A character has amnesia of some sort but is also good at drawing. Unknowingly they start incorporating things from their past into their works of art.
Variations include type of amnesia (forgotten event from childhood, event from a previous life) and type of art (painting, sculpture, musical compostion).
- In Tenchi Muyo!: Tenchi Forever, Tenchi is being held in an alternate reality with an altered memory so that he doesn't remember any of other main characters. However, he unknowingly paints Ryoko twice.
- It takes the entire run of RahXephon before we learn the significance of the painting Ayato is working on: It's his memory of his first meeting with Haruka Shitow, which he had forgotten due to Mulian mind-wiping technology.
- In The Matrix fanfic Bringing Me To Life Max Jameson starts to draw his dreams. Not realizing, in the beginning, that the dreams are events from his past life as Tom Anderson aka Neo.
- Tangled: After visiting the kingdom, Rapunzel realizes that she has subconsciously incorporated their distinctive sun motif into all of her paintings, because it was on the mobile above her bed. The connection causes her to remember that she is the missing princess.
- 50 First Dates has the female lead unable to create any new memories, each time she falls asleep she'll forget everything that's happened during the day. However after Adam Sandler has gone off convinced there is no future for them, we find out that she's been drawing his face, over and over again.
- Dead Again: The recurring theme of scissors in Grace's art is a clue to a murder that happened before she was born.
- Related: In Waterworld Enola, a girl with a fabled map to dry land tattooed on her back, draws exotic things like trees and horses...which of course nobody has seen in a few hundred years.
- In Regarding Henry, the main character who suffers from amnesia after being shot on the head, keeps drawing pictures... of a Ritz crackers box. This eventually leads him to the famous Ritz hotel, where he finds out that he had been cheating on his wife.
- A musical variation in Robert A. Heinlein's short story "They". A man believed to be insane can play beautiful music on the violin. Later on he dreams about his past life in a higher level of being, including hearing music swelling out of every living thing - presumably the source of his musical ability.
- A story arc in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. involves a group of apparently-unconnected people who all have a compulsion to create drawings, paintings, etchings or other works (each person using a different medium) featuring the same cryptic pattern of interlocking symbols. It turns out they've all received an experimental medical treatment based on alien DNA, and the symbols are part of the alien's Genetic Memory showing through. The compulsion is due to the inadequacy of representing the pattern in two dimensions; one man is freed of the compulsion after recreating the pattern as a three-dimensional element in the landscape of his model train set.
- Doctor Who:
- "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" has an indirect version of this, wherein the currently-human Doctor draws pictures of things he dreams about in a notebook, those dreams being of his real life as an alien.
- "Hell Bent": The Doctor is forced to erase most of his memories of his companion, Clara. He later composes a piece of music that is said to represent those lost memories, though he doesn't immediately realize it until it's pointed out to him.
- One of the episodes of John Doe had a "psychic" drawing pictures that lead the police to rape/murder victims. Turns out she was a survivor, and was just remembering her own attack.
- The protagonist later becomes truly psychic through art in the last episodes.
- Kyle XY: In one early episode Kyle had amnesia but started drawing symbols he remembered in the form of pointillism.
- In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Riddles", Tuvok gets amnesia, but when he makes a cake, he unknowingly uses the frosting to draw a certain cloaking frequency he had discovered before he lost his memories.
- In the second season of United States of Tara, Tara, who has DID and can't remember large chunks of her childhood, crafts a model of a house. Later on in the season she and her sister visit the foster house they went to when they were really young. Guess what the house looks exactly like.
- The TV Movie T*Witches had the two main characters write and draw things about their infancy in their native dimension.
- Homestuck: the Wayward Vagabond's seemingly improvised chalk drawings are actually a rough map of the world he was exiled from.
- Trollhunters: Barbara Lake (Jim's mom) starts painting things that she had previously forgotten in the process of being magically healed from a grievous wound.