there was never a comic drawing class or any instruction at all in how to tap into the reference available from one's inner movie theater.

Though I am by no means qualified to teach art to anybody and I'm certainly not "there" yet, over time I have discovered a few things which have helped.

Step 1: Dispensing With Some Old Notions

I believe that drawing is simply a learned skill.  It can be learned by anyone just like woodworking or electronics or anything else.

Words and alphabets are a more efficient form of communication, that 's why we use them.

People abandoned pictograms such as hieroglyphics because alphabetic writing is just quicker.

Once you get the hang of working with words, you can become every fluent in it. 

The same goes for drawing.  Once you do it enough, you become increasingly fluent in it.  Your mind learns that it can communicate that way and the more you let it do so, the easier it becomes.
Foobear, I don't know if you will even read this, since I'm a few years late. But I have been looking for exactly this kind of advice. I really have been stuck for awhile now and I have such a need to create and really express my self with projects..but I have started maybe a dozen or more over the past year, and I just keep getting hung up on the idea for each individual project. I have been self teaching myself to draw and make jewelry, as well as sculpture and sewing. I have wanted to combine everything into a process that I can enjoy and feel good doing. But each time I start I think about how u original my idea is(especially if it's based on a reference) and I just stop and decide to find a new and personal idea before I go on. But I never put into words that I am really just wanting to find my very own style. The pictures in my head don't come out on the paper the same way I pictured them, but that's part of my style. I have had a goal of starting my own small business of jewelry and art stuff to sell, but when I think about creating for other people I lose my drive and it's not fun any more. I have always loved the kind of art that touches you based on your interpretation. I am not going to let fear keep me from creating things that everyone won't always understand. And that's all right.
I'm glad you found this helpful. I like your remark about how the way it comes out is your style. That's a great insight. Keep making art!
<p>I've just started drawing ideas and since im not the best artist mine always end up looking like a 2d mess, however this is helping quite a bit ;P </p>
<p>wow</p><p>these steps are great. I'm a beginner, but l do not like drawing from a reference!</p>
<p>Thank you so much! I'm a really talented artist, and when I draw something based off of a picture, it turns out great, but I've been trying for so long to figure out how to draw something from my mind and have them turn out good. This has helped so much! Thank you!</p>
That is awesome!
<p>Ready to take another try. Thank you.</p>
<p>I haven't try it yet... but I found it the most useful article I have ever read for this matter! Nice!</p>
<p>I'm glad you like it! Thank you!</p>
<p>i think the mind sees in flashes and always distorted proportions in some way. don't try to force the mind to see correct proportions or hold on to an image. just let the flashes come. it can see vividly, but not always under your will.</p>
<p>Intriguing advice, thank you!</p>
<p>thank u but u knw there have been where I go into the drawing zone where draw and the shit looks awesome but thanks a ton u really helped</p>
<p>those are some really progressive thoughts, and i really have to thank you, because you've given me some valuable ideas to ponder about... thank you ^_^</p>
<p>thank you! I hope you find the ideas beneficial! =)</p>
<p>I have just started art class and the teacher said to draw any picture I blanked out I need something to get me started. First I tried to draw a tree that I was really good at copying but without that picture in front of me my tree looked like tentacles :( Then a vase but even if I know what a vase looks like I just couldn't draw it :( I have no imagination but everyone says I do</p>
A tree made of tentacles sounds pretty cool actually
Everyone has imagination! Do you have dreams at night? It's just a matter of allowing yourself to be creative. Start small. The more you let yourself be creative the more creative you'll be. Give it time. It isn't instant. Good luck in your class!
Julie this tutorial is great. I am a beginning cartoonist and I do use google images for reference all the time. I guess I have a fear of not doing that. <br> <br>Tom
Thank you! I totally understand reference addiction! I think it's the way we were taught in art classes honestly.
All excellent points! <br> <br>Good news, Foobear, there IS a fine point eraser - Papermate's Tuff Stuff Eraser stick. <br>Also, Pentel's Tri Eraser is good in tight spots <br>Depending on what medium you're working in, kneaded erasers are great... can be made very pointy, and leave no 'crumbs' <br> <br>You might try 'contour' drawing ... learning to feel the motion of your eyes... by feeling the paper but not looking at it as you draw. Keep your pencil on the paper making one long line following the direction of your eyes. Early efforts will look like scribbles. That's OK. With practice, the hand/eye coordination thing will kick in and recognizable shapes will appear. Once that happens, you can draw what you see in your head... with your eyes shut. The hard part then is making the stuff in your mind stand still long enough to see it. :)
I have never heard of that technique, that sounds interesting, thanks!
It's really fun to do portraits of your friends... they tend to come out weird. <br>To feel the paper, hold your crayon or pencil between your thumb and first finger... dragging your knuckles on the paper. Just keep moving your hand along with your eyes. It eventually begins to feel like you are moving your crayon over the object. Enjoy!
I have been trying to teach myself to draw better, I am looking forward to doing these and see what happens. Will be looking forward to more!
cool! thank you!
This is really great, I am looking forward to seeing more.
thank you!
I love this! :)
oh good, thanks for the encouragement!

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