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The Last True Magic
Forgotten Techniques for the Artist
and Other Creative People

by Curtis White
©2002 Curtis White


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This article will reveal very powerful creative visualization techniques, of invaluable nature, for the artist, musician, writer, inventor, and other creative people.

I will explain the basic techniques in detail as related to art, and then give some cursory examples on how they can be used by other creative individuals. I will end with some ideas on how you can explore these techniques and use variations of them to expand the every-day enjoyment of your life.

These techniques will not deal with the processes of drawing, playing a keyboard, or writing good fiction. They will deal with the most important concept that great artists have in common. It is then most surprising to see that most of the books written for artists, musicians, and writers neglect this area completely. What is this elusive concept? Creativity. Powerful creativity.

The artist who wishes to work without using reference or copying other works will obviously need this. But so, too, will the artist who wishes to paint things from life and imbue them with extra vitality and personal style.

Also, the musician who desires to compose his own works will need the skill to play well and that extra something. These techniques will be especially valuable to the musician who wants to compose his own tunes, create her own style, or compose mood-setting music.

The same concept will apply to the creative writer who wants to write about ancient civilizations, distant planets, wacky worlds, and realistic, interesting characters.

O

Before we start I should mention a few caveats. The first caveat is that I am not a master artist, published author, or masterful musician. But I do like to create art, write and, more recently, make music.

Second, I do not believe these techniques are dangerous. However, these are powerful visualization techniques. The artist should be of sound mind and body before attempting these techniques. They should not be attempted while operating any critical or dangerous machinery. So, if you have any doubts or worries about any of this, then stop and consult an appropriate expert.

The converse of this is that they are powerful visualization techniques, and they do hold immense value for those who are willing to accept and work with them. They will allow you to open up to an "artistic awareness" that you might not even realize existed!

Third, I must say that I think these techniques hold vast potential for the dedicated individual, but I have just discovered them. And, as such, I have only a small amount of experience with them but I am ENTHUSIASTIC. I don't think I can express enough how important these techniques can be for the artist. I think the first and last words of any good art course should constitute the ideas that this article embodies.

O

Those of you who are still with me are about to learn about some incredibly powerful visualization techniques. I will focus, primarily, on how they can benefit the artist and only touch on a few of the ways they can be of use in other activities. However, you are encouraged to cultivate the techniques I'm about to teach you and expand on them.

The most important point of the system is that you must realize that you have an incredibly creative mind. You know this and have seen it work, but most of us have only touched the very surface of its capabilities. It is capable of amazing feats of creativity, visualization, and invention.

Your mind is your most valuable asset and transcends your tools, knowledge, experience, and training. Everything is acquired by the mind and becomes a tool for the mind. The right tools do not seek the artist, but the artist seeks the right tools.

The second most valuable asset for you, the artist, is your powers of observation. The powers of observation need not be limited to your sight but should include your thoughts, actions, feelings, responses, and beliefs. The close observation of all of these things will yield knowledge. The knowledge you gain will lead to new understanding, and this understanding will build confidence. The confidence you gain will produce clarity.

I am about to give you some experiments to try. They may seem silly, philosophical or even stupid in nature. But I assure you they are very important. Again, you must do the experiments to gain the benefit of these techniques.

O

Imagine an apple.

OK, got it? Don't read any further until you've visualized an apple.

Good, now where do you think this apple is located? Most people will think this apple is located in their "head." Is that what you think? Maybe not.

I'm also going to assume that you see it on a white or black background. This may not be true for you but will be in many cases.

Now try this...

Imagine yourself holding an apple out in front of you in your hand in any setting that you desire.

Feel both the texture and the weight of the apple. Again, be sure to see your hand holding the apple.

I imagine that you visualized a much more realistic and dynamic apple. Feel free to try this experiment many times. You may see the image become more and more realistic.

You are also encouraged to change the setting, rotate the apple, throw the apple, and hold the apple up close and far away from you. You may even eat the apple if you are so inclined.

The imaginary body you did this with is what I will call your "dream body." I do not claim that it is a real body. But the terminology is useful for our purposes.

I call it the dream body for a few reasons.

The primary reason is that it is like the body you have during sleep. You may even observe this "body" passing into the sleep state.

The secondary reason is that the experience of powerful visualization is much like that of a dream or dreaming.

And, again, it is for convenience in that it means a visualization experience that has the characteristics of location in relation to the viewer, a sense of balance of the viewer, sometimes with the sensation of smell, sometimes with sound, and with the addition of tactile sensation.

My concept of the dream body is, I feel, the result of my own discoveries. It is functional in nature with no implied spiritual meaning. However, the concept of a dream body can be found in many different cultures. I do not have but a very little information on their beliefs, but I suspect that my concepts differ on many of the traditional ones and yet would agree on many others. It is surprising to find that the concept of a "dream body" is even found in some medical literature. But, enough theory.

The dream body can help with your artwork in a great many and various ways.

Grab a pencil (or stylus) with your dream body, and start drawing. Do you see the same mistakes? Are you drawing better?

Observe how you draw with this dream body and how you work.

Invent an imaginary model or reference to copy from. You may want to change the dream environment, as well. Do you draw better?

Grab a toy (with your dream body). Rotate it and view it from many angles. Hold it close to your eyes and far away from your eyes. Notice how it looks, how it changes, and feel the various textures of it.

Take a mirror and notice your own dream body reflection. Try to make some faces, touch your nose, ruffle your hair. Puff out your cheeks, stick out your tongue, and really see your own self. Close your eyes.

I hope you had some fun with these experiments.

O

Are you starting to realize the incredible powers of visualization that you have? If not, then keep trying. If you are short of time or stressed, then be sure to try it later. These techniques work best when one is relaxed.

I can't mention all of the ways your dream body can benefit your art. But I will throw out a few ideas:

  1. You can observe yourself drawing without reference, using the dream body. You can observe how you should either draw the proper way or learn more about the mistakes you make.

  2. You can instantly invent any reference you need. You can invent toys, people, animals, props, clothing, and any type of machinery you desire. Again, you can instantly invent anything you need to draw.

  3. You can observe this instant reference, modify it, change it, alter it, view it from multiple perspectives, animate it, freeze-frame it, draw it, multiply it, or do anything you desire with it.

  4. Feel free to think of it as your studio complete with all the models, props and things you need to work. Feel free to change the setting to better suit your method of working.

  5. Use an imaginary mirror to see your own facial expressions. Use this as source of reference and inspiration.

You will notice there are basically two ways you can use your dream body (as related to drawing). You can use it to learn about how you draw, confront the mistakes you make, and ultimately draw a better way. And you can use it as a source of instant invention, endless creativity, and limitless inspiration.

I hope that you were surprised. But if you were not — don't give up. I think these techniques use areas of the brain that we don't normally use and as such may require a little patience. You may want to try it when you are more relaxed and not under any stress.

O

There is another technique that I think will be valuable in cultivating the skills that are used in the dream body.

Close your eyes or blink and try to visually record everything. You will later learn to do this with your eyes open. But, for now, just blink several times and try to "photograph" everything you see.

Try this several times a day. You will learn that you don't need to blink or close your eyes (but you can, to start with). I call this the "imaginative photographic memory." It is not real eidetic memory, but it is quite powerful. You will learn to see things "in your mind's eye."

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