How To Improve Your Imagination Drawing

 
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Drawing from imagination might be difficult.
try these specific tips to improve your process!

This blog post offers an example of drawing process from imagination. Follow along and learn several tricks you can use to ease your own sketching process and enhance your results.


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Step 01: Start simple

First step is to start very simply by outlining a basic structure of your composition. You can refer to your favourite composition rule such as the rule of thirds, the golden ratio, or other (more on composition below).

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Thumbnail sketches

Thumbnail sketches are exactly what they sound like - small, initial sketches which serve well for validating your ideas and optimizing you composition. Because they’re small, they force you to focus only on important elements of your sketch without digging into details. Thumbnail sketching is also fast so you have time create more of them, to iterate and verify your intention.


It may be difficult to draw what we see, but it’s even more challenging to draw what we cannot see yet.


Step 02: Add Variation

Once you set up a basic composition structure, try to break it down and add variation to different elements. This can include variation in height and footprint of your elements, which will add more visual interest and better opportunities to suggest plasticity and depth through shading later on. Optionally, you can also introduce different height levels of terrain to break the flatness even more.

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Step 03: Optimize & repeat

Lastly, work further more with variation and adding more details to your scene. Now, that your composition is more varried and visually interesting, it should be easier to fill in extra complementary elements and add details to focal area of your sketch.

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    Couple more tips and thoughts on composition

    As promised above, here is a composition break-down of this sketch in progress - basic principles which we should keep in mind from the start. Composition really is what makes or breaks your image.

    Structure

    This sketch roughly follows the Rule of Thirds, which is basically a simplified version of the Golden Section. Usually, we try to align our main vertical edge in our scene to this division into thirds. It’s important to work also with the intersection points where it’s a good idea to place the focal point.

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    Horizon Line Position

    Similarly to aligning the vertical edges to the thirds, we work also with the Horizon Line. Good rule of thumb is to place the horizon line in the lower third if we depict a natural point of a view from a human eye-level. If we depict an aerial view, the horizon line is usually in the upper third.

    TIP: For exterior views, try to avoid placing the horizon line in the middle of an image - it leads to static and boring compositions.

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    Guiding Lines

    Strong diagonal lines or curves in our scene are tools which help us to guide the viewer’s eyes accros our image. In this case, we take advantage of the vanishing point and strong converging lines to focus our attention towards the church-like volume.

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    Focal Point

    Focal point or focal area is the part of image we want our viewer to pay the closest attention. As mentioned before, it’s a good idea to place such focal area close to the intersection points of the Rule of Thirds.

    TIP: Draw attention to the focal point be making it the area with the highest contrast.

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    Observation and visual library in your mind

    Observation skills play a big role in imagination drawing and becoming a better artist. By careful observation you train your eyes - you start paying closer attention to and better understand:

    • details

    • forms and shapes

    • positive and negative spaces

    • play of light and shadows

    • reflections

    • textures and materiality

    • and more…

    By training your observation skills you also build a library of visual references in your mind which you can always get back to when sketching from imagination.


    Layering

    For iterations and optimizing your sketch on the way, it’s great to use principle of layering new information on top of each other. If you draw traditionally by hand, you can use layers of tracing paper for that purpose. In case of digital sketching and painting, most programs and apps work with layers as well - take advantage of it when refining your drawing!

    Right now I’m working on my new PDF Handbook focused on Advanced Techniques where I’ll dive much deeper into:

    Click here to sign up for updates and get sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes look, and be the first to know once it’s published!


    Happy sketching,

    David
    #SketchLikeAnArchitect

    PS: Explore Resources for related downloadable Freebies and more educational materials on architectural sketching!

     
    David Drazil