Are you an artist but only know how to draw things that you can see or from photographs? Is difficult drawing from your imagination? Is it possible to learn how to draw from your imagination? How can someone learn?

To successfully draw from your imagination, you have to be skilled in drawing from direct observation. Many young artists don't draw from life because drawing from photographs is a lot more convenient, doesn't require much thought and gets quicker end results. Drawing from life is much more challenging and time-consuming, but ultimately it’s the approach that will provide the necessary skills to draw from any reference. Drawing exclusively from photographs is the worst approach you can take as an art student. Often time’s students who have a lot of drawing experience, but bad habits, have a much tougher time than students with no drawing background. Drawing exclusively from photographs encourages these poor habits.

Obsessively laboring on one drawing for several weeks: Most art students become accustomed to working slowly. If aspire to be a professional artist, this is an approach you must cut out because it’s neither efficient nor is it sustainable. Students become precious about every drawing they make and what this does is set up an impossible expectation for every drawing to be successful. This severely limits growth and keeps you from expanding your abilities.

Being unable to do 2-5 minute gesture drawings: A key principle in all aspects of drawing I gesture drawing, it teaches you how to quickly capture the essential spirit of your subject with energy and movement. On the other hand people who draw from photographs are trained to draw in a very tight manner, resulting in drawings that lack vitality.

Ignoring fundamental structures and focusing only on details: Viewers are generally most impressed by drawings with great detail. However, no amount of detail can compensate for poor compositions and structures. You will get flat and superficial drawings if you invest too much focus on details.

There’s much more to drawing than just copying an accurate representation of what you see. History shows that some of the most ground breaking and pivotal drawings have been images that a photograph could never make. When an artist draws, they are offer an artistic interpretation of what they have experienced but a copied drawing provides no individual opinion. With drawing from life you get to fully experience your subject. You have complete creative control when drawing from direct observation. However, there are instances where using a reference photograph is necessary. In such circumstances, it’s advised that you take your own photo that way you can control every factor.

Drawing from life involves a lot of work and patience but the benefits are great. Eventually you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the mechanics of light and shadow, see how structures are organized, understand how forms interact within a space, learn how to articulate textures and more. This knowledge will equip you with the skills you need in order to draw from your imagination.

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