Z fails to draw Part 1

I have ordered, from Evil Amazon I’m sorry to say, the materials recommended. Whilst I haven’t splashed out on the expensive drawing paper but a cheaper version, I’ve gone with the rest (because, with my frugal soul, pencils and so on are reusable, paper isn’t). So now I’m committed and I turn to page 15.

Absolutely sensibly, she wants me to do some pre-instruction drawings, signed and dated, so that I’ve got a baseline to compare to later progress. Numbers 2 and 3 are okay. A self-portrait, looking in a mirror – I can get that. I expect it to be poor, obviously, but I will do my best. Ditto, my own hand. I think that might even be interesting. Number 1 is impossible, however, A person, drawn from memory. (a) I don’t have that sort of visual memory. It’s taken years of practice and genuine effort to even recognise someone I haven’t seen for a while. (b) I can’t draw. I can not draw. How on earth am I supposed to draw a person? It’s impossible if I’m looking at them, it’s beyond belief to think I can do it from memory. It can be a head, half-figure or a full-length figure. Yeah, right. A stick figure is doable and I’m not wasting time on anything else. It is literally impossible to draw anyone I know. Although, Cousin Itt, perhaps? After all, hat, hair, glasses. Do that badly but it’s done. Sorted. Thank you, left side brain. You have rationalised the situation and found a solution that’s marginally better than an anonymous stick figure.

Or I might be conscientious and try really hard – but how? I can’t see people with my mind’s eye, even if I know I’d recognise them when we meet. I see the whole, not by parts. I have no idea what someone’s nose or eyes or hairline looks like, nor how to portray any of those. I can almost see the picture of my mother from 1968 which I noticed yesterday at my sister’s – she always maintained that she was horribly unphotogenic but this is a lovely one. A fly landed on her nose and everyone laughed and she was still smiling naturally when the photo was taken and she looks lovely. I can see it, but I’ve no idea how to portray it. I can barely hold a pencil. Her teeth are showing, for goodness’ sake.

Stickman, Itt or Mummy. No idea which I’ll go for. Not today, anyway. I’ve decided to go with Australian, or possibly New Zealand time, so it’s already the early hours of January 1st 2021 here at the Zedery. Please may 2021 be a whole lot better than 2020 – let’s face it, it doesn’t have to try hard.

3 comments on “Z fails to draw Part 1

  1. Blue Witch


    FWIW, I have exactly the same problem with visual memory as you are describing, and have been similarly frustrated, at times in the past, by art tutors insisiting that I draw/create from memory. I simply can’t do it! If it’s not in front of me, I can’t draw it. I made it my life’s work to explain to these visual-modality-first souls that not everyone ticks as they do. One even gave me a credit in the front of her last book for passing on this philosophy, and making her think again about how she taught!

    In 1988, my visual memory was measured at the 2nd percentile, whereas my verbal memory was at the 96th percentile. The latter is no doubt a lot worse than that now, but I’d hope that as I have become more visually aware (largely through art) the former would have improved. Even if it has been accomplished by me using my verbal abilities to ‘talk myself through’ visual/visualisation tasks.

    You can do it, don’t give up!

  2. Z Post author

    Thanks, Glenda!

    When there was the fad for VAK learning, some years ago, I found it quite annoying that there was no differentiation between learning from pictures and learning from the written word. A thousand words are far better than a picture for me to learn from. That isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate pictorial art.

    To be fair, the writer says that drawing from memory is immensely difficult. She says that part of the reason for it is to compare it with the self-portrait and explains why. I will give it my best shot. I don’t honestly expect to succeed. But if I learn something, I’ll take it as a sort of achievement.


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