Drawing – Mental Images

Jul 13 031

It is easy for us to imagine how an apple, a horse or the face of a good friend looks and sometimes we think this is an exact duplication of how these things actually do look.

Not so, because if we try to draw these mental images, we suddenly realise we don’t have enough information to put down the shape, proportion, contour or texture to make a drawing with any character at all.

Below is my “memory” drawing of how I think a lemon looks in my mind.

1909 002

The following drawing is of two lemons using observation, drawing “blind” and including some restatements as detailed below.

2009 001

The difference between these two examples is quite dramatic and proves that mental images are really only symbols of reality.  The mind could not possible store all the information necessary to draw a convincing lemon.  That is the job of the eyes, leaving the hand to readily follow.


Make a pair of drawings of a fruit or vegetable.  Allow yourself at least 30 minutes for the drawings.

The first drawing should be from the mental image in your head without the object being present.

The second drawing should be done from observing the actual fruit or vegetable in front of you.  To make an accurate drawing, use line and some shading, try to draw “blind” at least some of the time and include at least three restatements.  See previous posts for a more complete explanation of “restatements” and “drawing blind”.

When you have finished your drawings, check out the difference between your mental image drawing and your drawing from observation. This reinforces the notion of Seeing vs. Knowing as per my previous post.


3 thoughts on “Drawing – Mental Images

  1. Pingback: Drawing – Shape Consciousness | Zen School for Creative People

  2. Pingback: From the General to the Specific | Zen School for Creative People

  3. Pingback: Drawing – From the General to the Specific | Zen School for Creative People

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