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TOPIC: Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk!

Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 3 months ago #3240

  • Sekhmet
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I want to talk to other visual artists with visual Aphantasia!

- What do you create? (I draw and make jewelry/clothes)
- How do you "imagine" what you will draw/create?
- Walk me through your process
- When/how did you realize you had Aphantasia?
- Do you feel inhibited as an artist because of it? (I don't... though I'm still jealous)

I'm an artist, i've been drawing since I can remember, and throughout childhood was complimented by adults and other kids as being a "natural" artist
I wonder if I was drawn to art because I couldn't imagine thing visually, compensating

There were times in college the art teachers would talk about visualizing things in our head... I was always a little confused, but generally dismissed it. Blows my mind to realize they 100% meant it!!

I have a strong sense of touch and movement when I imagine things. When imagining a dog I will
- feel the softness or coarseness of the fur
- outline the contour with an imaginary hand
- physically embody what it would feel like to be the dog, how my limbs would move as I run, what my jaw and teeth would feel like, how warm my fur is, etc
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 3 months ago #3395

  • CanISee
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I drew alot as a kid. My earliest scribble drawings didn't resemble much of anything but I could sort of interpret it as an abstract of something.
Older than that once I could draw better (but still not to the level of the "best drawers" in the class) I used to spend hours drawing, I didn't get bored. I didn't really see the end result before the end, just as I don't now. I could say "I'll draw a fairy", but I won't know what it's going to look like till it's done, and I'm not great at placing the lines where is best the first time. I could never draw the same character over and over and in different angles for example, I can't do continuity.

Mostly now I create: Plushes for my bf, "clothing" for his other plushes, polymer clay things (simple cute things, nothing complex), toying with sort of low level jewelry construction). I used to do alot of things with photoshop/gimp either manipilation or from scratch. I also enjoy photography.
I don't imagine what I will create, just decide my aim "fairy on a mushroom", "happy looking thing", "rainbowy something" etc. It's nothing concrete.
I realized I had aphantasia a few months ago, more I realized other people actually saw stuff instead of being like me.
If the whole "tracing the mental image" thing I've heard some visualizers use is true, I feel a bit inhibited, cause my drawing never got to a very high level, it kind of levelled out so while I started out better in school as a child, as we all aged I fell behind.
~*~ Still figuring it all out, I either have aphantasia or weak visualization ability, definitely 0 purposeful visualization. ~*~
~*~ I suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, OCD; and potentially some sort of high functioning autism, but that one is unconfirmed. ~*~
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 3 months ago #3632

  • dIGITSpARADE
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1)What do you create?
I dabble in a lot. I do a lot of textile art, sewing, felting, embroidery. I do screen printing, a little bit of jewelry making, some drawing, graphic design, a little painting, mixed media, etc etc

2)How do you "imagine" what you will draw/create? Walk me through your process
This is where I struggle with ...Do I even have Aphantasia?... I consider myself a very 'imaginative' and 'whimsical' person. I get little glimpses of things sometimes but often I just start doodling and whatever comes out becomes a sketch for a piece. Inevitably the finished piece looks nothing like the sketch.
(also I have no ability like you can- feel touch taste... I can only properly imagine in emotions & colors... Although I have a terribly strong sense of smell, I can not remember what anything smells like until it is in front of me. Same with taste and touch. I can imagine a pie and what I feel is a happy emotion tied to it- nostalgic and warm colors. peaches and yellows and browns and just a hint of red and blues)

3) When/how did you realize you had Aphantasia?
I'm still uncertain. I only just discovered this yesterday.

4)Do you feel inhibited as an artist because of it?
Yes. There are a few 3D projects I am having an incredibly difficult time with. I feel like I should be able to visualize how to construct them but I can never figure it out. I always have to just start piecing things together and it hardly ever works out the first time. I do a lot of trial-and-error when trying to draft patterns. Or ask my husband. He can make a 2D piece into a 3D piece by putting a few precise incisions and reforming the piece. I hate him and love him for it. hahahaha so jealous!
Last Edit: 2 years 3 months ago by dIGITSpARADE.
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 3 months ago #3712

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- What do you create?
Paint and draw.

- How do you "imagine" what you will draw/create?
By thinking in terms of words and feelings. I think I feel the contour in my mind.

- Walk me through your process
I draw a lot - sketching anywhere and everywhere. If possible I take photos of things that interest me in case its something I might want to use. If I need something I haven't seen I look for reference. Then digital collage reference and drawing/painting together (ie using Photoshop) to create reference to paint from.

- When/how did you realize you had Aphantasia?
I have been suspicious there was a problem for over ten years because I have trouble recognising people I know, especially if I see them in a different situation. Even though I draw well from life (pretty good at portraiture) I cannot imagine or draw even my closest family from memory. I recently heard a podcast about aphantasia and the light turned on.

- Do you feel inhibited as an artist because of it?
Yes, frustrated by it but then I hadn't understood what was happening. I have no lack of creativity (getting a High Distinction for a unit called Creativity at university was proof of that), but I have been trying to force myself to imagine the work I am trying to make and getting no where. Knowing this thing is real, has a name and I'm not going mad means I can deliberately cultivate new ways to work and let that go.

If anyone is interested: My website
If the wind isn't blowing, row.
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 2 months ago #3771

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-What do I create?
I draw and sew, mostly. I did the cover art for Typed Words Loud Voices] and The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children, plus I do a little bit of fabric design.

-How do I "imagine" what I will draw/create.
I don't. Unsatisfying, I know, but I've got no clue what something I make is going to look like until I've made it. Which sometimes leads to my making design decisions I wish I could undo...

-Walk you through my process:
For drawing, I start with graph paper or dot paper, and then I start drawing straight lines and making symmetry happen. Every so often I stop and think about what lines I want to add and ask myself, "Am I done?" Then I start coloring it in.

-When/how did you realize you had Aphantasia?
My mother is super visual. I figured out she was doing something I wasn't because she kept talking about visualizing things like it wasn't a metaphor, so I eventually asked. She said that's what a minds eye was, so I realized I didn't have one. It wasn't until the word aphantasia started floating around that I realized just how much most people do have a minds eye...

-Do you feel inhibited as an artist because of it?
I'm not even really sure how to answer that. There isn't a non-aphantasiac version of me any more than there's a non-autistic version of me.

If you're interested, here's my fabric design stuff: Spoonflower.
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 2 months ago #3774

  • ZaftigWendy
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What do you create?
~ I am a fiber artist. I spin, weave, crochet, tat, naalbind, and knit, but mostly knit. I also teach knitting and other fiber arts, and design knitting patterns.

How do you "imagine" what you will create?
~ I often "know" a general idea of what I want, but I don't see it.

Walk me through your process
~ I usually start with a technique I want to use and have to decide what type of piece I'm making (garment, accessory, wall art, etc). All of it can change. Then I start swatching, making samples of texture patterns I am considering. Then measure and figure gauge and finished measurements. I chart stitch and color patterns. Finally, I begin the project. Its not uncommon to rip and rework two or three times, before I have a successful piece. Then I have to write up all the instructions. That's the hard part.

When/how did you realize you had Aphantasia?
~ I read an article a few weeks ago and realized that it described me. I took the test and sure enough, I'm a total non-visualizer. I still feel that it's totally weird that people can actually see stuff in their head.

Do you feel inhibited as an artist because of it?
~ Hell, no! I actually feel like having a picture before I start would be too restrictive!

Below - one of my hat designs.

Last Edit: 2 years 2 months ago by ZaftigWendy.
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 2 months ago #3775

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Your fabric designs are beautiful!
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 2 months ago #3843

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What do you create?
+ For visual art, most of what I do would just be called drawing.
- How do you "imagine" what you will draw/create?
+The hardest part for me is choosing a subject. If I have the right subject, I just...draw it. :]
- Walk me through your process
+I have spent a lot of time drawing mushrooms, I have an archetypal "feeling" of what they are and begin with that. All marks placed on the paper are either in the correct spot, or not.
- When/how did you realize you had Aphantasia?
+2015
- Do you feel inhibited as an artist because of it?
+Absolutely. If I could hold an image in my head that I CREATED and had complete intellectual rights to, its only a matter of translating it to paper, and my process would work well for it.

I know my answers are a bit lame and short, but they really are the best boiled down ideas I've come to regarding my drawing/art.
-joel
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 2 months ago #4102

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1) I mostly sew and crochet but also drew earlier.
2) I usually get my ideas from something I've seen and liked, often combining features from multiple sources.
3) Unless I'm doing corsets I tend to make things up as I go along. Sometimes I start from an existing pattern, sometimes I draft my own pattern and sometimes I just wing it and make modifications based on the results.
I do usually have an idea I'm working towards but as it's only 'real' when I'm actually putting it together I often have to do plenty of changes to my original plans when I see how it actually looks.
4) Last week. Saw someone mention the term on Imgur and was rather shocked when I realized I'm like that.
5) Definitely. It's so strange to watch 'real' designers sketch their designs and then start working from that.
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 1 month ago #4236

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A couple weeks back I woke from a dream that i experienced in a sense of having been there and seen it with my own eyes. i was able to draw it reasonably well. I think this experience of the mental image is similar to what imagers experience, but obviously i do not know for sure.

heres the pic:


edit: heres a self portrait that actually looks like me i think,
Last Edit: 2 years 1 month ago by moyer.
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 2 weeks ago #4356

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cross posting this from another thread:

Last Edit: 2 years 2 weeks ago by moyer.
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 2 years 2 weeks ago #4365

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heres a drawing i did just now.

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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 1 year 11 months ago #4511

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- What do you create? (I draw and make jewelry/clothes)

I am a Graphic Designer and Sculptor who dabbles in Print making

- How do you "imagine" what you will draw/create?

Sketchbooks, although looking at them now I realize I write a lot of words in my sketchbook as well as sketches, and for my sculptures I tend to take them into my HTC Vive and draw them in Virtual Reality.

- Walk me through your process

Words, ideas, more words, scribbles, concepts, more sketches, then I do it.

- When/how did you realize you had Aphantasia?

Earlier this week, someone in class was talking about her aunt "not being able to see pictures in her mind" I spoke up thinking they were over-exaggerating and my brother (who was in my class with me) was on my side saying it was just an exaggeration... turns out we learned a thing. It's interesting because we are both visual artists (both sculptors). I am just now learning and coming to grips with this realization and I won't lie it's absolutely devastating, I have broken down every day this week as I learn more about what I am missing out on.

- Do you feel inhibited as an artist because of it?

I do, I really do, and while I have always imagined things with invisible hands and invisible lines... I feel as if I could actually see a snapshot of my unfinished art, or of my idea, that it would allow me to work in a way that I cannot even comprehend right now. I obviously need time to come to grips with my outlook on reality before things really show themselves.
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 1 year 10 months ago #4660

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I am a photographer. Mostly I photograph the landscape so I don't have to make things up I guess but I have to realise the potential in a subject somehow. I used to draw a bit, freehand drawing was never my strength but I was quite good at technical drawing, again, nothing to make up.

I did a bit of painting at school but tended to copy pictures rather than real or imaginary subjects, which was rather looked down upon by my art teachers at the time so I didn't get very far with that.

My photography has won national and international awards and recognition but I would struggle to create an image from scratch and am rather jealous of those that can.

What I am very good at is seeing what is there, not what I think is there.I can spot minor details that others often miss. When editing my images or looking at other peoples images I am often the first to spot blemishes or distracting details. I have an annoying tendency to see even the slightest anachronism when watching TV or films.

I have thought for many years that I did not dream. I now realise that I do but there is no visual element to my dreams. They are usually conceptual or dialogue based.

A few years ago I was working with a well known storyteller, Ben Haggerty, who kept referring to "seeing" an image in your mind and I couldn't get my head around it, I thought things like that were just an expression.

The first time I heard the word "Aphantasia" was on the BBC connected to a radio program which didn't have much useful information in it but at least gave me a name I could search for.

I am at the moment curious about the condition. I do not feel "handicapped" or inhibited by it because I have never known anything else.
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 8 months 18 hours ago #39840

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so i am a painter with aphantasia! it is difficult and my paintings are never what i want them to be. a lot of the time i have to use a reference image to get the results i want. i cant paint entirely from my head as i have nothing in there to see haha
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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 6 months 2 weeks ago #39967

This is an old topic and this is probably not going to be read by anyone but I am an artist, and as a kid it was very easy for me to draw anything i could see. I had a knack for for seeing the contour of the world and putting it on paper. Long story short after art school (high school) i stopped drawing or painting. Recently I have been getting back into it after over a decade of not doing so and a few years ago came to the realization that people saw images in their heads and it wasn't some sort of euphemism or metaphor. I cant say i am not jealous sounds really cool. But as for the process I never know what the drawing is going to look like. Its more of a check list. I want these things in an image expressing these ideas. And I draw the image over and over and over each time adding more things and ideas and building upon it. I kinda hate it in a way because it would be cool to already have an image built in your head before you ever put anything down. That being said learning to draw after quitting has been challenge and I hope perhaps at some point it will all click again and i can garner a higher quality of work.




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Visual Artist with Aphantasia? Let's talk! 5 months 2 weeks ago #40039

  • Robin_50
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What do you create? (I draw and make jewelry/clothes):
I needle felt.
- How do you "imagine" what you will draw/create?
I like to look at animal pictures online and I get requests from friends who give me their pet pictures. The truly creative pieces come from when I let the wool guide me.
- Walk me through your process:
Most of the time I work from a picture or a 3d object like a figurine. But sometimes I just play with the wool until I see a pattern in it then I start shaping it into that pattern. It tends to change along the way as I see different aspects of the piece I want to emphasize or refine.

- When/how did you realize you had Aphantasia?
I always knew I couldn't visualize, even while I was trying out guided meditation. I thought everyone else was being metaphorical and that they just thought of the idea of the imagery like I did. I just realized other people really do see images in their minds a few months ago. I'll be 50 this year.

- Do you feel inhibited as an artist because of it? (I don't... though I'm still jealous)
Yes, If I have my needle felting stuff but I don't have the picture of the animal I'm working on, I can't really work on it. I've tried and it's been a disaster. That's usually when I end up creating something unique. I will admit I'm jealous. I lost a lot of my family photos in a fire and have no way to visualize what my daughter looked like as a child, though I can recognize that my grand daughter looks a lot like she did.
Last Edit: 5 months 2 weeks ago by Robin_50.
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