Do you want to create art from your imagination? 

Hi my name is Carrie and here on Artist Strong I help artists go from feeling stuck in their studio, wondering what’s next, to creating original art they are proud to share with others. Today let’s explore some strategies for putting the ideas in your head to paper or canvas.

First: are you confident with your skill level?

This is key to achieving your goal. If you can’t draw or paint it from photo reference or from live observation you certainly won’t be able to from your memory or imagination. Regular practice (see post Why Artists Should Practice Like Musicians), drawing from observation, and studying the elements and principles of art and composition are essential to any artwork.

Second: can you work with sketches and image references to realize your concept?

In early phases of artistic expression (see post What are the 3 Phases of Artistic Expression?) we seek to build our skill, often by replicating both objects, people, and environments from life and photo reference. We’re so concerned about whether we can do it that we don’t ask if we should!!

Consider collaging images together. In a self-portrait I completed I started with a concept: a new Mom feeling out of control. I searched for image references, took time to look through selfies of me and my daughter and came up with this reference:

It let to this artwork titled Self-Portrait at 7-Months:

Third: have you explored concepts through experimentation and play?

Even with all the skill available to us, we can still struggle to convey the visuals in our mind on paper or canvas.

In two decades of teaching, I’ve had ONE student who could realistically draw or paint from memory—only on one topic: horses.

Misconceptions about success in skill and art persist. Many artists feel they ‘should’ effortlessly draw from imagination. But why could that student draw horses so well? Because she spent countless hours WITH horses!

Between drawing and stable visits, she studied picture books, dedicating time to a subject she loved.

How can you experiment with materials and explore the topics you’re passionate about?

Another thing: if you’re saying you want to draw from your imagination because you see it as a measure of success but you don’t know what you want to explore, you’re skipping some steps.

Regular practice, skill development, consistent art engagement, and exploring various concepts and media will help you find your way.

If you’d rather not go it alone and have been feeling stuck in your studio, wondering what’s next, I’m here to help. My new and improved program Self-Taught to Self-Confident walks you through all 3 phases of artistic expression with feedback, accountability and community. You can finally create original art people will recognize as yours AND feel proud and excited to share it with others.

Choose a time on my calendar or comment below YES to learn more.