Improve Your Memory and Visual Intelligence!

As an internationally certified forensic composite artist for 25 years, my primary area of expertise was creating drawings based on the memories of other people (witnesses to and victims of major crimes). My most valuable tool was an interviewing technique known as a cognitive interview. Many of my publications reflect the knowledge I gained throughout this aspect of my career.

You, too can learn and practice techniques for remembering what you see and translating your memories into artworks.

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2.2.R15: Drawing on Your Memory (by Brenda Hoddinott)

Beginner to Advanced: Techniques for seeing and remembering potential subjects so you can translate your memories into drawings


2.2.R3: Enhancing Your Visual Intelligence (by Brenda Hoddinott)

Beginner to Advanced: Insights into how your vision and brain work together and suggestions for strengthening your visual intelligence


2.2.A18: Draw Still Life from Memory (by Brenda Hoddinott)

Beginner to Intermediate: Sketch a familiar object without looking at it, then use a memory-enhancement technique to recall its details, and re-draw it from memory


Explore the Art of Self Discovery!

Express Yourself through Art Therapist Judith Campanaro!

My dear friend, Judith, gently provides guidance for an inspirational journey toward self-empowerment through creative expression.

bulldog laughing at another dog dressed up with clown wig

Art therapy is a unique experience based on using the medium of art as an instrument of change. Rather than learning conventional techniques and modalities, art therapy approaches the medium in a natural experiential way.

Here’s four of the 46 lessons authored by Judith on my website:

Introduction to Art Therapy (5.3.R1 – 10 Pages and 7 Illustrations)

Understanding art therapy and how creating art enables you to enhance your well-being



Exercises to Build Confidence (5.3.A6 – 8 Pages and 13 Illustrations)

Gift yourself with enlightening activities to help enhance your personal growth, physical well-being, and self-esteem



Exploring the Art of Self Discovery (5.3.R2 – 8 Pages and 7 Illustrations)

Embracing the powers of clarity and choice as instruments for enriching personal growth



Voyage of Discovery (5.3.A8 – 2 Pages and 4 Illustrations)

Create a contour drawing with glue, add bright colors with watercolor paints, and outline shapes with a black marker



Draw Animals with Stripes and Spots!

Now everyone can draw zebras and giraffes!

Richly illustrated, step-by-step drawing exercises and projects for artists from beginner to intermediate


Adobe Images Licence Numbers: 1411682 and  124963123

Beginner: 6.2.A7 Shade Simple Furry Stripes (4 Pages and 6 Illustrations)

Use curved hatching lines to practice drawing a striped pattern with a furry texture.


Beginner to Intermediate: 6.2.A20 A Zebra Named Spot (16 Pages and 33 Illustrations)

Draw the striped pattern, furry texture, and exterior anatomical forms of a baby zebra’s face, head, and neck.


Beginner: 6.2.A8 Shade Spotted Furry Textures (6 Pages and 16 Illustrations)

Use hatching lines to practice drawing the texture and pattern of realistic, spotted fur.


Beginner to Intermediate: 6.2.A17 Dandy the Baby Giraffe (14 Pages and 41 Illustrations)

Outline proportions and shapes and then add shading to create the forms, textures, and patterns of an adorable young giraffe


Free Drawing Lessons for Dog Lovers!

Now everyone can draw dogs!

Richly illustrated, step-by-step drawing projects for artists from beginner to advanced.

Dog artist draws a cat

These three lessons are free until Thursday, February 23, 2017:

Beginner: 6.2.A11 Create a Portrait of Jumpin’ Jack (12 Pages and 41 Illustrations)

Outline a puppy’s face, shade his eyes and nose, and add texture to his fur with hatching


Intermediate: 6.2.A15 Shade a Realistic Dog Eye (8 Pages and 19 Illustrations)

Sketch proportions, outline shapes, and use various shading techniques to draw a realistic animal eye


Advanced: 6.3.A18 Sweet Katie the Pitweiler (14 Pages and 23 Illustrations)

Use an unconventional approach to drawing with a grid to create a photorealistic drawing of this mixed-breed dog or your own favorite pet


Insights into Visual Intelligence

Visual intelligence is a relatively new area of study with two major components: visual-spatial and visual-object.

  • Visual-spatial ability is widely accepted as a dimension of intelligence and is included in most tests that measure intelligence.
  • Visual-object ability continues to be studied and may also have the attributes required to be characterized as a dimension of overall intelligence.

In her book, Visual Intelligence: Perception, Image, and Manipulation in Visual Communication, Ann Marie Barry writes that visual intelligence:

  • suggests the ability to think in different, more abstract, and more perceptually oriented ways, as our linear logic fails us in the presence of overpoweringly beautiful, violent, or political images.
  • implies an integrated perceptual awareness of mediated visual messages – one which permeates all of our thinking – and a mental alertness to the role of media within the whole spectrum of experience.

Everything you see is your brain’s interpretation of reality. For instance, your brain may determine that a shiny, fresh apple sitting on the kitchen table is edible. Your brain may also determine that a painting of that same apple is not edible. The fact that you can tell the difference between these two apples is a reflection of visual intelligence.

The brain processes associated with visual intelligence are so integral to human functionality and survival that they occupy nearly half of the cerebral cortex. Your brain automatically processes and interprets what you see based on your lifetime of experiences.

If, as a small child you were bitten by a large black dog, then as an adult you may feel uncomfortable when you see a large black dog. This is your visual intelligence (and common sense) telling you to be careful.

From their 2010 research exploring visual ability and intelligence, Olesya Blazhenkova and Maria Kozhevnikov describe:

  • Visual intelligence: one’s ability to process information about the visual appearances of objects and their pictorial properties (such as shape, color and texture).
  • Visual-spatial ability: represents a number of related subcomponents (such as spatial visualization, spatial relations) that have to do with how individuals deal with materials presented in space, or with how individuals orient themselves in space.

This research provides “insights” into “Eye-Q”!

This is the first section of my article titled: Enhancing Your Visual Intelligence. You can view/download the full version (free) on my website:


Stress Busters to Help You Relax

My dear friend and art therapist, Judith Campanaro, shares over 70 ways to relax – from the scientific to the enjoyable. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Harvard research suggests that playing card games helps people calm down, squashes their worries dramatically, and delivers almost as much stress relief as exercising, because it takes your mind off whatever’s troubling you. No more feeling guilty about playing solitaire on the computer.
  • When you have a migraine or just need to de-stress, a mustard foot bath can work wonders. When you have a headache, the blood vessels and nerves are inflamed. The warm water and mustard seed draws blood away from the head to the feet. Pour comfortably hot water into a basin, and add one teaspoon of freshly-ground mustard seed for every gallon of water. Soak your feet in the water with a thick towel over the basin to retain the heat for about twenty minutes.
  • Sit or lie comfortably with your eyes closed. Breathe slowly and imagine something that you would like to happen that would make you more relaxed. Surround that fantasy with a pink bubble. Now let the bubble containing your vision go. Once it is free to float around in the universe, it will gather the energy needed to manifest itself to you.
  • Tickle a baby, say hello to a stranger, swing on a swing, take a bubble bath, or simply sit on a park bench and watch the world go by.

The full version of this article by art therapist, Judith Campanaro © is FREE only on Drawspace.

6 Pages and 14 Illustrations


Sketch of a Youth (Michelangelo)

Use mixed lineweights and hatching to sketch a portrait in the style of Michelangelo (6 Pages and 9 Illustrations).

Michelangelo was the ultimate perfectionist.  He destroyed several of his own drawings and even scrapped his original painting on the Sistine Chapel. Thankfully, some of his drawings survived the ravages of time and now serve as extraordinary examples of classical drawing techniques.

By copying the masters’ drawings, 21st century artists continue to learn from their styles and techniques. Contemporary artists are also using innovative technologies, mediums, and drawing tools to advance classical drawing techniques into the future.

The full version of this lesson by Brenda Hoddinott © is FREE only on Drawspace.


Elegant White Calla Lily

Use dry-mixing, blending, burnishing, and impressing to create a colored pencil “painting” of a simple flower.

Colored pencils are a wonderful medium for drawing everything and anything. They beautifully capture delicate drawings such as portraits and flowers, and also work very well for subjects that need a bolder, more colorful approach.

Colored pencils were originally developed for commercial artists and illustrators. Over the past few decades, “painting” with colored pencils has gained new respect as a fine art medium. This medium is relatively inexpensive, neat, and portable.

Today, colored pencils come in a wide variety of qualities, from student to professional. The permanency rating of the pigment used in the mixture helps determine the ultimate quality of the pencils. During the manufacturing process, various synthetic and/or organic pigments are added to binding agents (such as clay or chalk) and wax.

When drawing with color, values are more important than the chosen colors. As you can see below, the values of the colors for the flower itself are light-to-medium. The stem and the lower section of the stamen are made up of colors that are medium-to-dark in value.

The full version of this lesson by Brenda Hoddinott © is FREE only on Drawspace.

12 Pages and 18 Illustrations


A Forest Fades Into the Mist

Employ geometric and atmospheric perspective to create a three-dimensional view into a brightly-lit opening beyond the trees (10 Pages and 18 Illustrations).

Fourteen trees are used to create the illusion of depth in this drawing. Assume that in reality, these trees are approximately the same size. However, according to the rules of geometric perspective, they need to be drawn of varying sizes. Geometric perspective helps create the illusion that the trees in the foreground are larger than those farther away. This illusion is enhanced by drawing the base of each tree progressively higher within the drawing space from the foreground toward the background.

Trees that appear to be far away from the viewer are rendered light in value and with few details due to the perceived presence of high levels of atmospheric components in the air (atmospheric perspective). Conversely, trees that appear to be closer to the viewer are rendered in sharp focus, and have bright highlights and dark shadows. Low levels of dust, pollen, and/or droplets enable the viewer to clearly see the textures of trees that are closer to the viewer.

The full version of this lesson by Brenda Hoddinott © is FREE only on Drawspace.


Exploring the Art of Self Discovery

Living the divine self is learning to live with the awareness of our inner power. The key is to be authentic and to truly be who we are. That’s easy to say, but harder to do.

So much of who we are is hidden in the faces and masks we present to the world because of who we think we should be. As we grow older, we sometimes lose our true selves because of negative tapes and messages that have been instilled in us since childhood.

Being able to make small changes, at every step we take, is a chance to grow larger and freer. Even the tiniest move in the direction of emotional freedom is impressive. Every choice we make to triumph over negativity, large or small, is about transforming energy. Then, the chosen nature of such ongoing transformation makes us stronger, brighter, and in turn acts to illuminate our path.

If we are not willing to take our minds off the mundane life, our bodies will be in trauma and our minds in confusion. In order to bring our inner truth into form, we must know what makes us sing, dance, laugh, and love. And, it is in solitude that we find these answers.

The full version of this lesson by artist and art therapist, Judith Campanaro © is FREE only on Drawspace.

8 pages and 7 illustrations



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