Visualization techniques



  • Hi everyone,
    My name is Lia, I live in Amsterdam and I am very excited to be part of this amazing community.
    I am self taught in drawing and at the moment I am struggling with visualizing what I want to draw before drawing. I plan the composition and everything ahead but it is like I can’t see clearly the end result.
    Do you know how can I improve this skill? Any exercises or resources out there to help me out?
    Thank you very much!


  • SVS OG

    Hi Lia! I don't know that I can give you any resources but maybe someone else will. My work doesn't usually turn out the way I envision it. When I really take my time and plan, which I don't always do very well as I am always experimenting. But when I do, I have a vision, resources, sketches or thumbnails but as I work it might change or some accident could happen to make it even better! There are much better artists on here to follow after but, that's my experience.


  • SVS OG

    I know exactly what you are talking about and when I started trying to draw more seriously a couple of years ago and joined SVS, I struggled with that a lot and was really frustrated by it. Two things I have discovered that have helped:

    1. By working constantly at the fundamentals and looking at tons of reference for all of the pieces I've done, I have gotten better at being able to imagine characters in different poses etc. Visualization does improve slowly just through experience.

    2. However, more importantly, being able to visualize your final drawing from the start isn't necessarily desirable. It's better if it comes after doing lots of sketches and thumbnails and discarding what isn't working. In other words, lots of artists don't actually know what their illustration is going to look like from the start but "discover it" by testing out lots of possibilities. The SVS teachers kind of pound this point home saying that you shouldn't start with the picture in your head but should start with the story you want to tell and the key words you are trying to get across, and then begin drawing really rough thumbnails and testing lots of compositional possibilities. Your drawing may go through lots of ugly phases and the final picture is not necessarily what was in your head at the beginning but what emerges from the debris of what didn't work 🙂

    I hope that helps.



  • @liazadeh Hi Liazadeh, that’s a really interesting question and possibly a unique way of going about it. I can see why you might want to see it mentally before you draw it.

    I personally can’t do this and I’d be really interested to know if anyone else can.
    Part of the fun for me, is the process of getting something I didn’t expect or even know that I would find in the beginning.
    A lot of artists I follow who talk about their process, seem to favour happy accidents and surprises over knowing exactly what their destination is, before they start their adventure.
    I like @Lee-White ‘s process as it’s very much about exploration of ideas and through rough thumbnails and sketches in the early stages. (Although I often find I have to back peddle a bit)
    By the time you work through his process the end result is more in sight.
    I also love watching the process of angrymikko on you tube and Instagram, where he is searching for his painting through brush strokes early on.


  • SVS OG

    @liazadeh hi, Lia! Welcome to the forum!



  • @demotlj Very well put. This is a nice and important reminder!


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