Sunday, 28 July 2013

Studio Rousar Memory Drawing Group - Weeks 1 to 6

Studio Rousar Memory Drawing - Week 6 Day 4

Each Daily Composition (see The Daily Composition Revisited) is a reminder that I want to improve my visual memory.

I would like to be able to draw the things and scenes I have seen during the day, but wasn’t able to record at the time.

More importantly, I want to improve my visual memory because virtually every drawing is drawn from memory. The first chapter of Keys to Drawing explains this (see Keys to Drawing - Chapter 1). Bert Dodson describes the process as Look, Hold (Remember), Draw. There is always a small delay from looking at the subject and making a mark on the paper. Being able to remember more detail with greater accuracy can only help.

Studio Rousar are running a memory drawing class. It started in January 2013 and it runs for a year. Each week, they publish a new exercise. I started the course in June, so I hope they are going to keep the exercises on the website after the end of the year.

Studio Rousar Memory Drawing - Week 3 Day 3

The exercises for the first 6 weeks are outline images with 3 reference lines and 3 reference dots. If you are interested, you should take a look at

The images for the first 3 weeks are various bones, weeks 4 and 5 are vases and week 6 is an outline of a foot in a sandal – each week the outline becomes more complicated.

Studio Rousar Memory Drawing - Week 4 Day 3

The instructions are simple:
  • Copy the reference lines and dots on to piece of tracing paper.
  • Study the image for a few minutes
  • Hide the image and try to draw it on the tracing paper
  • Once you have finished drawing, put the tracing paper over the image to see how well you have done and correct your drawing
  • The next night, repeat the process, starting with a review of your drawing from the previous day
The instructions for weeks 5 and 6 include the direction not to analyse the shape on the first night – just look at it and remember it. I find this remarkably difficult because normally I would try to remember the shape by describing the object as I look at it. Perhaps I've been stopping my purely visual memory from developing by using my analytical and verbal skills as an unnecessary crutch. I am doing my best to respect the instruction and I’ve already started to notice an improvement. I’ve started to be able to remember shapes without having verbal descriptions of them.

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