Do you see the picture before you start

I am curious, how do you see your image before you start painting/modelling it. I have often wondered if the really great artists see the image on canvas/screen before they begin painting. I generally get a rough idea of what I want and start there. As I go I let the ideas play out. So how does it work for you?


Rarely does an artist start painting the actual painting.
He will ALWAYS do some research. Like sketching, testing colors, taking a walk and trying to get the feeling of an autumn day…
It also has a lot to do with composition.
You need to know what your piece of art must represent (an emotion, a situation,…), how you want the colors to make the viewer feel, what style of painting/modeling&texturing you will use.
Really, that finished painting in the art museum or that beautiful render is usually well thought out.

Good luck!

Before I start to model something, I usually look at several photos or drawings of what I have in mind. If it has to be a close simulation or if I don’t have a good visualization, I usually model over an imported image, at least part way through the process. For some things, though, I visualize what I’m working on as though it were in front of me, and model around what I’m imagining. Sometimes, I’ll write a script to mathematically model a shape or outline for something I want to model, to give me a starting point.

For 3D pictures, I typically import a few models that represent the general shape of of the scene I’m creating, and move the models around or pose them to match what’s in my head. The end scene is almost always different (sometimes substantially different) from what I originally envisioned. I typically do not do any sketches or pre-visualizations for 3D scenes.

On those rare occasions when I do traditional work, I almost always do several sketches of what I have in mind, and often several rough drafts in whatever media I’m working in (acrylics or colored pencil, usually).

It all depends on the type of art and artist. An emotional piece of art will natually use colours and shapes etc… that reflect upon the artist’s emotions and can defy all logic, theory and so on.

To make an emotional piece that makes you sad for example (rather than an emotion of how the artist feels) then things like research, colour theory come into play, in order to manipluate the audiances emotions, which is why we see alot of children on display for charity adverts.

To say that all art require some form of forward thinking I believe is wrong. Art is a doubled edge sword, it goes both ways. There is also that fine line of what art is, just to complicate matters.

I personally hate it when people call anything visually creative “art”. I like to look at the majoirty of visual pieces (especially those done under commercial purposes, thus a functional design) as a “design” rather than “art”. When you start using colour theory to make a item less visually pleasing to be more manipulative (say, painting a room red to make it feel warmer) so they will buy the house rather than painting a piece red to give off a warmer mood/ theme. (fancy having hell painted all green aye?) is somthing else that i believe makes a piece less art.

Alot of people do art for fun, they do it to please themselfs. not all art is well thought out, and alot of things are done subconciously. I, for example know quite a bit about colour theory, but when I sit down and do some art /design I dont necessarily think about what colours im using, i just know. And fortunatly, alot of people just have a nack for making visually pleasings things. On the otherhand, if i were doing work for a client and i needed to attract as many people as possible to buy their products, i’d be spending a couple of weeks on research to make my product work.

When someone comes aroundand analises all the great pieces of art and find a common feature between all of them, yes, it is possible to how the conposition should be before hand, but is it therebecause you want itto be or because you want to make as many people happy? possibly for your ego?

Charles, you also got some things backwards i believe, shouldnt you know what you want the piece to “feel” like to the viewer and use the most effect colours to do that, not know how you want to make colours feel. You cant make red feel like blue… :s ?

I dont know if you’ll fidn what i said helpfull woodman, but believe me, alot of people make it up as they go along as they are making the peice for themselfs. When someone is usally trying to get a strong message across or there is some perticular purpose, then usally alot of researcha and thinking is put in.

Visualizing, sketching, storyboarding, brainstorming, mind vomiting, idea eating, concept canoodling…


I just wing it.