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See with Imagination - Part 2

Draw with Imagination

See Like an Artist - Part 2

Jean Baptiste Monge

The Nuts and Bolts of seeing with imagination

To translate Ideas into Art an artist must see:

  • Edges

  • Shapes

  • Size

  • Proportion

  • Value

  • Color

  • Design

  • Patterns

  • Composition

These are the Fundamentals


There are different edges in art. Hard edges, Soft edges, and Blurred edges (softer edges). Edges help create visual interest and draw attention to a specific area. Most edges are created by drawing with line - just regular old pencil drawing.

The edges give the pic variety and interest. They help draw the eye in and keep it moving around.

When drawing from imagination the best thing to do is to simplify. Find the dominant edges and use them to convey the image in the most straight forward way. Don't try to capture all the small edges, simplify them.


Artists see things as more than themselves. He sees the shape of the whole and the shape of its parts. He sees the object as it is, separate from any preconceived ideas.

Shapes surround us everywhere. Look for them and simplify them.


How big or how small something is in a piece of art gives it variety and communicates the importance of a thing in relationship to the whole.

When creating works from imagination feel free to exaggerate the difference of sizes. If you were to draw inspiration from the photo of the giraffe maybe you would make the neck longer or the people smaller.

In the photo of the lion and warthog maybe you would make the lion even bigger than it is. Exaggerate the size of things in a picture. Make them bigger or smaller, longer or shorter, fatter or skinnier, taller or shorter, and so on. By doing this you greatly inhance the feeling of something being greater than life.

Use size to create greater drama and a more dynamic image.


Proportion is the proper relationship between things, size, numbers, etc. In art we want the correct proportion to balance the image.

Pay attention to the relationship of everything in your image. Is there a good balance between the sizes of objects, the number of them, the light and dark, the color? Pay attention to relationships and balance and you will create powerful images.


Value is relative lightness or darkness. Value is used in the shading of an object to communicate volume. It is also used to set different elements within a drawing apart from each other. The contrast of light and dark helps draw attention and set the mood of a piece.

The use of Value in a work can be your greatest tool. Learn to master it and you will create amazing pieces.


Color can be a powerful tool in creating great art but be careful, it's easy to abuse color. Use it to your advantage to create mood in your work and draw attention to your focal point. There are three main elements of color; Hue, Intensity, and Temperature.

Save your more intense colors for your focal point to draw the viewers eye in and use subdued colors to set the mood of the piece. The red dress is the most intense color, and the balloons and pink dress only make up a small percent of the image.

The mood will be a major factor in how a viewer will react emotionally. Be aware of any feelings or emotions you feel while working with a certain color palette. Cool colors generally create serene thoughtful moods, while warm colors are more comforting and passionate. Use them together to evoke the emotions your piece demands.


Pattern is repeating shape or form. It organizes a piece in a consistent, regular manner. Think of pattern as the organization of the parts of a composition. Use pattern to draw interest.

Use pattern as the main element or as subtext. Use it brashly or as a subtle element to lead a viewer into a work of art. Practice using different patterns in different ways. Have fun with it and let it inspire you.


Design is the arrangement of patterns and elements within a work of art. It is seeing the whole image in a simplified form. Studying and learning design can help give your work more flare. This is the place to release the full potential of your creativity.

Think design at the beginning of the whole art process. Let it inform all your decisions. Let it create flow and harmony in your piece. Think about it during the process of drawing, painting, and sculpting. Before you finish your piece step back and see if it's working. Reassess, and adjust as needed to communicate your ideas clearly. Design is about seeing how all the parts fit together to create movement in a harmonious flow.


The organization of all the parts into the whole. This is where you take everything you have, from line all the way to design, and put it together. Composition is about drawing the viewers eye into your piece and holding it there. Balance all the art fundamentals; edges, shapes, size, proportion, value, color, pattern, and design into one piece of work.

Composition is big picture thinking. It takes all the elements and combines them into one cohesive piece. It can make or break a work of art. Study it and learn how to use it effectively. You don't want to put hours of blood, sweat, and tears into a piece just to find it's off-kilter when you finish.

Put it all together

The artist must see how the world can be more than it is. Learn to see the extraordinary around you. Learn to see the magic that is hiding in ordinary objects. Translate your ideas from complex and cluttered to simple and clear. Art is communication. An artist must know what they are communicating and be proficient in its language.

Learn the language of art and share your imagination with the world!

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