What is gestalt? And how does it hurt your drawing?
In psychology there is a term called gestalt. Oxford dictionary defines it as:
“an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.”
That’s what I want to talk about with you today.
Our brain defaults to this idea of gestalt and this concept and its application can get in the way of us seeing all of the details we want to see, and prevents us from achieving realistic effects in our art.
I will offer a few examples of gestalt in today’s conversation and suggest ways to overcome our brain’s tendency to default to gestalt. You can accurately observe your image references and things you observe from life!
How do you think gestalt has hurt (or helped?) your art! Be sure to subscribe to Artist Strong then tell me more in the comments below.
What to learn more? Take my free quiz, “What are the secrets to drawing realistic faces?” here: https://quiz.artiststrong.com/sf/ceda4809
I remember the statement: Draw what you see not what you know. Early on I found the “how to do” drawing books showing human anatomy or How to draw cats, how to draw oceans, etc, very helpful but as I matured I realized I had a tendency not to actually look at what I was drawing. Instead I was drawing and redrawing what I had taught myself with these “how to” books. I don’t believe learning and utilizing these tools is wrong as long as we only use it as a spring board. Stepping back and carefully observing enhances my experience.
As a graphic artist I leaned on gestalt to quickly grasp a visual key of the image. Minute details were unnecessary because the human brain will interpret the message with a image knowledge base. This poses a problem if the graphic designer doesn’t “update” the image we have stored in our data banks. A good example will be the image of movie film or rotary phone. I had used these images in an ad only to have my younger co-worker ask what they were.
In my personal art I am thankful for the drawing tools Carrie has emphasized because it has reopened the world around us. Sort of like that the song Amazing Grace: “I was blind, but now I see.”
Karen I can’t thank you enough for trusting me with your art. You brought tears to my eyes with this comment. And there is so much value in the things you share here for others, too. <3 <3 <3