Illustration Tutorial: How to Draw from Your Imagination

Learn to draw flora and fauna using the imaginary as a reference to find your own style with Violeta Hernández

The best way to learn to draw is to familiarize yourself with the technique through exercises that help us to experiment with different materials and visual references. Once you master the first phase, Violeta Hernández proposes that you go even further to find your own stamp: draw from your imagination.

What does that mean? To create from what you remember and the sensations an animal or a bunch of flowers have made you feel, for example. In this process, memory, creativity and a desire to let yourself go, will be key.

Below, designer and illustrator Violeta Hernández (@soyvioleta), will show you some key tips on how to draw from your memories and the results of her own adventures.

Look for references

Explore anywhere you think you might find inspiration and observe how artists try and draw characters, animals, plants and more. You don’t need to fixate on contemporary artists, you can be inspired by stamps, old photos, anything. Look at the attributes and gestures of these subjects.

Pinterest is a great tool for finding ideas and seeing how other artists synthesize their designs and elements. You can be inspired by the range of colors they use, their use of line, pencils etc. Violeta emphasizes that, more than copying, this can be a stimulus from which you can take huge doses of creativity.

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Play with your mind

Once you have your chosen source of inspiration, it’s time to transform it and create a new mental image of this element, in other words, to create a new figure. It’s the most basic and important step: it will be the starting point for your drawing and the memory will play a critical role in your creation.


Violeta insists that you use the tools you’re most comfortable with and that will allow you to best express the characteristics of your drawings.

She uses ARCHES paper and a fountain pen, tools with which she is able to give her drawings a distinctive and personal tone which, for this exercise, will be a tiger and a flower.

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Work from a sketch

It’s important to have a preliminary sketch in pencil so you can use the fountain pen – or whatever material you choose to use to draw with – to give character to your work now your memory is the only visual reference you have to work from.

Maintain the animal’s original character

When you start to draw, Violeta recommends you do it as naturally and spontaneously as possible so that you can organically incorporate the distinctive elements of the animal or flower that you have distorted through your imagination.

It is important that, although what you are drawing does not resemble the reference image because it has already become part of your fantasy, you maintain those features, the character or vibrations that you first saw in the original animal or flower. In her drawing, Violeta has tried to preserve the anger she identified in the animal.

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Create your own visual language

Don’t be afraid to challenge the picture you have in your head: for example, in the illustrator’s, the plant has four petals and she has drawn ten. The most interesting part of this journey is you finding your own visual language, independently of whether it changes the common characteristics of a plant or animal. So, distort what you have in your memory and be prepared to exaggerate it. Color will also become a key element to put your personality into your work.

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If you have enjoyed this tutorial, Violeta Hernández will teach you more techniques inspired by nature and femininity in the Domestika course Botanic Animal House: Watercolour, Ink and Graphite.

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