A very popular form of sports training is mental visualization, where the athlete visualizes himself doing whatever sport it is they are doing. You can see it in real time by watching a golfer set up for a shot. They’ll look towards their target, staring intently. They’re “seeing” (visualizing) the shot. Seeing the ball travel the ideal trajectory. Then they take a practice swing, again seeing that trajectory. Repeated visualization has been shown to produce positive results. Some suggest that this process is the very basis of positive thinking. It’s the ultimate in what you see is what you get.
I find myself doing this constantly relative to my sketching. During any dull moment you’ll find me ‘drawing’ something, anything, but without a pen and without paper. I envision running the pen around the outline of a house, a sign, a fire hydrant. At other times I’ll just mentally dissect the angles and relationships between pieces of some object. I think this constant practice of my ‘seeing’, making those all important eye/mind connections, has helped me quite a bit as a sketcher.
But there’s been one problem. It causes me to miss my bus. The first time this happened I was waiting for a bus across the street from a major shopping center. I was ‘drawing’ a large sign and got involved with noticing the various tones from the various planes that composed the sign. Only the sound of the bus pulling away brought me out of my trance.
Then there was the day I was waiting for the bus early in the morning. I was looking at rooftop angles, trying to see how they changed as I looked at a row of buildings along the street. It was an interesting mental experiment, until the bus went by as I obviously wasn’t interested in the bus. I was holding my finger up to analyze the angles.
We’ve got a great bus system in Quebec City but if you don’t get on them, they don’t take you anywhere. Lucky for me I always have something to do when I wait the 10 minutes for the next one to come along.