Sunday, January 06, 2008
Drawing On The Right Side Of Your Brain
Often technical art books can be extremely tedious to read but like eating brown rice your force yourself as you know it's good for you. When I saw "Drawing On The Right Side Of Your Brain" by Betty Edwards in the library I knew I should read it as much of the Foundation level of my art course was based on her theories. I began reading it thinking that it was going to take me a while but instead I have found it an absolutely fascinating book and probably the must have of drawing books.
The basic premise is that the left side of our brain which controls the right side of our body is logical and analytical whereas the right side is intuitive and spacial. What is fascinating is the way these two halves fight for supremacy all the time. When we draw our left side tries to tell us what to do which is where we fall into many of our difficulties when trying to sketch. The Left Hemisphere will tell us what should be there rather than showing us what is actually there. When drawing with the Right Hemisphere you don't think "I'm drawing a nose" you think "the line starts here, then curves here, there's a bump here, it finishes around here". Not surprisingly the second effort will look more like the nose you were trying to sketch than the first drawing.
The book has many exercises which I completed in my first year including drawing from an upside down photo. Sounds crazy but it works and Betty Edwards shows you the difference between her students' first efforts at trying to complete a portrait and what they achieve just a few months later. What she reiterates it that anyone can learn to draw the same as anyone can learn to read or write. In fact this book is now used by people in other walks of life, not necessarily budding artists. It teaches you how to think outside the box and gives a fascinating insight into how our brain works.