Drawing a Blank

Aphantasia need not apply

What You’ll Need (Minimum):

  •         Writing Implement x 2
  •         Paper x 2
  •         Nostalgia x 2

A few years ago, Emmy realised she had a condition known as ‘aphantasia’, or ‘mind-blindness’. Essentially it means that she can’t visualise — when she tries to picture something, all she sees is black.

This prompted her curiosity, and the invention of another one of her pen-and-paper games. An instant date!

The concept simply involves — in essence — drawing well-known characters from memory.

Sounds pretty straightforward. But with Dion’s mind allegedly having visual RAM out the wazoo, but a generally woeful memory, and Emmy being the opposite, it was an intriguing experiment. Judging by the results, we think it’d be interesting for couples to try out regardless.

You know what The Simpsons look like, right? You know what Mickey Mouse looks like… don’t you? What would you be willing to stake on that? Your dignity in your relationship? (Trust us, don’t.)

You can always attempt this using an electronic device like a laptop, but you may need to police the sneaky Googling of reference pictures! Difference in individual drawing skill factors in far less than you’d expect, as the demon is in the details.

We started out with Garfield. Easy enough, surely? He went through multiple iterations and even Jim Davis has been spotted using a reference to draw him but to any Gen X or Y kid at least, you’ve seen him several times a year throughout your childhood, minimum.

Dion was cocky, to begin with. He regretted it.

Aphantasia Vs. Bootleg
Just a couple of Garf-likes hanging out.

Interestingly, between us both, we pretty much scrambled up a reasonable representation of the character. Individually however, they looked more like weird, 2 dollar store knockoffs.

We each took turns naming characters, which included: Zoidberg, Vulpix, Mr. Squiggle and CatDog.

Visual Memory Vs. Aphantasia
We're not sure which dimension Dion's CatDog spawned from, but it's definitely not ours...

The fascinating thing was, despite Emmy’s aphantasia, and Dion’s ‘practically photographic’ memory, Emmy’s representations were much more accurate than expected, and Dion’s less-so.

Ultimately, we pretty much broke even.

It’s a surprisingly interesting experiment, and we highly recommend you try it with your partner (or even a friend or sibling.) If you do, please send us results. So we can feel less ashamed of our own. Or just be in awe. Or both.

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