The Joy Of …Drawing And Painting From Your Imagination

2014 Artwork Drawing From Imagination sketch

I was watching random art videos on Youtube a few weeks ago, when I stumbled across this brilliant video by a professional caricaturist called Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling, where he talks about how to draw pictures using your imagination alone (he also references a Will Terell video, but I can’t find the exact one that he’s talking about at the moment).

This topic resonated with me because, over the past week or two, I’ve been taking a break from my imagination and I’ve mostly been painting from old photos and/or re-making my old stuff (ok, there will be one more painting from a photo tonight and then I’ll go back to 100% new pictures for a while at least).

So I thought that I’d write about painting from your imagination and why it’s so awesome.

I won’t lie, there’s certainly something satisfying about seeing what a “realistic” photo looks like when it’s painted in your own “unrealistic” art style. And, yes, going back to your old drawings and re-making then in order to see how much you’ve improved over the past few months or years is, to be brutally honest, one hell of an ego boost.

But, at the same time, it’s a very limiting type of “creativity”.

Like fossil fuels, the photos that I can paint (without running into copyright problems) and the old drawings of mine that are good enough to re-make are a finite resource (eg: due to not having a functioning camera at the moment and also being somewhat shy about taking photos in public).

I only have a limited amount of them and they’re going to “run out” eventually. I’m guessing that the same is probably true for you too – but, if it isn’t, then I’m very jealous.

Whereas, when you paint from your imagination, it’s a truly renewable and sustainable form of creativity. Yes, it’s not quite as easy as copying something I’ve already made and there’s always a risk of either feeling uninspired or producing something terrible.

But, at the same time, you also don’t have to worry about searching through your photo collection or your favourite old drawings whenever you want to make a painting or a drawing.

In addition to this, if you only paint or draw from photos – then you’re limited to what exists in the real world. Yes, you can change things and use artistic licence, but all of your art will be essentially based on places, people and things that actually exist. And, well, this is one hell of a limitation.

I mean, isn’t the whole point of art to create pictures of things that are too awesome to exist in the real world? You know, things like this:

"Glowing Sarcophagus" By C. A. Brown

“Glowing Sarcophagus” By C. A. Brown

Not only that, your art will also have a lot more “personality” to it if you paint or draw from your imagination. Why? Because everything and everyone in your picture has come directly from you and you alone.

Literally, the whole picture is entirely you. It’s a snapshot of part of the imaginative world that exists within your mind and your mind alone.

Of course, what this also means is that your picture will stand out from the crowd a lot more easily if it’s at least vaguely good. It’ll be something that people have never quite seen before and this will give you an advantage if you want your work to get noticed.

So, don’t be afraid to use your own imagination.


Sorry for another short article, but I hope that it was interesting 🙂

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