The New Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The New Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain

  1. 1. The N e w Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Betty Edwards Jeremy P. T a r c h e r / P u t n a m a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. N e w York
  2. 2. M o s t T a r c h e r / P u t n a m books are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchase for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, and educational needs. Special books or book excerpts also can be created to fit specific needs. For details, write Putnam Special Markets, 375 H u d s o n Street, N e w York, N Y 10014. J e r e m y P. T a r c h e r / P u t n a m a m e m b e r of Penguin P u t n a m Inc. 375 Hudson Street N e w York, N Y 10014 C o p y r i g h t © 1 9 7 9 , 1 9 8 9 , 1 9 9 9 by Betty Edwards All rights reserved. T h i s book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission. Published simultaneously in C a n a d a Library o f C o n g r e s s C a t a l o g i n g - i n - P u b l i c a t i o n Data Edwards, Betty. T h e new d r a w i n g on the right side of the brain / Betty Edwards.— Rev. and expanded ed. p. cm. Rev. and expanded ed. of: D r a w i n g on the right side of the brain. Includes bibliographical references. 0 - 8 7 4 7 7 - 4 1 9 - 5 (hardcover). — 0-87477-4Z4-1 (pbk.) ISBN ISBN 1. D r a w i n g — T e c h n i q u e . 2. Visual perception. 3. C e r e b r a l dominance. I. Edwards, Betty. D r a w i n g on the right side of the brain. II. T i t l e . III. T i t l e : D r a w i n g on the right side of the brain. NC730.E34 1999 99-35809 C I P 741.2—dc2i C o v e r drawing: Betty Edwards Instructional drawings: Betty Edwards and Brian Bomeisler Design: J o e M o l l o y T y p e s e t in M o n o t y p e Janson by M o n d o T y p o , Inc. Printed in the United States of A m e r i c a 40 39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 (hardcover) 40 39 38 37 36 35 (pbk) T h i s book is printed on acid-free paper. ©
  3. 3. To the memory of my father, who sharpened my drawing pencils with his pocketknife when I was a child
  4. 4. Contents Preface X Introduction XVII I. D r a w i n g and the Art of Bicycle Riding 1 2. T h e D r a w i n g Exercises: O n e Step at a T i m e 11 3. Your Brain: T h e Right and Left of It 27 4. Crossing Over: Experiencing the Shift from Left to Right 49 5. D r a w i n g on Memories: Your History as an Artist 67 6. G e t t i n g A r o u n d Your Symbol System: M e e t i n g Edges and Contours 87 7. Perceiving the Shape of a Space: T h e Positive Aspects of Negative Space 15
  5. 5. 8. Relationships in a N e w M o d e : Putting Sighting in Perspective 137 9. Facing Forward: Portrait Drawing with Ease 161 10. T h e Value of Logical Lights and Shadows 193 11. Drawing on the Beauty of C o l o r 229 12. T h e Z e n of Drawing: Drawing O u t the Artist Within 247 Afterword: Is Beautiful Handwriting a Lost Art? 253 Postscript 267 Glossary 275 Bibliography 279 Index 283
  6. 6. Acknowledgments I my new readers and to thank all those FIRST, WISH T O WELCOME w h o have read this book in the past. It is you who make this t w e n t i e t h - y e a r edition possible by y o u r loyal support. O v e r the past two decades, I have received many letters expressing appre- ciation and even affection. T h i s shows, I think, that in this elec- tronic age, books can still bring authors and readers together as friends. I t r e a s u r e this t h o u g h t , b e c a u s e I l o v e b o o k s m y s e l f and count as friends authors I have never met e x c e p t through their books. M a n y p e o p l e have contributed to this work. In the following brief acknowledgment, I wish to thank at least a few. Professor Roger W. Sperry, for his generosity and kindness in discussing the original text with me. Dr. J. W i l l i a m Bergquist, whose u n t i m e l y death in 1987 sad- d e n e d his family, friends, and colleagues. Dr. Bergquist gave me unfailingly good advice and generous assistance with the first edi- tion of the book and with the research that preceded it. My publisher,Jeremy Tarcher, for his enthusiastic support of the first, second, and now the third edition of the book. My son, Brian Bomeisler, who has so generously put his skills, energy, and e x p e r i e n c e as a artist into revising, refining, and adding to these lessons in drawing. His insights have truly moved the work forward over the past ten years. My daughter, A n n e Bomeisler Farrell, who has been my best editor due to her understanding of my work and her superb lan- guage skills. M y closest c o l l e a g u e , Rachael B o w e r T h i e l e , who keeps e v e r y t h i n g on track and in order, and w i t h o u t whose dedicated help I'd have had to retire years ago. VIII ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  7. 7. My esteemed designer, Joe Molloy, who makes superb design seem effortless. M y friend Professor D o n D a m e , for g e n e r o u s l y l e n d i n g m e both his library of books on c o l o r and his time, thoughts, and expertise on color. My editor at T a r c h e r / P u t n a m , W e n d y Hubbert. M y team o f teachers, Brian Bomeisler, M a r k a H i t t - B u r n s , A r l e n e C a r t o z i a n , Dana C r o w e , Lisbeth Firmin, L y n d a G r e e n - berg, Elyse Klaidman, Suzanne Merritt, Kristin N e w t o n , Linda Jo Russell, and Rachael T h i e l e , who have worked with me at various sites around the nation, for their unfaltering d e v o t i o n to our efforts. T h e s e fine instructors have added greatly to the scope of the work by reaching out to new groups. I am grateful to T h e Bingham T r u s t and to the Austin F o u n - dation for their staunch support of my work. And finally, my warmest thanks to the hundreds of students— actually, thousands by n o w — I have been privileged to know over the years, for making my work so rewarding, both personally and professionally. I hope you go on drawing forever. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  8. 8. Preface T w e n t y years have passed since the first publication of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain in J u l y 1979. T e n years ago, in 1989, I revised the book and published a second edition, bringing it up to date with what I had learned during that decade. Now, in 1999, I am revising the book one more time. T h i s latest revision repre- sents a c u l m i n a t i o n of my lifelong engrossment in drawing as a quintessentially human activity. How I came to write this book O v e r the years, many p e o p l e have asked me how I came to write this book. As often happens, it was the result of numerous chance events and s e e m i n g l y random choices. First, my training and b a c k g r o u n d w e r e in fine arts—drawing and painting, not in art education. T h i s point is important, I think, because I came to teaching with a different set of expectations. After a modest try at living the artist's life, I began giving pri- vate lessons in painting and drawing in my studio to help pay the bills. T h e n , n e e d i n g a steadier source of income, I returned to U C L A to earn a t e a c h i n g credential. On c o m p l e t i o n , I began t e a c h i n g at V e n i c e H i g h S c h o o l in L o s A n g e l e s . It was a mar- v e l o u s job. We had a small art department of five teachers and lively, bright, challenging, and difficult students. A r t was their favorite subject, it seemed, and our students often swept up many awards in the then-popular citywide art contests. At V e n i c e H i g h , we tried to reach students in their first year, q u i c k l y teach them to draw well, and then train them up, almost like athletes, for the art competitions during their junior and senior years. (I now have serious reservations about student con- PREFACE
  9. 9. tests, but at the time they provided great motivation and, perhaps because there were so many winners, apparently caused little harm.) T h o s e five years at Venice High started my p u z z l e m e n t about drawing. As the newest teacher of the group, I was assigned the job of bringing the students up to speed in drawing. Unlike many art educators w h o believe that ability to draw w e l l is d e p e n d e n t on inborn talent, I expected that all of the students would learn to draw. I was astonished by how difficult they found drawing, no matter how hard I tried to teach them and they tried to learn. I would often ask myself, quot; W h y is it that these students, w h o I know are learning other skills, have so m u c h trouble learning to draw something that is right in front of their eyes?quot; I would some- times quiz them, asking a student who was having difficulty draw- ing a still-life setup, quot; C a n you see in the still-life here on the table that the orange is in front of the vase?quot; quot;Yes,quot; replied the student, quot;I see that.quot; quot;Well,quot; I said, quot;in your drawing, y o u have the orange and the vase o c c u p y i n g the same space.quot; T h e student answered, quot;Yes, I know. I didn't know how to draw that.quot; quot;Well,quot; I w o u l d say carefully, quot;you look at the still-life and y o u draw it as y o u see it.quot; quot;I was looking at it,quot; the student replied. quot;I just didn't k n o w h o w to draw that.quot; quot; W e l l , quot; I w o u l d say, v o i c e rising, quot; y o u just look at i t . . . quot; T h e response would come, quot;I am looking at it,quot; and so on. Another p u z z l e m e n t was that students often seemed to quot;getquot; how to draw suddenly rather than acquiring skills gradually. Again, I questioned them: quot; H o w c o m e y o u can draw this w e e k when y o u couldn't draw last week?quot; Often the reply w o u l d be, quot;I don't know. I'm just seeing things differently.quot; quot;In what way differ- ently?quot; I would ask. quot;I can't say—just differently.quot; I would pursue the point, u r g i n g students to put it into words, w i t h o u t success. Usually students ended by saying, quot;I just can't describe it.quot; In frustration, I began to observe myself: W h a t was I d o i n g when I was drawing? S o m e things q u i c k l y showed u p — t h a t I couldn't talk and draw at the same time, for e x a m p l e , and that I lost track of time while drawing. My puzzlement continued. XI PREFACE
  10. 10. O n e day, on impulse, I asked the students to copy a Picasso d r a w i n g upside down. T h a t small experiment, more than any- thing else I had tried, showed that s o m e t h i n g very different is g o i n g on d u r i n g the act of drawing. To my surprise, and to the students' surprise, the finished drawings were so extremely well d o n e that I asked the class, quot; H o w c o m e y o u can draw upside d o w n w h e n y o u can't draw right-side up?quot; T h e students responded, quot; U p s i d e d o w n , we didn't know what we were draw- ing.quot; T h i s was the greatest p u z z l e m e n t of all and left me simply baffled. D u r i n g the following year, 1968, first reports of psychobiolo- gist R o g e r W. Sperry's research on human brain-hemisphere functions, for which he later received a N o b e l Prize, appeared in the press. R e a d i n g Sperry's work caused in me something of an A h - h a ! e x p e r i e n c e . His stunning finding, that the human brain uses t w o fundamentally different modes of thinking, one verbal, analytic, and sequential and one visual, perceptual, and simulta- neous, s e e m e d to cast light on my questions about drawing. T h e idea that one is shifting to a different-from-usual way of think- i n g / s e e i n g fitted my o w n experience of drawing and illuminated my observation of my students. Avidly, I read everything I could find about Sperry's work and did my best to explain to my students its possible relationship to drawing. T h e y too became interested in the problems of drawing and soon they w e r e a c h i e v i n g great advances in their drawing skills. I was w o r k i n g on my master's d e g r e e in A r t at the time and realized that if I wanted to seriously search for an educational application of Sperry's work in the field of drawing, I would need further study. Even though by that time I was teaching full time at Los A n g e l e s T r a d e T e c h n i c a l C o l l e g e , I d e c i d e d to return yet again to U C L A for a doctoral degree. For the following three years, I attended e v e n i n g classes that c o m b i n e d the fields of art, psychology, and education. T h e subject of my doctoral disserta- tion was quot;Perceptual Skills in D r a w i n g , quot; using u p s i d e - d o w n drawing as an experimental variable. After receiving my doctoral degree in 1976, I began teaching drawing in the art department of XII PREFACE
  11. 11. California State University, L o n g Beach. I needed a drawing text- book that included Sperry's research. D u r i n g the next three years I wrote Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Since the book was first published in 1979, the ideas I e x p r e s - sed about learning to draw have become surprisingly widespread, much to my amazement and delight. I feel honored by the m a n y foreign language translations of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. E v e n more surprising, individuals and groups w o r k i n g in fields not remotely c o n n e c t e d with d r a w i n g have found ways to use the ideas in my book. A few examples will indicate the diver- sity: nursing schools, drama workshops, corporate training semi- nars, sports-coaching schools, real-estate marketing associations, psychologists, counselors of delinquent youths, writers, hair styl- ists, even a school for training private investigators. C o l l e g e and university art teachers across the nation also have i n c o r p o r a t e d many of the techniques into their teaching repertoires. Public-school teachers are also using my book. After t w e n t y - five years of budget cuts in schools' arts programs, I am happy to report that state departments of e d u c a t i o n and public school boards of education are starting to turn to the arts as one way to help repair our failing educational systems. Educational adminis- trators, however, tend to be ambivalent about the purpose of including the arts, often still relegating arts education to quot;enrich- ment.quot; This term's hidden meaning is quot;valuable but not essential.quot; My view, in contrast, is that the arts are essential for training specific, visual, perceptual ways of thinking, just as the quot;3 R'squot; are essential for training specific, verbal, numerical, analytical ways of thinking. I believe that both thinking m o d e s — o n e to c o m p r e - 3- W O R K I N G D R A W I N G FROM WHICH THE ORIGINAL hend the details and the other to quot;seequot; the w h o l e picture, for PHONOGRAPH WAS B U I L T example, are vital for critical-thinking skills, extrapolation of In the history of inventions, many meaning, and problem solving. creative ideas began with small sketches. T h e examples above are To help p u b l i c - s c h o o l administrators see the utility of arts by Galileo, Jefferson, Faraday, and education, I believe we must find new ways to teach students how Edison. to transfer skills learned through the arts to a c a d e m i c subjects Henning Nelms, Thinking With a and problem solving. Transfer of learning is traditionally Pencil, N e w York: T e n Speed Press, regarded as a most difficult kind of instruction and, unfortunately, 1981, p. xiv. transfer is often left to chance. T e a c h e r s hope that students will XIII PREFACE
  12. 12. quot;getquot; the connection, say, b e t w e e n learning to draw and quot;seeingquot; solutions to problems, or between learning English grammar and logical, sequential thinking. Corporate training seminars My w o r k with various corporations represents, I believe, one aspect of transfer of learning, in this instance, from drawing skills to a specific kind of problem solving sought by corporate e x e c u - tives. D e p e n d i n g on h o w m u c h corporate time is available, a t y p i c a l seminar takes three days: a day and a half focused on d e v e l o p i n g d r a w i n g skills and the remaining time devoted to using drawing for problem solving. G r o u p s vary in size but most often number about twenty-five. P r o b l e m s can be v e r y specific (quot;What is ?quot;— a specific c h e m i c a l problem that had troubled a particular c o m - pany for several years) or very general (quot;What is our relationship with our customers?quot;) or something in between specific and gen- eral (quot;How can members of our special unit work together more productively?quot;). T h e first day and a half of d r a w i n g exercises includes the quot;Analogquot; drawings are purely lessons in this book through the drawing of the hand. T h e t w o - expressive drawings, with no nam- fold objective of the drawing lessons is to present the five percep- able objects depicted, using only the tual strategies emphasized in the book and to demonstrate each expressive quality of line—or lines. participant's potential artistic capabilities, given effective instruc- Unexpectedly, persons untrained in art are able to use this language— tion. that is, produce expressive draw- T h e p r o b l e m - s o l v i n g segment begins with exercises in using ings—and are also able to read the d r a w i n g to think with. T h e s e exercises, called analog drawings, drawings for meaning. T h e drawing are described in my book Drawing on the Artist Within. Participants lessons of the seminar's first seg- ment are used mainly to increase use the so-called quot;language of line,quot; first to draw out the problem artistic self-confidence and confi- and then to make visible possible solutions. T h e s e expressive dence in the efficacy of analog drawings b e c o m e the v e h i c l e for g r o u p discussion and analysis, drawing. guided, but not led, by me. Participants use the concepts of edges (boundaries), negative spaces (often called quot;white spacesquot; in busi- ness parlance), relationships (parts of the problem v i e w e d pro- portionally and quot;in perspectivequot;), lights and shadows (extra- polation from the k n o w n to the as-yet unknown), and the gestalt xiv PREFACE
  13. 13. of the problem (how the parts fit—or don't fit—together). T h e p r o b l e m - s o l v i n g s e g m e n t c o n c l u d e s with a n e x t e n d e d small drawing of an object, different for each participant, w h i c h has been chosen as somehow related to the problem at hand. T h i s drawing, c o m b i n i n g perceptual skills with p r o b l e m solving, evokes an extended shift to an alternate mode of thinking which I have termed quot; R - m o d e , quot; during which the participant focuses on the problem under discussion while also c o n c e n t r a t i n g on the drawing. T h e g r o u p then explores insights derived from this process. T h e results of the seminars have been s o m e t i m e s startling, sometimes almost amusing in terms of the obviousness of e n g e n - dered solutions. An example of a startling result was a surprising revelation e x p e r i e n c e d by the g r o u p w o r k i n g on the c h e m i c a l problem. It turned out that the group had so enjoyed their special status and favored position and they were so intrigued by the fas- cinating problem that they were in no hurry to solve it. Also, solv- ing the problem w o u l d mean b r e a k i n g up the g r o u p and returning to more h u m d r u m work. A l l of this showed up c l e a r l y in their drawings. T h e curious thing was that the g r o u p leader exclaimed, quot;I thought that might be what was g o i n g on, but I just didn't believe it!quot; T h e solution? T h e g r o u p realized that they needed—and w e l c o m e d — a serious deadline and assurance that other, equally interesting problems awaited them. A n o t h e r surprising result c a m e in response to the question about customer relations. Participants' drawings in that seminar were consistently c o m p l e x and detailed. N e a r l y e v e r y d r a w i n g represented customers as small objects floating in large e m p t y spaces. Areas of great c o m p l e x i t y e x c l u d e d these small objects. T h e ensuing discussion clarified the group's (unconscious) indif- ference toward and inattention to customers. T h a t raised other questions: W h a t was in all of that e m p t y negative space, and how could the complex areas (identified in discussion as aspects of the work that were more interesting to the group) make c o n n e c t i o n with customer concerns? T h i s g r o u p planned to e x p l o r e the problem further. XV PREFACE
  14. 14. Krishnamurti: quot;So where does T h e group seeking more productive ways of working silence begin? Does it begin when t o g e t h e r c a m e to a c o n c l u s i o n that was so obvious the group thought ends? Have you ever tried a c t u a l l y l a u g h e d about it. T h e i r c o n c l u s i o n was that they to end thought?quot; needed to improve communication within the group. Members Questioner: quot;How do you do it?quot; w e r e n e a r l y all scientists h o l d i n g advanced degrees in c h e m - Krishnamurti: quot;I don't know, but istry and physics. Apparently, each person had a specific have you ever tried it? First of all, assignment for one part of the w h o l e task, but they worked in who is the entity who is trying to different buildings w i t h different groups of associates and on stop thought?quot; i n d i v i d u a l time schedules. For m o r e than twenty-five years Questioner: quot;The thinker.quot; they had n e v e r m e t t o g e t h e r as a g r o u p until we held our Krishnamurti: quot;It's another thought, three-day seminar. isn't it? Thought is trying to stop I h o p e these e x a m p l e s give-at least some flavor of the c o r - itself, so there is a battle between the thinker and the thought.... porate seminars. Participants, of course, are highly educated, Thought says, 'I must stop thinking successful professionals. Working as I do with a different way of because then I shall experience a thinking, the seminars seem to enable these highly trained marvelous s t a t e . ' . . . One thought is people to see things differently. Because the participants them- trying to suppress another thought, so there is conflict. When I see this selves generate the drawings, they provide real e v i d e n c e to as a fact, see it totally, understand refer to. T h u s , insights are hard to dismiss and the discussions it completely, have an insight into stay very focused. i t . . . then the mind is quiet. This I can o n l y s p e c u l a t e w h y this process works effectively to comes about naturally and easily when the mind is quiet to watch, to get at information that is often hidden or ignored or quot;explained look, to see.quot; awayquot; by the l a n g u a g e m o d e of thinking. I think it's possible — J . Krishnamurti that the language system ( L - m o d e , in my terminology) regards You Are the World, 1972 drawing—especially analog drawing—as unimportant, even as just a form of doodling. Perhaps, L - m o d e drops out of the task, p u t t i n g its c e n s o r i n g function on hold. Apparently, what the person k n o w s but doesn't k n o w at a verbal, conscious level therefore comes pouring out in the drawings. Traditional exec- utives, of course, m a y regard this information as quot;soft,quot; but I suspect that these unspoken reactions do have some effect on the u l t i m a t e success and failure of corporations. Broadly speaking, a glimpse of u n d e r l y i n g affective dynamics probably helps more than it hinders.
  15. 15. Introduction T h e subject of how people learn to draw has never lost its charm and fascination for me. Just w h e n I begin to think I have a grasp on the subject, a w h o l e new vista or p u z z l e m e n t opens up. T h i s book, therefore, is a work in progress, d o c u m e n t i n g my u n d e r - standing at this time. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, I believe, was one of the first practical educational applications of Roger Sperry's pioneer- ing insight into the dual nature of human thinking—verbal, ana- lytic thinking mainly located in the left hemisphere, and visual, perceptual thinking mainly located in the right hemisphere. Since 1979, many writers in other fields have p r o p o s e d applica- tions of the research, each in turn suggesting n e w ways to enhance both thinking modes, thereby increasing potential for personal growth. During the past ten years, my colleagues and I have polished and expanded the techniques described in the original book. We have changed some procedures, added some, and d e l e t e d some. My main purpose in revising the book and presenting this third edition is to bring the work up-to-date again for my readers. As you will see, much of the original work is retained, having withstood the test of time. But one important organizing princi- ple was missing in the original text, for the curious reason that I c o u l d n ' t see it u n t i l after the b o o k was p u b l i s h e d . I w a n t to reemphasize it here, because it forms the overall structure within which the reader can see how the parts of the book fit together to form a w h o l e . T h i s k e y p r i n c i p l e is: D r a w i n g is a g l o b a l or quot;wholequot; skill requiring only a limited set of basic components. T h i s insight came to me about six months after the book was published, right in the middle of a sentence while t e a c h i n g a INTRODUCTION XVII
  16. 16. Please note that I am referring to g r o u p of students. It was the classic A h - h a ! experience, with the the learning stage of basic realistic strange physical sensations of rapid heartbeat, caught breath, and drawing of a perceived image. a sense of joyful excitement at seeing everything fall into place. I T h e r e are many other kinds of had been reviewing with the students the set of skills described in drawing: abstraction, nonobjective my book w h e n it hit me that this was it, there were no more, and drawing, imaginative drawing, mechanical drawing, and so forth. that the book had a hidden content of which I had been unaware. Also, drawing can be defined in I c h e c k e d the insight with my c o l l e a g u e s and drawing experts. many other ways—by mediums, T h e y agreed. historic styles, or the artist's intent. Like other global skills—for example, reading, driving, skiing, and w a l k i n g — d r a w i n g is made up of c o m p o n e n t skills that b e c o m e integrated into a w h o l e skill. O n c e you have learned the c o m p o n e n t s and have integrated them, y o u can draw—just as o n c e y o u have learned to read, y o u know how to read for life; once you have learned to walk, you know how to walk for life. You don't have to go on forever adding additional basic skills. Progress takes the form of practice, refinement of technique, and learning what to use the skills for. T h i s was an exciting discovery because it meant that a person can learn to draw within a reasonably short time. And, in fact, my c o l l e a g u e s and I now teach a five-day seminar, fondly known as our quot; K i l l e r C l a s s , quot; w h i c h enables students to acquire the basic component skills of realistic drawing in five days of intense learn- ing. Five basic skills of drawing T h e global skill of drawing a perceived object, person, landscape (something that you see quot;out therequot;) requires only five basic c o m - p o n e n t skills, no more. T h e s e skills are not drawing skills. T h e y are perceptual skills, listed as follows: One: the perception of edges Two: the perception of spaces T h r e e : the perception of relationships Four: the perception of lights and shadows Five: the perception of the whole, or gestalt XVIII INTRODUCTION
  17. 17. I am aware, of course, that additional basic skills are required for imaginative, expressive drawing leading to quot;Art with a capital A.quot; Of these, I have found two and o n l y two additional skills: drawing from m e m o r y and drawing from imagination. A n d there remain, naturally, many techniques of d r a w i n g — m a n y ways of manipulating drawing m e d i u m s and endless subject matter, for example. But, to repeat, for skillful realistic drawing of one's per- ceptions, using pencil on paper, the five skills I will teach y o u in this book provide the required perceptual training. T h o s e five basic skills are the prerequisites for effective use of the two additional quot;advancedquot; skills, and the set of seven m a y constitute the entire basic global skill of drawing. M a n y books on drawing actually focus mainly on the two advanced skills. T h e r e - fore, after you c o m p l e t e the lessons in this book, y o u will find ample instruction available to continue learning. I need to emphasize a further point: G l o b a l or w h o l e skills, such as reading, driving, and drawing, in time b e c o m e automatic. As I mentioned above, basic component skills b e c o m e completely integrated into the smooth flow of the global skill. But in acquir- ing any new global skill, the initial learning is often a struggle, first with each component skill, then with the smooth integration of components. Each of my students goes through this process, and so will you. As each new skill is learned, y o u will m e r g e it with those previously learned until, one day, y o u are simply drawing—just as, one day, y o u found y o u r s e l f simply d r i v i n g without thinking about how to do it. Later, one almost forgets about having learned to read, learned to drive, learned to draw. In order to attain this smooth integration in drawing, all five T h e global skill of drawing component skills must be in place. I'm happy to say that the fifth skill, the perception of the whole, or gestalt, is neither taught nor learned but instead seems to e m e r g e as a result of acquiring the other four skills. But of the first four, none can be omitted, just as learning how to brake or steer cannot be omitted w h e n learning to drive. In the original book, I believe I explained sufficiently well the first two skills, the perception of edges and the p e r c e p t i o n of spaces. T h e importance of sighting (the third skill of p e r c e i v i n g INTRODUCTION XIX
  18. 18. relationships) however, n e e d e d greater emphasis and clearer explanation, b e c a u s e students often tend to give up too quickly on this c o m p l i c a t e d skill. A n d the fourth skill, the perception of lights and shadows, also n e e d e d expanding. M o s t of the content changes for this new edition, therefore, are in the last chapters. A basic strategy for accessing R-mode In this edition, I again reiterate a basic strategy for gaining access at conscious level to R - m o d e , my term for the visual, perceptual quot;You have two brains: a left and a m o d e of the brain. I continue to believe that this strategy is prob- right. Modern brain scientists now ably my main contribution to educational aspects of the quot;right- know that your left brain is your h e m i s p h e r e storyquot; that began with R o g e r Sperry's celebrated verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to scientific work. T h e strategy is stated as follows: numbers, letters, and words In order to gain access to the subdominant visual, perceptual Your right brain is your non-verbal R - m o d e of the brain, it is necessary to present the brain with a job and intuitive brain; it thinks in pat- that the verbal, analytic L - m o d e will turn down. terns, or pictures, composed of 'whole things,' and does not com- For most of us, L - m o d e t h i n k i n g seems easy, normal, and prehend reductions, either num- familiar (though perhaps not for m a n y children and dyslexic bers, letters, or words.quot; individuals). T h e p e r v e r s e R - m o d e strategy, in contrast, may From The Fabric of Mind, by the s e e m difficult and u n f a m i l i a r — e v e n quot;off-the-wall.quot; It must be eminent scientist and neurosur- learned in o p p o s i t i o n to the quot;naturalquot; t e n d e n c y of the brain to geon Richard Bergland. N e w York: favor L - m o d e because, in general, language dominates. By learn- Viking Penguin, Inc., 1985, p. 1. i n g to control this t e n d e n c y for specific tasks, one gains access to powerful brain functions often obscured by language. A l l of the exercises in this book, therefore, are based on two o r g a n i z i n g principles and major aims. First, to teach the reader five basic c o m p o n e n t skills of d r a w i n g and, second, to provide conditions that facilitate m a k i n g cognitive shifts to R - m o d e , the thinking/seeing m o d e specialized for drawing. In short, in the process of learning to draw, one also learns to control (at least to s o m e d e g r e e ) the m o d e by w h i c h one's own brain handles information. Perhaps this explains in part w h y my book appeals to individuals from such diverse fields. Intuitively, t h e y see the link to other activities and the possibility of seeing things differently by learning to access R - m o d e at conscious level. xx INTRODUCTION
  19. 19. Color in drawing C h a p t e r E l e v e n , quot; D r a w i n g on the B e a u t y of C o l o r , quot; was a new chapter in the 1989 edition, written in response to many requests from my readers. T h e chapter focuses on using c o l o r in d r a w - i n g — a fine transitional step toward painting. O v e r the past decade, my teaching staff and I have d e v e l o p e d a five-day inten- sive course on basic c o l o r theory, a course that is still a quot;work in progress.quot; I am still using the concepts in the chapter on color, so I have not revised it for this edition. I believe the logical progression for a person starting out in artistic expression should be as follows: From L i n e to V a l u e to C o l o r to Painting First, a person learns the basic skills of drawing, w h i c h p r o - vide k n o w l e d g e of line (learned through c o n t o u r d r a w i n g of edges, spaces, and relationships) and knowledge of value (learned through rendering lights and shadows). Skillful use of c o l o r requires first of all the ability to perceive color as value. T h i s abil- ity is difficult, perhaps impossible, to acquire unless one has learned to perceive the relationships of lights and shadows through drawing. I hope that my chapter i n t r o d u c i n g c o l o r in drawing will provide an effective bridge for those w h o want to progress from drawing to painting. Handwriting Finally, I am retaining the brief section on handwriting. In many cultures, w r i t i n g is r e g a r d e d as an art form. A m e r i c a n s often deplore their handwriting but are at a loss as to how to improve it. Handwriting, however, is a form of drawing and can be improved. I r e g r e t t o say that m a n y C a l i f o r n i a s c h o o l s are s t i l l u s i n g handwriting-instructional methods that w e r e failing in 1989 and are still failing today. My suggestions in this regard appear in the Afterword. XXI INTRODUCTION
  20. 20. An empirical basis for my theory T h e u n d e r l y i n g t h e o r y of this revised edition remains the same: to explain in basic terms the relationship of d r a w i n g to visual, p e r c e p t u a l brain processes and to provide methods of accessing and c o n t r o l l i n g these processes. As a n u m b e r of scientists have noted, research on the human brain is c o m p l i c a t e d by the fact that the brain is struggling to understand itself. This three-pound organ is perhaps the only bit of matter in the universe—at least as far as we k n o w — t h a t is o b s e r v i n g itself, w o n d e r i n g about itself, t r y i n g to analyze itself, and attempting to gain better control of its o w n capabilities. T h i s paradoxical situation no doubt con- tributes—at least in part—to the deep mysteries that still remain, despite rapidly expanding scientific knowledge about the brain. O n e question scientists are studying intensely is where the two major thinking m o d e s are specifically located in the human brain and how the organization of modes can vary from individ- ual to individual. W h i l e the so-called location controversy c o n - tinues to engage scientists, along with myriad other areas of brain research, the existence in e v e r y brain of two fundamentally dif- ferent cognitive modes is no longer controversial. Corroborating research since Sperry's original work is overwhelming. Moreover, even in the midst of the argument about location, most scientists agree that for a majority of individuals, information-processing based primarily on linear, sequential data is mainly located in the left h e m i s p h e r e , w h i l e g l o b a l , p e r c e p t u a l data is m a i n l y processed in the right hemisphere. C l e a r l y , for educators like myself, the precise location of these m o d e s in the individual brain is not an important issue. W h a t is important is that incoming information can be handled in two fundamentally different ways and that the two modes can apparently w o r k together in a vast array of combinations. Since the late 1970s, I have used the terms L - m o d e and R - m o d e to try to avoid the location controversy. T h e terms are intended to differ- entiate the major m o d e s of cognition, regardless of where they are located in the individual brain. O v e r the past d e c a d e or so, a n e w interdisciplinary field of XXII INTRODUCTION
  21. 21. brain-function study has b e c o m e formally k n o w n as cognitive In a conversation with his friend Andre Marchand, the French artist neuroscience. In addition to the traditional discipline of n e u r o l - Henri Matisse described the ogy, cognitive neuroscience encompasses study of other higher process of passing perceptions cognitive processes such as language, memory, and perception. from one way of looking to C o m p u t e r scientists, linguists, neuroimaging scientists, cognitive another: psychologists, and neurobiologists are all contributing to a g r o w - quot;Do you know that a man has only ing understanding of how the human brain functions. one eye which sees and registers everything; this eye, like a superb Interest in quot;right brain, left brainquot; research has subsided camera which takes minute pic- somewhat among educators and the general public since R o g e r tures, very sharp, tiny—and with Sperry first published his research findings. Nevertheless, the fact that picture man tells himself: of the profound a s y m m e t r y of human brain functions remains, 'This time I know the reality of things,' and he is calm for a becoming ever more central, for e x a m p l e , a m o n g c o m p u t e r s c i - moment. Then, slowly superim- entists trying to emulate human mental processes. Facial recogni- posing itself on the picture, tion, a function ascribed to the right hemisphere, has been sought another eye makes its appearance, for decades and is still beyond the capabilities of most computers. invisibly, which makes an entirely different picture for him. Ray Kurzweil, in his recent book The Age of Spiritual Machines (Viking, 1999) contrasted human and c o m p u t e r capability in pat- quot;Then our man no longer sees clearly, a struggle begins between tern seeking (as in facial recognition) and sequential processing the first and second eye, the fight is (as in calculation): fierce, finally the second eye has T h e h u m a n brain has a b o u t 100 b i l l i o n n e u r o n s . W i t h a n e s t i m a t e d the upper hand, takes over and that's the end of it. N o w it has a v e r a g e o f o n e t h o u s a n d c o n n e c t i o n s b e t w e e n e a c h n e u r o n and its command of the situation, the sec- n e i g h b o r s , w e h a v e a b o u t 100 t r i l l i o n c o n n e c t i o n s , e a c h c a p a b l e o f a ond eye can then continue its work simultaneous calculation. That's rather massive parallel processing, alone and elaborate its own picture and o n e key to the strength of h u m a n t h i n k i n g . A p r o f o u n d w e a k n e s s , according to the laws of interior vision. This very special eye is however, is the e x c r u c i a t i n g l y s l o w s p e e d of n e u r a l circuitry, o n l y 200 found here,quot; says Matisse, pointing c a l c u l a t i o n s p e r s e c o n d . F o r p r o b l e m s that benefit from m a s s i v e p a r - to his brain. allelism, such a neural-net-based pattern recognition, the h u m a n Marchand didn't mention which brain d o e s a g r e a t job. F o r p r o b l e m s that r e q u i r e e x t e n s i v e s e q u e n t i a l side of his brain Matisse pointed thinking, the h u m a n brain is o n l y m e d i o c r e , (p. 103) to. In 1979, I proposed that d r a w i n g required a cognitive shift to — J . Flam Matisse on Art, 1973 R-mode, now postulated to be a massively parallel m o d e of p r o - cessing, and away from L - m o d e , postulated to be a sequential processing mode. I had no hard evidence to support my proposal, only my e x p e r i e n c e as an artist and a teacher. O v e r the years, I have been criticized occasionally by various neuroscientists for overstepping the boundaries of my o w n field—though not by XXIII INTRODUCTION
  22. 22. A recent article in an educational R o g e r Sperry, w h o b e l i e v e d that my application of his research journal summarizes neuroscien- was reasonable. tists' objections to quot;brain-based W h a t kept me w o r k i n g at my quot;folkquot; theory (see the margin education.quot; excerpt) was that, when put into practice, the results were inspir- quot;The fundamental problem with the ing. Students of all ages made significant gains in drawing ability right-brain versus left-brain claims and, by extension, in p e r c e p t u a l abilities, since drawing well that one finds in educational litera- ture is that they rely on our intu- d e p e n d s on s e e i n g well. D r a w i n g ability has always been itions and folk theories about the regarded as difficult to acquire, and has nearly always been addi- brain, rather than on what brain tionally burdened by the notion that it is an extraordinary, not an science is actually able to tell us. ordinary, skill. If my method of teaching enables people to gain a Our folk theories are too crude skill they p r e v i o u s l y t h o u g h t closed off to them, is it the neuro- and imprecise to have any scien- tific predictive or instructional l o g i c a l explanation that makes the m e t h o d work, or is it some- value. What modern brain science thing else that I may not be aware of? is telling us—and what brain-based I k n o w that it is not s i m p l y my style of t e a c h i n g that causes educators fail to appreciate—is that it makes no scientific sense to the m e t h o d to work, since the hundreds of teachers w h o have map gross, unanalyzed behaviors reported equal success using my methods obviously have widely and skills—reading, arithmetic, differing t e a c h i n g styles. W o u l d the exercises work w i t h o u t the spatial reasoning—onto one brain neurological rationale? It's possible, but it would be very difficult hemisphere or another.quot; to p e r s u a d e p e o p l e to a c c e d e to such unlikely exercises as But the author also states: u p s i d e - d o w n drawing without some reasonable explanation. Is it, quot;Whether or not [brain-based] then, just the fact of giving people a rationale—that any rationale educational practices should be adopted must be determined on w o u l d do? Perhaps, but I have always been struck by the fact that the basis of the impact on student my e x p l a n a t i o n seems to make sense to p e o p l e at a subjective learning.quot; level. T h e theory seems to fit their e x p e r i e n c e , and certainly the —John T. Bruer ideas derive from my own subjective experience with drawing. quot;In Search o f . . . In each edition of this book I have made the following state- Brain-Based Education,quot; Phi Delta Kappan, May ment: 1999, p. 603 T h e t h e o r y and methods presented in my book have proven e m p i r i c a l l y successful. In short, the method works, regardless of the e x t e n t to w h i c h future s c i e n c e may e v e n t u a l l y determine exact location and confirm the degree of separation of brain func- tions in the two hemispheres. I h o p e that e v e n t u a l l y scholars using traditional research methods will help answer the many questions I have myself about this work. It does appear that recent research tends to corroborate my basic ideas. For example, new findings on the function of the huge bundle of nerve fibers connecting the two hemispheres, the xxiv INTRODUCTION
  23. 23. corpus callosum, indicate that the corpus callosum can inhibit the passage of information from hemisphere to hemisphere when the task requires noninterference from one or the other hemisphere. M e a n w h i l e , the work appears to bring a great deal of joy to my students, whether or not we fully understand the u n d e r l y i n g process. A further complication O n e further complication o f seeing needs mentioning. T h e eyes gather visual information by constantly scanning the e n v i r o n - ment. But visual data from quot;out there,quot; gathered by sight, is not the end of the story. At least part, and perhaps m u c h of what we see is changed, interpreted, or c o n c e p t u a l i z e d in ways that depend on a person's training, mind-set, and past experiences. We tend to see what we expect to see or what we decide we have seen. T h i s expectation or decision, however, often is not a c o n s c i o u s process. Instead, the brain frequently does the e x p e c t i n g and the deciding, w i t h o u t our conscious awareness, and then alters or rearranges—or even simply disregards—the raw data of vision that hits the retina. L e a r n i n g perception through d r a w i n g seems quot;The artist is the confidant of to change this process and to allow a different, more direct kind of nature. Flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful seeing. T h e brain's editing is s o m e h o w put on hold, thereby per- bending of their stems and the har- mitting one to see more fully and perhaps more realistically. moniously tinted nuances of their T h i s e x p e r i e n c e is often m o v i n g and d e e p l y affecting. My blossoms. Every flower has a cor- dial word which nature directs students' most frequent c o m m e n t s after learning to draw are towards him.quot; quot;Life seems so much richer nowquot; and quot;I didn't realize how m u c h there is to see and how beautiful things are.quot; T h i s new way of see- — Auguste Rodin ing may alone be reason enough to learn to draw. XXV INTRODUCTION
  24. 24. D is so i n t e r t w i n e d with s e e - RAWING A CURIOUS PROCESS, i n g that the t w o can hardly be separated. A b i l i t y to draw d e p e n d s on ability to see the way an artist sees, and this kind of seeing can marvelously enrich your life. In m a n y ways, t e a c h i n g d r a w i n g is s o m e w h a t like teaching s o m e o n e to ride a b i c y c l e . It is v e r y difficult to explain in words. In t e a c h i n g s o m e o n e to ride a b i c y c l e , y o u might say, quot;Well, you just get on, push the pedals, balance yourself, and off you'll go.quot; Of course, that doesn't explain it at all, and you are likely finally to say, quot;I'll get on and show y o u how. Watch and see how 1 do it.quot; A n d so it is with drawing. M o s t art teachers and drawing text- book authors exhort beginners to quot;change their ways of looking at thingsquot; and to quot;learn how to see.quot; T h e problem is that this differ- ent way of seeing is as hard to explain as how to balance a bicycle, and the t e a c h e r often ends by saying, in effect, quot; L o o k at these e x a m p l e s and just keep trying. If y o u practice a lot, eventually y o u may get it.quot; W h i l e nearly e v e r y o n e learns to ride a bicycle, many individuals never solve the problems of drawing. To put it m o r e precisely, most p e o p l e never learn to see well e n o u g h to draw. Drawing as a magical ability B e c a u s e o n l y a few individuals seem to possess the ability to see and draw, artists are often regarded as persons with a rare G o d - given talent. To many people, the process of drawing seems mys- terious and somehow beyond human understanding. Artists themselves often do little to dispel the mystery. If you ask an artist (that is, s o m e o n e w h o draws well as a result of either l o n g training or c h a n c e d i s c o v e r y of the artist's way of seeing), quot; H o w do y o u draw something so that it looks real—say a portrait or a landscape?quot; the artist is likely to reply, quot;Well, I just have a gift for it, I guess,quot; or quot;I really don't know. I just start in and work Fig. I - I . Bellowing Bison. Paleolithic things out as I go along,quot; or quot;Well, I just look at the person (or the cave painting from Altamira, Spain. landscape) and I draw what I see.quot; T h e last reply seems like a Drawing by Brevil. Prehistoric logical and straightforward answer. Yet, on reflection, it clearly artists were probably thought to have magic powers. T H E N E W D R A W I N G O N T H E R I G H T SIDE O F T H E BRAIN
  25. 25. Roger N. Shepard, professor of doesn't explain the process at all, and the sense that the skill of psychology at Stanford University, drawing is a vaguely magical ability persists (Figure I - I ) . recently described his personal W h i l e this attitude of wonder at artistic skill causes p e o p l e to mode of creative thought during appreciate artists and their work, it does little to e n c o u r a g e indi- which research ideas emerged in his mind as unverbalized, essen- viduals to try to learn to draw, and it doesn't h e l p teachers tially complete, long-sought solu- explain to students the process of drawing. Often, in fact, p e o p l e tions to problems. even feel that they shouldn't take a d r a w i n g course because they quot;That in all of these sudden illumi- don't know already h o w to draw. T h i s is like d e c i d i n g that y o u nations my ideas took shape in a shouldn't take a French class b e c a u s e y o u don't already speak primarily visual-spatial form with- French, or that y o u shouldn't sign up for a c o u r s e in c a r p e n t r y out, so far as I can introspect, any because you don't know how to build a house. verbal intervention is in accor- dance with what has always been my preferred mode of thinking.... Drawing as a learnable, teachable skill Many of my happiest hours have since childhood been spent You will soon discover that d r a w i n g is a skill that can be learned absorbed in drawing, in tinkering, by e v e r y normal person with average eyesight and average e y e - or in exercises of purely mental visualization.quot; hand coordination—with sufficient ability, for example, to thread a needle or catch a baseball. Contrary to popular opinion, manual — Roger N . Shepard Visual Learning, Thinking, skill is not a primary factor in drawing. If y o u r h a n d w r i t i n g is and Communication, 1978 readable, or if you can print legibly, y o u have ample dexterity to draw well. quot;Learning to draw is really a We need say no more here about hands, but about eyes we matter of learning to see—to see cannot say enough. L e a r n i n g to draw is m o r e than l e a r n i n g the correctly—and that means a good skill itself; by studying this book you will learn how to see. T h a t is, deal more than merely looking with the eye.quot; you will learn how to process visual information in the special way used by artists. T h a t way is different from the way you usually — Kimon Nicolaides The Natural Way to Draw, process visual information and seems to require that you use your 1941 brain in a different way than you ordinarily use it. You will be learning, therefore, s o m e t h i n g about h o w y o u r brain handles visual information. R e c e n t research has b e g u n to throw new scientific light on that marvel of capability and c o m - plexity, the human brain. A n d one of the things we are learning is how the special properties of o u r brains enable us to draw p i c - tures of our perceptions. DRAWING AND THE ART OF BICYCLE RIDING 3
  26. 26. Gertrude Stein asked the French Drawing and seeing artist Henri Matisse whether, when T h e magical m y s t e r y of d r a w i n g ability seems to be, in part at eating a tomato, he looked at it the way an artist would. Matisse least, an ability to make a shift in brain state to a different mode of replied: s e e i n g / p e r c e i v i n g . When you see in the special way in which experi- quot;No, when I eat a tomato I look at it enced artists see, then you can draw. T h i s is not to say that the draw- the way anyone else would. But ings of great artists such as L e o n a r d o da V i n c i or Rembrandt are when I paint a tomato, then I see it not still w o n d r o u s because we may know something about the differently.quot; cerebral process that w e n t into their creation. Indeed, scientific — Gertrude Stein research makes master drawings seem even more remarkable Picasso, 1938 because they seem to cause a viewer to shift to the artist's mode of perceiving. But the basic skill of d r a w i n g is also accessible to quot;The painter draws with his eyes, e v e r y o n e who can learn to make the shift to the artist's mode and not with his hands. Whatever he sees, if he sees it clear, he can put see in the artist's way. down. T h e putting of it down requires, perhaps, much care and The artist's way of seeing: A twofold process labor, but no more muscular agility than it takes for him to write his D r a w i n g is not really very difficult. S e e i n g is the problem, or, to name. Seeing clear is the important be more specific, shifting to a particular way of seeing. You may thing.quot; not b e l i e v e me at this moment. You may feel that you are seeing — Maurice Grosser The Painter's Eye, 1951 things just fine and that it's the drawing that is hard. But the oppo- site is true, and the exercises in this book are designed to help you make the mental shift and gain a twofold advantage. First, to open quot;It is in order to really see, to see ever deeper, ever more intensely, access by conscious volition to the visual, perceptual mode of think- hence to be fully aware and alive, ing in order to experience a focus in your awareness, and second, that I draw what the Chinese call to see things in a different way. Both will enable you to draw well. ' T h e Ten Thousand Things' M a n y artists have spoken of seeing things differently while around me. Drawing is the disci- pline by which I constantly redis- drawing and have often mentioned that drawing puts them into a cover the world. s o m e w h a t altered state of awareness. In that different subjective quot;I have learned that what I have not state, artists speak of feeling transported, quot;at one with the work,quot; drawn, I have never really seen, able to grasp relationships that they ordinarily cannot grasp. and that when I start drawing an Awareness of the passage of time fades away and words recede ordinary thing, I realize how extra- from consciousness. Artists say that they feel alert and aware yet ordinary it is, sheer miracle.quot; are relaxed and free of anxiety, e x p e r i e n c i n g a pleasurable, — Frederick Franck almost mystical activation of the mind. The Zen of Seeing, 1973 4 T H E N E W D R A W I N G O N T H E R I G H T SIDE O F T H E BRAIN
  27. 27. quot;If a certain kind of activity, such as Drawing attention to states of consciousness painting, becomes the habitual mode of expression, it may follow T h e slightly altered consciousness state of f e e l i n g transported, that taking up the painting materi- which most artists experience while drawing, painting, sculpting, als and beginning work with them or doing any kind of art work, is a state p r o b a b l y not altogether will act suggestively and so unfamiliar to you. You may have observed in y o u r s e l f slight shifts presently evoke a flight into the in your state of consciousness while engaged in m u c h more ordi- higher state.quot; nary activities than artwork. — Robert Henri The Art Spirit, 1923 For example, most p e o p l e are aware that they o c c a s i o n a l l y slip from ordinary waking consciousness into the slightly altered state of daydreaming. As another example, p e o p l e often say that reading takes them quot;out of themselves.quot; A n d other kinds of activ- ities which apparently p r o d u c e a shift in consciousness state are meditation, jogging, needlework, typing, listening to music, and, of course, drawing itself. Also, I believe that driving on the freeway probably induces a slightly different subjective state that is similar to the d r a w i n g state. After all, in freeway d r i v i n g we deal w i t h visual images, keeping track of relational, spatial information, sensing c o m p l e x components of the overall traffic configuration. M a n y people find that they do a lot of creative thinking w h i l e driving, often losing track of time and e x p e r i e n c i n g a pleasurable sense of f r e e d o m from anxiety. T h e s e mental operations may activate the same parts of the brain used in drawing. Of course, if d r i v i n g c o n d i - tions are difficult, if we are late or if s o m e o n e sharing the ride talks with us, the shift to the alternative state doesn't occur. T h e reasons for this we'll take up in C h a p t e r T h r e e . T h e key to learning to draw, therefore, is to set up conditions that cause you to make a mental shift to a different mode of infor- mation processing—the slightly altered state of consciousness— that enables y o u to see well. In this d r a w i n g m o d e , y o u w i l l be able to draw y o u r p e r c e p t i o n s even t h o u g h y o u may never have studied drawing. O n c e the d r a w i n g m o d e is familiar to y o u , y o u will be able to consciously control the mental shift. 5 DRAWING AND THE ART OF BICYCLE RIDING
  28. 28. Drawing on your creative self My students often report that learning to draw makes them feel I see you as an individual with creative potential for expressing more creative. Obviously, many roads lead to creative endeavor: y o u r s e l f through drawing. My aim is to provide the means for Drawing is only one route. Howard releasing that potential, for gaining access at a conscious level to Gardner, Harvard professor of y o u r inventive, intuitive, imaginative powers that may have been psychology and education, refers largely untapped by our verbal, technological culture and educa- to this linkage: tional system. I am going to teach you how to draw, but drawing is quot;By a curious twist, the words art only the means, not the end. D r a w i n g will tap the special abilities and creativity have become closely linked in our society.quot; that are right for drawing. By learning to draw you will learn to see differently and, as the artist Rodin lyrically states, to become a From Gardner's book Creating Minds, 1993. confidant of the natural world, to awaken y o u r eye to the lovely language of forms, to express yourself in that language. In drawing, you will delve deeply into a part of your mind too often obscured by endless details of daily life. From this experi- e n c e y o u will d e v e l o p y o u r ability to perceive things freshly in their totality, to see u n d e r l y i n g patterns and possibilities for new combinations. C r e a t i v e solutions to problems, whether personal or professional, will be accessible through new modes of thinking and new ways of using the power of your whole brain. D r a w i n g , pleasurable and rewarding though it is, is but a key to o p e n the d o o r to other goals. My hope is that Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain will help y o u expand your powers as an individual through increased awareness of your own mind and its workings. T h e multiple effects of the exercises in this book are intended to enhance y o u r confidence in decision making and problem solving. T h e potential force of the creative, imaginative human brain seems almost limitless. Drawing may help you come to know this p o w e r and make it known to others. T h r o u g h draw- ing, y o u are made visible. T h e G e r m a n artist A l b r e c h t Durer said, quot;From this, the treasure secretly gathered in your heart will become evident through your creative work.quot; Samuel Goldwyn once said: Keeping the real goal in mind, let us begin to fashion the key. quot;Don't pay any attention to the critics. Don't even ignore them.quot; Quoted in Being Digital by Nicolas Negroponte, 1995. 6 T H E N E W D R A W I N G O N T H E R I G H T SIDE O F T H E BRAIN
  29. 29. quot;To be shaken out of the ruts of My approach: A path to creativity ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer T h e exercises and instructions in this book have been designed and the inner world, not as they specifically for people who cannot draw at all, w h o may feel that appear to an animal obsessed with they have little or no talent for drawing, and who may feel doubt- words and notions, but as they are ful that they could ever learn to draw—but who think they might apprehended, directly and uncon- like to learn. T h e approach of this book is different from other ditionally, by Mind at Large—this is an experience of inestimable drawing instruction books in that the exercises are aimed at value to everyone.quot; opening access to skills you already have but that are simply waiting — Aldous Huxley to be released. The Doors of Perception, Creative persons from fields other than art w h o want to get 1954 their working skills u n d e r better control and learn to o v e r c o m e blocks to creativity will benefit from working with the techniques presented here. T e a c h e r s and parents will find the t h e o r y and exercises useful in helping children to develop their creative abil- ities. At the end of the book, I have supplied a brief postscript that offers some general suggestions for adapting my methods and materials to children. A second postscript is addressed to art stu- dents. T h i s book is based on the five-day workshop that I have been teaching for about fifteen years to individuals of w i d e l y ranging ages and occupations. N e a r l y all of the students begin the course with very few drawing skills and with high a n x i e t y about their potential drawing ability. Almost without exception, the students achieve a high level of skill in drawing and gain confidence to go on d e v e l o p i n g their expressive d r a w i n g skills in further art courses or by practice on their own. An intriguing aspect of the often-remarkable gains most stu- dents achieve is the rapid rate of improvement in d r a w i n g skills. It's my belief that if persons untrained in art can learn to make the shift to the artist's m o d e of s e e i n g — t h a t is, the r i g h t - h e m i - sphere m o d e — t h o s e individuals are then able to draw w i t h o u t further instruction. To put it another way, you already know how to draw, but old habits of seeing interfere with that ability and block it. T h e exercises in this book are designed to remove the interference and unblock the ability. 7 DRAWING AND THE ART OF BICYCLE RIDING
  30. 30. quot;When the artist is alive in any per- W h i l e you may have no interest whatever in becoming a full- son, whatever his kind of work may time w o r k i n g artist, the exercises will provide insights into the be, he becomes an inventive, way your mind works, or your two minds work—singly, coopera- searching, daring, self-expressive tively, one against the other. A n d , as many of my students have creature. He becomes interesting told me, their lives seem richer because they are seeing better and to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and opens ways seeing more. It's helpful to r e m e m b e r that we don't teach reading for a better understanding. Where and w r i t i n g to p r o d u c e only poets and writers, but rather to those who are not artists are trying improve thinking. to close the book, he opens it and shows there are still more pages possible.quot; Realism as a means to an end — Robert Henri Why faces? The Art Spirit, 1923 A n u m b e r of the exercises and instructional sequences in this book are designed to enable you to draw recognizable portraits. L e t me explain why I think portrait drawing is useful as a subject for beginners in art. B r o a d l y speaking, e x c e p t for the degree of complexity, all drawing is the same. O n e drawing task is no harder than any other. T h e same skills and ways of seeing are involved in d r a w i n g still-life setups, landscapes, the figure, random objects, even imaginary subjects, and portrait drawing. It's all the same thing: Y o u see what's out there (imaginary subjects are quot;seenquot; in the mind's eye) and you draw what you see. W h y , then, have I selected portrait drawing for some of the exercises? For three reasons. First, beginning students of drawing often think that drawing human faces is the hardest of all kinds of drawing. T h u s , w h e n students see that they can draw portraits, they feel confident and their confidence enhances progress. A second, more important, reason is that the right hemisphere of the human brain is specialized for recognition of faces. Since the right brain is the one we will be trying to gain access to, it makes sense to choose a subject that the right brain is used to working with. A n d third, faces are fascinating! O n c e you have drawn a per- son, you will really have seen that individual's face. As one of my students said, quot;I don't think I ever actually looked at anyone's face before I started drawing. N o w , the oddest thing is that everyone looks beautiful to me.quot; 8 T H E N E W D R A W I N G O N T H E R I G H T SIDE O F T H E BRAIN
  31. 31. quot; . . . at the time when you spoke of Summing up my becoming a painter, I thought it I have described to you the basic p r e m i s e of this b o o k — t h a t very impractical and would not hear of it. What made me stop drawing is a teachable, learnable skill that can provide a twofold doubting was reading a clear book advantage. By gaining access to the part of y o u r mind that works on perspective, Cassange's Guide to in a style conducive to creative, intuitive thought, you will learn a the ABC of Drawing: and a week fundamental skill of the visual arts: h o w to put d o w n on p a p e r later I drew the interior of a kitchen with stove, chair, table and what y o u see in front of y o u r eyes. S e c o n d , t h r o u g h l e a r n i n g to window—in their places and on draw by the m e t h o d presented in this book, y o u w i l l e n h a n c e their legs—whereas before it had your ability to think more creatively in other areas of your life. seemed to me that getting depth and the right perspective into a H o w far y o u go with these skills after y o u c o m p l e t e the drawing was witchcraft or pure course will d e p e n d on other traits such as e n e r g y and curiosity. chance.quot; But first things first! T h e potential is there. It's sometimes n e c e s - — Vincent Van Gogh, sary to remind ourselves that Shakespeare at some point learned in a letter to his brother, to write a line of prose, Beethoven learned the musical scales, and Theo, who had suggested as you see in the margin quotation, V i n c e n t Van G o g h learned that Vincent become a how to draw. painter. Letter 184, p. 331. DRAWING AND THE ART OF BICYCLE RIDING 9
  32. 32. O I have e x p e r i m e n t e d VER THE YEARS OF TEACHING, w i t h v a r i o u s p r o g r e s s i o n s , s e q u e n c e s , and c o m b - nations of exercises. T h e s e q u e n c e set out in this book has proved to be the most effective in terms of student progress. W e ' l l take the first step, the all-important preinstruction draw- ings, in this chapter. W h e n y o u begin the d r a w i n g exercises in C h a p t e r Four, y o u ' l l have some b a c k g r o u n d in the u n d e r l y i n g theory, how the exercises have been set up, and w h y they work. T h e sequence is designed to enhance success at every step of the way and to pro- v i d e access to a new m o d e of information processing with as lit- tle upset to the old mode as possible. Therefore, I ask you to read the chapters in the order presented and to do the exercises as they appear. I have limited the r e c o m m e n d e d exercises to a minimum number, but if time permits, do more drawings than are sug- gested: Seek y o u r o w n subjects and devise your o w n exercises. T h e m o r e practice y o u provide for yourself, the faster y o u will progress. To this end, in addition to the exercises that appear in the text, s u p p l e m e n t a r y exercises often appear in the margin. D o i n g these exercises will reinforce both y o u r skills and your confidence. For most of the exercises, I r e c o m m e n d that you read through all of the directions before you start drawing and, where directed, v i e w the examples of students' drawings before begin- ning. K e e p all of y o u r drawings together in a folder or large envelope, so that by the time y o u ' v e c o m e to the end of the book y o u can review your own progress. Definitions of terms A glossary of terms appears at the end of the book. Certain terms are defined fairly extensively in the text, and the glossary c o n - tains other terms not so extensively defined. Words that are c o m - m o n l y used in e v e r y d a y language, such as quot;valuequot; and quot;composition,quot; have very specific, and often different, meanings in art terminology. I suggest that you glance through the glossary before starting to read the chapters. 12 T H E N E W D R A W I N G O N T H E R I G H T SIDE O F T H E BRAIN
  33. 33. Drawing materials T h e materials list for the first two editions was v e r y simple: some inexpensive bond t y p i n g paper or a pad of inexpensive d r a w i n g paper, a pencil, and an eraser. I m e n t i o n e d that a # 4 B d r a w i n g pencil is pleasant to use, as the lead is smooth and makes a clear, dark line, but an ordinary number 2 writing pencil is nearly as good. For this edition, y o u still need these basic materials, but I wish to suggest a few additional aids that will help y o u learn to draw quickly. • You will need a piece of clear plastic, about 8quot; x 10quot; and about 1/16quot; thick. A piece of glass is fine, but the edges must be taped. Use a permanent marker to draw two crosshairs on the plastic, a horizontal line and a vertical line crossing at the center of the plane. (See the sketch in the margin.) • Also, you will need two quot;viewfinders,quot; made of black card- board about 8quot; x 10quot;. From one, cut a rectangular opening of 4 1/4quot; x 5 1/4quot; and from the other, cut out a larger opening of 6quot; x 7 5/8quot;. See Figure 2-1. • A nonpermanent black felt-tip marker • T w o clips to fasten your viewfinders to the plastic picture plane • A quot;graphite stick,quot; # 4 B , available at most art supply stores • Some masking tape • A pencil sharpener—a small, hand-held sharpener is fine • An eraser, such a quot;Pink Pearlquot; or a white plastic eraser G a t h e r i n g these materials requires a bit of effort, but they w i l l truly help you to learn rapidly. You can buy them at any art mate- rials or crafts store. My staff of teachers and I no longer attempt to teach our students without using viewfinders and the plastic picture plane, and they will help you just as much. Because these items are so essential to students' understanding of the basic nature of drawing, for years now we have put t o g e t h e r — b y hand!—portfolios containing the special learning tools that we have developed for our five-day intensive workshops. T h e portfo- lios also contained all of the necessary d r a w i n g materials and a lightweight drawing board. N o w I have made our Portfolio avail- T H E DRAWING EXERCISES: O N E STEP AT A T I M E