I'm new to art.

When I am in bed with the lights out, I see a stream of beautiful imagery across my mind's eye.

I want to eventually develop the skills to reproduce this imagery as art.

I have a visual diary next to my bed, and I write down:

  • subject
  • colors
  • details about the composition

However, when it comes to visually reproducing what I see in my mind's eye onto paper, I can't seem to get it down onto paper in very good form.

I get the gist of what I see, but it's the finer details that I struggle with.

How can I improve on my visual diary, and what are some best practices for visual diaries?


If you are running into trouble turning words into pictures then add a "scribble" to your notes as well. Later, after waking up and the dream imagery has gone away, you can look for the imagery you describe from your text within the lines of the scribbles.

Think of the scribble as a thumbnail sketch of what you think your mind's eye had seen. Not what you see with your eyes but what your mind had dreamt up moments before while asleep and dreaming.

The processes is called "Surrealist Automatism".

Surrealist Automatism, also known as automatic drawing, is a processes where the artist suppresses conscious control over the drawing process and allows the subconscious to freely take over. The arm is given free control over the drawing instrument. Normally this is extremely hard to do but seeing how you are looking to try this moments after waking it should make the processes easier for you.


so first of all - don't worry about the final outcome :)

try to synthesize the boudnles of ideas/impressions/emotions coming. Don't describe too much. What works for me for example is following: i rethink/review "the inspiration" in my head, without analysing and overthinking, but already with the intention that i want to capture somehow what came to my head in my sketchbook... (i guess i let my unconsciouss do the hard work ;-)) It helps me avoiding this "hovering with my pencil over a blank sheet of paper moment", when you almost know what you wanted to do... but not quite. So the mental "sketching" beforehand would be my second advise.

(3) Try to work with simple forms. For example use shapes people are using as symbols sience agaes. Hre is what i mean:

henry dreyfuss symbol sourcebook

Look how for example Basquiat did that:



(4) Might be try collage technique. Mixed with your drawings and notes. It's fast and pre-done => perfekt for echoing the streams of consciousness :)

5th and most important advice - enjoy and don't get frustrated!

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