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the most complicated thing in the Universe

Our brains are amazing. Some scientists say that our brains are the most complicated things in the Universe! We can use them to do maths. We can learn to speak languages. We learn to do very complex things.

Memories?

One of the most amazing things our brain can do is remember things. During your lifetime you will memorise the words to thousands of songs. You’ll remember places you live and visit. You’ll remember people you’ve met, and all of the brilliant experiences you have.

But your brain can’t remember everything. Imagine if you had to remember every footstep you take, every time you heard a bird tweeting, every cloud you see in the sky. You’d never have any time for thinking and imagination. So the brain learns to use shortcuts (the scientific name is ‘heuristics’).

Image credits: Milad Fakurian on Unsplash / Wengang Zhai on Unsplash

Look away now and try and draw this shoe from memory, without looking at it again!

Would This Bike Work?

We all look at things but artists learn to ‘see’ them. We all know what a bicycle looks like because our brains keep a shortcut stored in our memories so that we can identify bikes. But if you really want to remember what something looks like you have to study it in detail. Artists call this ‘Seeing’.

An Italian artist called Gianluca Gimini asked hundreds of people to draw a bicycle from memory. Then he used digital art to ‘make’ the bicycles – and none of them were quite right! You can see them HERE

Do Artists See Differently?

We miss so much if we look but don’t see! Next time you’re out shopping, look up at the tops of buildings. Normally we just look at the shops. But if you take the time to see the whole building you’ll spot unusual details like statues and plaques and fancy chimneys!

Practice makes Perfect!

The American artist Janet Fish once said ‘I feel as though I haven’t seen an object until I actually start painting it.’ What she meant by that is that we go through life without really seeing things – we just look at them as we go by. You know what a peacock looks like but could you draw one?

Creating art takes practice, just like any other skill. The more you do it, the better you get. Taking the time to see things properly, to examine them in detail, will help you to draw or paint or sculpt them better.

Image credit: Andrey Novik on Unsplash

What does a Cat look like?

That might seem like a silly question! We all know what a cat looks like. But, if you want to learn to draw one, you need to SEE the cat. How big is its nose? How long are the whiskers? How many whiskers are there? What colour are its eyes? What patterns are there in the fur?

Images (large) by EVG Culture and (small) John Ray Ebora, both on Pexels

How to See like an Artist

Artists see things that many other people don’t because they are interested in shapes and colours and structures. Learn about seeing from this video:

Did You Know?

The French artist Claude Monet (1840–1926) had a pond in his garden that had a little Japanese bridge over it and lots of water lilies. Monet painted the pond so many times (over 250 oil paintings!) that he could still paint the pond even when his eyesight started to fail!

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT …

Seeing Things.

Learning how to draw, paint or sculpt things means learning to see like an artist.

When we look at something, information is sent to our brains but it doesn’t record all the fine details. So, when we want to turn an object into art, at least 50% of our time should be spent examining it – seeing it properly. We need to see the shapes, colours, textures and how the object relates to the space around it.

Your Task

Remember the shoe drawing challenge above? Go get a shoe, any shoe will do. Now pick it up and examine it from every angle. You will start to see all kinds of details you’ve never seen before – even though you may have worn that shoe hundreds of times.

  • Now put the shoe down and draw the rough shape of its outline. BUT only spend 30 seconds doing it.
  • Now pick the shoe up again and examine it for 30 seconds.
  • Put it down and start drawing again.
  • Keep doing this until the drawing is finished and you’ll have drawn a much better shoe than if you’d done it from just your memory.

Because you’ve now seen the shoe like an artist, you’ll be able to draw that shoe from memory – especially after a few more practices! That’s how comic artists can make a character look the same in every panel.

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

– MISSION END –

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Your Journey So Far …

Tanno and Iguda have explored these places up to now. You can go back and visit again by clicking below.

Art Materials

What is Art?

Good & Bad Art

Colour

Tone

Mark Making

Picasso

Abstract Art

Sculpture

Leonardo Da Vinci

Looking & Seeing

Great to see you here, thank you for the visit! See you next time …

Tanno & Iguda