Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I have a confession to make. One of my least favorite things to do is look for visual references. Be it image-search engines, or taking my own photos - something about the process slows down my creativity and I just plain don't enjoy it.

They say that N.C. Wyeth had an incredible visual memory. Sure, he used plenty of his own references and props, but what made his illustrations so real and palpable were his observations of life. So what I've started doing over the last few years or so is study my surroundings no matter what I'm doing. If I'm walking in the park I'll take note of how sunlight and shadows play on the trunk of a tree, or if in a crowded store, take note of how people interact, or what body language they use if they're standing in groups (drawing group scenes has always been a challenge for me). I'm not memorizing these things - God knows I don't have the greatest memory in the world, but you will find these observations seeping into your drawings--and they will become more life-like. You can't always sketch with a pencil and paper, but you can always sketch with your eyes, right? Try it some time.


Deniseletter said...

Hi Paige,that's True,specially what gets into your mind's memory ,but I want to ask something. Is the stereoscopical vision unconfortable to copy from life? How to overcome that? Sometimes is confusing to copy some details when seeing two planes of the same sight.

Paige Keiser said...

Hi Denise, with my style I don't really copy anything closely enough to where stereoscopical vision would effect me.

Paige Keiser said...

Hi Denise, with my style I don't really copy anything closely enough to where stereoscopical vision would effect me.

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

I think this is really useful stuff Paige! I know what you mean.

I usually like to focus on little details all the time. I love observing things, all types of things and often I see things that people don't. But then, if there is a huge elephant in a room.. I miss that! Hee, hee.. my friends make fun of me all the time.

You are right, I'll start making an effort on focusing on things I never usually do, like mechanical stuff. How a bike works things like that.

Ginger*:)* said...

Paige, you are so right. I started carrying a Moleskine in a bigger tote bag with a bunch of pencils...even to the grocery store. Yesterday to vote I didn't take it or my camera out of respect for all those waiting in line, and I WISH I had. Today I had to recall from memory the family of four totally red heads at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the polling booths. The little boys are friends I know from our summer theater where I paint sets, and the parents brought them along to vote. The view from the top of the stairs was incredible. The mom had her cell phone out and gave it to the younger boy to play a game while they waited. All four were such a delight and the point of view is one that I rarely have.

Photos, sketches and visual memory Oh My!