Imagination is the formation of a mental image of things or events that are not real and not present to the senses. When a person has a strong imagination, he or she is said to fantasize.
Imagination is an ability that humans have from a young age on. In fact, it is particularly strong in children - so much that mental images can often run out of control and cause intense emotions, for example fear and even panic at night in the dark. Usually, as a person grows older, they learn to control and restrain their imaginative powers.
Imagination can involve the mental counterpart of all senses: vision, sound, touch, temperature, smell, taste, etc.
Imagination is nurtured by four main sources:
- real life experiences (and the memory of these)
- communicated stories (true or ficticious) and images
- natural creativity (the mental ability to invent new things)
- absence of stimuli (e.g. when alone, when not in conversation, during sleep)
Imagination and art
You can imagine many things that never come to existence, but everything new has to be imagined before it can be done. If you want to build a house you must first imagine it, then work out sketches and a detailed plan (all the time adapting and refining your imagined image) before you can build what you have imagined and planned.
There is also a creative cycle: imagination feeds the creation of fiction, and the consumption of (someone else's) fiction feeds imagination. This is why people love to read: it expands their knowledge and feeds their imagination. The same explains the great popularity of visual art, comic and film.
One interesting aspect is that abstraction can increase the imagination-boosting powers of a work. That is one of the reasons why a good animated cartoon can make the audience laugh or cry more than a movie with real actors.
Drawing from imagination
Drawing from imagination is the learnable skill of drawing a picture or scene you make up in your mind. Usually the mental picture is initially very diffuse, but it gradually becomes more and more concrete while the artist is drawing it. Techniques that have proven to be helpful are principles such as "sketch lightly", "big things first, details last", "experiment with variants", "no line is final", "make 'big' decisions early, 'small' decisions late" and "make decisions consciously". See also 3D Figure Drawing.
Drawing from imagination is fundamental in child spanking drawings because there is usually no model or photo the artist can use. Adult spanking drawings, too, are very often created without a model or photo reference.
Imagination and sexuality
Imagination is also vital to human sexuality because erotic fantasies have a strong power of sexual arousal, particularly in males. Masturbation is usually accompanied by intense sexual fantasies, but many people also have similar fantasies during sexual intercourse with a partner. A key aspect of pornography (e.g. pornographic magazines or videos) is not so much to present something new to the reader/viewer but to facilitate sexual/erotic fantasies.
Spanking stories, spanking art and spanking videos are popular among spankophiles as imagination feeds. This is particularly important in cases where the spanking fetish can not be satisfactorily acted out in adult roleplay, e.g. if a person doesn't find a matching spanking partner, or if they find real (as opposed to imagined) spanking a turn-off, rather than a turn-on.
It is a matter of course that nonconsensual adult spanking is inacceptable and rightly considered criminal violence, and that while the nonconsensual disciplinary spanking of minors is legal for parents and teachers in many countries, real children must never be hit or otherwise punished for an ulterior sexual motive.
In the light of the fact that there is still a lot of real nonconsensual disciplinary child spanking in the world, fans of child spanking art (e.g. the owner of the Handprints site) usually emphasize that no child was harmed in the making of the pictures shared and all is purely fiction. Creators of child spanking art usually follow the same ethical code and only draw from their imagination, or use only photo references in whose making no real person was harmed.