I did a few sketches this past Saturday, in an old half-filled sketchbook I had laying around. It may not be my strongest work yet, but I am very happy with it because I did it with no reference, which I haven’t ever really been able to do before! Technically, I had a movie on in the background, and took a few little pieces of reference here and there, but the vast majority was done without.
It was the first time I was able to just put pen to paper and create (and be happy with the result). I could tell that I was, on some level, taking little elements I had drawn in different contexts time and time again, and was using them as building blocks to create something new. Something new also happened: as I began to draw, I began to listen to the drawing. Rather than forcing something presupposed, as I began to see part of the drawing emerge, it suggested a new direction, and each new addition changed the direction, until something surprising resulted. It was quite a nice experience, and wholly new in my practice of art.
I can tell that the more I draw from reference, and the more I practice anatomy and perspective, the easier it will be to draw from imagination in the future, which really was the goal of all of this from the start.