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  • 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. 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 www.penguinputnam.com 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. To the memory of my father, who sharpened my drawing pencils with his pocketknife when I was a child
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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
  • 34. Construct a viewfinder as follows: able for purchase. It includes as w e l l a t w o - h o u r instructional video of the lessons in this book. 1. Take a sheet of paper or use thin cardboard of the same size as the If y o u are interested in purchasing a Portfolio, y o u will find paper you use for drawing. T h e an order slip at the end of the book, or y o u can contact my w e b - viewfinder must be the same for- site at www.drawright.com. But the few items listed above will be mat, that is, the same proportional sufficient if y o u would rather put together your own set of mate- shape, as the paper you are using rials. to draw on. 2. Draw diagonal lines from oppo- Pre-instruction drawings: A valuable record of your site corners, crossing in the center. In the center of the paper, draw a art skills small rectangle by connecting hor- izontal and vertical lines at points N o w , let's get started. First, y o u need to make a record of your on the diagonals. T h e rectangle present d r a w i n g skills. T h i s is important! You don't want to miss should be about I x I 1/4quot;. (See Fig- the pleasure of h a v i n g a real m e m e n t o of y o u r starting point to ure 2-1.) Constructed this way, the inner rectangle has the same pro- c o m p a r e with y o u r later drawings. I'm fully aware how difficult portion of length to width as the this is, but just do it! As the great D u t c h artist Vincent Van G o g h outer edges of the paper. wrote (in a letter to his brother, T h e o ) : 3. N e x t , cut the small rectangle out quot;Just dash something down if you see a blank canvas staring at of the center with scissors. Hold y o u with a certain imbecility. You do not know how paralyzing it the paper up and compare the is, that staring of a blank canvas which says to a painter, 'You don't shape of the small opening with the shape of the whole format. You can know a n y t h i n g ' quot; see that the two shapes are the Soon, y o u will quot;know something,quot; I promise. Just gear y o u r - same, and only the size is different. self up and do these drawings. Later, you'll be very happy that This perceptual aid is called a you did. T h e drawings have proved to be invaluable in aiding stu- viewfinder. It will help you to per- ceive negative spaces by establish- dents to see and recognize their o w n progress. A kind of amnesia ing an edge to the space around seems to set in as d r a w i n g skills improve. Students forget what forms. their drawing was like before instruction. M o r e o v e r the degree of criticism keeps p a c e w i t h progress. E v e n after considerable i m p r o v e m e n t , students are sometimes critical of their latest d r a w i n g because it's quot;not as good as da Vinci's.quot; T h e before draw- ings provide a realistic gauge of progress. After you do the draw- ings, put them away and we will look at them again later on in the light of your newly acquired skills. Fig. 2-1. 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 14
  • 35. What you'll need: • Paper to draw on—plain white bond paper is fine • Your #2 writing pencil • Your pencil sharpener • Your masking tape • A small mirror, about 5quot; x 7quot;, that could be attached to a wall, or any available wall or door mirror • Something to use as a drawing board—a breadboard or a sturdy piece of cardboard, about 15quot; x 18quot; • An hour to an hour and a quarter of uninterrupted time What you'll do: You will do three drawings. T h i s usually takes our students about an hour or so, but feel free to take as long as y o u wish for each of them. I will first list the drawing titles. Instruction for each draw- ing follows. • quot;Self-Portraitquot; • quot;A Person, Drawn from M e m o r y quot; • quot; M y Handquot; Pre-instruction drawing #1: Your quot;Self-Portraitquot; 1. T a p e a stack of two or three sheets of paper to y o u r d r a w i n g board or work in your pad of paper. (Stacking the sheets p r o - vides a quot;paddedquot; surface to draw o n — m u c h better than the rather hard surface of the drawing board.) 2. Sit at arm's length (about 2 to 2 1/2 feet) from a mirror. L e a n your board up against the wall, resting the b o t t o m of the board on your lap. 3. L o o k at the reflection of your head and face in the mirror and draw your quot;Self-Portrait.quot; 4. W h e n y o u have finished, title, date, and sign the d r a w i n g in the lower right-hand or lower left-hand corner. T H E D R A W I N G EXERCISES: O N E STEP AT A T I M E
  • 36. Pre-instruction drawing #2: A person, drawn from memory 1. C a l l up in your mind's eye an image of a person—perhaps someone from the past or a person you know now. Or you may recall a d r a w i n g y o u did in the past or a photograph of a person well known to you. 2. To the best of your ability, make a drawing of that person. Y o u may draw just the head, a half-figure, or the whole figure. 3. W h e n y o u have finished, title, sign, and date your draw- ing. Pre-instruction drawing #3: Your hand 1. Seat yourself at a table to draw. 2. If y o u are right-handed, draw your left hand in whatever position y o u choose. If y o u are left-handed, draw your right hand. 3. T i t l e , date and sign your drawing. When you have finished the pre-instruction drawings: Be sure that y o u have titled, signed, and dated each of the three drawings. S o m e of my students have enjoyed writing a few c o m m e n t s on the back of each drawing, noting what is pleasing and what is perhaps displeasing, what seemed easy and what s e e m e d difficult in the process of drawing. You'll find these comments interesting to read later on. Spread the three drawings on a table and look at them closely. If I were there with you, I w o u l d be looking for small areas in the drawings that show y o u w e r e observing care- f u l l y — p e r h a p s the way a collar turns or a beautifully observed curve of an eyebrow. O n c e I encounter such signs of careful seeing, I know the person will learn to draw well. You, on the other hand, may find nothing admirable and perhaps dismiss the drawings as quot;childishquot; and quot;amateurish.quot; Please r e m e m b e r that these drawings are made before instruction. W o u l d y o u expect yourself to solve problems in algebra with- 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
  • 37. out any instruction? On the other hand, you may be surprised and pleased with parts of your drawings, perhaps especially the draw- ing of your own hand. The reason for doing the memory drawing I'm sure that drawing a person from m e m o r y was v e r y difficult for you, and rightfully so. E v e n a trained artist w o u l d find it diffi- cult to draw a person from memory. Visual information from the real world is rich, complicated, and u n i q u e to each thing we see. Visual m e m o r y is necessarily simplified, generalized, and abbre- viated—frustratingly so for artists, who often have only a limited repertoire of memorized images. quot; T h e n w h y do it?quot; y o u may well ask. T h e reason is simply this: D r a w i n g a person from m e m o r y brings forth a memorized set of symbols, practiced over and over during childhood. W h i l e d o i n g the d r a w i n g from memory, can you recall that y o u r hand seemed to have a mind of its own? Y o u knew that you weren't m a k i n g the image y o u wanted to, but y o u couldn't keep your hand from m a k i n g those simplified s h a p e s — perhaps the nose shape, for example. T h i s is the so-called quot; s y m - bol systemquot; of children's drawing, m e m o r i z e d by countless repetitions during early childhood. You'll learn more about this in Chapter Five. Now, compare your Self-Portrait with your m e m o r y drawing. Do y o u see the symbols repeated in both d r a w i n g s — t h a t is, are the eyes (or the nose or mouth) similar in shape, or e v e n i d e n t i - cal? If so, this indicates that y o u r s y m b o l system was controlling your hand even when you were observing the actual shapes in the mirror. The symbol system of childhood T h i s quot;tyrannyquot; of the s y m b o l system explains in large part w h y people untrained in d r a w i n g continue to p r o d u c e quot;childishquot; drawings right into adulthood and even old age. W h a t y o u will learn from me is how to set y o u r s y m b o l system aside and a c c u - rately draw what y o u see. T h i s training in perceptual skills is the T H E D R A W I N G EXERCISES: O N E STEP AT A T I M E
  • 38. rockbottom quot; A B C quot; of drawing, necessarily—or at least ideally— learned before progressing to imaginative drawing, painting, and sculpture. W i t h this information about the symbol system in mind, you may want to add a few more notes on the back of your drawings. T h e n , put all three drawings away for safekeeping. Do not look at t h e m again until after y o u have c o m p l e t e d my course and have learned to see and draw. Student showing: A preview of before-and-after drawings N o w I w o u l d like to show y o u some drawings done by my stu- dents. T h e drawings show typical changes in students' drawing 18 T H E NEW D R A W I N G O N T H E R I G H T SIDE O F T H E BRAIN
  • 39. T h e drawings on this page and the following page show Before-and-After drawings of an entire five-day class, held in Seattle, August 4,1997, to August 8,1997. T H E D R A W I N G EXERCISES: O N E STEP AT A T I M E 19
  • 40. Drawings from the five-day Seattle class, continued. 20 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
  • 41. quot;The art of archery is not an ath- ability from the first lesson (before instruction) to the last lesson. letic ability mastered more or less Most of these students attended five-day workshops, eight hours through primarily physical prac- a day for the five days. Both the Pre-instruction and Post-instruc- tice, but rather a skill with its ori- tion drawings are self-portraits, drawn by students o b s e r v i n g gin in mental exercise and with its their own images in mirrors. As you can see, the Before-and-After object consisting in mentally hit- ting the mark. drawings in the student examples demonstrate that the students have transformed their ways of seeing and drawing. T h e changes quot;Therefore, the archer is basically aiming for himself. Through this, are significant enough that it almost seems as though two differ- perhaps, he will succeed in hitting ent persons have done the drawings. the target—his essential self.quot; Learning to perceive is the basic skill that the students acquired. — Herrigel T h e change you see in their ability to draw possibly reflects an equally significant change in their ability to see. Regard the draw- ings from that standpoint: as a visible record of the students' improvement in perceptual skills. On pages 19-20 I present B e f o r e - a n d - A f t e r drawings by an entire class, a group of adult students in Seattle, Washington. Looking at the quot;Beforequot; drawings, you will see that students came to the five-day class with different levels of existing drawing skills and backgrounds in art. T h e quot;Afterquot; drawings, done five days later, however, show a remarkably consistent high level of skills. T h i s overall success rate, I believe, demonstrates our goal with every group: that every student will gain high-level drawing skills regardless of their existing (or non-existing) skill level. Expressing yourself in drawing: The nonverbal language of art T h e purpose of this book is to teach you basic skills in seeing and drawing. T h e purpose of this book is not to teach y o u to express yourself, but instead to provide you with the skills that will release you from stereotypic expression. T h i s release in turn w i l l o p e n the way for you to express y o u r i n d i v i d u a l i t y — y o u r essential uniqueness—in your own way, using y o u r o w n particular d r a w i n g style. If, for a moment, we could regard your handwriting as a form of expressive drawing, we could say that you are already express- ing yourself with a fundamental element of art: line. 21 T H E D R A W I N G EXERCISES: O N E STEP AT A T I M E
  • 42. On a sheet of paper, right in the middle of the sheet, write your o w n name the way you usually sign your name. N e x t , regard y o u r signature from the following point of view: you are looking at a d r a w i n g w h i c h is y o u r original creation—shaped, it is true, by the cultural influences of y o u r life, but aren't the creations of every artist shaped by such influences? E v e r y time you write your name, you have expressed yourself through the use of line. Your signature, quot;drawnquot; many times over, is expressive of you, just as Picasso's line is expressive of him. T h e line can be quot;readquot; because, in writing y o u r name, you have used the nonverbal language of art. Let's try reading a line. T h e r e are signatures in the margin. A l l are the same name: Luther Gibson. T e l l me, what is the first Luther Gibson like? Y o u w o u l d probably agree that L u t h e r G i b s o n is more likely to be extroverted than introverted, more likely to wear bright col- ors than subtle ones, and, at least superficially, likely to be outgo- ing, talkative, even dramatic. Of course, these assumptions may or m a y not be correct, but the point is that this is how most people w o u l d read the nonverbal expression of the signature, because that's what Luther Gibson is (nonverbally) saying. Let's look at the second Luther Gibson in the margin. N o w , look at the third signature. H o w would you describe him? A n d another, the fourth signature. A n d the last signature? H o w would you read that? N o w regard y o u r o w n signature and respond to the nonverbal message of its line. Write your name in three different ways, each time r e s p o n d i n g to the message. N e x t , think back on how y o u responded differently to each of these signatures; recall that the n a m e that was formed by the quot;drawingsquot; did not change. What, then, were y o u responding to? 22 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
  • 43. You were seeing and responding to the felt, individual q u a l i - ties of each quot;drawnquot; line or set of lines. You responded to the felt speed of the line, the size and spacing of the marks, the m u s c l e tension or lack of tension. A l l of that is precisely c o m m u n i c a t e d by the line, the directional pattern or lack of pattern—in other words, by the w h o l e signatures and all of their parts at o n c e . A person's signature is an individual expression so u n i q u e to the writer that it is identified legally as b e i n g quot; o w n e d quot; by that single person and none other. Your signature, however, does more than identify you. It also expresses you and your individuality, y o u r creativity. Y o u r signa- ture is true to yourself. In this sense, y o u already speak the n o n - verbal language of art: You are u s i n g the basic e l e m e n t of drawing, line, in an expressive way, unique to yourself. Torii Kiyotada (active 1723-1750), In the chapters to follow, therefore, we w o n ' t d w e l l on what Actor Dancing, and Torii Kiyonobu I (1664—1729), Woman Dancer (c. 1708). you can do already. Instead, the aim is to teach y o u how to see so Courtesy of T h e Metropolitan that y o u can use y o u r expressive, individual line to draw y o u r Museum of Art, Harris Brisbane perceptions. Dick Fund, 1949. Line expresses two different kinds Drawing as a mirror and metaphor for the artist of dances in the two Japanese prints. T r y to visualize each dance. T h e object of drawing is not only to show what y o u are t r y i n g to Can you hear the music in your portray, but also to show y o u . To illustrate how m u c h personal imagination? T r y to see how the style is e m b e d d e d in drawings, I wish to show y o u t w o drawings character of the line controls your response to the drawing. on page 24, done at the same time by t w o different p e o p l e — myself and artist/teacher Brian Bomeisler. We sat on either side of our model, H e a t h e r A l l a n . We w e r e d e m o n s t r a t i n g h o w to draw a profile portrait for a g r o u p of students, the same profile portrait you will learn to do in C h a p t e r N i n e . T h e materials we used were identical, and we both d r e w for the same length of time—30 to 40 minutes. A v i e w e r i m m e d i a t e l y sees that the model is the same—that is, both d r a w i n g s a c h i e v e a likeness of Heather. But Brian's portrayal expresses his response to H e a t h e r in his more quot;painterlyquot; style (meaning emphasis on shapes), and my portrayal expresses my response in my more quot;linearquot; style (emphasis on line). By l o o k i n g at my portrait of Heather, the viewer catches sight of me, and Brian's d r a w i n g provides an THE DRAWING EXERCISES: O N E STEP AT A T I M E
  • 44. insight into him. T h u s , paradoxically, the more clearly you can p e r c e i v e and draw what y o u see in the external world, the more clearly the v i e w e r can see you, and the more you can know about yourself. D r a w i n g becomes a metaphor for the artist. Because the exercises in this book focus on expanding your perceptual powers, not on techniques of drawing, your individual s t y l e — y o u r u n i q u e and valuable manner of d r a w i n g — w i l l emerge intact. T h i s is true even though the exercises concentrate on realistic drawings, which tend to quot;look alikequot; in a large sense. (This probably is true only for this century, because we are used to seeing radically different forms of art, both stylistically and culturally.) But a closer look at realistic art reveals subtle differ- ences in line style, emphasis, and intent. In this age of massive Heather by instructor Brian Bomeisler. self-expression in the arts, this more subtle communication often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. As y o u r skills in seeing increase, y o u r ability to draw what y o u see will increase, and y o u will observe y o u r style forming. G u a r d it, nurture it, and cherish it, for y o u r style expresses you. As with the Z e n master-archer, the target is yourself. Heather by the author. 24 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
  • 45. Fig. 2-2. Rembrandt Van Rijn (1606-1669), Winter Landscape (c. 1649). Courtesy of T h e Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. Rembrandt drew this tiny land- scape with a rapid calligraphic line. Through it, we sense Rem- brandt's visual and emotional response to the deeply silent win- ter scene. We see, therefore, not only the landscape; we see through the landscape to Rembrandt him- self. Artists are known by their unique line qualities, and experts in draw- ing often base their authentication A quot;boldquot; line. of drawings on these known line qualities. Styles of line have actu- ally been put into named cate- gories. T h e r e are quite a few: the quot;bold line;quot; the quot;broken linequot; (sometimes called quot;the line that repeats itselfquot;); the quot;pure linequot;— thin and precise, sometimes called A quot;brokenquot; line. quot;the Ingres linequot; after the 19th cen- tury French artist Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres; the quot;lost-and- found line,quot; which starts out dark, fades away, then becomes dark again. See samples in figure 2-3. A quot;purequot; line. Beginning students most often admire drawings done in a rapid, self-confident style—the quot;boldquot; line that is rather like Picasso's, in fact. But an important point to remember is that every style of line is valued, one not more than another. A quot;lost-and-foundquot; line. Fig. 2-3. T H E D R A W I N G EXERCISES: O N E STEP AT A T I M E
  • 46. H ow T h a t remains the DOES T H E H U M A N BRAIN WORK? m o s t baffling and e l u s i v e of all q u e s t i o n s h a v i n g to do w i t h h u m a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g . D e s p i t e c e n t u r i e s o f s t u d y and t h o u g h t and the a c c e l e r a t i n g rate of k n o w l e d g e in recent years, the brain still e n g e n d e r s awe and w o n d e r at its marvelous capa- bilities—many of which we simply take for granted. Scientists have targeted visual perception in particular with highly precise studies, and yet vast mysteries still exist. T h e most o r d i n a r y activities are awe-inspiring. For e x a m p l e , in a recent contest, p e o p l e w e r e shown a p h o t o g r a p h of six mothers and their six children, arranged r a n d o m l y in a group. Contestants, strangers to the p h o t o g r a p h e d group, w e r e asked to link the six m o t h e r - a n d - c h i l d pairs. Forty p e o p l e responded, and each had paired all of the mothers and children correctly. To think of the c o m p l e x i t y of that task is to make one's head quot;Few people realize what an aston- spin. O u r faces are m o r e alike than unlike: t w o eyes, a nose, a ishing achievement it is to be able to see at all. T h e main contribution of mouth, hair, and two ears, all more or less the same size and in the the new field of artificial intelli- same places on o u r heads. T e l l i n g two people apart requires fine gence has been not so much to solve discriminations beyond the capability of nearly all computers, as these problems of information han- I mentioned in the Introduction. In this contest, participants had dling as to show what tremendously difficult problems they are. When to distinguish each adult from all the others and estimate, using one reflects on the number of com- even finer discriminations, which child's features/head- putations that must have to be car- s h a p e / e x p r e s s i o n best fitted with which adult. T h e fact that p e o - ried out before one can recognize ple can a c c o m p l i s h this astounding feat and not realize how even such an everyday scene as another person crossing the street, astounding it is forms, I think, a measure of our underestimation one is left with a feeling of amaze- of our visual abilities. ment that such an extraordinary A n o t h e r extraordinary activity is drawing. As far as we know, series of detailed operations can be of all the creatures on this planet, human beings are the only ones accomplished so effortlessly in such a short space of time.quot; w h o draw images of things and persons in their environment. M o n k e y s and elephants have been persuaded to paint and draw F. H. C. Crick, quot;Thinking about the Brain,quot; in The Brain, San Francisco: and their artworks have been exhibited and sold. A n d , indeed, A Scientific American Book, W. H. these works do seem to have expressive content, but they are Freeman, 1979, p. 130. never realistic images of the animals' perceptions. Animals do not do still-life, landscape, or portrait drawing. So unless there is s o m e m o n k e y that we don't k n o w about out there in the forest d r a w i n g pictures of other monkeys, we can assume that drawing 28 T H E NEW D R A W I N G O N T H E R I G H T SIDE O F T H E BRAIN
  • 47. perceived images is an activity confined to human beings and made possible by our human brain. Both sides of your brain Seen from above, the human brain resembles the halves of a w a l - nut—two similar appearing, c o n v o l u t e d , r o u n d e d halves c o n - nected at the center ( F i g u r e 3-1). T h e t w o halves are c a l l e d the quot;left hemispherequot; and the quot;right hemisphere.quot; T h e left hemisphere controls the right side of the body; the Fig. 3-1. right hemisphere controls the left side. If y o u suffer a stroke or accidental brain damage to the left half of y o u r brain, for e x a m - ple, the right half of your body will be most seriously affected and vice versa. As part of this crossing over of the nerve pathways, the left hand is controlled by the right hemisphere; the right hand, by the left hemisphere, as shown in Figure 3-2. The double brain With the exception of human beings and possibly songbirds, the greater apes, and certain other mammals, the cerebral h e m i - spheres (the two halves of the brain) of Earth's creatures are Fig. 3-2. T h e crossover connections of left hand to right hemisphere, right hand to left hemisphere. YOUR BRAIN: T H E R I G H T A N D L E F T OF IT 29
  • 48. essentially alike, or symmetrical, both in appearance and in func- tion. H u m a n cerebral hemispheres, and those of the exceptions noted above, d e v e l o p a s y m m e t r i c a l l y in terms of function. T h e most noticeable outward effect of the a s y m m e t r y of the human brain is handedness, which seems to be unique to human beings and possibly chimpanzees. For the past t w o hundred years or so, scientists have known that language and language-related capabilities are mainly l o c a t e d in the left hemispheres of the majority of individuals— approximately 98 percent of right-handers and about two-thirds of left-handers. K n o w l e d g e that the left half of the brain is spe- cialized for language functions was largely derived from observa- tions of the effects of brain injuries. It was apparent, for example, that an injury to the left side of the brain was more likely to cause a loss of speech capability than an injury of equal severity to the right side. B e c a u s e s p e e c h and language are such vitally important human capabilities, nineteenth-century scientists named the left h e m i s p h e r e the quot;dominant,quot; quot;leading,quot; or quot;majorquot; hemisphere. Scientists named the right brain the quot;subordinatequot; or quot;minorquot; h e m i s p h e r e . T h e general view, which prevailed until fairly Fig. 3-3. A diagram of one half of a human brain, showing the corpus callosum and related commissures. 3O 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
  • 49. recently, was that the right half of the brain was less advanced, less e v o l v e d than the left half—a mute twin with l o w e r - l e v e l capabilities, directed and carried along by the verbal left h e m i - sphere. E v e n as late as 1961, neuroscientist J. Z. Y o u n g c o u l d still wonder whether the right hemisphere might be m e r e l y a quot;vestige,quot; though he allowed that he would rather keep than lose his. [Quoted from The Psychology of Left and Right, M. C o r b a l i s and Ivan Beale, Hillsdale, NJ: L a w r e n c e E r l b a u m Associates, 1976, p. 101.] A long-time focus of neuroscientific study has been the func- tions, unknown until fairly recently, of a thick nerve cable c o m - posed of millions of fibers that c r o s s - c o n n e c t the two cerebral hemispheres. T h i s c o n n e c t i n g cable, the corpus callosum, is shown in the diagrammatic d r a w i n g of half of a human brain, Figure 3-3. Because of its large size, tremendous number of nerve fibers, and strategic location as a c o n n e c t o r of the t w o h e m i - spheres, the corpus callosum gave all the appearances of being an important structure. Yet enigmatically, available e v i d e n c e indi- cated that the corpus callosum c o u l d be c o m p l e t e l y severed without observable significant effect. T h r o u g h a series of animal studies during the 1950s, c o n d u c t e d mainly at the C a l i f o r n i a Institute of T e c h n o l o g y by R o g e r W. S p e r r y and his students, Ronald Myers, C o l w y n Trevarthen, and others, it was established that a main function of the corpus callosum was to provide c o m - munication between the two hemispheres and to allow transmis- sion of m e m o r y and learning. F u r t h e r m o r e , it was d e t e r m i n e d that if the connecting cable was severed the two brain halves c o n - tinued to function independently, thus e x p l a i n i n g in part the apparent lack of effect on behavior and functioning. T h e n during the 1960s, extension of similar studies to human neurosurgical patients provided further information on the func- tion of the corpus callosum and caused scientists to postulate a revised v i e w of the relative capabilities of the halves of the human brain: that both hemispheres are involved in higher c o g n i - tive functioning, with each half of the brain specialized in c o m - plementary fashion for different modes of thinking, both h i g h l y complex. YOUR BRAIN: T H E R I G H T A N D L E F T OF IT
  • 50. B e c a u s e this c h a n g e d p e r c e p t i o n of the brain has important As journalist Maya Pines stated in her 1982 book, The Brain Changers, implications for education in general and for learning to draw in quot;All roads lead to Dr. Roger particular, I'll briefly describe some of the research often referred Sperry, a California Institute of to as the quot;split-brainquot; studies. T h e research was mainly carried Technology psychobiology profes- out at C a l T e c h by S p e r r y and his students M i c h a e l G a z z a n i g a , sor who has the gift of making—or provoking—important discover- Jerre Levy, C o l w y n Trevarthen, Robert N e b e s , and others. ies.quot; T h e investigation centered on a small g r o u p of individuals w h o c a m e to be k n o w n as the commissurotomy, or quot;split-brain,quot; patients. T h e y are persons w h o had been greatly disabled by quot;The main theme to emerge . . . is that there appear to be two epileptic seizures that involved both hemispheres. As a last-resort modes of thinking, verbal and measure, after all other r e m e d i e s had failed, the incapacitating nonverbal, represented rather spread of seizures b e t w e e n the t w o h e m i s p h e r e s was controlled separately in left and right hemi- by means of an operation, performed by Phillip Vogel and Joseph spheres, respectively, and that our educational system, as well as sci- Bogen, that severed the corpus callosum and the related commis- ence in general, tends to neglect sures, or cross-connections, thus isolating one hemisphere from the nonverbal form of intellect. the other. T h e operation y i e l d e d the hoped-for result: T h e What it comes down to is that patients' seizures w e r e c o n t r o l l e d and they regained health. In modern society discriminates against the right hemisphere.quot; spite of the radical nature of the surgery, the patients' outward appearance, manner, and coordination were little affected; and to — Roger W. Sperry quot;Lateral Specialization casual observation their ordinary daily behavior s e e m e d little of Cerebral Function in changed. the Surgically Separated T h e C a l T e c h group subsequently worked with these patients Hemispheres,quot; 1973 in a series of i n g e n i o u s and subtle tests that revealed the sepa- rated functions of the t w o hemispheres. T h e tests provided sur- prising new e v i d e n c e that each hemisphere, in a sense, perceives its o w n r e a l i t y — o r perhaps better stated, perceives reality in its o w n way. T h e verbal half of the brain—the left half—dominates most of the time in individuals with intact brains as well as in the split-brain patients. U s i n g i n g e n i o u s procedures, however, the C a l T e c h g r o u p tested the patients' separated right hemispheres and found e v i d e n c e that the right, nonspeaking half of the brain also experiences, responds with feelings, and processes informa- tion on its own. In o u r o w n brains, w i t h intact corpus callosa, communication between the hemispheres melds or reconciles the two perceptions, thus preserving our sense of being one person, a unified being. In addition to s t u d y i n g the r i g h t / l e f t separation of inner 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
  • 51. quot;The data indicate that the mute, mental experience created by the surgical p r o c e d u r e , the scien- minor hemisphere is specialized tists examined the different ways in w h i c h the t w o h e m i s p h e r e s for Gestalt perception, being pri- process information. E v i d e n c e a c c u m u l a t e d s h o w i n g that the marily a synthesist in dealing with mode of the left hemisphere is verbal and analytic, w h i l e that of information input. T h e speaking, the right is nonverbal and global. N e w e v i d e n c e found by Jerre major hemisphere, in contrast, seems to operate in a more logical, L e v y in her doctoral studies showed that the mode of processing analytic, computer-like fashion. Its used by the right brain is rapid, c o m p l e x , whole-pattern, spatial, language is inadequate for the and p e r c e p t u a l — p r o c e s s i n g that is not o n l y different from but rapid complex syntheses achieved comparable in c o m p l e x i t y to the left brain's verbal, analytic by the minor hemisphere.quot; mode. Additionally, L e v y found indications that the two modes of —Jerre Levy and processing tend to interfere with each other, preventing maximal R. W. Sperry 1968 performance; and she suggested that this may be a rationale for the evolutionary d e v e l o p m e n t of a s y m m e t r y in the human brain—as a means of keeping the two different modes of process- ing in two different hemispheres. Based on the e v i d e n c e of the split-brain studies, the v i e w came gradually that both hemispheres use high human-level c o g - nitive modes which, though different, involve thinking, reasoning, and complex mental functioning. O v e r the past decade, since the first statement in 1968 by L e v y and Sperry, scientists have found extensive supporting e v i d e n c e for this view, not o n l y in brain- injured patients but also in individuals with normal, intact brains. A few examples of the specially designed tests devised for use with the split-brain patients might illustrate the separate reality perceived by each hemisphere and the special modes of process- ing employed. In one test, two different pictures were flashed for an instant on a screen, with a split-brain patient's eyes fixed on a midpoint so that scanning both images was prevented. E a c h hemisphere, then, received different pictures. A picture of a Fig. 3-4. A diagram of the spoon on the left side of the screen went to the right brain; a pic- apparatus used to test visual- tactile associations by split-brain ture of a knife on the right side of the screen w e n t to the verbal patients. Adapted from Michael left brain, as in F i g u r e 3-4. W h e n questioned, the patient gave S. Gazzaniga, quot;The Split Brain different responses. If asked to name what had been flashed on the in Man.quot; screen, the confidently articulate left h e m i s p h e r e caused the patient to say, quot;knife.quot; T h e n the patient was asked to reach behind a curtain with his left hand (right hemisphere) and pick out what had been flashed on the screen. T h e patient then picked out a YOUR BRAIN: T H E R I G H T A N D L E F T OF IT 33
  • 52. spoon from a g r o u p of objects that included a spoon and a knife. If the e x p e r i m e n t e r asked the patient to identify what he held in his hand behind the curtain, the patient might look confused for a m o m e n t and then say, quot;A knife.quot; T h e right hemisphere, knowing that the answer was w r o n g but not having sufficient words to cor- rect the articulate left hemisphere, continued the dialogue by causing the patient to m u t e l y shake his head. At that, the verbal left hemisphere wondered aloud, quot; W h y am I shaking my head?quot; In another test that demonstrated the right brain to be better at spatial problems, a male patient was given several wooden shapes to arrange to match a certain design. His attempts with his right hand (left hemisphere) failed again and again. His left hand kept t r y i n g to help. T h e right hand w o u l d knock the left hand away; and finally, the man had to sit on his left hand to keep it away from the p u z z l e . W h e n the scientists finally suggested that he use both hands, the spatially quot;smartquot; left hand had to shove the spatially quot;dumbquot; right hand away to keep it from interfering. As a result of these extraordinary findings over the past fifteen years, we now know that despite our normal feeling that we are o n e p e r s o n — a single b e i n g — o u r brains are double, each half with its o w n way of knowing, its o w n way of perceiving external reality. In a manner of speaking, each of us has two minds, two consciousnesses, m e d i a t e d and integrated by the c o n n e c t i n g cable of nerve fibers between the hemispheres. We have learned that the two hemispheres can work together in a n u m b e r of ways. S o m e t i m e s they c o o p e r a t e with each half contributing its special abilities and taking on the particular part of the task that is suited to its mode of information processing. At other times, the hemispheres can work singly, with one mode m o r e or less quot;leading,quot; the other more or less quot;following.quot; A n d it seems that the hemispheres may also conflict, one half attempting to do what the other half quot;knowsquot; it can do better. Furthermore, it m a y be that e a c h h e m i s p h e r e has a way of keeping k n o w l e d g e from the other hemisphere. It may be, as the saying goes, that the right hand truly does not know what the left hand is doing. 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
  • 53. Nasrudin was sitting with a friend The double reality of split-brain patients as dusk fell. quot;Light a candle,quot; the man said, quot;because it is dark now. But what, you might ask, does all this have to do with l e a r n i n g T h e r e is one just by your left side.quot; how to draw? Research on b r a i n - h e m i s p h e r e aspects of visual quot;How can I tell my right from my perception indicates that ability to draw may depend on whether left in the dark, you fool?quot; asked you can access at conscious level the quot;minor,quot; or subdominant, R- the Mulla. mode. H o w does this help a person to draw? It appears that the — Indries Shah right brain perceives—processes visual information—in a m o d e The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla suitable for drawing, and that the left-brain m o d e of functioning Nasrudin may be inappropriate for c o m p l e x realistic d r a w i n g of perceived forms. Language clues In hindsight, we realize that human beings must have had s o m e sense of the differences b e t w e e n the halves of the brain. L a n - guages worldwide contain numerous words and phrases suggest- ing that the left side of a person has different characteristics from the right side. T h e s e terms indicate not just differences in l o c a - tion but differences in fundamental traits or qualities. For e x a m - ple, if we want to compare unlike ideas, we say, quot; O n the one hand . . . on the other h a n d . . . quot; quot;A left-handed compliment,quot; meaning a sly dig, indicates the differing qualities we assign to left and right. Keep in mind, however, that these phrases generally speak of hands, but because of the crossover c o n n e c t i o n s of hands and hemispheres, the terms can be inferred also to mean the h e m i - spheres that control the hands. Therefore, the examples of famil- iar terms in the next section refer specifically to the left and right hands but in reality also refer inferentially to the o p p o s i t e brain halves—the left hand c o n t r o l l e d by the right h e m i s p h e r e , the right hand by the left hemisphere. The bias of language and customs Words and phrases c o n c e r n i n g concepts of left and right p e r m e - ate our language and thinking. T h e right hand (meaning also the left hemisphere) is strongly c o n n e c t e d with what is good, just, moral, and proper. T h e left hand (therefore the right hemisphere) YOUR BRAIN: T H E R I G H T A N D L E F T O F I T 35
  • 54. is strongly linked with concepts of anarchy and feelings that are out of conscious c o n t r o l — s o m e h o w bad, immoral, and danger- ous. Until v e r y recently, the ancient bias against the left h a n d / right h e m i s p h e r e sometimes even led parents and teachers of left-handed children to try to force the children to use their right hands for writing, eating, and so on—a practice that often caused problems lasting into adulthood. T h r o u g h o u t human history, terms with connotations of good for the right h a n d / l e f t hemisphere and connotations of bad for the left h a n d / r i g h t hemisphere appear in most languages around the world. T h e Latin word for left is sinister, meaning quot;bad,quot; quot;omi- nous,quot; quot;treacherous.quot; T h e Latin word for right is dexter, from w h i c h c o m e s our word quot;dexterity,quot; meaning quot;skillquot; or quot;adroit- ness.quot; T h e French word for l e f t — r e m e m b e r that the left hand is c o n n e c t e d to the right h e m i s p h e r e — i s gauche, meaning quot;awk- ward,quot; from which comes our word quot;gawky.quot; T h e French word for right is droit, meaning quot;good,quot; quot;just,quot; or quot;proper.quot; In E n g l i s h , left c o m e s from the A n g l o - S a x o n lyft, meaning quot;weakquot; or quot;worthless.quot; T h e left hand of most right-handed people is in fact weaker than the right, but the original word also implied lack of moral strength. T h e derogatory meaning of left may refl- ect a prejudice of the right-handed majority against a minority of p e o p l e w h o w e r e different, that is, left-handed. Reinforcing this bias, the A n g l o - S a x o n word for right, reht (or riht), meant quot;straightquot; or quot;just.quot; From reht and its Latin cognate rectus we derived our words quot;correctquot; and quot;rectitude.quot; T h e s e ideas are also reflected in our political vocabulary. T h e political right, for instance, admires national power, is conserva- tive, and resists change. T h e political left, conversely, admires individual autonomy and promotes change, even radical change. At their extremes, the political right is fascist, the political left is anarchist. In the context of cultural customs, the place of honor at a for- mal dinner is on the host's right-hand side. T h e groom stands on the right in the marriage ceremony, the bride on the left—a non- 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
  • 55. Parallel Ways of Knowing verbal message of the relative status of the t w o participants. We shake hands with our right hands; it seems s o m e h o w w r o n g to intuition intellect convergent divergent shake hands with our left hands. digital analogic U n d e r quot;left-handed,quot; the d i c t i o n a r y lists as s y n o n y m s secondary primary quot;clumsy,quot; quot;awkward,quot; quot;insincere,quot; quot;malicious.quot; S y n o n y m s for abstract concrete quot;right-handed,quot; however, are quot;correct,quot; quot;indispensable,quot; and free directed propositional imaginative quot;reliable.quot; N o w , it's important to remember that these terms were analytic relational all made up, when languages began, by some persons' left h e m i - lineal nonlineal spheres—the left brain calling the right bad names! A n d the right rational intuitive brain—labeled, pinpointed, and b u t t o n h o l e d — w a s w i t h o u t a sequential multiple language of its own to defend itself. analytic holistic objective subjective successive simultaneous Two ways of knowing — J . E. Bogen quot;Some Educational A l o n g with the opposite connotations of left and right in our lan- Aspects of Hemisphere guage, concepts of the duality, or two-sidedness, of human nature Specializationquot; in UCLA and thought have been postulated by philosophers, teachers, and Educator, 1972 scientists from many different times and cultures. T h e key idea is that there are two parallel quot;ways of knowing.quot; T h e Duality of Yin and Yang You probably are familiar w i t h these ideas. As w i t h the Yin Yang left/right terms, they are e m b e d d e d in our languages and c u l - masculine feminine tures. T h e main divisions are, for example, between thinking and negative positive moon sun feeling, intellect and intuition, objective analysis and subjective darkness light insight. Political writers say that p e o p l e g e n e r a l l y a n a l y z e the yielding aggressive good and bad points of an issue and then vote on their quot;gutquot; feel- left side right side ings. T h e history of s c i e n c e is r e p l e t e with a n e c d o t e s about cold warm researchers w h o try repeatedly to figure out a p r o b l e m and then autumn spring winter summer have a dream in w h i c h the answer presents itself as a m e t a p h o r conscious unconscious intuitively comprehended by the scientist. T h e statement on page right brain left brain 39 by Henri Poincare is a vivid example of the process. emotion reason In another context, p e o p l e o c c a s i o n a l l y say about s o m e o n e , — I Ching or Book of Changes, quot; T h e words sound okay, but s o m e t h i n g tells me not to trust him a Chinese Taoist work (or her).quot; Or quot;I can't tell y o u in words exactly what it is, but there is something about that person that I like (or dislike).quot; T h e s e statements are intuitive observations that both sides of the brain are at work, processing the same information in t w o different ways. YOUR BRAIN: T H E R I G H T A N D L E F T O F I T 37
  • 56. The two modes of information processing Dr. J. William Bergquist, a mathe- matician and specialist in the com- Inside each of our skulls, therefore, we have a double brain with puter language known as A P L , proposed in a paper given at Snow- t w o ways of k n o w i n g . T h e dualities and differing characteristics mass, Colorado, in 1977 that we can of the t w o halves of the brain and body, intuitively expressed in look forward to computers that o u r language, have a real basis in the p h y s i o l o g y of the human combine digital and analog func- brain. B e c a u s e the c o n n e c t i n g fibers are intact in normal brains, tions in one machine. Dr. Bergquist dubbed his machine quot;The Bifur- we rarely experience at a conscious level conflicts revealed by the cated Computer.quot; He stated that tests on split-brain patients. such a computer would function N e v e r t h e l e s s , as each of our hemispheres gathers in the same similarly to the two halves of the human brain. sensory information, each half of our brains may handle the information in different ways: T h e task may be divided between the hemispheres, each handling the part suited to its style. Or one quot;The left hemisphere analyzes over hemisphere, often the dominant left, will quot;take overquot; and inhibit time, whereas the right hemisphere the other half. T h e left h e m i s p h e r e analyzes, abstracts, counts, synthesizes over space.quot; marks time, plans step-by-step procedures, verbalizes, and makes -Jerre Levy rational statements based on logic. For example, quot; G i v e n numbers quot;Psychobiological Implications of Bilateral a, b, and c — w e can say that if a is greater than b, and b is greater Asymmetry,quot; 1974 than c, then a is necessarily greater than c.quot; T h i s statement illus- trates the l e f t - h e m i s p h e r e mode: the analytic, verbal, figuring- out, sequential, symbolic, linear, objective mode. On the other hand, we have a second way of knowing: the right-hemisphere mode. We quot;seequot; things in this mode that may be i m a g i n a r y — e x i s t i n g only in the mind's eye. In the example given just above, did you perhaps visualize the quot;a, b, cquot; relationship? In visual m o d e , we see h o w things exist in space and how the parts go together to make up the whole. Using the right hemisphere, we understand metaphors, we dream, we create new combinations of ideas. W h e n s o m e t h i n g is too c o m p l e x to describe, we can make gestures that c o m m u n i c a t e . P s y c h o l o g i s t D a v i d G a l i n has a favorite example: try to describe a spiral staircase without making a spiral gesture. A n d u s i n g the r i g h t - h e m i s p h e r e mode, we are quot;Every creative act involves . . . able to draw pictures of our perceptions. a new innocence of perception, liberated from the cataract of My students report that l e a r n i n g to draw makes them feel accepted belief.quot; m o r e quot;artisticquot; and therefore m o r e creative. O n e definition of a — Arthur Koestler creative person is s o m e o n e w h o can process in new ways infor- The Sleepwalkers, 1959 mation d i r e c t l y at h a n d — t h e ordinary sensory data available to 38 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
  • 57. T h e nineteenth-century mathe- all of us. A writer uses words, a musician notes, an artist visual matician Henri Poincare described perceptions, and all need some k n o w l e d g e of the techniques of a sudden intuition that gave him their crafts. But a creative individual intuitively sees possibilities the solution to a difficult problem: for transforming ordinary data into a n e w creation, transcendent quot;One evening, contrary to my over the mere raw materials. custom, I drank black coffee and T i m e and again, creative individuals have r e c o g n i z e d the could not sleep. Ideas rose in crowds; I felt them collide until differences b e t w e e n the two processes of gathering data and pairs interlocked, so to speak, transforming those data creatively. N e u r o s c i e n c e is now i l l u m i - making a stable combination.quot; nating that dual process. I propose that getting to know both sides [That strange phenomenon pro- of your brain is an important step in liberating y o u r creative vided the intuition that solved the potential. troublesome problem. Poincare continued,] quot;It seems, in such cases, that one is present at his own The Ah-ha! response unconscious work, made partially perceptible to the overexcited con- In the right-hemisphere mode of information processing, we use sciousness, yet without having intuition and have leaps of insight—moments when quot; e v e r y t h i n g changed its nature. T h e n we vaguely comprehend what distin- seems to fall into p l a c e quot; w i t h o u t figuring things o u t in a logical guishes the two mechanisms or, if order. W h e n this occurs, p e o p l e often spontaneously e x c l a i m , you wish, the working methods of quot;I've got itquot; or quot;Ah, yes, now I see the picture.quot; T h e classic e x a m - the two egos.quot; ple of this kind of exclamation is the exultant cry, quot;Eureka!quot; (I have found it!) attributed to A r c h i m e d e s . A c c o r d i n g to the story, A r c h i m e d e s e x p e r i e n c e d a flash of insight while bathing that enabled him to use the w e i g h t of displaced water to d e t e r m i n e whether a certain crown was pure gold or alloyed with silver. This, then, is the right-hemisphere mode: the intuitive, sub- jective, relational, holistic, time-free mode. T h i s is also the dis- dained, weak, left-handed m o d e that in our culture has been generally ignored. For example, most of our educational system has been designed to cultivate the verbal, rational, o n - t i m e left hemisphere, while half of the brain of e v e r y student is v i r t u a l l y neglected. Half a brain is better than none: A whole brain would be better With their sequenced verbal and numerical classes, the schools you and I attended were not e q u i p p e d to teach the r i g h t - h e m i - sphere mode. T h e right hemisphere is not, after all, u n d e r v e r y 39 YOUR BRAIN: T H E R I G H T A N D L E F T O F I T
  • 58. quot;Approaching forty, I had a singular g o o d verbal control. Y o u can't reason with it. Y o u can't get it to dream in which I almost grasped make l o g i c a l propositions such as quot; T h i s is g o o d and that is bad, the meaning and understood the for a, b, and c reasons.quot; It is m e t a p h o r i c a l l y left-handed, with all nature of what it is that wastes in the ancient connotations of that characteristic. T h e right h e m i - wasted time.quot; sphere is not good at s e q u e n c i n g — d o i n g the first thing first, tak- — Cyril Connolly i n g the next step, then the next. It m a y start a n y w h e r e , or take The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinuris, 1945 e v e r y t h i n g at once. F u r t h e r m o r e , the right h e m i s p h e r e hasn't a g o o d sense of time and doesn't seem to c o m p r e h e n d what is meant by the term quot;wasting time,quot; as does the good, sensible left Many creative people seem to have intuitive awareness of the sepa- hemisphere. T h e right brain is not good at categorizing and nam- rate-sided brain. For example, ing. It seems to regard the thing as-it-is, at the present moment of Rudyard Kipling wrote the follow- the present; seeing things for what they simply are, in all of their ing poem, entitled quot;The T w o - awesome, fascinating complexity. It is not good at analyzing and Sided Man,quot; more than fifty years ago. abstracting salient characteristics. Much I owe to the lands that g r e w - Today, educators are increasingly concerned with the impor- More to the Lives that fed- tance of intuitive and creative thought. Nevertheless, school sys- But most to the Allah Who gave me tems in general are still structured in the left-hemisphere mode. Two T e a c h i n g is s e q u e n c e d : Students progress through grades one, Separate sides to my head. two, three, etc., in a linear direction. T h e main subjects learners M u c h I reflect on the G o o d and the True study are verbal and numerical: reading, writing, arithmetic. In the faiths beneath the sun N o w a d a y s , however, seats often are set circles rather than in rows. But most upon Allah Who gave me T i m e s c h e d u l e s are m o r e flexible. But learners still converge Two on quot;correctquot; answers to often-ambiguous questions. Teachers still Sides to my head, not one. I would go without shirt or shoe, give out grades that often are tied to the quot;bell curve,quot; which guar- Friend, tobacco or bread, antees that o n e - t h i r d of e v e r y g r o u p w i l l be judged quot;below Sooner than lose for a minute the average,quot; regardless of a c h i e v e m e n t . A n d e v e r y o n e senses that two something is amiss. Separate sides of my head! T h e right brain—the dreamer, the artificer, and the artist—is — Rudyard Kipling lost in o u r s c h o o l s y s t e m and goes largely untaught. We might find a few art classes, a few shop classes, s o m e t h i n g called quot;cre- ative writing,quot; and perhaps courses in music; but it's unlikely that we w o u l d find courses in imagination, in visualization, in percep- tual or spatial skills, in creativity as a separate subject, in intu- ition, in inventiveness. Yet educators value these skills and have apparently hoped that students would develop imagination, per- ception, and intuition as natural consequences of training in ver- bal, analytic skills. 40 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
  • 59. quot;To make biological survival Fortunately, such d e v e l o p m e n t often does o c c u r almost in possible, Mind at Large has to be spite of the school s y s t e m — a tribute to the survival c a p a c i t y of funneled through the reducing creative abilities. But the emphasis of o u r c u l t u r e is so strongly valve of the brain and nervous slanted toward rewarding left-brain skills that we are surely l o s - system. What comes out the other end is a measly trickle of the kind ing a v e r y large p r o p o r t i o n of the potential ability of the other of consciousness which will help us halves of our children's brains. Scientist Jerre L e v y has s a i d — to stay alive on the surface of this only partly h u m o r o u s l y — t h a t A m e r i c a n scientific training particular planet. To formulate through graduate school may e n t i r e l y destroy the right h e m i - and express the contents of this sphere. We certainly are aware of the effects of inadequate train- reduced awareness, man has invented and endlessly elaborated ing in verbal, c o m p u t a t i o n a l skills. T h e verbal left h e m i s p h e r e those symbol-systems and implicit never seems to recover fully, and the effects m a y h a n d i c a p stu- philosophies which we call dents for life. W h a t happens, then, to the right hemisphere that is languages.quot; hardly trained at all? — Aldous Huxley Perhaps now that neuroscientists have provided a conceptual The Doors of Perception base for right-brain training, we can b e g i n to build a s c h o o l s y s - tem that will teach the w h o l e brain. S u c h a s y s t e m w i l l surely Some famous individuals usually classified as left-handers: include training in d r a w i n g skills—an efficient, effective w a y to teach thinking strategies suited to the right brain. Charlie Chaplin Judy Garland T e d Williams Handedness, left or right Robert M c N a m a r a G e o r g e Burns Students ask many questions about left- and r i g h t - h a n d e d n e s s . Lewis Carroll T h i s is a good place to address the subject, before we b e g i n King George VI of Britain instruction in the basic skills of drawing. I will attempt to clarify W. C. Fields Albert Einstein only a few points, because the extensive research on handedness Billy the Kid is difficult and complicated. Queen Victoria First, classifying p e o p l e as strictly left-handed or right- Harry S. Truman handed is not quite accurate. People range from being completely Casey Stengel Charlemagne left-handed or c o m p l e t e l y r i g h t - h a n d e d to b e i n g c o m p l e t e l y Paul M c C a r t n e y ambidextrous—that is, able to do m a n y things with either hand, Pharoah Rameses II without a d e c i d e d preference. M o s t of us fall s o m e w h e r e on a Cole Porter continuum, with about 90 percent of humans preferring, more or Gerald Ford less strongly, the right hand, and 10 percent preferring the left. Cary Grant Ringo Starr T h e percentage of individuals with left-hand p r e f e r e n c e for Prince Charles handwriting seems to be rising, from about 2 p e r c e n t in 1932 to Benjamin Franklin about 11 percent in the 1980s. T h e main reason for this rise is prob- Julius Caesar Marilyn Monroe ably that teachers and parents have learned to tolerate left- George Bush YOUR BRAIN: T H E R I G H T A N D L E F T OF IT 41
  • 60. Mirror writing reverses the shape handed w r i t i n g and no longer force children to use the right of every letter and is written from hand. T h i s relatively new tolerance is fortunate, because forcible right to left—that is, backwards. c h a n g e can cause a child to have serious problems, such as stut- Only when held up to a mirror tering, right/left directional confusion, and difficulty in learning does it become legible for most readers: to read. A useful way to regard handedness is to r e c o g n i z e that hand preference is the most visible outward sign of how an individual's brain is organized. T h e r e are other outward signs: eyedness (everyone has a dominant eye, used in sighting along an edge, for e x a m p l e ) and footedness (the foot used to step off a curb or to start a d a n c e step). T h e key reason for not forcing a child to use the nonpreferred hand is that brain organization is probably g e n e t i c a l l y d e t e r m i n e d , and forcing a change works against this T h e most famous mirror-writer in natural organization. N a t u r a l preference is so strong that past history is the Italian artist, inven- efforts to c h a n g e left-handers often resulted in ambidexterity: tor, and left-hander Leonardo da Vinci. Another is Lewis Carroll, children capitulated to pressure (in the old days, even punish- left-handed author of Alice's Adven- ment) and learned to use the right hand for writing but continued tures in Wonderland and its sequel, to use the left for everything else. Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, whose mirror- M o r e o v e r , there is no acceptable reason for teachers or par- written poem is shown above. ents to force a change. Reasons proffered run from quot;Writing with Most right-handers find mirror the left hand looks so uncomfortable,quot; to quot; T h e world is set up for writing difficult, but it is quite easy right-handers and my left-handed child w o u l d be at a disadvan- for many left-handers. tage.quot; T h e s e are not g o o d reasons, and I believe they often mask T r y writing your signature in an inherent prejudice against left-handedness—a prejudice now mirror writing. rapidly disappearing, I'm happy to report. P u t t i n g prejudice aside, there are important differences between left-handers and right-handers. Left-handers are gener- ally less lateralized than right-handers. Lateralization means the d e g r e e to w h i c h specific functions are carried out almost e x c l u - sively by o n e h e m i s p h e r e . For e x a m p l e , left-handers more fre- quently process language in both hemispheres and process spatial information in both hemispheres than do right-handers. Specifi- cally, language is mediated in the left hemisphere in 90 percent of right-handers and 70 percent of left-handers. Of the remaining 10 p e r c e n t of right-handers, about 2 percent have language located in the right brain, and about 8 p e r c e n t mediate language in both hemispheres. Of the remaining 30 percent of left-handers, about V- 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 B R A I N
  • 61. Former United States Vice Presi- 15 percent have language located in the right brain, and about 15 dent Nelson Rockefeller, a changed percent mediate language in both hemispheres. N o t e that i n d i - left-hander, had difficulty reading viduals with right-hemisphere language location—termed right- prepared speeches because of a hemisphere dominance, since language dominates—often write tendency to read backward from in the quot;hookedquot; position that seems to cause teachers so m u c h right to left. T h e cause of this diffi- culty may have been his father's dismay. Scientist Jerre L e v y has p r o p o s e d that hand position in unrelenting effort to change his writing is another outward sign of brain organization. son's left-handedness. Do these differences matter? Individuals vary so m u c h that quot;Around the family dinner table, the generalizations are risky. N e v e r t h e l e s s , experts agree in general elder Mr. Rockefeller would put a that a mixture of functions in both h e m i s p h e r e s (that is, a lesser rubber band around his son's left wrist, tie a long string on it and degree of lateralization) creates the potential for conflict or inter- jerk the string whenever Nelson ference. It is true that left-handers statistically are more prone to started to eat with his left hand, the stutter and to e x p e r i e n c e the r e a d i n g difficulty called dyslexia. one he naturally favored.quot; However, other experts suggest that bilateral distribution of func- — Quoted in The Left- tions may p r o d u c e superior mental abilities. Left-handers e x c e l Handers' Handbook in mathematics, music, and chess. A n d the history of art certainly by J. Bliss and J. Morella, gives e v i d e n c e of an advantage for left-handedness: L e o n a r d o da 1980 Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael were all left-handed. Eventually, young Nelson capitulated and achieved a rather awkward ambidextrous compromise, but he suffered the consequences of his father's rigidity throughout his lifetime. Aztecs in early Mexico used the T h e Incas of ancient Peru left hand for medicine for kidney considered left-handedness a sign trouble, the right when curing the of good fortune. liver. Mayan Indians were pro-right: From The Left-Handers' Handbook, the twitching of a soothsayer's left by J. Bliss and J. Morella. leg foretold disaster. YOUR BRAIN: T H E R I G H T A N D L E F T O F I T 43
  • 62. A comparison of left-mode and right-mode characteristics Using non-verbal cognition to process Using words to name, describe, define. Nonverbal Verbal perceptions. Putting things together to form wholes. Figuring things out step-by-step and part- Analytic Synthetic by-part. Relating to things as they are, at the present Using a symbol to stand for something. For Actual, real Symbolic example, the drawn form stands for eye, moment. the sign + stands for the process of addition. Seeing likenesses among things; understand- Taking out a small bit of information and Analogic Abstract using it to represent the whole thing. ing metaphoric relationships. Without a sense of time. Keeping track of time, sequencing one thing Nontemporal Temporal after another: Doing first things first, second things second, etc. Not requiring a basis of reason or facts; will- Drawing conclusions based on reason and Rational Nonrational ingness to suspend judgment. facts. Seeing where things are in relation to other Using numbers as in counting. Spatial Digital things and how parts go together to form a whole. Making leaps of insight, often based on Drawing conclusions based on logic: one Logical Intuitive incomplete patterns, hunches, feelings, or thing following another in logical order— visual images. for example, a mathematical theorem or a well-stated argument. (meaning quot;wholisticquot;) Seeing whole things Thinking in terms of linked ideas, one Linear Holistic all at once; perceiving the overall patterns thought directly following another, often and structures, often leading to divergent leading to a convergent conclusion. conclusions. 44 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
  • 63. Sigmund Freud, Hermann von Handedness and drawing Helmholtz, and the German poet Schiller were afflicted with Does left-handedness, then, i m p r o v e a person's ability to gain right/left confusion. Freud wrote access to right-hemisphere functions such as drawing? From my to a friend: observations as a teacher, I can't say that I have n o t i c e d m u c h quot;I do not know whether it is obvious difference in ease of learning to draw b e t w e e n left- and right- to other people which is their own handers. D r a w i n g c a m e easily to me, for e x a m p l e , and I am or other's right or left. In my case, extremely right-handed—though, like many people, I have some I had to think which was my right; right/left confusion, perhaps i n d i c a t i n g bilateral functions. (A no organic feeling told me. To make sure which was my right hand person with r i g h t / l e f t confusion is one w h o says quot; T u r n left,quot; I used quickly to make a few writ- while pointing right.) But there is a point to be m a d e here. T h e ing movements.quot; process of learning to draw creates quite a lot of mental conflict. — Sigmund Freud It's possible that left-handers are more used to that kind of confl- The Origins of Psycho- ict and are therefore better able to c o p e with the discomfort it analysis creates than are fully lateralized right-handers. C l e a r l y , m u c h research is needed in this area. A less august personage had the same problem: S o m e art teachers r e c o m m e n d that right-handers shift the pencil to the left hand, presumably to have m o r e direct access to Pooh looked at his two paws. He R - m o d e . I do not agree. T h e p r o b l e m s with s e e i n g that prevent knew that one of them was the right, and he knew that when you individuals from b e i n g able to draw do not disappear s i m p l y by had decided which one of them was changing hands; the drawing is just more awkward. Awkwardness, the right, that the other one was I regret to say, is v i e w e d by some art teachers as b e i n g more c r e - the left, but he never could ative or more interesting. I think this attitude does a disservice to remember how to begin. quot;Well,quot; he said slowly . . . the student and is d e m e a n i n g to art itself. We do not v i e w a w k - ward language, for instance, or awkward s c i e n c e as b e i n g m o r e — A. A. Milne The House at Pooh Corner creative and somehow better. A small percentage of students do discover by t r y i n g to draw with the left hand that they actually draw more proficiently that way. On questioning, however, it almost always comes to light that the student has some ambidexterity or was a left-hander w h o had been pressured to change. It would not even o c c u r to a true right- hander like myself (or to a true left-hander) to draw with the less- used hand. But on the c h a n c e that a few of y o u may d i s c o v e r some previously hidden ambidexterity, I e n c o u r a g e y o u to try both hands at drawing, then settle on w h i c h e v e r hand feels the most comfortable. 45 YOUR BRAIN: THE R I G H T A N D L E F T OF IT
  • 64. Psychologist Charles T. Tart, In the chapters to follow, I will address the instructions to discussing alternate states of right-handers and thus avoid tedious repetition of instructions consciousness, has said, quot;Many specifically for left-handers, with no intention of the quot;handismquot; meditative disciplines take the that left-handers know so well. view t h a t . . . one possesses (or can develop) an Observer that is highly objective with respect to the Setting up the conditions for the L - > R shift ordinary personality. Because it is an Observer that is essentially T h e exercises in the next chapter are specifically designed to pure attention/awareness, it has cause a ( h y p o t h e s i z e d ) mental shift from L - m o d e to R - m o d e . no characteristics of its own.quot; T h e basic assumption of the exercises is that the nature of the Professor T a r t goes on to say that some persons who feel that they task can influence w h i c h m o d e will quot;take u p quot; the job while have a fairly well-developed inhibiting the other hemisphere. But the question is what factors Observer quot;feel that this Observer determine which mode will predominate? can make essentially continuous T h r o u g h studies with animals, split-brain patients, and indi- observations not only within a particular d - S o C (discrete state viduals with intact brains, scientists believe that the control ques- of consciousness) but also during tion m a y be d e c i d e d mainly in t w o ways. O n e way is speed: the transition between two or more W h i c h h e m i s p h e r e gets to the job the quickest? A second way is discrete states.quot; motivation: W h i c h h e m i s p h e r e cares most or likes the task the — quot;Putting the Pieces best? A n d conversely: W h i c h hemisphere cares least and likes the Together,quot; 1977 job the least? S i n c e d r a w i n g a p e r c e i v e d form is largely an R - m o d e func- tion, it helps to reduce L - m o d e interference as much as possible. T h e p r o b l e m is that the left brain is dominant and speedy and is v e r y prone to rush in with words and symbols, even taking over jobs w h i c h it is not good at. T h e split brain studies indicated that dominant L - m o d e prefers not to relinquish tasks to its mute part- ner unless it really dislikes the job—either because the job takes too m u c h time, is too detailed or slow or because the left brain is simply unable to a c c o m p l i s h the task. That's exactly what we n e e d — t a s k s that the d o m i n a n t left brain will turn down. T h e exercises that follow are designed to present the brain with a task that the left hemisphere either can't or won't do. 46 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
  • 65. And now if e'er by chance I put My fingers into glue Or madly squeeze a right-hand foot Into a left-hand shoe. . . . — Lewis Carroll Upon the Lonely Moor, 1856 YOUR BRAIN: T H E R I G H T A N D L E F T O F I T 47
  • 66. Vases and faces: An exercise for the double brain T h e exercises that follow are specifically designed to help you understand the shift from d o m i n a n t left-hemisphere m o d e to subdominant R - m o d e . I c o u l d go on describing the process over and over in words, but o n l y y o u can e x p e r i e n c e for y o u r s e l f this c o g n i t i v e shift, this slight change in subjective state. As Fats W a l l e r o n c e said, quot; I f y o u gotta ask what jazz is, y o u ain't never A puzzle: quot;If one picture is worth a thousand words, can a thousand gonna know.quot; So it is with R - m o d e state: You must experience the words explicate one picture?quot; L- to R - m o d e shift, observe the R - m o d e state, and in this way — Michael Stephan c o m e to know it. As a first step, the exercise below is designed to A Transformational cause conflict between the two modes. Theory of Aesthetics, London: Routledge, 1990 Following is a quick exercise designed to induce mental conflict. What you'll need: • D r a w i n g paper • Your #2 writing pencil • Your pencil sharpener • Your drawing board and masking tape F i g u r e 4-1 is a famous o p t i c a l - i l l u s i o n drawing, called quot; V a s e / Facesquot; because it can be seen as either: • two facing profiles or • a symmetrical vase in the center. What you'll do: Y o u r job, of course, is to c o m p l e t e the second profile, which will inadvertently complete the symmetrical vase in the center. Before you begin: Read all the directions for the exercise. 1. C o p y the pattern (either F i g u r e 4-2 or 4-3). If y o u are right- handed, c o p y the profile on the left side of the paper, facing toward the center. If y o u are left-handed, draw the profile on the right side, facing toward the center. E x a m p l e s are shown of both the right-handed and left-handed drawings. M a k e up 5° 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
  • 67. your own version of the profile if you wish. 2. N e x t , draw horizontal lines at the top and b o t t o m of y o u r profile, forming top and bottom of the vase (Figures 4-2 and 4-3). 3. N o w , redraw the profile on y o u r quot; V a s e / F a c e s quot; pattern. Just take your pencil and go over the lines, naming the parts as you go, like this: quot;Forehead . . . nose . . . u p p e r lip . . . l o w e r lip . . . chin . . . neck.quot; Y o u might even do that a second time, re- drawing one more time and really thinking to y o u r s e l f what those terms mean. 4. T h e n , go to the other side and start to draw the missing profile that will complete the symmetrical vase. 5. W h e n you get to s o m e w h e r e around the forehead or nose, y o u may begin perhaps to e x p e r i e n c e some confusion or conflict. Observe this as it happens. 6. T h e purpose of this exercise is for y o u to self-observe: quot; H o w do I solve the problem?quot; Begin the exercise now. It should take y o u about five or six m i n - utes. Why you did this exercise: N e a r l y all of my students experience some confusion or conflict while doing this exercise. A few people experience a great deal of conflict, even a moment of paralysis. If this happened to you, y o u may have come to a point where you needed to change direction in the drawing, but didn't k n o w w h i c h way to go. T h e conflict may have been so great that you could not make y o u r hand move the pencil to the right or the left. T h a t is the purpose of the exercise: to create conflict so that each person can e x p e r i e n c e in their o w n minds the mental quot;crunchquot; that can o c c u r when instructions are inappropriate to the task at hand. I believe that the conflict can be explained as fol- lows: I gave you instructions that strongly quot; p l u g g e d inquot; the verbal system in the brain. Remember that I insisted that you name each CROSSING OVER: E X P E R I E N C I N G T H E SHIFT F R O M L E F T T O R I G H T
  • 68. part of the profile and I said, quot;Now, really think what those terms mean.quot; T h e n , I gave y o u a task (to c o m p l e t e the second profile and, simultaneously, the vase) that can only be done by shifting to the visual, spatial mode of the brain. T h i s is the part of the brain that can perceive and nonverbally assess relationship of sizes, curves, angles, and shapes. T h e difficulty of m a k i n g that mental shift causes a feeling of conflict and confusion—and even a momentary mental paralysis. Y o u m a y have found a way to solve the problem, thereby e n a b l i n g y o u r s e l f to c o m p l e t e the second profile and therefore the symmetrical vase. H o w did you solve it? • By deciding not to think of the names of the features? • By shifting your focus from the face-shapes to the vase- shapes? • By using a grid (drawing vertical and horizontal lines to help you see relationships)? Or perhaps by marking points where the outermost and innermost curves occurred? • By drawing from the bottom up rather than from the top down? • By deciding that you didn't care whether the vase was sym- metrical or not and drawing any old memorized profile just to finish with the exercise? (With this last decision, the verbal By the way, I must mention that the system quot;wonquot; and the visual system quot;lost.quot;) eraser is just as important a tool for drawing as the pencil. I'm not L e t me ask y o u a few more questions. D i d y o u use your eraser to exactly sure where the notion quot;fix u p quot; y o u r drawing? If so, did y o u feel guilty? If so, why? ( T h e quot;erasing is badquot; came from. T h e verbal system has a set of memorized rules, one of which may be, eraser allows you to correct your drawings. My students certainly quot; Y o u can't use an eraser unless the teacher says it's o k a y quot; ) T h e see me erasing when I do demon- visual system, which is largely without language, just keeps look- stration drawings in our work- ing for ways to solve the p r o b l e m a c c o r d i n g to another kind of shops. logic—visual logic. T o sum up, the point o f the s e e m i n g l y simple quot; V a s e / F a c e s quot; exercise is this: In order to draw a p e r c e i v e d object or p e r s o n — s o m e t h i n g that y o u see with y o u r e y e s — y o u must make a mental shift to a 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
  • 69. brain-mode that is specialized for this visual, perceptual task. T h e difficulty of making this shift from verbal to visual m o d e often causes conflict. Didn't you feel it? To reduce the discomfort of the conflict, y o u stopped (do y o u r e m e m b e r feeling stopped short?) and made a n e w start. T h a t ' s what y o u w e r e d o i n g w h e n you gave y o u r s e l f instructions—that is, gave y o u r brain instruc- tions—to quot;shift gears,quot; or quot;change strategy,quot; or quot;don't do this; do that,quot; or whatever terms y o u may have used to cause a c o g n i t i v e shift. T h e r e are numerous solutions to the mental quot; c r u n c h quot; of the quot; V a s e / F a c e s quot; Exercise. Perhaps y o u found a u n i q u e or u n u s u a l solution. To capture y o u r personal solution in words, y o u m i g h t want to write down what happened on the back of your drawing. Thomas Gladwin, an anthropolo- In contrast, the native Trukese gist, contrasted the ways that a sailor starts his voyage by imaging the position of his destination relative European and a native Trukese sailor navigated small boats to the position of other islands. As he between tiny islands in the vast sails along, he constantly adjusts his Pacific Ocean. direction according to his aware- ness of his position thus far. His Before setting sail, the European decisions are improvised continu- begins with a plan that can be writ- ally by checking relative positions ten in terms of directions, degrees of landmarks, sun, wind direction, of longitude and latitude, estimated etc. He navigates with reference to time of arrival at separate points on where he started, where he is going, the journey. Once the plan is con- and the space between his destina- ceived and completed, the sailor tion and the point where he is at the has only to carry out each step con- moment. If asked how he navigates secutively, one after another, to be so well without instruments or a assured of arriving on time at the written plan, he cannot possibly planned destination. T h e sailor put it into words. This is not uses all available tools, such as a because the Trukese are unaccus- compass, a sextant, a map, etc., and tomed to describing things in if asked, can describe exactly how words, but rather because the he got where he was going. process is too complex and fluid to The European navigator uses the left- be put into words. hemisphere mode. The Trukese navigator uses the right- hemisphere mode. — J . A. Paredes and M.J. Hepburn quot;The Split-Brain and the Culture- Cognition Paradox,quot; 1976 CROSSING OVER: E X P E R I E N C I N G T H E SHIFT F R O M L E F T T O R I G H T
  • 70. Charles Tart, professor of psy- Navigating a drawing in right-hemisphere mode chology at the University of Cali- W h e n you did y o u r drawing of the V a s e / F a c e s , you drew the first fornia, Davis, states: quot;We begin with a concept of some kind of profile in the left-hemisphere mode, like the European navigator, basic awareness, some kind of basic t a k i n g one part at a time and n a m i n g the parts one by one. T h e ability to 'know' or 'sense' or 'cog- second profile was drawn in the right-hemisphere mode. Like the nize' or 'recognize' that something navigator from the South Sea Island of T r u k , y o u constantly is happening. This is a fundamental theoretical and experiential given. scanned to adjust the direction of the line. You probably found We do not know scientifically what that naming the parts such as forehead, nose, or mouth seemed to the ultimate nature of awareness is, confuse y o u . It was better not to think of the drawing as a face. It but it is our starting point.quot; was easier to use the shape of the space b e t w e e n the two profiles — Charles T. Tart as y o u r guide. Stated differently, it was easiest not to think at a l l — Alternate States of that is, in words. In right-hemisphere-mode drawing, the mode of Consciousness, 1975 the artist, if y o u do use words to think, ask y o u r s e l f only such things as: quot; W h e r e does that curve start?quot; quot; H o w d e e p is that curve?quot; quot;What is that angle relative to the edge of the paper?quot; quot; H o w long is that line relative to the one I've just drawn?quot; quot; W h e r e is that point as I scan across to the other side—where is that point relative to the distance from the top (or bottom) edge of the paper?quot; T h e s e are R - m o d e questions: spatial, relational, and compar- ative. N o t i c e that no parts are named. No statements are made, no conclusions drawn, such as, quot; T h e chin must c o m e out as far as the nose,quot; or quot;Noses are curved.quot; A brief review: What is learned in quot;learning to drawquot;? Realistic d r a w i n g of a perceived image requires the visual mode of the brain, most often mainly located in the right hemisphere. T h i s visual m o d e of thinking is fundamentally different from the brain's verbal s y s t e m — t h e o n e we largely rely on nearly all of our waking hours. For most tasks, the t w o modes are combined. D r a w i n g a per- ceived object or person may be one of the few tasks that requires mainly one mode: the visual m o d e largely unassisted by the ver- 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 54
  • 71. quot;The object of painting a picture is bal mode. T h e r e are other e x a m p l e s . A t h l e t e s and dancers, for not to make a picture—however instance, seem to perform best by quieting the verbal system dur- unreasonable that may sound . . . ing performances. M o r e o v e r , a person w h o needs to shift in the T h e object, which is back of every other direction, from visual to verbal m o d e , can also e x p e r i e n c e true work of art, is the attainment of a state of being [Henri's empha- conflict. A surgeon once told me that while operating on a patient sis], a state of high functioning, a (mainly a visual task, once a surgeon has acquired the k n o w l e d g e more than ordinary moment of and e x p e r i e n c e needed) he w o u l d find h i m s e l f u n a b l e to n a m e existence. [The picture] is but a the instruments. He w o u l d hear h i m s e l f s a y i n g to an attendant, by-product of the state, a trace, the quot; G i v e m e t h e . . . t h e . . . you know, t h e . . . thingamajig!quot; footprint of the state.quot; L e a r n i n g to draw, therefore, turns out not to be quot;learning to From The Art Spirit by American artist and teacher Robert Henri, draw.quot; Paradoxically, learning to draw means learning to access at B. Lippincott Company, 1923. will that system in the brain that is the appropriate one for d r a w - ing. P u t t i n g it another way, accessing the visual m o d e of the brain—the appropriate m o d e for d r a w i n g — c a u s e s y o u to see in the special way an artist sees. T h e artist's way of s e e i n g is differ- ent from ordinary seeing and requires an ability to make mental shifts at conscious level. P u t another way and perhaps more a c c u - rately, the artist is able to set up conditions that cause a cognitive shift to quot;happen.quot; T h a t is what a person trained in d r a w i n g does, and that is what you are about to learn. Again, this ability to see things differently has m a n y uses in life aside from d r a w i n g — n o t the least of w h i c h is creative p r o b - lem solving. K e e p i n g the quot; V a s e / F a c e s quot; lesson in mind, then, try the next exercise, one that I designed to r e d u c e conflict b e t w e e n the t w o brain-modes. T h e purpose of this exercise is just the reverse of the previous one. Upside-down drawing: Making the shift to R-mode Familiar things do not look the same when they are upside down. We automatically assign a top, a bottom, and sides to the things we perceive, and we e x p e c t to see things oriented in the usual way—that is, right side up. For, in u p r i g h t orientation, we can recognize familiar things, n a m e them, and c a t e g o r i z e them by matching what we see with our stored memories and concepts. W h e n an image is upside d o w n , the visual clues don't match. CROSSING OVER: E X P E R I E N C I N G T H E SHIFT F R O M LEFT T O R I G H T 55
  • 72. T h e message is strange, and the brain becomes confused. We see the shapes and the areas of light and shadow. We don't particu- larly object to l o o k i n g at u p s i d e - d o w n pictures unless we are called on to name the image. T h e n the task b e c o m e s exasperat- ing. Seen upside down, even w e l l - k n o w n faces are difficult to rec- ognize and name. For example, the photograph in Figure 4-4 is of a famous person. Do you recognize who it is? Y o u may have had to turn the photograph right side up to see that it is A l b e r t Einstein, the famous scientist. E v e n after you Fig. 4-4. Photograph by Philippe Halsman. 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
  • 73. know who the person is, the upside-down image probably contin- ues to look strange. Inverted orientation causes recognition problems with other images (see F i g u r e 4-5). Y o u r o w n handwriting, turned upside down, is probably difficult for you to figure out, although y o u ' v e Fig. 4-5. In copying signatures, been reading it for years. To test this, find an old shopping list or forgers turn the originals upside down to see the exact shapes of the letter in your handwriting and try to read it upside down. letters more clearly—to see, in A c o m p l e x drawing, such as the one shown upside d o w n in fact, in the artist's mode. the T i e p o l o drawing, F i g u r e 4-6, is almost indecipherable. T h e (left) mind just gives up on it. Upside-down drawing An exercise that reduces mental conflict We shall use this gap in the abilities of the left h e m i s p h e r e to allow R-mode to have a chance to take over for a while. Figure 4-7 is a reproduction of a line d r a w i n g by Picasso of the composer Igor Stravinsky. T h e image is upside down. You will be copying the upside-down image. Your drawing, therefore, will be done also upside down. In other words, y o u will c o p y the Picasso drawing just as you see it. See Figures 4-8 and 4-9. What you'll need: • T h e reproduction of the Picasso drawing, Fig. 4-7, p. 58. Fig. 4-6. Giovanni Battista T i e p o l o • Your #2 writing pencil, sharpened. (1696—1770), The Death of Seneca. Courtesy of T h e Art Institute of • Your drawing board and masking tape. Chicago, Joseph and Helen Regen- • Forty minutes to an hour of uninterrupted time. stein Collection. What you'll do: Before you begin: Read all of the following instructions. 1. Play music if you like. As you shift into R-mode, you may find that the music fades out. Finish the d r a w i n g in one sitting, allowing y o u r s e l f at least forty m i n u t e s — m o r e if possible. And more important, do not turn the d r a w i n g right side up until you have finished. T u r n i n g the d r a w i n g w o u l d cause a shift back to L - m o d e , w h i c h we want to avoid w h i l e y o u are 57 CROSSING OVER: E X P E R I E N C I N G T H E SHIFT F R O M LEFT T O R I G H T
  • 74. l e a r n i n g to e x p e r i e n c e the focused R - m o d e state of aware- ness. 2. Y o u may start a n y w h e r e y o u w i s h — b o t t o m , either side, or the top. M o s t p e o p l e tend to start at the top. T r y not to figure out what y o u are l o o k i n g at in the u p s i d e - d o w n image. It is better not to know. S i m p l y start c o p y i n g the lines. But remember: don't turn the drawing right side up! Photograph by Philippe Halsman, 1947. © Yvonne Halsman, 1989. This is the full photograph shown upside down on the page 56. We are indebted to Yvonne Halsman for allowing this unorthodox pre- sentation of Philippe Halsman's famous image of Einstein. Fig. 4-7. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Portrait of Igor Stravinsky. Paris, May 21, 1920 (dated). Privately owned. 58 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
  • 75. 3. I r e c o m m e n d that y o u not try to draw the entire o u t l i n e of the form and then quot;fill inquot; the parts. T h e reason is that if y o u make any small error in the outline, the parts inside won't fit. O n e of the great joys of d r a w i n g is the d i s c o v e r y of how the parts fit together. T h e r e f o r e , I r e c o m m e n d that y o u move from line to adjacent line, space to adjacent shape, w o r k i n g your way through the drawing, fitting the parts together as you go. 4. If you talk to y o u r s e l f at all, use only the language of vision, such as: quot;This line bends this way,quot; or, quot;That shape has a curve there,quot; or quot; C o m p a r e d to the e d g e of the paper (vertical or horizontal), this line angles like that,quot; and so on. W h a t you do not want to do is to name the parts. 5. W h e n y o u c o m e to parts that seem to force their names on y o u — t h e H - A - N - D - S and the F - A - C - E — t r y t o focus o n these parts just as shapes. Y o u m i g h t even c o v e r up with one hand or finger all but the specific line y o u are d r a w i n g and then uncover each adjacent line. Alternatively, you might shift to another part of the drawing. 6. At some point, the d r a w i n g may begin to s e e m like an inter- esting, even fascinating, puzzle. W h e n this happens, y o u will be quot;really drawing,quot; m e a n i n g that y o u have successfully shifted to R - m o d e and you are s e e i n g clearly. T h i s state is easily broken. For example, if someone were to c o m e into the room and ask, quot; H o w are y o u doing?quot; y o u r verbal system Figs. 4-8, 4-9. Inverted drawing. would be reactivated and your focus and concentration would Forcing the cognitive shift from the be over. dominant left-hemisphere mode to the subdominant right-hemisphere 7. You may even want to cover most of the reproduced drawing mode. with another piece of paper, s l o w l y u n c o v e r i n g new areas as you work your way down through the drawing. A note of cau- tion, however: S o m e of my students find this ploy helpful, while some find it distracting and unhelpful. 8. R e m e m b e r that e v e r y t h i n g y o u need to k n o w in order to draw the image is right in front of your eyes. A l l of the infor- mation is right there, m a k i n g it easy for y o u . D o n ' t make it complicated. It really is as simple as that. Begin your U p s i d e - D o w n Drawing now. CROSSING OVER: EXPERIENCING T H E SHIFT FROM LEFT TO R I G H T 59
  • 76. After you have finished: T u r n both of the d r a w i n g s — t h e reproduction in the book and y o u r c o p y — r i g h t side up. I can confidently predict that you will be pleased with y o u r drawing, especially if y o u have thought in the past that you would never be able to draw. I can also confidently predict that the most quot;difficultquot; parts, the quot;foreshortenedquot; areas, are beautifully drawn, creating a spa- tial illusion. Yet, see what y o u have accomplished, drawing upside down. If y o u used Picasso's drawing of Igor Stravinsky seated in a chair, y o u drew the crossed legs beautifully in foreshortened view. For most of my students, this is the finest part of their drawing, despite the foreshortening. H o w could they draw this quot;difficultquot; part so well? Because they didn't know what they were drawing! T h e y simply d r e w what they saw, just as they saw it—one of the Fig. 4-10. quot;I Want You for U. S. Armyquot; by James Montgomery most important keys to d r a w i n g well. T h e same applies to the Flagg, 1917 poster. Permission: foreshortened horse in the G e r m a n drawing, Figure 4-13. Trustees of the Imperial War Museum, London, England. A logical box for L-mode Uncle Sam's arm and hand are quot;foreshortenedquot; in this Army F i g u r e 4-11 and F i g u r e 4-12 show two drawings by the same uni- poster. Foreshortening is an art versity student. T h i s student had misunderstood my instructions term. It means that, in order to to the class and did the d r a w i n g right side up. W h e n he came to give the illusion of forms advancing or receding in space, the forms class the next day, he showed me his drawing and said, quot;I misun- must be drawn just as they appear derstood. I just drew it the regular way.quot; I asked him to do another in that position, not depicting what drawing, this time upside down. He did, and Fig. 4-12 was the we know about their actual length. result. Learning to quot;foreshortenquot; is often difficult for beginners in drawing. It goes against c o m m o n sense that the upside-down drawing Fig. 4-11; near right: T h e Picasso drawing mistakenly copied right side up by a university student. Fig. 4-12; far right: T h e Picasso drawing copied upside down the next day by the same student. 60 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
  • 77. quot;Our normal waking consciousness, is so far superior to the d r a w i n g done right side up. T h e student rational consciousness, as we call himself was astonished. it, is but one special type of con- T h i s p u z z l e puts L - m o d e into a l o g i c a l box: h o w to a c c o u n t sciousness, whilst all about it, for this sudden ability to draw w e l l , w h e n the verbal m o d e has parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of been eased out of the task. T h e left brain, w h i c h admires a job consciousness entirely different. well done, must now consider the possibility that the disdained We may go through life without right brain is good at drawing suspecting their existence; but For reasons that are still unclear, the verbal system i m m e d i - apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their ately rejects the task of quot;readingquot; and n a m i n g u p s i d e - d o w n completeness, definite types of images. L - m o d e seems to say, in effect, quot;I don't do upside d o w n . mentality which probably some- It's too hard to name things seen this way, and, besides, the world where have their field of applica- isn't upside down. W h y should I bother with such stuff?quot; tion and adaptation.quot; Well, that's just what we want! On the other hand, the visual — William James system seems not to care. R i g h t side up, upside d o w n , it's all The Varieties of Religious Experience, 1902 interesting, perhaps even more interesting upside d o w n because R - m o d e is free of interference from its verbal partner, w h i c h is often in a quot;rush to judgmentquot; or, at least, a rush to r e c o g n i z e and name. Why you did this exercise: T h e reason y o u did this exercise, therefore, is to e x p e r i e n c e escaping the clash of conflicting m o d e s — t h e kind of conflict and even mental paralysis that the quot; V a s e / F a c e s quot; e x e r c i s e caused. W h e n L - m o d e drops out voluntarily, conflict is avoided and R- mode quickly takes up the task that is appropriate for it: d r a w i n g a perceived image. - MODE L-mode is the quot;right-handed,quot; left-hemisphere mode. T h e L is Getting to know the L - > R shift foursquare, upright, sensible, direct, true, hard-edged, unfanci- T w o important points of progress e m e r g e from the u p s i d e - d o w n ful, forceful. exercise. T h e first is y o u r c o n s c i o u s recall of h o w y o u felt after you made the L—>R cognitive shift. T h e quality of the R - m o d e MODE state of consciousness is different from the L - m o d e . O n e can detect those differences and begin to r e c o g n i z e w h e n the c o g n i - R-mode is the quot;left-handed,quot; tive shift has occurred. Oddly, the m o m e n t of shifting b e t w e e n right-hemisphere mode. T h e R is states of consciousness always remains out of awareness. For curvy, flexible, more playful in its unexpected twists and turns, more example, one can be aware of b e i n g alert and then of b e i n g in a complex, diagonal, fanciful. 61 CROSSING OVER: E X P E R I E N C I N G T H E SHIFT F R O M LEFT T O R I G H T
  • 78. d a y d r e a m , but the m o m e n t of shifting b e t w e e n the two states quot;I have supposed a Human Being to be capable of various physical remains elusive. Similarly, the moment of the cognitive shift from states, and varying degrees of con- L - > R remains out of awareness, but o n c e y o u have made the sciousness, as follows: shift, the difference in the t w o states is accessible to knowing. quot;(a) the ordinary state, with no con- T h i s k n o w i n g will h e l p to bring the shift u n d e r conscious c o n - sciousness of the presence of trol—a main goal of these lessons. Fairies; T h e s e c o n d insight gained from the exercise is y o u r aware- quot;(b) the 'eerie' state, in which, while ness that shifting to the R - m o d e enables y o u to see in the way a conscious of actual surroundings, trained artist sees, and therefore to draw what you perceive. he is also conscious of the presence of Fairies; N o w , it's o b v i o u s that we can't always be turning things u p s i d e d o w n . Y o u r m o d e l s are not g o i n g to stand on their heads quot;(c) a form of trance, in which, while unconscious of actual sur- for y o u , nor is the landscape g o i n g to turn itself upside d o w n or rounding, and apparently asleep, inside out. O u r goal, then, is to teach y o u how to make the cogni- he (i.e., his immaterial essence) tive shift w h e n p e r c e i v i n g things in their normal right-side-up migrates to other scenes, in the positions. You will learn the artist's quot;gambitquot;: to direct your atten- actual world, or in Fairyland, and is conscious of the presence of tion toward visual information that L - m o d e cannot or will not Fairies.quot; process. In other words, y o u will always try to present your brain — Lewis Carroll with a task the l a n g u a g e system w i l l refuse, thus a l l o w i n g R- Preface to Sylvie and m o d e to use its c a p a b i l i t y for drawing. Exercises in the c o m i n g Bruno chapters will show you some ways to do this. A review of R-mode It might be helpful to review what R - m o d e feels like. T h i n k back. Y o u have m a d e the shift several times n o w — s l i g h t l y , perhaps, w h i l e d o i n g the V a s e / F a c e s drawings and m o r e intensely just now while drawing the quot;Stravinsky.quot; In the R - m o d e state, did y o u notice that you were somewhat unaware of the passage of time—that the time you spent drawing may have b e e n l o n g or short, but y o u couldn't have k n o w n until y o u c h e c k e d it afterward? If there w e r e p e o p l e near, did you notice that y o u couldn't listen to what they said—in fact, that you didn't want to hear? Y o u may have heard sounds, but y o u proba- b l y didn't care about figuring out the meaning of what was being said. A n d were y o u aware of feeling alert, but relaxed—confident, interested, absorbed in the drawing and clear in your mind? M o s t of my students have characterized the R - m o d e state of 62 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
  • 79. quot;I know perfectly well that only in consciousness in these terms, and the terms c o i n c i d e with my happy instants am I lucky enough own e x p e r i e n c e and accounts related to me of artists' e x p e r i - to lose myself in my work. T h e ences. O n e artist told me, quot; W h e n I'm really working well, it's like painter-poet feels that his true nothing else I've ever experienced. I feel at one with the work: the immutable essence comes from painter, the painting, it's all one. I feel excited, but c a l m — e x h i l a - that invisible realm that offers him an image of eternal reality.... rated, but in full control. It's not exactly happiness; it's more like I feel that I do not exist in time, bliss. I think it's what keeps me c o m i n g back and back to painting but that time exists in me. I can and drawing.quot; also realize that it is not given to me to solve the mystery of art in R-mode state is indeed pleasurable, and in that mode y o u can an absolute fashion. Nonetheless, draw well. But there is an additional advantage: Shifting to R- I am almost brought to believe that mode releases you for a time from the verbal, s y m b o l i c d o m i n a - I am about to get my hands on the tion of L - m o d e , and that's a w e l c o m e relief. T h e pleasure may divine.quot; come from resting the left hemisphere, stopping its chatter, keep- — Carlo Carra ing it quiet for a change. T h i s yearning to quiet L - m o d e may par- quot;The Quadrant of the tially explain centuries-old practices such as meditation and Spirit,quot; 1919 self-induced altered states of consciousness achieved t h r o u g h fasting, drugs, chanting, and alcohol. D r a w i n g induces a focused, alert state of consciousness that can last for hours, b r i n g i n g significant satisfaction. Before you read further, do at least one or two more drawings upside down. Use either the reproduction in F i g u r e 4-13, or find other line drawings to copy. Each time y o u draw, try consciously to experience the R - m o d e shift, so that y o u b e c o m e familiar with how it feels to be in that mode. Recalling the art of your childhood In the next chapter we'll r e v i e w y o u r childhood d e v e l o p m e n t as an artist. T h e developmental sequence of children's art is linked to development changes in the brain. In the early stages, infants' brain hemispheres are not clearly specialized for separate func- tions. Lateralization—the consolidation of specific functions into one hemisphere or the other—progresses gradually through the childhood years, paralleling the acquisition of language skills and the symbols of childhood art. Lateralization is usually complete by around age ten, and this coincides with the period of conflict in children's art, w h e n the 63 CROSSING OVER: EXPERIENCING T H E SHIFT F R O M LEFT T O R I G H T
  • 80. symbol system seems to override perceptions and to interfere with accurate drawing of those perceptions. O n e could speculate that conflict arises because children may be u s i n g the quot; w r o n g quot; brain m o d e — L - m o d e — t o a c c o m p l i s h a task best suited for R- mode. Perhaps they simply cannot work out a way to shift to the visual mode. Also, by age ten, language dominates, adding further complication as names and s y m b o l s o v e r p o w e r spatial, holistic perceptions. R e v i e w i n g y o u r c h i l d h o o d art is important for several rea- sons: to look back as an adult at how your set of drawing symbols developed from infancy onward; to r e e x p e r i e n c e the increasing c o m p l e x i t y of y o u r d r a w i n g as y o u approached a d o l e s c e n c e ; to recall the discrepancy between your perceptions and your draw- ing skills; to view your childhood drawings with a less critical eye than you were able to manage at the time; and finally, to set y o u r childhood symbol system aside and move on to an adult level of visual expression by using the appropriate brain m o d e — t h e right mode—for the task of drawing. CROSSING OVER: EXPERIENCING T H E SHIFT FROM LEFT TO R I G H T
  • 81. T quot;When I was a child, I spake as a H E M A J O R I T Y O F A D U L T S I N T H E W E S T E R N W O R L D d o not child, I understood as a child, progress in art skills m u c h beyond the level of d e v e l o p - I thought as a child: but when I ment they reached at age nine or ten. In most mental and physical became a man, I put away childish activities, individuals' skills change and d e v e l o p as they grow to things.quot; adulthood: S p e e c h is o n e example, handwriting another. T h e — I Cor. 13:11 d e v e l o p m e n t of d r a w i n g skills, however, seems to halt unac- c o u n t a b l y at an early age for most p e o p l e . In our culture, chil- dren, of course, draw like children, but most adults also draw like children, no matter what level they m a y have achieved in other areas of life. For example, Figures 5-1 and 5-2 illustrate the persis- tence of childlike forms in drawings that were done recently by a brilliant y o u n g professional man who was just completing a doc- toral degree at a major university. I watched the man as he did the drawings, watched him as he regarded the models, drew a bit, erased and drew again, for about twenty minutes. D u r i n g this time, he became restless and seemed tense and frustrated. Later he told me that he hated his drawings and that he hated drawing, period. If we w e r e to attach a label to this disability in the way that educators have attached the label dyslexia to reading problems, we might call the p r o b l e m dyspictoria or dysartistica or some such term. But no one has done so because drawing is not a vital skill for survival in our culture, whereas speech and reading are. Therefore, hardly anyone seems to notice that many adults draw childlike drawings and many children give up drawing at age nine or ten. T h e s e children grow up to b e c o m e the adults who say that Fig. 5-2. they never c o u l d draw and can't even draw a straight line. T h e same adults, however, if questioned, often say that they would have liked to learn to draw well, just for their o w n satisfaction at solving the drawing problems that plagued them as children. But they feel that they had to stop d r a w i n g because they simply couldn't learn how to draw. A c o n s e q u e n c e of this early cutting off of artistic d e v e l o p - ment is that fully c o m p e t e n t and self-confident adults often b e c o m e suddenly self-conscious, embarrassed, and anxious if they are asked to draw a picture of a human face or figure. In this situation, individuals often say such things as quot; N o , I can't! W h a t - 68 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
  • 82. As an expert on children's art, ever I draw is always terrible. It looks like a kid's drawing.quot; Or, quot;I Miriam Lindstrom of the San don't like to draw. It makes me feel so stupid.quot; You y o u r s e l f m a y Francisco Art Museum, described have felt a twinge or two of those feelings w h e n y o u did the P r e - the adolescent art student: instruction drawings. quot;Discontented with his own accom- plishments and extremely anxious The crisis period to please others with his art, he tends to give up original creation T h e b e g i n n i n g of a d o l e s c e n c e seems to mark the abrupt end of and personal expression Fur- ther development of his visualizing artistic d e v e l o p m e n t in terms of d r a w i n g skills for m a n y adults. powers and even his capacity for As children, they confronted an artistic crisis, a conflict b e t w e e n original thought and for relating their increasingly complex perceptions of the world around them himself through personal feelings and their current level of art skills. to his environment may be blocked at this point. It is a crucial stage M o s t children b e t w e e n the ages of about nine and e l e v e n beyond which many adults have not have a passion for realistic drawing. T h e y b e c o m e sharply critical advanced.quot; of their childhood drawings and b e g i n to draw certain favorite — Miriam Lindstrom subjects over and over again, attempting to perfect the image. Children's Art, 1957 Anything short of perfect realism may be regarded as failure. Perhaps y o u can r e m e m b e r y o u r o w n attempts at that age to make things quot;look rightquot; in y o u r drawings, and y o u r f e e l i n g of disappointment with the results. D r a w i n g s y o u might have been proud of at an earlier age probably seemed hopelessly w r o n g and embarrassing. L o o k i n g at y o u r drawings, y o u may have said, as many adolescents say, quot; T h i s is terrible! I have no talent for art. I never liked it anyway, so I'm not doing it anymore.quot; C h i l d r e n often abandon art as an expressive activity for another unfortunately frequent reason. Unthinking people s o m e - times make sarcastic or derogatory remarks about children's art. T h e thoughtless person may be a teacher, a parent, another child, or perhaps an admired older brother or sister. M a n y adults have related to me their painfully clear memories of s o m e o n e ridicul- ing their attempts at drawing. Sadly, children often b l a m e the drawing for causing the hurt, rather than b l a m i n g the careless critic. T h e r e f o r e , to protect the ego from further damage, c h i l - dren react defensively, and understandably so: T h e y seldom ever attempt to draw again. 69 DRAWING ON MEMORIES: YOUR HISTORY AS AN A R T I S T
  • 83. Art in school E v e n sympathetic art teachers, who may feel dismayed by unfair criticism of children's art and w h o want to help, become discour- aged by the style of d r a w i n g that y o u n g adolescents prefer— c o m p l e x , detailed scenes, labored attempts at realistic drawing, endless repetitions of favorite themes such as racing cars, and so on. T e a c h e r s recall the beguiling freedom and charm of younger children's work and w o n d e r what happened. T h e y deplore what they see as quot;tightnessquot; and quot;lack of creativityquot; in students' draw- ings. T h e children themselves often b e c o m e their own most u n r e l e n t i n g critics. C o n s e q u e n t l y , teachers frequently resort to crafts projects because they seem safer and cause less anguish— projects such as paper mosaics, string painting, drip painting, and other manipulations of materials. As a result, most students do not learn how to draw in the early and middle grades. T h e i r self-criticism b e c o m e s perma- nent, and they v e r y rarely try to learn how to draw later in life. L i k e the doctoral candidate mentioned earlier, they might grow up to be highly skilled in a number of areas, but if asked to draw a h u m a n being, they will p r o d u c e the same childlike image they were drawing at age ten. From infancy to adolescence For most of my students, it has proved beneficial to go back in time to try to understand how their visual imagery in drawing developed from infancy to adolescence. With a firm grasp on how the symbol system of childhood drawing has developed, students quot;The scribblings of any . . . child seem to quot;unstickquot; their artistic development more easily in order clearly indicate how thoroughly to move on to adult skills. immersed he is in the sensation of moving his hand and crayon aimlessly over a surface, depositing The scribbling stage a line in his path. T h e r e must be some quantity of magic in this M a k i n g marks on paper begins at about age one and a half, when alone.quot; you as an infant w e r e given a pencil or crayon, and you, by your- — Edward Hill self, made a mark. It's hard for us to imagine the sense of wonder The Language of Drawing, a child experiences on seeing a black line emerge from the end of 1966 70 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
  • 84. a stick, a line the child controls. You and I, all of us, had that experience. After a tentative start, you probably scribbled with delight on every available surface, perhaps i n c l u d i n g y o u r parents' best books and the walls of a b e d r o o m or two. Y o u r scribbles w e r e seemingly quite random at first, like the e x a m p l e in F i g u r e 5-3, but very quickly began to take on definite shapes. O n e of the basic scribbling movements is a circular one, probably arising simply from the way the shoulder, arm, wrist, hand, and fingers work together. A circular movement is a natural m o v e m e n t — m o r e so, for instance, than the arm movements required to draw a square. (Try both on a piece of paper, and you'll see what I mean.) Fig. 5-3. Scribble drawing by a two- and-a-half-year-old. The stage of symbols After some days or weeks of scribbling, infants—and apparently all human c h i l d r e n — m a k e the basic discovery of art: A drawn symbol can stand for something out there in the environment. T h e child makes a circular mark, looks at it, adds t w o marks for eyes, points to the drawing, and says, quot; M o m m y , quot; or quot;Daddy,quot; or quot;That's me,quot; or quot; M y dog,quot; or whatever. T h u s , we all made the uniquely human leap of insight that is the foundation for art, from the prehistoric cave paintings all the way up through the centuries to the art of Leonardo, Rembrandt, and Picasso. With great delight, infants draw circles with eyes, mouth, and lines sticking out to represent arms and legs, as in F i g u r e 5-4. This form, a symmetrical, circular form, is a basic form u n i v e r - sally drawn by infants. T h e circular form can be used for almost anything: With slight variations, the basic pattern can stand for a human being, a cat, a sun, a jellyfish, an elephant, a c r o c o d i l e , a flower, or a germ. For you as a child, the picture was whatever you Fig. 5-4. Figure-image drawing by said it was, although you probably made subtle and c h a r m i n g a three-and-a-half-year-old. adjustments of the basic form to get the idea across. By the time children are about three and a half, the i m a g e r y of their art becomes more complex, reflecting growing awareness and perceptions of the world. A b o d y is attached to the head, though it may be smaller than the head. A r m s may still g r o w out D R A W I N G ON MEMORIES: YOUR HISTORY AS AN A R T I S T 71
  • 85. Children's repeated images of the head, but more often they e m e r g e from the b o d y — s o m e - become known to fellow students times from below the waist. Legs are attached to the body. and teachers, as shown in this won- By age four, children are keenly aware of details of cloth- derful cartoon by Brenda Burbank. ing—buttons and zippers, for example, appear as details of the drawings. Fingers appear at the ends of arms and hands, and toes at the ends of legs and feet. N u m b e r s of fingers and toes vary imaginatively. I have counted as many as thirty-one fingers on one hand and as few as one toe per foot (Figure 5-4). A l t h o u g h children's drawings of figures resemble each other in m a n y ways, each child works out through trial and error a favorite image, which b e c o m e s refined through repetition. C h i l - dren draw their special images over and over, m e m o r i z i n g them and adding details as time goes on. T h e s e favorite ways to draw various parts of the image eventually b e c o m e embedded in the m e m o r y and are remarkably stable over time (Figure 5-5). Fig. 5-5. Notice that the features are the same in each figure—including the cat—and that the little hand symbol is also used for the cat's paws. Pictures that tell stories Around age four or five, children begin to use drawings to tell sto- ries and to work out problems, using small or gross adjustments of the basic forms to express their intended meaning. For example, in F i g u r e 5-6, the y o u n g artist has made the arm that holds the Fig. 5-6. 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
  • 86. He then added his mother, using the He then added his father, who was Using his basic figure symbol, he same basic figure configuration with bald and wore glasses. first drew himself. adjustments—long hair, a dress. umbrella huge in relation to the other arm, because the arm that holds the umbrella is the important point of the drawing. A n o t h e r instance of using d r a w i n g to portray feelings is a family portrait, drawn by a shy five-year-old whose every waking moment apparently was dominated by his older sister. Even Picasso could hardly have expressed a feeling with greater power than that. O n c e the feeling was drawn, giving form He then added his sister, with teeth. to formless emotions, the child who drew the family portrait may have been better able to cope with his overwhelming sister. The landscape By around age five or six, children have d e v e l o p e d a set of s y m - bols to create a landscape. Again, by a process of trial and error, children usually settle on a single version of a s y m b o l i c land- scape, which is endlessly repeated. Perhaps y o u can r e m e m b e r the landscape you drew around age five or six. W h a t were the c o m p o n e n t s of that landscape? First, the ground and sky. T h i n k i n g symbolically, a child knows that the ground is at the bottom and the sky is at the top. T h e r e f o r e , the ground is the bottom edge of the paper, and the sky is the top edge, as in Figure 5-7. C h i l d r e n emphasize this point, if they are working with color, by painting a green stripe across the bottom, blue across the top. M o s t children's landscapes contain some version of a house. T r y to call up in your mind's eye an image of the house you drew. Did it have windows? W i t h curtains? A n d what else? A door? 73 DRAWING ON MEMORIES: YOUR HISTORY AS AN A R T I S T
  • 87. W h a t was on the door? A doorknob, of course, because that's how y o u get in. I have never seen an authentic, child-drawn house with a missing doorknob. Y o u m a y begin to r e m e m b e r the rest of y o u r landscape: the sun (did y o u use a corner sun or a circle with radiating rays?), the clouds, the chimney, the flowers, the trees (did yours have a con- v e n i e n t limb sticking out for a swing?), the mountains (were yours like u p s i d e - d o w n ice cream cones?). A n d what else? A road going back? A fence? Birds? At this point, before y o u read any further, please take a sheet Fig. 5-7. Landscape drawing by a six-year-old. This house is very of paper and draw the landscape that y o u drew as a child. Label close to the viewer. T h e bottom y o u r d r a w i n g quot; R e c a l l e d C h i l d h o o d Landscape.quot; You may edge of the paper functions as the r e m e m b e r this i m a g e with surprising clarity as a whole image, ground. To a child it seems that c o m p l e t e in all its parts; or it may c o m e back to you more gradu- every part of the drawing surface has symbolic meaning, the empty ally as y o u begin to draw. spaces of this surface functioning W h i l e y o u are d r a w i n g the landscape, try also to recall the as air through which smoke rises, pleasure drawing gave y o u as a child, the satisfaction with which the sun's rays shine, and birds fly. each s y m b o l was drawn, and the sense of rightness about the p l a c e m e n t of each s y m b o l within the drawing. Recall the sense that n o t h i n g must be left out and, when all the symbols were in place, your sense that the drawing was complete. If y o u can't recall the d r a w i n g at this point, don't be con- cerned. Y o u may recall it later. If not, it may simply indicate that y o u ' v e blocked it out for some reason. Usually about ten percent of my adult students are unable to recall their childhood draw- ings. Before we go on, let's take a minute to look at some recalled c h i l d h o o d landscapes drawn by adults. First, y o u will observe that the landscapes are personalized i m a g e s , each different from Fig. 5-8. Landscape drawing by a six-year-old. This house is farther the other. O b s e r v e also that in e v e r y case the composition—the away from the viewer and has a way the e l e m e n t s of e a c h d r a w i n g are c o m p o s e d or distributed wonderfully self-satisfied expres- within the four edges—seems exactly right, in the sense that not a sion, enclosed as it is under the arc s i n g l e e l e m e n t could be added or r e m o v e d without disturbing t h e of a rainbow. r i g h t n e s s of the w h o l e (Figure 5-9). L e t me demonstrate that by s h o w i n g y o u w h a t happens in F i g u r e 5-10 w h e n one form (the tree) is removed. T e s t this c o n c e p t in y o u r o w n recalled land- scape by covering one form at a time. You will find that removing 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 74
  • 88. any single form throws off the balance of the w h o l e picture. F i g - ures 5-9 and 5-10 show examples of some of the other characteris- tics of childhood landscape drawings. After you have looked at the examples, observe y o u r o w n drawing. O b s e r v e the c o m p o s i t i o n (the way the forms are arranged and balanced within the four edges). O b s e r v e distance as a factor in the composition. T r y to characterize the expression of the house, at first wordlessly and then in words. C o v e r one e l e - ment and see what effect that has on the composition. T h i n k back on how you did the drawing. Did y o u do it with a sense of sure- ness, k n o w i n g where each part was to go? For each part, did you find that you had an exact symbol that was perfect in itself and fit perfectly with the other symbols? You may have been aware of feeling the same sense of satisfaction that you felt as a child when the forms were in place and the image completed. The stage of complexity Now, like the ghosts in Dickens's A Christmas Carol, we'll move you on to observe yourself at a slightly later age, at nine or ten. Possi- Fig. 5-10. bly you may r e m e m b e r some of the drawings you did at that age—in the fifth, sixth, or seventh grade. D u r i n g this period, children try for more detail in their art- work, hoping by this means to achieve greater realism, which is a prized goal. C o n c e r n for composition diminishes, the forms often Children seem to start out with a nearly perfect sense of composi- being placed almost at random on the page. Seemingly, children's tion, which they often lose during concern for where things are in the drawing is replaced with c o n - adolescence and regain only cern for how things look, particularly the details of forms. O v e r - through laborious study. I believe all, drawings by older children show greater c o m p l e x i t y and, at that the reason may be that older children concentrate their percep- the same time, less assurance than do the landscapes of early tions on separate objects existing childhood. in an undifferentiated space, Also around this time, children's drawings b e c o m e differenti- whereas young children construct ated by sex, probably because of cultural factors. Boys begin to a self-contained conceptual world bounded by the paper's edges. draw a u t o m o b i l e s — h o t rods and racing cars; war scenes w i t h For older children, however, the dive bombers, submarines, tanks, and rockets. T h e y draw l e g - edges of the paper seem almost endary figures and heroes—bearded pirates, V i k i n g crewmen and nonexistent, just as edges are their ships, television stars, mountain climbers, and d e e p - s e a nonexistent in open, real space. DRAWING ON MEMORIES: YOUR HISTORY AS AN A R T I S T 75
  • 89. divers. T h e y are fascinated by block letters, especially m o n o - grams; and some odd images such as (my favorite) an eyeball complete with piercing dagger and pools of blood. M e a n w h i l e , girls are drawing tamer things—flowers in vases, waterfalls, mountains reflected in still lakes, pretty girls running or sitting on the grass, fashion models with incredible eyelashes, elaborate hairstyles, tiny waists and feet, and hands held behind the back because hands are quot;hard to draw.quot; F i g u r e s 5-11 t h r o u g h 5-14 are some examples of these early adolescent drawings. I've i n c l u d e d a cartoon drawing: Cartoons are drawn by both boys and girls and are much admired. I believe that c a r t o o n i n g appeals to children at this age because cartoons e m p l o y familiar s y m b o l i c forms but are used in a more sophisti- cated way, thus e n a b l i n g adolescents to avoid feeling that their drawing is quot;babyish.quot; 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
  • 90. Fig. 5-12. Complex drawing by Naveen Molloy, then ten years old. This is an example of the kind of drawing by adolescents that teach- ers often deplore as quot;tightquot; and uncreative. Young artists work very hard to perfect images like this one of electronic equipment. N o t e the keyboard and mouse. T h e child will soon reject this image, how- ever, as hopelessly inadequate. Fig. 5-13. Complex drawing by a nine-year-old girl. Transparency is a recurrent theme in the drawings of children at this stage. Things seen under water, through glass windows, or in transparent vases— as in this drawing—are all favorite themes. Though one could guess at a psychological meaning, it is quite likely that young artists are simply trying this idea to see if they can make the drawings quot;look right.quot; Fig. 5 - 1 4 . Complex drawing by a ten-year-old boy. Cartooning is a favorite form of art in the early adolescent years. As art educator Miriam Lindstrom notes in Children's Art, the level of taste at this age is at an all-time low. DRAWING ON MEMORIES: YOUR HISTORY AS AN A R T I S T
  • 91. The stage of realism By around age ten or eleven, children's passion for realism is in full b l o o m (Figures 5-15 and 5-16). W h e n their drawings don't c o m e out quot;rightquot;—meaning that they don't look realistic—chil- dren often b e c o m e discouraged and ask their teachers for help. T h e teacher may say, quot; Y o u must look more carefully,quot; but this doesn't help, because the child doesn't know what to look more carefully for. L e t me illustrate that with an example. Fig. 5 - 1 5 . Realistic drawing by a twelve-year-old. Fig. 5-16. Realistic drawing by a twelve-year-old. At Children aged ten to twelve are searching for ways to this stage, children's main effort is toward achieving make things quot;look real.quot; Figure drawing in particular realism. Awareness of the edges of the drawing sur- fascinates adolescents. In this drawing, symbols from face fades and attention is concentrated on individual, an earlier stage are fitted into new perceptions: N o t e unrelated forms randomly distributed about the page. the front-view eye in this profile drawing. N o t e also Each segment functions as an individual element that the child's knowledge of the chair back has been without regard for unified composition. substituted for the purely visual appearance of the back of the chair seen from the side. 78 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 B R A I N
  • 92. Say that a ten-year-old wants to draw a picture of a cube, per- haps a three-dimensional block of wood. Wanting the drawing to look quot;real,quot; the child tries to draw the c u b e from an angle that shows two or three planes—not just a straight-on side v i e w that would show only a single plane, and thus w o u l d not reveal the true shape of the cube. To do this, the child must draw the o d d l y angled shapes just as they appear—that is, just like the image that falls on the retina of the p e r c e i v i n g eye. T h o s e shapes are not square. In fact, the child must suppress k n o w i n g that the c u b e is square and draw shapes that are quot;funny.quot; T h e drawn c u b e w i l l look like a c u b e only if it is comprised of o d d l y angled shapes. P u t another way, the child must draw unsquare shapes to draw a square cube. T h e child must accept this paradox, this illogical process, which confl- icts with verbal, c o n c e p t u a l k n o w l e d g e . (Perhaps this is o n e meaning of Picasso's statement that quot;Painting is a lie that tells the truth.quot;) Fig. 5-17. Children's unsuccessful attempts to draw a cube that quot;looks real.quot; 19 DRAWING ON MEMORIES: YOUR HISTORY AS AN A R T I S T
  • 93. quot;The painter who strives to repre- If verbal k n o w l e d g e of the cube's real shape overwhelms the sent reality must transcend his own student's purely visual perception, quot;incorrectquot; drawing results— perception. He must ignore or d r a w i n g w i t h the kinds of problems that make adolescents override the very mechanisms in despair (see F i g u r e 5-17). K n o w i n g that cubes have square cor- his mind that create objects out of ners, students usually start a drawing of a cube with a square cor- images T h e artist, like the eye, must provide true images and the ner. K n o w i n g that a c u b e rests on a flat surface, students draw clues of distance to tell his magic straight lines across the bottom. T h e i r errors c o m p o u n d them- lies.quot; selves as the d r a w i n g p r o c e e d s , and the students b e c o m e more — Colin Blakemore and more confused. Mechanics of the Mind, 1977 T h o u g h a sophisticated viewer, familiar with the art of cubism and abstraction, m i g h t find the quot;incorrectquot; drawings in F i g u r e 5-17 m o r e interesting than the quot;correctquot; drawings in F i g - ure 5-18, y o u n g students find praise of their w r o n g forms i n c o m - prehensible. In this case, the child's intent was to make the cube l o o k quot;real.quot; T h e r e f o r e , to the child, the d r a w i n g is a failure. To From childhood onward, we have say o t h e r w i s e seems as absurd to students as telling them that learned to see things in terms of quot;two plus two equals fivequot; is a creative and praiseworthy solution. words: We name things, and we On the basis of quot;incorrectquot; drawings such as the cube draw- know facts about them. T h e domi- nant left verbal system doesn't ings, students m a y d e c i d e that they quot;can't draw.quot; But they can want too much information about draw; that is, the forms indicate that manually they are perfectly things it perceives—just enough to able to draw. T h e dilemma is that previously stored k n o w l e d g e — recognize and to categorize. It w h i c h is useful in other c o n t e x t s — p r e v e n t s their seeing the seems that one of its functions is to thing-as-it-is, right there in front of their eyes. screen out a large proportion of contextual perceptions. This is a S o m e t i m e s the t e a c h e r solves the p r o b l e m by showing the necessary process and one that students h o w — t h a t is, by demonstrating the process of drawing. works very well for us most of the L e a r n i n g by demonstration is a t i m e - h o n o r e d method of teach- time, enabling us to focus our attention. T h e left brain, in this i n g art, and it works if the t e a c h e r can draw well and has c o n - sense, learns to take a quick look fidence e n o u g h to demonstrate realistic drawing in front of a and says, quot;Right, that's a chair (or class. Unfortunately, most teachers at the crucial elementary an umbrella, bird, tree, dog, etc.).quot; l e v e l are t h e m s e l v e s not trained in perceptual skills in drawing. But drawing requires that you T h e r e f o r e , teachers often have the same feelings of inadequacy look at something for a long time, perceiving lots of details and c o n c e r n i n g their o w n ability to draw realistically as the children how they fit together, registering they wish to teach. as much information as possible— M a n y teachers wish children at this age w o u l d be freer, less ideally, everything, as Albrecht Durer apparently tried to do in c o n c e r n e d about realism in their artwork. But h o w e v e r much Figure 5-19. some teachers may deplore their students' insistence on realism, the children themselves are relentless. T h e y will have realism, or 80 T H E NEW D R A W I N G O N T H E R I G H T SIDE O F T H E BRAIN
  • 94. they will give up art forever. T h e y want their drawings to match what they see, and they want to know how to do that. I believe that children at this age love realism because they are trying to learn how to see. T h e y are w i l l i n g to put great e n e r g y and effort into the task if the results are e n c o u r a g i n g . A few children are lucky enough to accidentally discover the secret: how to see things in a different ( R - m o d e ) way. I think I was one of those children who, by chance, stumbles on the process. But the majority of children need to be taught how to make that cognitive shift. Fortunately, we are now d e v e l o p i n g n e w instructional methods, based on recent brain research, w h i c h w i l l enable teachers to help satisfy children's y e a r n i n g for seeing and draw- ing skills. How the symbol system, developed in childhood, influences seeing N o w we are c o m i n g closer to the problem and its solution. First, quot;By the time the child can draw more than a scribble, by age three what prevents a person from seeing things clearly enough to draw or four years, an already well- them? formed body of conceptual knowl- T h e left hemisphere has no patience with this detailed per- edge formulated in language ception and says, in effect, quot;It's a chair, I tell you. That's enough to dominates his memory and con- trols his graphic work Draw- know. In fact, don't bother to look at it, because I've got a r e a d y - ings are graphic accounts of made symbol for you. Here it is; add a few details if you want, but essentially verbal processes. As an don't bother me with this looking business.quot; essentially verbal education gains A n d where do the s y m b o l s c o m e from? From the years of control, the child abandons his graphic efforts and relies almost childhood drawing during which every person develops a system entirely on words. Language has of symbols. T h e symbol system b e c o m e s e m b e d d e d in the m e m - first spoilt drawing and then swal- ory, and the symbols are ready to be called out, just as y o u called lowed it up completely.quot; them out to draw your childhood landscape. — Written in 1930 by T h e symbols are also ready to be called out when y o u draw a psychologist Karl Buhler face, for example. T h e efficient left brain says, quot; O h yes, eyes. Here's a symbol for eyes, the one y o u ' v e always used. A n d a nose? Yes, here's the way to do it.quot; M o u t h ? Hair? Eyelashes? T h e r e ' s a symbol for each. T h e r e are also s y m b o l s for chairs, tables, and hands. To sum up, adult students b e g i n n i n g in art g e n e r a l l y do not DRAWING ON MEMORIES: YOUR HISTORY AS AN A R T I S T 8l
  • 95. quot;I must begin, not with hypothesis, really see what is in front of their e y e s — t h a t is, they do not per- but with specific instances, no mat- c e i v e in the special way required for drawing. T h e y take note of ter how minute.quot; what's there, and quickly translate the perception into words and — Paul Klee symbols mainly based on the symbol system developed through- out childhood and on what they know about the perceived object. W h a t is the solution to this dilemma? P s y c h o l o g i s t Robert O r n s t e i n suggests that in order to draw, the artist must quot;mirrorquot; things or p e r c e i v e them e x a c t l y as they are. T h u s , you must set aside y o u r usual verbal c a t e g o r i z i n g and turn y o u r full visual attention to what you are perceiving—to all of its details and how each detail fits into the w h o l e configuration. In short, you must see the way an artist sees. Fig. 5-19. Albrecht Durer, Study for the Saint Jerome (1521).One of the L-mode functions is to screen out a large proportion of incoming per- ceptions. This is a necessary process to enable us to focus our thinking and one that works very well for us most of the time. But drawing requires that you look at something for a long time, perceiv- ing lots of details, registering as much information as possible— ideally, everything, as Albrecht Durer tried to do here. 82 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
  • 96. Given proper instruction, young children can easily learn to draw. These examples are by third-grade children, age eight. DRAWING ON MEMORIES: YOUR HISTORY AS AN A R T I S T 83
  • 97. quot;Art is a form of supremely delicate A g a i n , the key question is h o w to a c c o m p l i s h that cognitive awareness . . . meaning at-oneness, L - > R shift. As I said in C h a p t e r Four, the most efficient way the state of being at one with the seems to be to present the brain w i t h a task the left brain either o b j e c t . . . . T h e picture must all can't or w o n ' t handle. Y o u have already e x p e r i e n c e d a few of come out of the artist's inside.... It those tasks: the V a s e / F a c e s drawings and the upside-down draw- is the image that lives in the con- sciousness, alive like a vision, but ing. A n d to some extent, y o u have already b e g u n to e x p e r i e n c e unknown.quot; and r e c o g n i z e the alternate state of right-hemisphere mode. You — D. H. Lawrence, the are beginning to know that while you are in that slightly different English writer, speaking subjective state of mind, y o u slow d o w n so that you can see more about his paintings clearly. As y o u think back over e x p e r i e n c e s with d r a w i n g since you started this book and over e x p e r i e n c e s of alternative states of consciousness you may have had in connection with other activi- ties (freeway driving, reading, etc., m e n t i o n e d in C h a p t e r O n e ) , think again about the characteristics of that slightly altered state. It is important that y o u continue to d e v e l o p y o u r awareness and recognition of R - m o d e state. Lewis Carroll described an analo- gous shift in Alice's adventures in Through the Looking Glass: quot;Oh, Kitty, how nice it would be if we could only get through into Looking Glass House! I'm sure it's got, oh! such beautiful things in it! Let's pretend there's a way of get- ting through into it, somehow, Kitty. Let's pretend the glass has got all soft like gauze, so that we can get through. Why, it's turning to a mist now, I declare! It'll be easy enough to get through. . . .quot; 84 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
  • 98. quot;The development of an Observer Let's review the characteristics of the R - m o d e one more time. can allow a person considerable First, there is a s e e m i n g suspension of time. Y o u are not aware of access to observing different iden- time in the sense of marking time. S e c o n d , y o u pay no attention tity states, and an outside observer to spoken words. You may hear the sounds of speech, but y o u do may often clearly infer different identity states, but a person him- not decode the sounds into meaningful words. If someone speaks self who has not developed the to you, it seems as t h o u g h it w o u l d take a great effort to cross Observer function very well may back, think again in words, and answer. F u r t h e r m o r e , w h a t e v e r never notice the many transitions you are doing seems immensely interesting. You are attentive and from one identity state to another.quot; concentrated and feel quot;at onequot; with the thing you are concentrat- — Charles T. T a r t ing on. You feel e n e r g i z e d but calm, active w i t h o u t anxiety. Y o u Alternate States of feel self-confident and capable of d o i n g the task at hand. Y o u r Consciousness, 1977 thinking is not in words but in images and, p a r t i c u l a r l y w h i l e drawing, y o u r thinking is quot;locked onquot; to the object y o u are p e r - ceiving. On l e a v i n g R - m o d e state, y o u do not feel tired, but refreshed. O u r job now is to bring this state into clearer focus and under greater conscious control, in order to take advantage of the right hemisphere's superior ability to process visual information and to increase your ability to make the c o g n i t i v e shift to R - m o d e at will. 85 DRAWING ON MEMORIES: YOUR HISTORY AS AN A R T I S T
  • 99. W quot;To empty one's mind of all thought E HAVE REVIEWED YOUR CHILDHOOD ART and the and refill the void with a spirit d e v e l o p m e n t of the set of symbols that formed your greater than oneself is to extend c h i l d h o o d language of drawing. T h i s process paralleled the the mind into a realm not accessi- d e v e l o p m e n t of other s y m b o l systems: speech, reading, writing, ble by conventional processes of and arithmetic. Whereas these other symbol systems formed use- reason.quot; ful foundations for later d e v e l o p m e n t of verbal and computa- — Edward Hill The Language of Drawing, tional skills, c h i l d h o o d d r a w i n g symbols seem to interfere with 1966 later stages of art. T h u s , the central p r o b l e m of teaching realistic drawing to individuals from age ten or so onward is the persistence of m e m - orized, stored d r a w i n g symbols when they are no longer appro- priate to the task. In a sense, L - m o d e unfortunately continues to quot;thinkquot; it can draw l o n g after the ability to process spatial, rela- tional information has been lateralized to the right brain. W h e n confronted with a d r a w i n g task, the language mode comes rush- ing in with its verbally linked symbols. T h e n afterward, ironically, the left brain is all too ready to supply derogatory words of judg- ment if the drawing looks childlike or naive. In the last chapter I said that an effective way to quot;set asidequot; the dominant left verbal hemisphere and to quot;bring forwardquot; your nondominant right brain, with its visual, spatial, relational style, is to present y o u r brain with a task that the left brain either can't or won't work at. We have used the V a s e / F a c e s drawings and u p s i d e - d o w n drawings to illustrate this process. N o w we'll try another, more drastic strategy that will force a stronger cognitive shift and set aside your L - m o d e more completely. Nicolaides's contour drawing I've called the method of the next exercise quot;Pure C o n t o u r Draw- ing,quot; and y o u r left hemisphere is probably not going to enjoy it. Introduced by a revered art teacher, Kimon Nicolaides, in his 1941 book, The Natural Way to Draw, the method has been w i d e l y used by art teachers. I believe that our new k n o w l e d g e about how the brain divides its workload provides a conceptual basis for under- standing why P u r e C o n t o u r D r a w i n g is effective as a teaching method. At the time of writing his book, N i c o l a i d e s apparently 88 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
  • 100. felt that the reason the contour method improved students' draw- ing was that it caused students to use both senses of sight and touch. N i c o l a i d e s r e c o m m e n d e d that students imagine that they were touching the form as they drew. I suggest an alternate possi- bility: L - m o d e rejects the meticulous, c o m p l e x perceptions of spatial, relational information, thus a l l o w i n g access to R - m o d e processing. In short, P u r e C o n t o u r D r a w i n g doesn't suit the left brain's style. It suits the style of the right brain—again, just what we want. Using Pure Contour Drawing to bypass your symbol system In my classes, I demonstrate P u r e C o n t o u r D r a w i n g , describing how to use the method as I d r a w — i f I can manage to keep talking (an L - m o d e function) while I'm drawing. Usually, I start out all right but begin trailing off in m i d - s e n t e n c e after a minute or so. Woman in a Hat, Kimon Nicolaides. By that time, however, my students have the idea. Collection of the author. F o l l o w i n g the demonstration, I show e x a m p l e s of p r e v i o u s quot;Merely to see, therefore, is not students' P u r e C o n t o u r D r a w i n g s . S e e e x a m p l e s o f students' enough. It is necessary to have a drawings on page 95. fresh, vivid, physical contact with the object you draw through as What you'll need: many of the senses as possible— and especially through the sense • Several pieces of drawing paper. You will draw on the top of touch.quot; sheet and use two or three additional sheets to pad the draw- — Kimon Nicolaides ing. The Natural Way to Draw, • Your #2 writing pencil, sharpened 1941 • Masking tape to tape your drawing paper to your drawing board • An alarm clock or kitchen timer • About thirty minutes of uninterrupted time What you'll do: Please read through the following instructions before you begin your drawing. 1. L o o k at the palm of y o u r hand—the left hand if y o u are 89 G E T T I N G A R O U N D YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: M E E T I N G EDGES A N D C O N T O U R S
  • 101. right-handed and the right if you are left-handed. Bring your fingers and t h u m b together to create a mass of wrinkles in y o u r palm. T h o s e wrinkles are what y o u are going to draw— all of them. I can almost hear you saying, quot;Are you joking?quot; or quot;Forget that!quot; 2. Sit in a comfortable position with y o u r d r a w i n g hand on the d r a w i n g paper, h o l d i n g the pencil and ready to draw. T h e n , put the pencil d o w n and tape the paper in that prearranged position so it won't shift around while you are drawing. 3. Set the timer for 5 minutes. In this way, you won't have to keep track of time, an L - m o d e function. 4. T h e n , face all the way around in the opposite direction, keep- ing y o u r hand with the pencil on the drawing paper, and gaze at the palm of the other hand. Be sure to rest that hand on some support—the back of a chair or perhaps on your k n e e — because you will be h o l d i n g this rather awkward position for the allotted 5 minutes. Remember, once you start to draw, you w i l l not turn to look at the d r a w i n g until the timer goes off. See figure 6-1. 5. G a z e at a single w r i n k l e in y o u r palm. P l a c e y o u r pencil on the paper and begin to draw just that edge. As your eyes track the direction of the e d g e v e r y slowly, one millimeter at a time, y o u r pencil w i l l record y o u r perceptions. If the edge changes direction, so does y o u r pencil. If the edge intersects with another edge, follow that n e w information slowly with y o u r eyes, w h i l e y o u r p e n c i l simultaneously records every detail. An important point: Y o u r pencil can record only what y o u s e e — n o t h i n g more, nothing less—at the moment of see- ing. Y o u r hand and p e n c i l function like a seismograph, responding only to your actual perceptions. T h e temptation to turn and look at the d r a w i n g will be v e r y strong. Resist the impulse! D o n ' t do it! K e e p y o u r eyes focussed on your hand. M a t c h the m o v e m e n t of the pencil exactly with your eye movement. O n e or the other may begin to speed up, but don't let that happen. Y o u must record e v e r y t h i n g at the v e r y instant that 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
  • 102. quot;Blind swimmer, I have made you see each point on the contour. Do not pause in the drawing, myself see. I have seen. And I was but continue at a slow, even pace. At first you may feel u n e a s y or surprised and enamored of what uncomfortable: Some students even report sudden headaches or a I saw, wishing to identify myself sense of panic. with it....quot; 6. Do not turn around to see what the d r a w i n g looks like until — M a x Ernst, 1948 your timer signals the end of 5 minutes. 7. M o s t important, you must c o n t i n u e to draw until the timer signals you to stop. 8. If you e x p e r i e n c e painful objections from y o u r verbal m o d e (quot;What am I doing this for? T h i s is really stupid! It won't even be a good drawing because I can't see what I'm doing,quot; and so forth), try your best to keep on drawing. T h e protests from the left will fade out and y o u r mind will b e c o m e quiet. Y o u will find y o u r s e l f b e c o m i n g fascinated with the w o n d r o u s complexity of what you are seeing, and you will feel that you could go deeper and deeper into the complexity. A l l o w this to happen. You have nothing to fear or be u n e a s y about. Y o u r drawing will be a beautiful record of y o u r d e e p perception. We are not concerned about whether the drawing looks like a hand. We want the record of your perceptions. 9. Soon, this mental chatter will cease, and you will find yourself becoming intensely interested in the c o m p l e x i t y of the edges you see in your palm and intensely aware of the beauty of that complex perception. W h e n that change takes place, y o u will have shifted to the visual m o d e and again y o u will be quot;really drawing.quot; 10. W h e n the timer signals the allotted time, turn and look at your drawing. After you have finished: Think back now on how you felt at the b e g i n n i n g of the P u r e Contour Drawing compared to how you felt later, when you were deeply into the drawing. W h a t did that later state feel like? D i d you lose awareness of time passing? Like M a x Ernst, did you become enamored of what y o u saw? W h e n y o u return to the alternative state you were in, will you recognize it? G E T T I N G A R O U N D YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: M E E T I N G EDGES A N D C O N T O U R S
  • 103. Pure Contour Drawing is so L o o k i n g at your drawing, a tangled mass of pencil marks, per- effective at producing this strong haps y o u will say, quot; W h a t a mess!quot; But look more closely and you shift that many artists routinely will see that these marks are strangely beautiful. Of course, they begin drawing with at least a short do not represent the hand, only its details, and details within session of the method, in order details. Y o u have drawn c o m p l e x edges from actual perceptions. to start the process of shifting to R-mode. T h e s e are not quick, abstract, s y m b o l i c representations of the wrinkles in your palm. T h e y are painstakingly accurate, excruci- atingly intricate, entangled, descriptive, and specific marks—just what we want at this point. I believe that these drawings are visual records of the R - m o d e state of consciousness. As a witty friend of mine, writer Judi M a r k s , remarked on v i e w i n g a Pure C o n t o u r D r a w i n g for the first time, quot; N o one in their left mind would do a drawing like that!quot; Why you did this exercise T h e most important reason for this exercise is that Pure Contour D r a w i n g apparently causes L - m o d e to quot;reject the task,quot; enabling you to shift to R - m o d e . Perhaps the lengthy, minute observation of severely limited, quot;non-useful,quot; and quot;boringquot; information— information that defies verbal description—is incompatible with L-mode's thinking style. N o t e that: • Your verbal mode may object and object, but eventually will quot;bow out,quot; leaving you quot;freequot; to draw. This is why I asked you to continue drawing until the timer sounds. • T h e marks you make in R - m o d e are different from and often more beautiful than marks made in your more usual L - m o d e state of consciousness. • A n y t h i n g can be a subject for a Pure Contour drawing: a feather, a piece of shredded bark, a lock of hair. O n c e you have shifted to R-mode, the most ordinary things become inordinately beautiful and interesting. C a n you remember the sense of wonder you had as a child, poring over some tiny insect or a dandelion? 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 BR A I N
  • 104. quot;In prose, the worst thing one can The paradox of the Pure Contour Drawing exercise do with words is to surrender to For reasons that are still unclear, Pure C o n t o u r D r a w i n g is one of them. When you think of a con- crete object, you think wordlessly, the key exercises in learning to draw. But it's a paradox: P u r e and then, if you want to describe C o n t o u r Drawing, which doesn't p r o d u c e a quot; g o o d quot; d r a w i n g (in the thing you have been visualiz- students' estimations), is the best exercise for effectively and effici- ing, you probably hunt about till ently causing students later to achieve good drawing. E v e n more you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of some- important, though, this is the exercise that revives our childhood thing abstract you are more wonder and the sense of beauty found in ordinary things. inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a con- scious effort to prevent it, the A possible explanation existing dialect will come rushing Apparently, in our habitual use of brain modes, L - m o d e seeks in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even chang- quickly to recognize (and name and categorize) by p i c k i n g out ing your meaning. Probably it is details, while R - m o d e wordlessly perceives whole configurations better to put off using words as and seeks how the parts fit t o g e t h e r — o r perhaps w h e t h e r the long as possible and get one's parts fit together. meaning clear as one can through pictures or sensations.quot; In regarding a hand, for example, the nails, the wrinkles and creases are details and the hand itself is the w h o l e configuration. — G e o r g e Orwell quot;Politics and the English T h i s quot;division of laborquot; works fine in ordinary life. In d r a w i n g a Language,quot; 1968 hand, however, one must give equal attention—visual atten- tion—to both the configuration and the details and how they fit together into the whole. Pure C o n t o u r D r a w i n g may function as a sort of quot;shock treatmentquot; for the brain, forcing it to do things differently. Pure C o n t o u r D r a w i n g , I believe, causes L - m o d e to quot;drop out,quot; perhaps, as I mentioned before, through simple b o r e d o m . (quot;I've already named it—it's a wrinkle, I tell you. T h e y ' r e all alike. W h y bother with all this looking.quot;) O n c e L - m o d e has quot;dropped out,quot; it seems possible that R - m o d e then perceives each w r i n - k l e — n o r m a l l y regarded as a detail—as a w h o l e configuration, made up of even smaller details. T h e n each detail of each wrinkle becomes a further whole, made up of e v e r - s m a l l e r parts, and so on, going d e e p e r and d e e p e r into ever e x p a n d i n g c o m p l e x i t y . There is some similarity, I believe, to the phenomenon of fractals, in which w h o l e patterns are constructed of smaller detailed whole patterns, which are constructed of ever smaller, detailed whole patterns. 93 G E T T I N G A R O U N D YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: M E E T I N G EDGES A N D C O N T O U R S
  • 105. Why Pure Contour Drawing is important If perhaps you did not attain a shift to R-mode in your first Pure C o n - W h a t e v e r the actual reason may be, I can assure y o u that P u r e tour Drawing, please be patient with yourself. You may have a very C o n t o u r D r a w i n g will p e r m a n e n t l y change y o u r ability to per- determined verbal system. I sug- ceive. From this point onward, y o u will start to see in the way an gest that you try again. You might artist sees and y o u r skills in seeing and drawing will progress try using a crumpled piece of rapidly. paper, a flower, or any complex object that appeals to you. My stu- L o o k at the P u r e C o n t o u r D r a w i n g of your hand one more dents sometimes have to make two time and appreciate the quality of the marks you made in R- or even three tries in order to quot;win m o d e . A g a i n , these are not the quick, glib, stereotypic marks of outquot; against their strong verbal symbolic L - m o d e . T h e s e marks are true records of perception. modes. T h e next exercise will pull together everything learned so far Set a timer, perhaps for eight or and you will be doing a wonderful quot;realquot; drawing. even ten minutes. In the beginning, it takes time to cause a shift to R- mode. Later on, as American artist Student showing: A record of an alternative state Robert Henri proposed in the sidebar quotation on page 5, the Following is a Student Showing of some Pure C o n t o u r Drawings. shift quot;to the higher statequot; will W h a t strange and marvelous markings are these! N e v e r mind that occur just by starting to draw. the drawings don't resemble greatly the overall configuration of a hand—that's to be e x p e c t e d . We will attend to the overall con- figuration in the next exercise, quot;Modified C o n t o u r Drawing.quot; In P u r e C o n t o u r D r a w i n g , it is the quality of the marks and their character that we care about. T h e marks, these living hiero- g l y p h s , are records of perceptions. To be found nowhere in the drawings are the thin, glib, stereotypic marks of casual, rapid L- m o d e s y m b o l i c processing. Instead, we see rich, deep, intuitive marks made in response to the thing-as-it-is, the thing as it exists out there, marks that delineate the is-ness of the object. Blind swimmers have seen! And seeing, they have drawn. Before m o v i n g on to the next step, Modified C o n t o u r D r a w - These strange marks on the wall ing, let's review the important concept of edges in art. of a cave were made by Paleolithic humans. In their intensity, the The first component skill: The perception of edges marks seem to resemble Pure Contour Drawing. P u r e C o n t o u r D r a w i n g has introduced you to the first c o m p o - — Shamans of Prehistory, nent skill of drawing: the perception of edges. In drawing, the J. Clottes and D. Lewis- term edge has a special meaning, different from its ordinary defini- Williams. N e w York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., tion as a border or outline. 1996 94 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 B R A I N
  • 106. In drawing, an edge is where two things c o m e together. In the Pure C o n t o u r D r a w i n g y o u just finished, for e x a m p l e , the e d g e you drew was the place (the wrinkle) where two parts of the flesh of your palm came together to form a single b o u n d a r y for both parts. T h a t shared boundary, in drawing, is described by a line that is called a contour line. In drawing, therefore, a line (a c o n - tour line or, more simply, a contour) is always the border of t w o things s i m u l t a n e o u s l y — t h a t is, a shared edge. T h e V a s e / F a c e s exercise illustrates this concept. T h e line y o u drew was simulta- neously the edge of the profile and the edge of the vase. To sum up this concept: In drawing, an e d g e is always a shared boundary. G E T T I N G A R O U N D YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: M E E T I N G E D G E S A N D C O N T O U R S
  • 107. T h e child's jigsaw p u z z l e , F i g u r e 6-2, illustrates this impor- tant point. T h e edge of the boat is shared with the water. T h e edge of the sail is shared with the sky and the water. Put another way, the water stop w h e r e the boat b e g i n s — a shared edge. T h e water and the sky stop where the sail begins—shared edges. N o t e also that the outer edge of the p u z z l e — i t s frame or Fig. 6-1. format, m e a n i n g the b o u n d i n g edge of the c o m p o s i t i o n — i s also the outer edge of the sky-shape, the land-shapes, and the water- A good definition of quot;picture shape. planequot; from The Art Pack, Key Definitions/Key Styles, 1992. A quick review of the five perceptual skills of drawing quot;Picture plane: Often used— erroneously—to describe the In this lesson, we are w o r k i n g on the perception of edges as one physical surface of a painting, the of the component skills of drawing. Recall that there are four oth- picture plane is in fact a mental ers and together these five components make up the whole skill of construct—like an imaginary plane of glass . . . Alberti (the drawing: Italian Renaissance artist) called it 1. T h e p e r c e p t i o n of edges (the quot;sharedquot; edges of contour a 'window' separating the viewer drawing). from the picture itself... quot; 2. T h e perception of spaces (in drawing called negative spaces). 3. T h e p e r c e p t i o n of relationships (known as perspective and John Elsum, in his 1704 book The proportion). Art of Painting After the Italian 4. T h e p e r c e p t i o n of lights and shadows (often called quot;shad- Manner, gave instructions for mak- ing quot;a handy devicequot;: ingquot;). 5. T h e p e r c e p t i o n of the w h o l e (the gestalt, the quot;thingnessquot; of quot;Take a Square Frame of Wood about one foot large, and on this the thing). make a little grate [grid] of Threads, so that crossing one Modified Contour Drawing: First, drawing on the another they may fall into perfect picture plane Squares about a Dozen at least, then place [it] between your Eye What you'll need: and the Object, and by this grate imitate upon your Table [drawing • Your clear plastic Picture Plane surface] the true Posture it keeps, • Your felt-tip marker and this will prevent you from run- ning into Errors. T h e more Work is • Both of your viewfinders to be [fore] shortened the smaller Before y o u begin: Please read through all of the instructions are to be the Squares.quot; before starting your drawing. In the next section I will define and Quoted in A Miscellany of Artists' fully explain the Picture Plane. For now, y o u will be simply using Wisdom, compiled by Diana Craig, it. Just follow the instructions. Philadelphia: Running Press, 1993, P-79- 96 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
  • 108. What you'll do: 1. Rest your hand on a desk or table in front of y o u (the left hand if you are right-handed, and the right, if y o u are left- handed) with the ringers and thumb curved upward, pointing toward your face. T h i s is a foreshortened v i e w of y o u r hand. Imagine now that y o u are about to draw that foreshortened form. If you are like most of my students, y o u w o u l d simply not know how to go about doing that. It seems far too difficult to draw this three-dimensional form, with its parts m o v i n g toward y o u in space. You would hardly know w h e r e to start. T h e viewfinders and plastic Picture Plane will help you get started. 2. T r y out each of the Viewfinders to decide which size fits most Fig. 6-3. comfortably over your hand, which y o u should be holding in a foreshortened position with the fingers c o m i n g toward you. M e n often need the larger, women the smaller-sized Viewfin- der. C h o o s e one or the other. 3. C l i p the Viewfinder y o u have chosen on top of y o u r clear- plastic Picture Plane. 4. Use your felt-tip marker to draw a quot;formatquot; line on the plastic Picture Plane, running your marker around the inside of the opening of the Viewfinder. A format line forms the outer boundary of your drawing. See Figure 6-4. 5. Now, holding you hand in the same foreshortened position as before, balance the V i e w f i n d e r / p l a s t i c P i c t u r e P l a n e on the tips of your fingers and thumb. M o v e it about a bit until the picture-plane seems balanced comfortably. 6. Pick up your u n c a p p e d marking pen, gaze at the hand u n d e r the plastic Picture Plane and close one eye. (I'll explain in the next segment w h y it is necessary to close one eye. For now, please just do it.) See Figure 6-5. 7. C h o o s e an edge to start your drawing. A n y edge will do. With the marking pen, begin to draw on the plastic P i c t u r e P l a n e the edges of the shapes just as you see them. Don't try to quot;sec- ond guessquot; any of the edges. Do not name the parts. Do not wonder why the edges are the way they are. Your job, just as in Fig. 6-5. G E T T I N G A R O U N D YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: M E E T I N G EDGES A N D C O N T O U R S 97
  • 109. U p s i d e - D o w n D r a w i n g and in P u r e C o n t o u r Drawing, is to draw e x a c t l y what y o u see, with as m u c h detail as you can manage with the marking pen (which is not as precise as a pencil). 8. Be sure to keep your head in the same place and keep one eye closed. Don't move your head to try to quot;see aroundquot; the form. K e e p it still. (Again, I'll explain why in the next segment.) 9. C o r r e c t any lines y o u wish by just w i p i n g them off with a moistened tissue on y o u r forefinger. It is very easy to redraw them more precisely. After you have finished: P l a c e the plastic P i c t u r e P l a n e on a plain sheet of paper so that y o u can c l e a r l y see what y o u have drawn. I can predict with confidence that y o u will be amazed. With relatively little effort, Fig. 6-6. Albrecht Durer y o u have a c c o m p l i s h e d one of the truly difficult tasks in draw- (1471-1528), Hands in Adoration. i n g — d r a w i n g the human hand in foreshortened view. G r e a t Black and white tempera on blue paper. Albertina Museum, Vienna. artists in the past have practiced drawing hands over and over. Observe the examples by Albrecht Durer and Vincent Van G o g h , Figures 6-6 and 6-7. H o w did y o u a c c o m p l i s h this so easily? T h e answer, of course, is that y o u did what a trained artist does: You quot;copiedquot; what y o u saw on the p i c t u r e - p l a n e — i n this instance, an actual plastic plane. I fully define and explain the Picture Plane in the next section. For now, y o u are simply using it. I have found that the explanation makes more sense after students have used the plastic plane. Fig. 6-7. Vincent Van G o g h , For further practice: I suggest that you erase your felt-tip pen Sketches with Two Sowers. St. Remy, drawing from the Picture Plane with a damp tissue and do several 1890. more, with y o u r hand in a different position each time. T r y for the really quot;hardquot; v i e w s — t h e more complicated the better. Oddly enough, the flat hand is the hardest to draw; a complex position is actually easier. T h e r e f o r e , arrange y o u r hand with the fingers curved, entwined, crossed, fist clenched, whatever. T r y to include some foreshortening. Remember, the m o r e y o u practice each of these exercises, the faster y o u will progress. Save your last (or 98 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 B R A I N
  • 110. It might help your understanding best) drawing for the next exercise. of the picture plane to realize that This brings us to a crucial question—that is, an all-important photography grew out of drawing. question in terms of your understanding: W h a t is drawing? In the years before photography T h e quick answer: D r a w i n g is quot; c o p y i n g quot; what you see on the was invented, artists generally understood and used the concept picture-plane. In the drawing you did just now, your o w n hand in of the picture-plane. You can foreshortened view, y o u quot; c o p i e d quot; the quot;flattenedquot; image of y o u r imagine the artists' excitement hand that you quot;sawquot; on the plastic Picture Plane. (and, perhaps, dismay) to see that A n d now, a more c o m p l e t e answer to the question, quot; W h a t is a photograph could, in an instant, capture the image on the picture- drawing?quot; plane—an image that would have In art, the concept of quot;the picture planequot; is extremely abstract taken an artist hours, days, or even and difficult to explain, and even more difficult to c o m p r e h e n d . weeks to render in a drawing. But this concept is one of the most important keys to learning to Artists, deposed from realistic depiction, began exploring other draw, so stay with me. I'll try to be clear. aspects of perception, such as the T h e picture plane is a mental c o n c e p t . S e e this in y o u r effects of light (Impressionism). quot;mind's eyequot;: the picture plane is an imaginary transparent plane, After photography became com- like a framed window, that is always h a n g i n g out in front of the mon, the concept of the picture plane was less necessary and began artist's face, always parallel to the quot;planequot; of the artist's two eyes. to fade away. If the artist turns, the plane also turns. W h a t the artist sees quot;on the planequot; actually extends back into the distance. But the plane enables the artist to quot;seequot; the scene as t h o u g h it were m a g i c a l l y smashed flat on the back of the clear glass p l a n e — l i k e a p h o t o - graph, in a sense. P u t another way, the 3-D image behind the framed quot; w i n d o w quot; is converted to a 2 - D (flat) image. T h e artist then quot;copiesquot; what is seen quot;on the planequot; onto the flat d r a w i n g paper. T h i s trick of the artist's mind, so difficult to describe, is even more difficult for beginning students to discover on their own. In this course, therefore, y o u need an actual picture plane (your plastic Picture Plane) and actual w i n d o w frames (the V i e w f i n - ders). T h e s e devices seem to work like magic in causing students to quot;getquot; what d r a w i n g is—that is, to understand the fundamental nature of drawing perceived objects or persons. To further help beginners in drawing, I asked y o u to draw crosshairs on y o u r sheet of plastic (the plastic P i c t u r e Plane). T h e s e two quot;gridquot; lines represent vertical and horizontal, the two constants that the artist absolutely depends on to assess relation- 99 G E T T I N G A R O U N D YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: M E E T I N G E D G E S A N D C O N T O U R S
  • 111. T h e picture plane is an imaginary vertical surface, like a window, through which you look at your subject. In this way, you copy your three-dimensional view of the world to your two-dimensional surface onto your drawing paper. Dozens of picture planes and per- spective devices are recorded in the U.S. Patent Office. Here are two examples. 100 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
  • 112. ships. Early on in my classes, I used a grid of m a n y lines, but I found that students were c o u n t i n g u p — quot; t w o spaces over and three down.quot; T h i s is just the kind of L - m o d e activity we didn't want. I then reduced the quot;gridquot; lines to one vertical and one hori- zontal and found that was sufficient. Later on, you will need neither the plastic Picture Plane with its gridlines nor the Viewfinders. You will replace these technical devices with the imaginary, internalized mental p i c t u r e - p l a n e that every artist uses, whether consciously or subconsciously. T h e actual plane (your plastic Picture Plane) and the actual Viewfin- ders are simply v e r y effective aids during the time y o u are learn- ing how to draw. T r y this: Fasten y o u r Viewfinder, the o n e with the largest opening, on top of the Picture Plane, using y o u r clips. C l o s e one eye and hold the Picture P l a n e / V i e w f i n d e r t o g e t h e r up in front of your face. See Figure 6-8. L o o k at the quot;framedquot; image, whatever is in front of y o u r eye (singular). You can change the quot; c o m p o s i t i o n quot; by b r i n g i n g the Viewfinder closer to or farther away from y o u r face, m u c h as a camera viewfinder works. C h e c k out the angles of the edges of the ceiling, or perhaps of a table, relative to the crosshairs—that is, relative to vertical and horizontal. T h e s e angles may surprise you. N e x t , imagine that y o u are d r a w i n g with y o u r felt-tip marker what you see on the plane, just as y o u did in drawing your hand. See Figure 6-9. T h e n turn to see another view, and then another, always keeping the picture-plane parallel to the front of your face. Don't slant it in any direction! O n e way to practice not slanting the plane is to bring the plastic P i c t u r e P l a n e right up to y o u r face, then quickly extend your arms straight out together. N e x t , choose a v i e w that you like, framed by your Viewfinder on the plastic Picture Plane. Imagine that you are quot;copyingquot; what you see on the plane onto a p i e c e of d r a w i n g paper. R e m e m b e r , all of the angles, sizes, spaces, and relationships will be just what you see on the plane. See Figure 6-10. T h e s e two images, your (imagined) drawing on the paper and the image on the plastic P i c t u r e P l a n e will be ( a p p r o x i m a t e l y ) Fig. 6-10. 101 GETTING AROUND YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: MEETING EDGES AND CONTOURS
  • 113. quot;Dear T h e o , the same. If p e r f e c t l y d r a w n — v e r y hard to do!—they will be In my last letter you will have identical. At its most basic level, that is what drawing is. To reiter- found a little sketch of that per- ate, basic realistic drawing is c o p y i n g what is seen on the picture- spective frame I mentioned. I just plane. came back from the blacksmith, who made iron points for the sticks quot;If that is so,quot; y o u may object, quot; w h y not just take a photo- and iron corners for the frame. It graph?quot; I believe one answer is that the purpose of realistic draw- consists of two long stakes; the ing is not simply to record data, but rather to record your unique frame can be attached to them p e r c e p t i o n — h o w you personally see something—and, moreover, either way with strong wooden how y o u understand the thing y o u are drawing. By slowing down pegs. and c l o s e l y o b s e r v i n g something, personal expression and c o m - quot;So on the shore or in the meadows p r e h e n s i o n o c c u r in ways that cannot o c c u r simply by taking a or in the fields one can look through it like a window [the artist's snapshot. (I am referring, of course, to casual photography, not emphasis]. T h e vertical lines and the work of artist-photographers.) the horizontal line of the frame A l s o , y o u r style of line, c h o i c e s for emphasis, and subcon- and the diagonal lines and the intersection, or else the division in scious mental p r o c e s s e s — y o u r personality, so to speak—enters squares, certainly give a few point- the drawing. In this way, again paradoxically, y o u r careful obser- ers which help one make a solid vation and d e p i c t i o n of y o u r subject give the v i e w e r both the drawing and which indicate the i m a g e of y o u r subject and an insight into you. In the best sense, main lines and proportion . . . of you have expressed yourself. why and how the perspective causes an apparent change of Use of the picture-plane has a long tradition in the history of direction in the lines and change of art. T h e great Renaissance artist L e o n e Battista Alberti discov- size in the planes and in the whole ered that he c o u l d draw in p e r s p e c t i v e the c i t y s c a p e beyond his mass. w i n d o w by d r a w i n g d i r e c t l y on the glass pane the v i e w he saw quot;Long and continuous practice behind the pane. Inspired by L e o n a r d o da Vinci's writing on the with it enables one to draw quick subject, G e r m a n artist A l b r e c h t D u r e r d e v e l o p e d the picture- as lightning—and once the draw- ing is done firmly, to paint quick as plane c o n c e p t further, b u i l d i n g actual p i c t u r e - p l a n e devices. lightning, too.quot; Durer's writings and drawings inspired V i n c e n t Van G o g h to From Letter 223, The Complete c o n s t r u c t his o w n quot;perspective d e v i c e , quot; as he called it, when he Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, Green- was laboriously teaching himself to draw (see Figure 6-11). Later wich, Conn.: T h e N e w York on, after Van G o g h had mastered basic drawing, he discarded his Graphic Society, 1954, p. 432-33. device, just as you will. N o t e that Van G o g h ' s d e v i c e must have w e i g h e d twenty p o u n d s or more. I can p i c t u r e him in my mind's eye laboriously dismantling the parts, t y i n g them up, carrying the bundle—along with his painting m a t e r i a l s — o n his l o n g walk to the seashore, u n b u n d l i n g and setting the d e v i c e up, and then repeating the w h o l e s e q u e n c e to get h o m e at night. T h i s gives us some insight 102 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 114. Fig. 6-12. T h e artist using his device at the seashore. From The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh. Greenwich: T h e N e w York Graphic Society, 1954. T h e drawings are reproduced by permission of T h e N e w York Graphic Society. Fig. 6-11. Vincent Van Gogh's perspective device. into how resolutely Van G o g h labored to i m p r o v e his d r a w i n g skills (see Figure 6-12). A n o t h e r r e n o w n e d artist, the 1 6 t h - c e n t u r y D u t c h master Hans Holbein, w h o had no need for help with his drawing, also used an actual P i c t u r e Plane. A r t historians r e c e n t l y d i s c o v e r e d that Holbein used a glass pane on w h i c h he directly drew images of his sitters for the o v e r w h e l m i n g n u m b e r of portrait d r a w i n g s required of him when he lived in the English court of H e n r y VIII. Art historians speculate that Holbein, one of the great draughts- men of art history, did this to save t i m e — t h e o v e r w o r k e d artist could then quickly transfer the drawing on glass to paper and get on to the next portrait. O n e more important point: quot; D r a w i n g quot; means d r a w i n g a sin- gle view. Recall that w h e n y o u drew y o u r hand d i r e c t l y on the plastic Picture Plane, I asked y o u to keep y o u r hand still and y o u r head still in order to see one v i e w o n l y on the P i c t u r e P l a n e . E v e n a slight movement of your hand or a slight change in the position of your head will give y o u a different v i e w of y o u r hand. I s o m e - GETTING AROUND YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: MEETING EDGES AND CONTOURS 103
  • 115. Professor Elliot Elgart of the Uni- times see students bend their heads around to see something they versity of California at Los Angeles couldn't see with their head in the original position. Don't do it! Art Department told me in con- If y o u can't see that fourth finger, y o u don't draw it. To repeat: versation that he has often K e e p y o u r hand and y o u r head in an unchanged position and observed beginning drawing stu- draw just what you see. dents, presented for the first time with a reclining model, tilt their For the same r e a s o n — t o see one v i e w o n l y — y o u kept one heads far to one side while drawing eye closed. By closing one eye, you removed binocular vision, the the model. Why? To see the model slight variance in images, called quot;binocular disparity,quot; that occurs in the position they are used to, when we v i e w an object with both eyes open. which is standing up! B i n o c u l a r vision allows us to see the world as t h r e e - d i m e n - sional. T h i s ability is sometimes called quot;depth perception.quot; W h e n y o u close one eye, the single image is two-dimensional—that is, it is flat, like a photograph. T h e paper we draw on is also t w o - dimensional or flat. Here is yet another of the paradoxes of drawing: T h e flat, t w o - d i m e n s i o n a l image y o u see (with one eye Seeing perspective drawing as closed) on the picture-plane, w h e n copied onto your drawing depicting three-dimensional space paper, miraculously quot;looksquot; three-dimensional to the person who is apparently a learned percept, v i e w s y o u r drawing. O n e necessary step in learning to draw is to culturally determined. Individuals b e l i e v e that this miracle will happen. Often, students struggling from remote cultures sometimes do not decipher photographs or with a d r a w i n g w i l l ask, quot; H o w can I make this table look like it's realistic drawings. g o i n g back in space?quot; or quot; H o w do I make this arm look like it's c o m i n g toward me?quot; T h e answer, of course, is to draw—to copy!—just what y o u see flattened on the picture-plane. O n l y then w i l l the d r a w i n g c o n v i n c i n g l y d e p i c t these quot;movementsquot; through three-dimensional space (see Figure 6-13). Y o u m a y be w o n d e r i n g , quot;Is it always necessary to close one eye while drawing?quot; N o t always, but most artists do quite a lot of o n e - e y e closing while drawing. T h e closer the viewed object, the more e y e - c l o s i n g . T h e farther away the object, the less eye c l o s - ing, because the binocular disparity referred to above diminishes with distance. In this next exercise, y o u w i l l use y o u r technical aids (your plastic Picture Plane and your Viewfinders) to enable you to do a realistic drawing of your own hand—a quot;realquot; drawing depicting a three-dimensional form on a flat sheet of paper. THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 116. Students often become very frus- trated at the start of a drawing— perhaps because the starting of a drawing is always difficult. Also I think students beginning in draw- ing believe that drawings just quot;flow out.quot; T h e y don't. You will be mak- ing numerous intense relational calculations at the start, and it's only after the drawing is well started—in fact, nearing comple- tion—that it begins to quot;flow.quot; Fig. 6-13. Brian Harking. Modified Contour Drawing of your hand What you'll need: • Several sheets of the smaller drawing paper • Your graphite stick and some paper napkins or paper towels • Your #2 writing pencil or your # 4 B drawing pencil, sharpened • Your eraser • Your plastic Picture Plane • Your felt-tip marker • T h e Viewfinder you used for your drawing on the Picture Plane • An hour of uninterrupted time What you'll do: Before you begin: Please read through all of the instructions. In this drawing, we are modifying the instructions for P u r e C o n - tour Drawing. You will sit in a normal position and therefore be able to glance at your drawing to monitor its progress (see F i g u r e 6-14). Nevertheless, I hope y o u will use the same focused c o n c e n - tration that you used in Pure C o n t o u r Drawing. GETTING AROUND YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: MEETING EDGES AND CONTOURS
  • 117. Fig. 6-14. T h e position for M o d i - fied Countour Drawing is the usual drawing position. i. T a p e a stack of several sheets of paper to your drawing board. Most of my students greatly enjoy this process of toning their paper, T a p e all four corners securely, so that the paper will not shift and the physical action of quot;work- around. O n e of your hands will be quot;posingquot; and must remain ing upquot; the tone seems to help still. T h e other will be d r a w i n g and perhaps erasing. If the them get started with a drawing. paper shifts u n d e r your hand while y o u are drawing or eras- A possible reason is that, having marked the paper and made it ing, it is very distracting. their own, so to speak, they escape D r a w a format on y o u r d r a w i n g paper, using the inside edge 2. the intimidation of that blank sheet of your Viewfinder. of white paper staring at them. 3. T h e next step is to tone y o u r paper. M a k e sure y o u have a stack of several sheets of paper to pad your drawing. Begin to tone y o u r paper by r u b b i n g the edge of the graphite stick v e r y lightly over the paper, staying inside the format. You want to a c h i e v e a pale, even t o n e — d o n ' t worry too much about staying within the lines. You can clean up the edges at a later time. Figure 6-15. 4. O n c e y o u have covered the paper with a light application of graphite, begin to rub the graphite into the paper with your 106 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 118. Fig. 6-17. Fig. 6-16. F i g . 6-15. paper towels. Rub with a circular motion, applying even pres- sure right up to the edge of the format. You want to achieve a very smooth, silvery tone. Figure 6-16. Fig. 6-18. Pose your hand under the 5. N e x t , lightly draw horizontal and vertical crosshairs on y o u r Picture Plane. toned paper. T h e lines will cross in the center just as they do on your plastic Picture Plane. Use the crosshairs on the plas- tic plane to mark the position of the crosshairs on the format of your toned paper. A caution: Don't draw the lines too dark. T h e y are only guidelines and later you may want to eliminate them. Figure 6-17. 6. Retrieve y o u r P i c t u r e P l a n e with the felt-tip d r a w i n g that you did at the start of this chapter, or, if y o u wish, y o u can do a new drawing (Figure 6-18). P l a c e the plane d o w n on a light surface, perhaps a sheet of paper, so that y o u can c l e a r l y see the drawing on the plastic. T h i s image w i l l act as a g u i d e for you when you next draw your hand without the actual plane. Fig. 6-19. Draw the edges as you see Figure 6-19. them on the Picture Plane. GETTING AROUND YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: MEETING EDGES AND CONTOURS
  • 119. 7. An important step: N o w , y o u w i l l transfer the main points and edges of y o u r d r a w i n g on plastic to y o u r drawing paper (Figure 6-20). T h e formats are the same size, so it is a one-to- one scale transfer. Using the crosshairs, place the point where an e d g e of y o u r hand contacts the format. Transfer several of these points. T h e n , begin to connect the edges of your hand, fingers, thumb, palm, wrinkles, and so on with the points you have established. T h i s is just a light sketch to help you place the hand within the format. Recall that d r a w i n g is c o p y i n g what y o u see on the picture plane. For this drawing, you will take this actual step, to get used to the process. Don't worry Fig. 6-20. Transfer the main points from your drawing or plastic to about erasing the ground if y o u have to change a line. Erase, your toned drawing paper. then just rub the erased area with your finger or a paper nap- kin and the erasure disappears. 8. O n c e this rough, light sketch is on y o u r paper, y o u are ready to start drawing. 9. Reposition your quot;posingquot; hand, using the drawing-on-plastic to g u i d e the positioning. T h e n , set aside your d r a w i n g - o n - plastic, but place it where you can still refer to it. 10. T h e n , closing one eye, focus on a point on some edge in your p o s i n g hand. A n y e d g e w i l l do to make a start. P l a c e your p e n c i l point on this same point in the drawing. T h e n , gaze again at this point on y o u r hand in preparation to draw. T h i s w i l l start the mental shift to R - m o d e and help to quiet any Fig. 6-21. mutterings from L - m o d e . 11. W h e n y o u begin to draw, y o u r e y e s — o r rather, e y e — w i l l m o v e s l o w l y along the c o n t o u r and your pencil will record your perceptions at the same slow speed that your eye is mov- ing. Just as y o u did in P u r e C o n t o u r Drawing, try to perceive and record all of the slight undulations of each edge (Figure T r y to observe the shapes of the 6-21). U s e y o u r eraser w h e n e v e r needed, even to make tiny lights and shadows. I realize you adjustments in the line. L o o k i n g at your hand (with one eye haven't yet had any instruction of the fourth drawing skill, the per- closed, remember), y o u can estimate the angle of any edge by ception of lights and shadows. I've c o m p a r i n g it to the crosshairs. C h e c k these angles in your found, however, that students do d r a w i n g - o n - p l a s t i c that y o u did earlier, but also try to see well just plunging in and they often these relationships by i m a g i n i n g a picture-plane hovering enjoy it very much. 108 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 120. over your hand, with its helpful crosshairs and the edge of the format to guide you. 12. A b o u t 90 percent of the time, y o u should be l o o k i n g at y o u r hand. T h a t is w h e r e y o u will find the information that y o u need. In fact, all the information you need to do a wonderful drawing of your hand is right in front of your eyes. G l a n c e at the drawing o n l y to monitor the pencil's r e c o r d i n g of y o u r perceptions, to check for relationships of sizes and angles, or to pick a point to start a n e w contour. C o n c e n t r a t e on what you see, wordlessly sensing to yourself, quot; H o w wide is this part compared to that? H o w steep is this angle compared to that?quot; And so on. 13. M o v e from contour to adjacent contour. If y o u see spaces between the fingers, use that information as well: quot; H o w w i d e is that space compared to the width of that shape?quot; ( R e m e m - ber, we are not naming things—fingernails, fingers, thumb, palm. T h e y are all just edges, spaces, shapes, relationships.) Be sure to keep one eye closed at least a good portion of the time. Your hand is quite close in p r o x i m i t y to y o u r eyes, and the space above the fingernail the binocular disparity can confuse you with two images. the space below W h e n you c o m e to parts that impose their names on y o u — any other shape fingernails, for e x a m p l e — t r y to escape the words. O n e good the space between fingers strategy is to focus on the shapes of the flesh around the finger- nails. T h e s e shapes share edges with the fingernails. Therefore, if you draw the shapes around the nails, y o u will have also drawn the edges of the fingernails—but y o u ' l l get both right! In fact, if mental conflict sets in over any part of the drawing, m o v e to the next adjacent space or shape, r e m e m b e r i n g the quot;shared e d g e quot; concept. T h e n , return later with quot;new e y e s quot; to the part that seemed difficult. (Figure 6-22) 14. You may want to erase out the spaces around your hand. T h i s Fig. 6-22. Drawing the hand by makes the hand quot;stand outquot; from the negative spaces. using shapes and spaces. You can work up the d r a w i n g with a little shading by o b s e r v i n g where you see areas of light (highlights) and areas of shadow appear on your posing hand. Erase out the highlights and draw in the shadows. GETTING AROUND YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: MEETING EDGES AND CONTOURS
  • 121. Suggestions for practice: Using the 15. Finally, w h e n the drawing begins to b e c o m e intensely inter- method for Modified Contour esting, like a c o m p l i c a t e d and beautiful jigsaw p u z z l e gradu- Drawing, draw a preliminary ally taking shape u n d e r your pencil, you will be really quot;copyquot; of the object first on the drawing. Picture Plane. T h e n draw the object itself, using the drawing-on- After you have finished: T h i s is your first quot;realquot; drawing and I can plastic as a guide. T r y these sub- assume with some confidence that y o u are pleased with the jects: results. I h o p e y o u n o w see what I meant about the miracle of A shoe, or shoes drawing. B e c a u s e y o u drew what y o u saw on the flat picture- A pair of eyeglasses plane, your drawing appears authentically three-dimensional. A kitchen whisk or wine F u r t h e r m o r e , some v e r y subtle qualities will show in your bottle opener drawing. For example, a sense of the v o l u m e — t h e three-dimen- A flower sional t h i c k n e s s — o f the hand will be there, as well as the precise tension of certain muscles or the pressure of a finger on the thumb. A n d all of this c o m e s from simply drawing what you see on the plane. Drawing takes many forms. In this In the f o l l o w i n g g r o u p of drawings, the hands are three- course, you are acquiring the basic dimensional, believable, and authentic. T h e y seem to be made of perceptual skills of drawing, com- parable to learning the basic flesh, muscles, skin, and bones. E v e n v e r y subtle qualities are A B C ' s of reading and writing. d e p i c t e d , such as the pressure of one finger on another, the ten- sion of certain muscles, or the precise texture of the skin. I've included some demonstration drawings by me and others of our t e a c h i n g staff. As y o u see, these drawings are done on a toned ground, which we'll also be using in the next exercise. Before we move on to the next step, think back on your men- tal state d u r i n g the d r a w i n g of y o u r hand. D i d y o u lose track of time? D i d the d r a w i n g at some point b e c o m e interesting, even fascinating? D i d you experience any distraction from your verbal mode? If so, how did you escape it? Also, think back on this basic conception of the picture-plane and our working definition of drawing: quot;copyingquot; what you see on the picture-plane. From now on, each time you pick up the pencil to draw, the strategies learned in this drawing will become better integrated and more quot;automatic.quot; You might want to do a second Modified C o n t o u r Drawing of y o u r hand, perhaps this time h o l d i n g some c o m p l e x object: a twisted handkerchief, a flower, a pinecone, a pair of eyeglasses. For this drawing, y o u can again work on a lightly quot;tonedquot; ground. 110 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 122. GETTING AROUND YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: MEETING EDGES AND CONTOURS III
  • 123. THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN 112
  • 124. The next step: Tricking L-mode with empty space So far, we have located some gaps in the abilities of the left h e m i - sphere. It has problems with mirror images (as in the V a s e / F a c e s drawing). It can't deal with u p s i d e - d o w n perceptual information (as in the u p s i d e - d o w n Stravinsky drawing). It refuses to process slow, complex perceptions (as in the Pure and Modified C o n t o u r drawings). We used those gaps to give R - m o d e a c h a n c e to process visual information without interference from L - m o d e . T h e next lesson on negative space is designed to reestablish your grasp of the unity of spaces and forms in composition, which you had as a child. GETTING AROUND YOUR SYMBOL SYSTEM: MEETING EDGES AND CONTOURS
  • 125. I we'll take up the next c o m p o n e n t skill of N THIS CHAPTER, drawing—the perception of negative spaces. You will use your n e w skills of seeing and d r a w i n g c o m p l i c a t e d edges in order to draw the edges of negative spaces. T h i s exercise w i l l be a stretch for some, a joy for others. T h e r e is an antic or whimsical quality to seeing negative spaces. In a sense, y o u are seeing what is not there. In A m e r i c a n life, it is often a n e w e x p e r i e n c e to realize that spaces are important. We tend to focus on objects; we are an objective culture. In other cul- tures, w o r k i n g quot;within the space of a problemquot; is c o m m o n prac- tice. My aim is to make spaces b e c o m e quot;realquot; for you and to provide a new experience in seeing. In this chapter, y o u will also learn to find and use a quot;Basic U n i t quot; that w i l l enable y o u to correctly size the first shape y o u draw. A n d y o u w i l l dip into lights and shadows by w o r k i n g on a toned ground. 116 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 126. Let's quickly review the five basic skills of drawing. R e m e m - ber, these are perceptual skills: T h e perception of • Edges (line of contour drawing) • Spaces (negative spaces) • Relationships (proportion and perspective) • Lights and shadows (shading) • T h e gestalt (the quot;thingnessquot; of the thing) What are negative spaces and positive forms? T w o terms traditionally used in art are quot;negative spacesquot; and quot;positive forms.quot; In the drawings of the bighorn sheep, for e x a m - ple, the sheep is the positive form and the sky behind and ground below the animal are the negative spaces. T h e word quot;negativequot; in negative spaces is a bit unfortunate because it carries, well, a negative connotation. I have searched in vain for a better term, so we'll stick with this one. T h e terms nega- tive spaces and positive forms have the advantage of b e i n g easy to PERCEIVING THE SHAPE OF A SPACE: THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF NEGATIVE SPACE 117
  • 127. r e m e m b e r and they are, after all, c o m m o n l y used in the whole field of art and design. T h e main point is that negative spaces are just as important as the positive forms. For the person just learn- ing to draw, they are perhaps more important! Why is learning to see and draw negative spaces so important? W h e n a person just b e g i n n i n g in d r a w i n g tries to draw a chair, that person knows too much, in an L - m o d e sense, about chairs. For example, seats have to be big enough to hold a person; all four chair legs are usually all the same length; chair legs sit on a flat surface, and so forth. T h i s k n o w l e d g e does not help, and in fact can greatly hinder, drawing a chair. T h e reason is that, when seen from different angles, the visual information may not conform to what we know. Fig. 7-1. Jeanne O'Neil. V i s u a l l y — t h a t is, as seen on the plane—a chair seat may appear as a narrow strip, not nearly w i d e e n o u g h to sit on. T h e legs may appear to be all of different lengths. T h e curve of the back of a chair may appear to be entirely different from what we know it to be (Figure 7-1). W h a t are we to do? An answer: D o n ' t draw the chair at all! Instead, draw the spaces of the chair. quot;Expression to my way of thinking does not consist of the passion mir- W h y does u s i n g negative space make drawing easier? I rored upon a human face or b e l i e v e that it's because you don't know anything, in a verbal betrayed by a violent gesture. T h e sense, about these spaces. Because you have no pre-existing whole arrangement of my picture m e m o r i z e d s y m b o l s for space-shapes, you can see them clearly is expressive. T h e place occupied by the figures or objects, the empty and draw t h e m correctly. A l s o , by focusing on negative spaces, spaces around them, the propor- you can cause L - m o d e again to drop out of the task, perhaps after tions, everything plays a part.quot; a bit of protest: quot; W h y are you l o o k i n g at nothing? I do not deal — Henri Matisse with nothing! I can't name it. It's of no use . . . quot; Soon, this chatter quot;Notes d'un peintre,quot; will cease—again, just what we want. 1908 An analogy to clarify the concept of negative spaces In drawing, negative space-shapes are real. T h e y are not just empty quot;air.quot; T h e following analogy may help you to see that. Imagine that y o u are w a t c h i n g a Bugs B u n n y cartoon. Imagine that Bugs 118 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 128. Bunny is running at top speed d o w n a long hallway, at the end of which is a closed door. He smashes through the door, l e a v i n g a B u g s - B u n n y shaped hole in the door. What's left of the d o o r is negative space. N o t e that the d o o r has an outside e d g e (its for- mat). T h i s edge is the outside edge of the negative space-shape. In this analogy, the hole in the door is the positive form (Bugs Bunny) gone poof! Now, take your Viewfinder/plastic Picture Plane and look at a chair. C l o s e one eye and move the Viewfinder backward and forward, up and d o w n , as though framing a snapshot. W h e n y o u have found a composition that pleases y o u , hold the V i e w f i n d e r very still. N o w , gazing at a space in the chair, perhaps the space between two back slats, imagine that the chair is m a g i c a l l y p u l - verized and—like Bugs Bunny, in a poof!—disappears, l e a v i n g only the negative spaces, the one you are gazing at and all the rest of the spaces. T h e y are real. T h e y have real shapes, just like the remains of the door in the analogy above. T h e s e negative space- shapes are what you are going to draw. In short, y o u will draw the spaces, not the chair. T h e reason? Recall our definition of edges: A l l edges are shared edges w h e r e two things c o m e together. T h e negative spaces share edges with the (now absent) chair. If y o u draw the edges of the spaces, you also will have drawn the chair, because it shares edges with the spaces. But the chair w i l l quot;look right,quot; because y o u will be able to see and draw the spaces accurately. (See the examples of negative-space drawings of chairs.) N o t e that the format is also the outer edge of the chair's nega- tive spaces (another shared edge) and together the chair-form and the space-shapes fill the format completely. T e c h n i c a l l y speaking, the whole image, made up of positive forms and nega- tive space-shapes, is called the composition. T h e artist composes the forms and the spaces within the format, arranging them according to certain quot;rulesquot; called the Principles of Art. Art teachers often laboriously try to teach their students quot;the rules of composition,quot; but I have discovered that if students pay close attention to negative spaces in their drawings, many c o m p o - Demonstration drawing by sitional problems are automatically solved. instructor Brian Bomeisler. 119 PERCEIVING THE SHAPE OF A SPACE: THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF NEGATIVE SPACE
  • 129. Unity: A most important principle Defining composition of art. In drawing, the term composition means the way the components If negative spaces are given equal of a d r a w i n g are arranged by the artist. S o m e key components of importance to the positive forms, a composition are positive shapes (the objects or persons), nega- all parts of a drawing seem inter- esting and all work together to tive spaces (the e m p t y areas), and the format (the relative length create a unified image. If, on the and w i d t h of the b o u n d i n g edges of a surface). To compose a other hand, the focus is almost drawing, therefore, the artist places and fits together the positive entirely on the positive forms, the shapes and the negative spaces within the format with the goal of drawing may seem uninteresting and disunified—even boring—no unifying the composition. matter how beautifully rendered T h e format controls composition. Put another way, the shape the positive form may be. A strong of the d r a w i n g surface (usually rectangular paper) will greatly focus on negative spaces will make influence h o w an artist distributes the shapes and spaces within these basic instructional drawings strong in composition and beauti- the b o u n d i n g edges of that surface. To clarify this, use your R- ful to look at. m o d e ability to image a tree, perhaps an elm or a pine. N o w fit the same tree into each of the formats in Figure 7-2. You will find that—to quot;fill the s p a c e quot; — y o u have to change the shape of the tree and the spaces around the tree for each format. T h e n test again by i m a g i n g exactly the same tree in all of the formats. You will find that a shape that fits one format is all wrong for another. E x p e r i e n c e d artists fully c o m p r e h e n d the importance of the shape of the format. Beginning students in drawing, however, are curiously oblivious to the shape of the paper and the boundaries of the paper. B e c a u s e their attention is directed almost e x c l u - sively toward the objects or persons they are drawing, they seem to regard the edges of the paper almost as nonexistent, almost like the real space that surrounds objects and has no bounds. T h i s obliviousness to the edges of the paper, which bound both the negative spaces and positive shapes, causes problems with composition for nearly all beginning art students. T h e most serious p r o b l e m is the failure to unify the spaces and the shapes—a basic requirement for good composition. Fig. 7-2. A variety of formats. The importance of composing within the format In C h a p t e r Five, we saw that y o u n g children have a strong grasp of the importance of the format. Children's consciousness of the bounding edges of the format controls the way they distribute the 120 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 130. Fig. 7-3. Joan Miro, Personages with Star (1933). Courtesy of T h e A r t Institute of Chicago. forms and spaces, and y o u n g children often produce nearly flaw- less compositions. T h e composition by a six-year-old in Figure 7- 4 compares favorably with the Spanish artist Miro's composition in Figure 7-3. Unfortunately, as you have seen, this ability lapses as children approach adolescence, perhaps d u e to lateralization, increasing dominance of the language system, and the left hemisphere's penchant for recognizing, naming, and categorizing objects. C o n - centration on things seems to s u p e r s e d e the y o u n g child's m o r e holistic or global v i e w of the world, w h e r e e v e r y t h i n g is i m p o r - tant, including the negative spaces of sky, ground, and air. Usually it takes years of training to c o n v i n c e students, in the way e x p e r i - enced artists are convinced, that the negative spaces, b o u n d e d by the format, require the same degree of attention and care that the positive forms require. B e g i n n i n g students g e n e r a l l y lavish all their attention on the objects, persons, or forms in their drawings, and then more or less quot;fill in the background.quot; It may seem hard to believe at this moment, but if care and attention are lavished PERCEIVING THE SHAPE OF A SPACE: THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF NEGATIVE SPACE 121
  • 131. on the negative spaces, the forms will take care of themselves. I'll be showing you specific examples of that. T h e quotations by the p l a y w r i g h t S a m u e l Beckett and the Z e n philosopher A l a n Watts (on page 123) state this concept con- cisely. In art, as B e c k e t t says, nothing (in the sense of e m p t y space) is real. A n d as A l a n Watts says, the inside and outside are one. Y o u saw in the last chapter that in drawing, the objects and the spaces around them fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. E v e r y piece is important and they share edges. T o g e t h e r they fill up all of the area within the four e d g e s — t h a t is, within the for- mat. L o o k at the e x a m p l e of this fitting together of the spaces and shapes in the still-life painting by Paul C e z a n n e (Figure 7-6) and the figure drawing by D u r e r (Figure 7-5). N o t i c e how varied and Fig. 7-5. Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), Nude Woman with a Staff(1508). Courtesy of T h e National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. T h e negative shapes surrounding the figure are beautifully varied in size and con- figuration. Fig. 7-6. Paul Cezanne (1839—1936), The Vase of Tulips. Courtesy of T h e Art Institute of Chicago. By mak- ing the positive forms touch the edge of the format in several places, Cezanne enclosed and sep- arated the negative shapes, which contribute as much to the interest and balance of the composition as do the positive forms. THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN 122
  • 132. quot;Nothing is more real than interesting the negative spaces are. E v e n in the Durer, w h i c h is nothing.quot; almost symmetrical, the negative spaces are beautifully varied. — Samuel Beckett Now, back to the drawing lessons. Summing up, then, negative spaces have two important functions: quot;You can never have the use of the 1. N e g a t i v e spaces make quot;difficultquot; d r a w i n g tasks e a s y — f o r inside of a cup without the outside. example, areas of foreshortening or c o m p l i c a t e d forms or T h e inside and the outside go forms that don't quot;look likequot; what we know about them, together. They're one.quot; b e c o m e easy to draw by using negative space. T h e chair — Alan Watts drawings in the margin and the horns of the sheep on page 116 are good examples. 2. Emphasis on negative spaces unifies y o u r d r a w i n g and strengthens composition and—perhaps most important, improves your perceptual abilities. I realize that it is counter-intuitive—that is, it goes against c o m - mon sense—to think that focusing on the spaces around objects will improve y o u r d r a w i n g of the objects. But this is simply another of the paradoxes of drawing and may help to explain why it is so difficult to teach oneself to draw. So many of the strategies of d r a w i n g — u s i n g negative space, for e x a m p l e — w o u l d never occur to anyone quot;in their left mind.quot; O u r next bit of preparation is to define the quot;Basic Unit.quot; W h a t is it and how does it help with drawing? Choosing a Basic Unit On looking at a finished drawing, students just beginning to draw often wonder how the artist decided where to start. T h i s is one of the most serious problems that plague students. T h e y ask, quot;After I've decided what to draw, how do I k n o w w h e r e to start?quot; or quot;What happens if I start too large or too small?quot; U s i n g a Basic Unit to start a drawing answers both these questions, and ensures that you will end with the c o m p o s i t i o n y o u so carefully chose before you started a drawing. After years of teaching classes and workshops, s t r u g g l i n g to find words to explain how to start a drawing, I and my fellow teachers finally worked out a method that helped us to c o m m u n i - PERCEIVING THE SHAPE OF A SPACE: THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF NEGATIVE SPACE 122,
  • 133. cate how a trained artist does this. We had to carefully introspect what we were doing w h e n starting a drawing and then figure out h o w to teach the process, w h i c h is fundamentally non-verbal, e x t r e m e l y rapid, and quot;on automatic.quot; I have called this method, quot; C h o o s i n g a Basic Unit.quot; T h i s Basic Unit b e c o m e s the key that unlocks all of the relationships within a chosen composition: All proportions are found by comparing everything to the Basic Unit. The Basic Unit—A definition In C h a p t e r Six, I stated that all parts of a composition (negative Fig- 7-7. spaces and positive forms) are locked into a relationship that is bounded by the outside edge of the format. For realistic drawing, the artist is bound to that relationship in which all the parts fit together: T h e artist is not at liberty to change the proportional relationships. I'm sure y o u can see that if y o u change one part, s o m e t h i n g else necessarily gets changed. In C h a p t e r Six I used a child's jigsaw puzzle to illustrate the important concept of shared edges. I'll use the same puzzle to illustrate the Basic Unit (Figure 7-7). T h e Basic Unit is a quot;starting shapequot; or quot;starting unitquot; that you c h o o s e from within the scene y o u are l o o k i n g at through the Viewfinder (the sailboat on the water). You need to choose a Basic Unit of m e d i u m size—neither very small nor very large, relative to the format. In this instance, you could choose the straight edge of the sail. A Basic Unit can be a whole shape (the shape of a win- d o w or the shape of a negative space) or it can be just a single edge from point to point (the top edge of a window, for example). T h e c h o i c e d e p e n d s o n l y on what is easiest to see and easiest to use as your Basic Unit of proportion. In the jigsaw puzzle, I chose to use the straight edge of the sail as my Basic Unit. O n c e chosen, all other proportions are determined relative to y o u r Basic Unit. T h e Basic Unit is always called quot;One.quot; You can lay y o u r pencil down on the p u z z l e to compare the relationships. For e x a m p l e , y o u can n o w ask yourself, quot; H o w w i d e is the boat c o m p a r e d to my Basic Unit, the long e d g e of the sail?quot; (One to 124 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 134. one and one-third.) quot; H o w w i d e is the sail relative to my Basic Unit?quot; (One to two-thirds.) quot; W h e r e is the s e a / s k y edge from the bottom of the format?quot; ( O n e to one and one-quarter.) N o t e that for each proportion, you go back to your Basic Unit to measure it on your pencil and then y o u make the comparison with another part of the composition. I'm sure you can see the logic of this method and how it will enable you to draw in proportion. As I teach you how to find and use a Basic Unit, this method of starting may seem a bit tedious and m e c h a n i c a l at first. But it resolves many problems, i n c l u d i n g problems of starting and of composition as well as problems of proportional relationships. It soon becomes quite automatic. In fact, this is the method most experienced artists use, but they do it so rapidly that s o m e o n e watching would think that an artist quot;just starts drawing.quot; An anecdote about French artist Henri Matisse illustrates this point and also illustrates the almost subconscious process of find- Fig. 7-8. Henri Matisse, Young ing a Basic Unit. John Elderfield, curator of drawings at the Woman in White, Red Background, M u s e u m of M o d e r n Art in N e w York, in his wonderful catalog of 1946. the Matisse Retrospective E x h i b i t i o n of 1992, states: quot; T h e r e is a 1946 film of Matisse painting Young Woman in White, Red Background [see Figure 7-8].... W h e n Matisse saw the slow-motion sequence of the film, he felt 'suddenly naked,' he said, because he saw how his hand 'made a strange journey of its o w n ' in the air before drawing the model's features. It was not hesitation, he insisted: 'I was unconsciously establishing the relationship between the sub- ject I was about to draw and the size of my paper.' quot; Elderfield goes on to say, quot;This can be taken to mean that he had to be aware of the entire area he was c o m p o s i n g before he could mark a par- ticular section of it.quot; Clearly, Matisse was finding his quot;starting shape,quot; the head of the model, to make sure he w o u l d have it the right size to show the whole figure in his painting. T h e curious thing about Matisse's remark, I think, is that he felt quot;suddenly nakedquot; w h e n he saw himself apparently figuring out how big to make that first shape. I think this indicates the almost entirely subconscious nature of this process. Later on, you too will rapidly find a starting shape or a Basic PERCEIVING THE SHAPE OF A SPACE: THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF NEGATIVE SPACE 125
  • 135. Unit or your quot; O n e quot; — o r whatever you may eventually call it. And someone watching you will think that you quot;just started drawing.quot; G e t t i n g offto a g o o d start I hope that y o u will b e c o m e used to q u i c k l y choosing a Basic U n i t to ensure a good composition. I imagine that you have already grasped the (visual) logic of starting y o u r drawing this way, but allow me to put it into words once more. W h e n students are first learning to draw, they almost desper- ately want to get s o m e t h i n g d o w n on the paper. Often, they just p l u n g e in, d r a w i n g some object in the scene in front of them w i t h o u t p a y i n g attention to the size of that first shape in relation to the size of the format. T h e size of the first shape that y o u draw controls the subse- quent size of everything in the drawing. If that first shape is inad- vertently drawn too small or too large, the resulting drawing may be an entirely different composition from the one you intended to depict. Students find this frustrating, because it often happens that the v e r y thing that interested them in the scene turns out to be quot;off the e d g e quot; of the paper. T h e y don't get to draw that part at all simply because the first shape they drew was too large. C o n - versely, if the first shape is too small, students find that they must i n c l u d e m u c h that is of no interest to them in order to quot;fill outquot; the format. T h e m e t h o d I am r e c o m m e n d i n g to you, of correctly sizing the first shape (your Basic Unit) that you set down, prevents this inadvertent p r o b l e m and b e c o m e s quite automatic with a bit of practice. L a t e r on, w h e n y o u have discarded all of your drawing aids—the Viewfinders and plastic P i c t u r e Plane, you will use y o u r hands to form a rough quot;viewfinderquot; (as in F i g u r e 7-9), and y o u will still size the first shape (which, in these lessons, we are calling your Basic Unit) correctly for your chosen composition. THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 136. Your Negative Space drawing of a chair What you'll need: • Your Viewfinder with the larger opening • Your Picture Plane • Your felt-tip marker • Your masking tape • Several sheets of drawing paper • Your drawing board • Your pencils, sharpened • Your eraser • Your graphite stick and several dry paper towels or paper napkins • About an hour of interrupted time—more, if possible, but at least an hour Getting set up to draw You'll be taking some preliminary steps, so please read all of the instructions before you start. T h e following are the preliminary steps for every d r a w i n g and take only a few minutes, o n c e y o u have learned the process. • choosing a format and drawing it on your paper • toning your paper (if you choose to work on a toned ground) • drawing your crosshairs • composing your drawing • choosing a Basic Unit • drawing the chosen Basic Unit on the Picture Plane with a felt-tip marker • transferring the Basic Unit to your paper • then, starting the drawing I'll describe each step, 1. T h e first step is to draw a format on your d r a w i n g paper. For your N e g a t i v e S p a c e d r a w i n g of a chair, use the outside e d g e of your Viewfinder or the plastic Picture Plane. T h e drawing will be larger than the opening of your Viewfinder. PERCEIVING THE SHAPE OF A SPACE: THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF NEGATIVE SPACE
  • 137. T h e second step is to tone y o u r paper. M a k e sure you have a stack of several sheets of paper to pad your drawing. Begin to tone y o u r paper by r u b b i n g the e d g e of the graphite stick very lightly over the paper, staying inside the format. O n c e y o u have c o v e r e d the paper with a light application of graphite, begin to rub the graphite into the paper with your paper towels. Rub with a circular motion, a p p l y i n g pressure evenly and going right up to the edge of the format. You want to achieve a very smooth, silvery tone. N e x t , lightly draw horizontal and vertical crosshairs on your toned paper. T h e lines will cross in the center, just as they do on y o u r plastic Picture Plane. Use the crosshairs on the plas- As in any field, the quot;rulesquot; of art tic plane to mark the position of the crosshairs on the format are made to be broken by artists of your toned paper. A caution: Don't make the lines too dark. working at advanced levels. While T h e y are o n l y guidelines, and later you may want to elimi- acquiring basic drawing skills, nate them. however, I think it is best to stay with the task at hand—learning T h e next step is to choose a chair to use as the subject of your how to see and draw. O n c e you drawing. A n y chair will d o — a n office chair, a plain straight have mastered basic drawing, you chair, a stool, a cafeteria chair, whatever. If you are lucky, you can take it as far as you want and may find a r o c k i n g chair or a b e n t w o o d chair or something break the rules intentionally, not by accident. else v e r y c o m p l i c a t e d and interesting. But the simplest kind of chair will be fine for your drawing. P l a c e the chair against a fairly simple background, perhaps a room corner or a wall with a door. A blank wall is just fine and will make a beautiful, simple drawing, but the c h o i c e of set- ting is entirely up to y o u . A lamp placed nearby may throw a 128 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 138. wonderful shadow of the chair on the wall or floor—a shadow that can become part of your composition. 7. Sit in front of your quot;still lifequot;—the chair and setting you have chosen—at a comfortable distance of about eight to ten feet. Take the cap off your felt-tip marker and place it close beside you. 8. N e x t , use your Viewfinder to c o m p o s e y o u r drawing. Fasten the Viewfinder onto y o u r clear plastic P i c t u r e Plane. H o l d the Viewfinder/ Picture Plane in front of your face, close one eye, and, moving the device forward or backward, quot;framequot; the chair in a composition that you like. (Students are v e r y good at this. T h e y seem to have an intuitive quot;feelquot; for composition.) If you wish, the chair can nearly touch the format so that the chair pretty much quot;fills the space.quot; 9. Hold the Viewfinder v e r y still. N o w , gazing at a space in the chair, perhaps between two back slats, imagine that the chair is magically pulverized and—like Bugs Bunny, in a p o o f ! — disappears. W h a t is left are the negative spaces. T h e y are real. T h e y have real shapes, just like the remains of the door in the analogy above. T h e s e negative space-shapes are what you are going to draw. I repeat: You will draw the spaces, not the chair. See Figure 7-10. Choosing a Basic Unit 1. W h e n you have found a composition y o u like, hold the Viewfinder/plastic Picture Plane in that position. Pick up the felt-tip marker. N e x t , choose a negative space within the drawing—perhaps a space-shape b e t w e e n two rungs or between two back-slats. T h i s space-shape should be fairly simple, if possible, and neither too small nor too large. Y o u are looking for a manageable unit that you can clearly see for its shape and size. T h i s is y o u r Basic Unit, y o u r quot;starting shape,quot; your quot;One.quot; See Figure 7-10 for an example. 2. With one eye closed, focus on that particular negative space—your Basic Unit. Keep your eye focused on your Basic Unit until it quot;popsquot; into focus as a shape. (This always takes a Fig. 7-11. moment—perhaps it is L-mode's protesting time!) PERCEIVING THE SHAPE OF A SPACE: THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF NEGATIVE SPACE 129
  • 139. N o t e that: 3. W i t h y o u r felt-tip marker, carefully draw your Basic Unit on the plastic Picture Plane. T h i s shape will be the start of your • T h e toned format on your paper is negative space drawing on your toned paper (Figure. 7-11). larger in size than the format of the opening of your Viewfinder. 4. T h e next step is to transfer y o u r Basic Unit onto the paper y o u have toned. Y o u will use y o u r crosshairs to place it and Though the sizes are different, the proportion of the two formats— size it correctly. ( T h i s is called quot;scaling up.quot; See the sidebar meaning the relationship of width for an explanation.) L o o k i n g at your d r a w i n g on the plastic to length—is the same. plane, say to yourself: quot;Relative to the format and to the •Your felt-tip drawing of your Basic crosshairs, where does that edge start? H o w far over from that Unit on the plastic Picture Plane side? From the crosshair? From the bottom?quot; T h e s e assess- and your drawing on the toned ments will help you draw your Basic Unit correctly. C h e c k it paper will be the same, but the one on your paper will be larger. three ways: T h e shape on your toned paper, the actual space- shape in the chair-model, and the shape in the Picture Plane •Stated another way, the images are the same, but the scale is different. drawing should all be proportionally the same. N o t e that in this instance, you 5. C h e c k each angle in y o u r Basic Unit the same way, by c o m - quot;scale up.quot; At other times, you may paring three ways as above. To determine an angle, say to quot;scale down.quot; yourself, quot;Relative to the edge of the format (vertical or hori- zontal), what is that angle?quot; You can also use the crosshairs (vertical and horizontal) to assess any angles in your Basic Unit. T h e n , draw the edge of the space at an angle just as you see it. (Simultaneously, of course, you are drawing the edge of the chair.) 6. O n e more time, check y o u r drawing of your Basic Unit, first with the actual c h a i r - m o d e l and then with the rough sketch on the plastic P i c t u r e Plane. E v e n though the scale is differ- ent in each, the relative proportions and angles will be the same. It is worth taking time to make sure your Basic Unit is correct. O n c e you have this first negative space-shape correctly sized and placed within the format in y o u r drawing, all of the rest of the drawing will be in relationship to that first shape. You will experi- e n c e the beautiful logic of d r a w i n g and you will end with the composition you so carefully chose at the start. Drawing the rest of the negative spaces of the chair 1. R e m e m b e r to focus only on the shapes of the negative spaces. 130 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 140. T r y to c o n v i n c e y o u r s e l f that the chair is gone, p u l v e r i z e d , absent. O n l y the spaces are real. T r y also to avoid talking to yourself or questioning w h y things are the way they are—for example, w h y any space-shape is the way it is. D r a w it just as you see it. T r y not to quot;thinkquot; at all, in terms of L - m o d e logic. Remember that e v e r y t h i n g y o u need is right there in front of your eye and you need not quot;figure it out.quot; R e m e m b e r also that y o u can c h e c k out any p r o b l e m area by returning to y o u r plastic P i c t u r e Plane and, r e m e m b e r i n g to close o n e eye, drawing the troublesome part directly on the plastic plane. 2. Draw the spaces of the chair one after another. W o r k i n g out- ward from your Basic Unit, all the shapes will fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. You don't have to figure out a n y t h i n g about Fig. 7-12. the chair. In fact, you don't have to think about the chair at all. A n d don't question w h y the e d g e of a space goes this w a y or that. Just draw it as you see it. See Figure 7-12. 3. Again, if an edge is at an angle, say to yourself, quot; W h a t is that angle compared to vertical?quot; T h e n , draw the edge at the angle you see it. 4. G a u g e horizontals in the same way: W h a t is the angle, c o m - pared to horizontal (that is, the top or b o t t o m edges of y o u r format)? 5. As you draw, try to take conscious note of what the mental mode of drawing feels like—the loss of the sense of time, the feeling of quot;locking onquot; to the image, and the wonderful sense of amazement at the beauty of the perceptions. D u r i n g the process, y o u will find that the negative spaces will b e g i n to seem interesting in their strangeness and c o m p l e x i t y . If y o u Fig. 7-13. have a problem with any part of the drawing, remind yourself that everything you need to know in order to do this drawing is right there, perfectly available to you. 6. C o n t i n u e w o r k i n g y o u r way through the drawing, searching out relationships, both angles (relative to vertical or horizon- tal) and proportions (relative to each other). If y o u talk to y o u r s e l f at all during the drawing, use o n l y the l a n g u a g e of relationships: quot; H o w wide is this space c o m p a r e d to the one I have just drawn?quot; quot;What is this angle compared to horizontal?quot; PERCEIVING THE SHAPE OF A SPACE: THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF NEGATIVE SPACE I3I
  • 141. quot; H o w far does that space extend relative to that whole edge of the format?quot; Soon, you will be quot;really drawing.quot; T h e drawing will begin to seem like a fascinating puzzle, the parts fitting together in an entirely satisfying way (Figure 7-14). 7. W h e n you have finished drawing the edges of the spaces, you may want to quot;work u p quot; the drawing a bit by using your eraser to r e m o v e the tone in some areas, perhaps erasing the nega- tive spaces and l e a v i n g the chair in tone (Figure 7-15). If you see shadows on the floor or on the wall behind, you may want to add them to y o u r drawing, perhaps adding in some tone with y o u r pencil, or erasing out the negative spaces of the shadows. You may also want to quot;work upquot; the positive form of the chair itself, adding some of the interior contours. After you have finished: I feel confident that y o u r d r a w i n g will please you. O n e of the most striking characteristics of negative-space drawings is that no matter how m u n d a n e the subject—a chair, an eggbeater, a can opener—the drawing will seem beautiful. Perhaps negative-space drawings remind us of our longing for unity, or perhaps of our actual unity with the world around us. No matter what the explanation, we simply like to look at nega- tive-space drawings. Don't you agree? W i t h o n l y this brief lesson, you will begin to see negative spaces e v e r y w h e r e . My students often regard this as a great and joyful discovery. P r a c t i c e seeing negative spaces as you go t h r o u g h y o u r e v e r y d a y routine and imagine y o u r s e l f drawing Fig. 7-15. those beautiful spaces. T h i s mental practice at odd moments is e x t r e m e l y helpful in putting perceptual skills quot;on automatic,quot; ready to be integrated into a learned skill that you own. W h a t follows is one last example of the usefulness of negative spaces. The cognitive battle of perception F i g u r e s 7-16 and 7-17 show an interesting graphic record of the struggle and its resolution in two drawings by a student of a cart 132 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 142. and slide projector. In F i g u r e 7-16, the first drawing, the student had great difficulty reconciling his stored k n o w l e d g e of what the objects were quot;supposed to look likequot; with what he saw. N o t i c e in the drawing that the legs of the cart are all the same length, and a symbol is used for the wheels. W h e n he shifted to using a viewfin- der and drawing only the shapes of the negative spaces, he was far more successful (Figure 7-17). T h e visual information apparently came through clearly; the drawing looks confident and as though it were done with ease. A n d , in fact, it was d o n e with ease, because using negative space enables one to escape the mental crunch that occurs when perceptions don't match conceptions. It's not that the visual information gathered by regarding spaces rather than objects is really less c o m p l e x or is in any way easier to draw. T h e spaces, after all, share edges with the form. But by looking at the spaces, we free R - m o d e from the d o m i n a - tion of L-mode. Put another way, by focusing on information that does not suit the style of the verbal system, we cause the job to be shifted to the mode appropriate for drawing. T h u s , the conflict ends, and in R-mode, the brain processes spatial, relational infor- mation with ease. Showing all manner of negative spaces T h e s e drawings are intriguingly pleasurable to look at, even when the positive forms are as m u n d a n e as s c h o o l r o o m chairs. O n e could speculate that the reason is that the method of draw- ing raises to a conscious level the unity of positive and negative shapes and spaces. A n o t h e r reason may be that the t e c h n i q u e results in e x c e l l e n t compositions with particularly interesting divisions of shapes and spaces within the format. Learning to see clearly through drawing can surely enhance your capacity to take a clear look at problems and to be better able to see things in perspective. In the next chapter, we'll take up the perception of relationships, a skill y o u can put to use in as many directions as your mind can take you. Fig. 7-17. PERCEIVING THE SHAPE OF A SPACE: THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF NEGATIVE SPACE 133
  • 143. Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Child Seated in a Wicker Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). Studies of Arms and Legs. Courtesy of Museum Boymans-Van Beuningen, Chair (1874). Courtesy of the Sterling and Francine Rotterdam. Clark Art Institute. Observe how Winslow Homer used negative space in C o p y this drawing. Turn the original upside down and his drawing of a child in a chair. T r y copying this draw the negative spaces. T h e n turn the drawing right drawing. side up and complete the details inside the forms. These quot;difficultquot; foreshortened forms become easy to draw if attention is focused on the spaces around the forms. PERCEIVING THE SHAPE OF A SPACE: THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF NEGATIVE SPACE 135
  • 144. I n this chapter, y o u will learn the third basic skill of drawing, h o w to see and draw relationships. Y o u will learn how to draw quot;in p e r s p e c t i v e quot; and quot;in proportion.quot; A n o t h e r term for acquiring this skill is quot;learning how to sight.quot; L e a r n i n g this skill is perhaps c o m p a r a b l e to learning the rules of g r a m m a r in reading and writing. Just as good grammar causes words and phrases to hang together logically and to c o m - m u n i c a t e ideas clearly, skillful sighting of proportions and per- spective causes edges, spaces, relationships, lights and shadows to c o m e t o g e t h e r with visual logic. C l e a r perception o f relation- ships enables us to d e p i c t on a flat surface the world we see around us. M o r e o v e r , just as learning how to use grammar skill- fully gives us power with words, learning how to draw in perspec- tive and in proportion will give your drawings power through the illusion of space. In s p e a k i n g of grammar, I am referring to the mechanics of language, not the tedious n a m i n g of the parts of speech. By mechanics, I mean getting the subject and verb to agree, using the rules of word order and sentence structure, and so on. I couldn't parse a complicated sentence today if I tried my best (which prob- ably indicates its usefulness or lack thereof), but I've learned and practiced the mechanics of language for so long they are on auto- matic. T h i s is what we are aiming for in this chapter: You will learn to use perspective and proportion in y o u r drawing. You will not learn tedious and c u m b e r s o m e t e r m i n o l o g y of vanishing points, c o n v e r g i n g parallel lines, and perspective of ellipses. You will learn the mechanics of sighting, which is what most artists use. S o m e of my students, nevertheless, still complain that learn- ing to sight seems so quot;left-brainedquot; after the R - m o d e joy of draw- ing edges and negative spaces. Indeed, there are lots of little steps and instructions in the beginning. But almost every skill requires a c o m p o n e n t similar to sighting in drawing. For example, learn- ing to drive a car requires that at some point you learn the rules of the road. T e d i o u s ? Yes, but w i t h o u t them, y o u are v e r y likely to be arrested or to have an accident. Significantly, once these rules are learned and quot;on automatic,quot; you drive a car by the rules with- out even thinking of them. THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 145. It is the same with drawing. O n c e y o u have worked your way through the next exercise, you will have learned the quot;rules of the roadquot; of drawing. W i t h a bit of practice, sighting goes on auto- matic and you will hardly be aware of taking sights and c o m p a r - ing proportions. Best of all, y o u will have achieved the p o w e r to depict three-dimensional space in your drawings. Students of d r a w i n g w h o learn e v e r y t h i n g e x c e p t h o w to sight relationships greatly handicap their drawing and find them- selves constantly making baffling mistakes in proportion and per- spective. T h i s problem plagues students new to d r a w i n g and, I might add, some rather advanced students as well. W h y does this skill seem so difficult? First, it is a t w o - p a r t skill. T h e first part is sighting angles relative to vertical and hori- Demonstration drawing zontal, and the second part is sighting proportions relative to each by G r a c e Kennedy. other. In addition, the skill requires that one deal with ratios and comparisons that seem quite quot;left-brained.quot; A n d , finally, it requires that one confronts and deals with paradoxes. For e x a m - ple, we can know that a c e i l i n g is flat and the c o r n e r is a right angle. But on the picture plane, the edges of the c e i l i n g are not horizontal and the corner angles are not right angles at all. T h e y are oblique angles. As y o u can imagine, we'll have to carefully outmaneuver y o u r L - m o d e , w h i c h will soon be saying, quot; T h i s doesn't make sense!quot; Or, quot; T h i s is too c o m p l i c a t e d ! I'll never get it!quot; Or, quot;This stuff is stupid!quot; On my word, learning how to sight relationships is not bor- ing; it is powerful—it unlocks space. I agree, the skill is c o m p l i - cated, but y o u ' v e learned other c o m p l i c a t e d things before this—how to read and write, for e x a m p l e . A n d sighting is definitely not stupid; it is intellectually fascinating—witness the many great thinkers of the Renaissance w h o grappled with the problem of how to depict space on a flat surface. Demonstration drawing by the author. O n c e L - m o d e complaints are set aside, I b e l i e v e y o u w i l l actually enjoy learning this skill. I'm sure y o u can see the connec- tion between learning to see and draw what is right there in front of your eyes and learning to be a more quot; c l e a r - s i g h t e d quot; person, able to deal with contradictory information and the m a n y para- doxes of our world. Be prepared for all of the objections. Y o u r RELATIONSHIPS IN A NEW MODE: PUTTING SIGHTING IN PERSPECTIVE 139
  • 146. L - m o d e w i l l have a field day, but stay with me! I'll try to be as clear as possible. On dealing with the two-part skill of sighting angles and proportions T h e term sighting really means seeing, but seeing in the artist's special w a y — s e e i n g relationships on the picture plane (See Fig- ures 8-1 and 8-2). A l l of sighting is comparison: W h a t is this angle c o m p a r e d to vertical? H o w big is the apple compared to the Fig. 8-1. Roll up a tube of paper and melon? H o w w i d e is the table c o m p a r e d to its length? A l l c o m - check the relationship of sizes of a parisons are made relative to constants: A n g l e s are compared to nearby object (someone's head, for the constants vertical and horizontal. Sizes (proportions) are also example) and a similar object far- ther away. You will be surprised at compared to a constant—our Basic Unit. the apparent change in size. On dealing with ratios: T h e root of the word quot;relationshipquot; is ratio. In mathematics, ratios are expressed as numbers—1:2 means one of this to two of that. Ratios seem like a left-brained concept because they are strongly c o n n e c t e d in our minds with mathe- matics. But we use ratios in many ordinary activities. In cooking, for example, candy is one part liquid to two parts sugar—that is, 1:2. In map reading, city X is three times as far as city Y — t h e ratio is 3:1. In drawing, ratios b e c o m e handy tags to assess proportional relationships a m o n g the parts of a composition. T h e artist chooses s o m e t h i n g to be quot; O n e , quot; our Basic Unit, and that unit is rationalized or proportionalized with all other parts. To illustrate, the width of a w i n d o w can be called quot;One,quot; the Basic Unit. In comparison, let's say that the w i n d o w is t w i c e as Fig. 8-2. Laurie Kuroyama. long as it is wide. T h e ratio is 1:2. T h e artist draws the width, calls it quot; O n e , quot; measures it as quot; O n e quot; and then measures off two Basic N o t i c e the great change in head size from near to far. Units, counting quot; O n e to one, two.quot; T h e ratio is 1:2. It's an easy way to tag and r e m e m b e r a proportion long enough to transfer it into your drawing. On dealing with paradox: Seen flattened on the plane, a table may appear (by taking a sight) to be narrower than you know it to be (see F i g u r e 8-3). T h e sighted ratio might be 1:8, for example. Y o u must learn to quot;swallowquot; this visual paradox and draw what y o u have seen on the plane. O n l y then will the table in your 140 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 147. Sighting can be used to determine T h e next perception required is the r e l a t i o n s h i p o f l e n g t h s a n d h o w w i d e t h e t a b l e i s (from this w i d t h s o f forms. W h e n d r a w i n g a v i e w p o i n t ) i n r e l a t i o n t o its l e n g t h . table v i e w e d from a n o b l i q u e T h i s apparent width relative to a n g l e , for e x a m p l e , an a r t i s t first length will vary from viewpoint to determines angles of the edges rel- viewpoint, depending on where the ative t o h o r i z o n t a l a n d v e r t i c a l b y viewer's eye level happens to be. sighting, as in F i g u r e 8-4. 1. H o l d i n g t h e p e n c i l on a p l a n e parallel to your eyes and at arm's length, with the elbow locked to keep the scale constant, measure the width of the table. P l a c e the eraser of the pencil so it c o i n c i d e s with one c o r n e r of the table and p l a c e y o u r thumb at the other c o r - ner. T h i s i s y o u r B a s i c U n i t ( F i g u r e 8-5). 1 . Still k e e p i n g y o u r e l b o w l o c k e d a n d w i t h the p e n c i l still p a r a l l e l t o your eyes, c a r r y that m e a s u r e m e n t to the l o n g side of the table (Figure 8-5). H o w l o n g i s t h e t a b l e , r e l a t i v e to its w i d t h ? In this i n s t a n c e , t h e r a t i o is o n e to o n e a n d a h a l f (1:1 1/2) ( F i g u r e 8-6). 3. N e x t , y o u w i l l t a k e a s i g h t on t h e table legs by holding y o u r pencil vertically, taking note of the angle of one l e g relative to vertical. A r e the table legs perfectly vertical or are they at an angle? D r a w the l e g closest to you. Y o u can take a sight on the length of the l e g relative (again) t o t h e w i d t h , y o u r B a s i c U n i t ( F i g u r e 8-7). RELATIONSHIPS IN A NEW MODE: PUTTING SIGHTING IN PERSPECTIVE
  • 148. 'Point of view is worth eighty points drawing appear, paradoxically, to be the size and shape you know of IQ.quot; it to be. M o r e o v e r , the angles of the tabletop may appear to be — Alan Kay, computer different from what y o u know to be right angles. You must quot;swal- scientist and Disney lowquot; this paradox as well. Fellow Perspective and proportion L e a r n i n g to draw in perspective requires that we see things as they are out there in the external world. We must put aside our prejudgments, our stored and memorized stereotypes and habits of thinking. We must o v e r c o m e false interpretations, which are often based on what we think must be out there even though we may never have taken a really clear look at what is right in front of our eyes. I'm sure y o u can see the connection to problem solving. O n e of the first steps in solving problems is to scan the relevant factors and to put things quot;into perspectivequot; and quot;into proportion.quot; T h i s process requires the capacity to see the various parts of a problem in their true relationship. Defining perspective T h e term quot;perspectivequot; comes from the Latin word quot;prospectus,quot; m e a n i n g quot;to look forward.quot; L i n e a r perspective, the system most familiar to us, was perfected during the Renaissance by European artists. L i n e a r perspective enabled artists to reproduce visual changes of lines and forms as they appear in three-dimensional space. Various cultures have d e v e l o p e d different conventions or perspective systems. E g y p t i a n and Oriental artists, for example, d e v e l o p e d a kind of stair-step or tiered perspective, in which placement from bottom to top of the format indicated position in space. In this system, which is often used intuitively by children, the forms at the v e r y top of the page—regardless of size—are c o n s i d e r e d to be the farthest away. M o r e recently, artists have rebelled against rigid conventions of perspective and have invented new systems e m p l o y i n g abstract spatial qualities of col- ors, textures, lines, and shapes. 142 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
  • 149. Fig. 8-8. Albrecht Durer, Draughts- man Making a Perspective Drawing of a Woman (1525). Courtesy of Traditional Renaissance perspective conforms most c l o s e l y T h e Metropolitan Museum of Art, to the way p e o p l e in our Western c u l t u r e p e r c e i v e objects in N e w York. Gift of Felix M. space. In our perceptions, parallel lines appear to c o n v e r g e at Warburg, 1918. vanishing points on a horizon line (the v i e w e r ' s eye level) and forms appear to b e c o m e smaller as distance from the v i e w e r increases. For this reason, realistic d r a w i n g d e p e n d s h e a v i l y on these principles. T h e D u r e r e t c h i n g ( F i g u r e 8-8) illustrates this perceptual system. Durer's device T h e great sixteenth-century Renaissance artist, A l b r e c h t Durer, invented a device to help him draw in proportion and in perspec- tive. Your plastic P i c t u r e Plane is a simplified version of Durer's device. Let's look at the artist's depiction of his d e v i c e in F i g u r e 8-8. Durer's draughtsman, h o l d i n g his head in a stationary p o s i - tion (note the vertical marker for his viewpoint), looks through an upright wire grid. T h e artist peers at his model from a v i e w p o i n t that foreshortens his visual image of the m o d e l — t h a t is, a v i e w - point in which the main axis of the woman's figure from head to foot coincides with the artist's line of sight. T h i s v i e w causes the more distant parts of the figure (the head and shoulders) to appear to be smaller than they actually are, and the nearby parts (the knees and lower legs) to appear to be larger. 143 RELATIONSHIPS IN A NEW MODE: PUTTING SIGHTING IN PERSPECTIVE
  • 150. Fig. 8-9. What Durer saw: Sighting In front of Durer's draughtsman on his d r a w i n g table is a parts one by one. paper the same size as the wire grid, marked off with an identical grid of lines. T h e artist draws on the paper what he perceives t h r o u g h the grid, m a t c h i n g in his d r a w i n g the exact angles and c u r v e s and lengths of lines c o m p a r e d to the verticals and hori- zontals of the grid. In effect, he is c o p y i n g what he sees flattened on the picture plane. If he copies just what he sees, he will pro- d u c e on the paper a foreshortened v i e w of the model. T h e pro- portions, shapes, and sizes w i l l be contrary to what the artist k n o w s about the actual proportions, shapes, and sizes of the human body; but only if he draws the untrue proportions he per- ceives will the drawing look true to life. W h a t did D u r e r see through his grid? (See Figure 8-9.) Durer sights point one, the top of the left knee, and marks that point on his g r i d d e d paper. N e x t , he sights point two, the top of the left hand, and then point three, the top of the left knee. Beyond these points he sights the torso and the head. He connects all the points and ends with a foreshortened drawing of the entire figure. T h e problem with foreshortening in drawing is that what we k n o w about the subject of a d r a w i n g s o m e h o w intrudes into the drawing, and we draw what we know rather than what we see. T h e purpose of Durer's device, using the grid and the fixed view- point, was to force h i m s e l f to draw the form exactly as he saw it, A foreshortened view of a leg with all of its quot; w r o n g quot; proportions. T h e n , paradoxically, the and foot, as seen flattened on the d r a w i n g quot;looked right.quot; A v i e w e r of the drawing, then, might Picture Plane. 144 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 151. wonder how the draughtsman was able to make the d r a w i n g look Graham Collier, professor of art, states that in the early days of the quot;so real.quot; inception and development of T h e achievement, therefore, of Renaissance perspective was Renaissance perspective it was to codify and systematize a m e t h o d of b y p a s s i n g artists' k n o w l - used creatively and imaginatively edge about shapes and forms. T h e science of quot;formalquot; perspective to impart what must have been a thrilling sense of space to art. provided a means by w h i c h they c o u l d draw forms just as they appeared to the e y e — i n c l u d i n g distortions created optically by a quot;Effective as perspective is, how- ever, it becomes a deadening form's position in space relative to the viewer's eye. influence on an artist's natural way T h e system worked beautifully and solved the p r o b l e m of seeing things once it is accepted of how to create an illusion of d e e p space on a flat surface, of as a system—as a mechanical re-creating the visible world. Durer's simple d e v i c e e v o l v e d into formula.quot; a c o m p l i c a t e d mathematical system, e n a b l i n g artists from the — Graham Collier Form, Space, and Vision, Renaissance onward to o v e r c o m e their mental resistance to 1963 optical distortions of the true shapes of things and to draw realistically. Formal perspective versus quot;informalquot; perspective But the system of formal p e r s p e c t i v e is not w i t h o u t p r o b l e m s . Followed to the letter, strictly applied perspective rules can result in rather dry and rigid drawings. Perhaps the most serious p r o b - lem with the formal p e r s p e c t i v e s y s t e m is that it is so quot;left- brained.quot; It e m p l o y s the style of left-hemisphere processing: analysis, sequential logical cogitation, and mental calculations within a pre-prescribed system. T h e r e are vanishing points, hori- Fig. 8-10. T h e classic perspective illustration. N o t e that vertical lines zon lines, perspective of circles and ellipses, and so on. T h e s y s - remain vertical; horizontal edges tem is detailed and c u m b e r s o m e , the antithesis of R - m o d e style converge at a vanishing point (or with its antic/serious, pleasurable quality. For e x a m p l e , in any- points) on the horizon line (which thing but the simplest one-point perspective setup (Figure 8-10), is always at the artist's eye level). That's one-point perspective in a vanishing points may be several feet b e y o n d the e d g e of the nutshell. Two-point and three- drawing paper, requiring pins and strings to mark them. point perspective are complex sys- Fortunately, o n c e y o u understand quot;informalquot; p e r s p e c t i v e tems, involving multiple vanishing (sighting), you don't really need to know formal perspective at all. points that often extend far beyond the edges of the drawing paper and That's not to say the study of perspective is not useful and inter- requiring a large drawing table, esting. In my view, k n o w l e d g e never hurts! B u t sighting is suffi- T-squares, straight-edges, etc., to cient for basic drawing skills. draw. Informal sighting is much easier and is sufficiently accurate for most drawing. RELATIONSHIPS IN A NEW MODE: PUTTING SIGHTING IN PERSPECTIVE 145
  • 152. A b r i e f p r a c t i c e in sighting before y o u do a quot;realquot; perspective drawing What you'll need: • Your drawing board • Several sheets of scratch paper • Your drawing pencils, sharpened, and your eraser • Your plastic Picture Plane and your felt-tip marker • Your larger Viewfinder Fig. 8-n. Draw the top of the door- way on your plastic Picture Plane. This is your Basic Unit. What you'll do: First, y o u w i l l practice sighting proportions and angles, using your pencil as a sighting device. O n c e you've practiced a bit, then you'll do y o u r quot;realquot; sighting drawing. Begin by seating yourself in front of a doorway, at about ten feet away. H o l d up y o u r V i e w f i n d e r / P i c t u r e P l a n e and compose your drawing so that y o u can see the whole doorway. Hold the Picture P l a n e v e r y still and use y o u r felt-tip marker to draw the top of the d o o r w a y on the plastic plane. S e e F i g u r e 8-11. ( T h e line will be somewhat shaky.) T h i s is your Basic Unit. Transfer this unit to a p i e c e of paper, estimating the size and position so that it is the same as on y o u r P i c t u r e Plane. Set the Picture Plane aside. See Figure 8-12. Fig. 8-12. Transfer your Basic Unit N o w , pick up y o u r pencil. H o l d it at arm's length toward the to your toned drawing paper. Since top of the d o o r w a y with the flat (eraser) end out and with your the paper is larger than the Picture elbow locked. C l o s e one eye and move the pencil so that the end Plane, you need to scale up (pro- portionally enlarge) your Basic coincides with one side of the top of the doorway. (Choose either Unit. the outside of the m o l d i n g or the inside edge.) T h e n , with one eye still c l o s e d , m o v e y o u r thumb a l o n g the pencil until y o u r thumbnail coincides with the other side of the doorway. H o l d that measure. You have quot;taken a sightquot; on the width of the doorway. A test: What happens if you open both eyes or if you relax your elbow? K e e p y o u r thumb at the same position and try bending your e l b o w just slightly, just barely p u l l i n g the pencil toward you. 146 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 153. W h a t happens? T h e quot;measurementquot; has changed, hasn't it? Therefore, the reason you must lock y o u r elbow w h e n sighting proportions is to maintain the same scale. W h e n y o u r e l b o w is locked, you are always taking sights using the same position. T h e n , relock y o u r elbow, and resight the width of the d o o r - way on your pencil (Figure 8-13). W e ' l l call this y o u r Basic Unit, or y o u r quot;One.quot; N o w , k e e p i n g y o u r thumb in the same position, turn your pencil vertically and find the relationship (the ratio or proportion) of width to length. Still holding the pencil at arm's length, and still with one eye closed and your elbow locked, measure from the top corner: quot; O n e (width), to one (height)quot; (Figure 8-14), then drop down, measure quot;One to twoquot; (Figure 8-15), drop it again and measure the remain- Fig. 8-13. Measure quot;One . . . quot; der, quot; O n e to two and two-thirdsquot; ( F i g u r e 8-16). Y o u have n o w quot;taken a sightquot; on the proportion of the width relative to the height of the doorway. T h i s proportion is expressed as a ratio: 1:2 2/3, or, in words, quot;One to two and two-thirds.quot; Now, turn back to your sketch By sighting the doorway, y o u d e t e r m i n e d that the w i d t h - t o - height proportion of the doorway was 1:2 2/3. T h a t is the p r o p o r - tion of the doorway quot;out therequot; in the real world. Y o u r job is to transfer that proportion from quot;out therequot; into y o u r drawing. Fig. 8-14. quot; . . . to one . . . quot; Fig. 8-15. quot; . . . two . . . quot; Fig. 8-16. quot; . . . and two-thirds.quot; 147 RELATIONSHIPS IN A NEW MODE: PUTTING SIGHTING IN PERSPECTIVE
  • 154. O b v i o u s l y , the door in y o u r d r a w i n g will be s m a l l e r — m u c h smaller—than the real doorway. But it must be proportionally the same, width to length. N o w , therefore, use y o u r pencil and thumb to take a new measure: the w i d t h y o u have drawn on y o u r paper (Figure 8-17). T h e n turn the pencil to vertical on y o u r paper and measure off quot; O n e to one, two, and t w o - t h i r d s quot; (Figures 8-18, 8-19, and 8-20). M a k e a mark and draw in the two sides of the doorway. T h e door- way y o u have just drawn has the same p r o p o r t i o n — w i d t h to height—as the real doorway you were looking at. To set this idea, draw a new quot;One,quot; smaller than the first one. N o w , measure that width with your pencil and again mark off the proportional height. T h i s d o o r w a y will be smaller, but it will be proportionally the same as y o u r first d r a w i n g and the real door- way. S u m m i n g up: In sighting proportions, y o u find out what the proportions are quot;out therequot; in the real world and then, holding the p r o p o r t i o n in y o u r mind as a ratio (your Basic Unit or quot; O n e quot; — i n relation to something else), remeasure in the drawing to transfer the proportion to the drawing. Obviously, in drawings, sizes are almost always on a different scale (smaller or larger) than what we see quot;out there,quot; but the proportions are the same. THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 155. As a clever student of mine put it: quot;You use your pencil to find the ratio 'out there.' You r e m e m b e r it, w i p e the measure off the pencil, and remeasure with your pencil in the drawing.quot; The next step: Sighting angles Remember, sighting is a two-part skill. Y o u have just learned the first part: sighting proportions. Your pencil, used as a sighting device, enables you to see quot; H o w big is this c o m p a r e d to that?quot; quot; H o w wide is that compared to my Basic Unit?quot; A n d so on. P r o - portions are sighted relative to each other and to your Basic Unit. Sighting angles is different. Angles are sighted relative to ver- tical and horizontal. Remember, both angles and proportions must be sighted on the plane. Take up y o u r V i e w f i n d e r / P i c t u r e P l a n e and y o u r felt-tip marker again and seat y o u r s e l f in front of another corner of a room. Hold up the Picture P l a n e and look at the angle formed where the ceiling meets the two walls. Be sure to keep the Picture Plane vertical in front of your face, on the same plane as the plane of your two eyes. Don't tilt the plane in any direction. Again, c o m p o s e y o u r view, and use y o u r marker on the P i c - ture Plane to draw the corner (a vertical line). T h e n , on the plane, draw the edges where the ceiling meets the two walls, and, if pos- sible, the edges where the floor meets the walls. Fig. 8-22. T h e n , put your Picture P l a n e d o w n on a p i e c e of paper so you can see the d r a w i n g and transfer those lines to a p i e c e of Verticals in human-built structures drawing paper. remain vertical. Horizontals—that You have just drawn a corner in perspective. N o w , let's do that is, edges parallel to the face of the without the aid of the Picture Plane. earth—appear to change and con- verge and must be sighted. But you M o v e to a different corner or a different position. T a p e a can pretty much count on verticals piece of paper to y o u r d r a w i n g board. N o w , take a sight on the remaining vertical. In your draw- vertical corner. C l o s e one eye and hold your pencil perfectly ver- ing, they will be parallel to the tically at the corner. Having checked, you can now draw a vertical edges of your paper. T h e r e are exceptions, of course. If you stand line for the corner. at street level, looking up, to draw N e x t , hold up y o u r pencil perfectly horizontally, staying on a tall building, those vertical edges the plane, to see what the angles of the ceiling are relative to hor- will converge and must be sighted. izontal (Figure 8-21). You will see them as angles b e t w e e n the This situation, however, is fairly rare in drawing. pencil and the edges of the ceiling. R e m e m b e r these angles as 149 RELATIONSHIPS IN A NEW MODE: PUTTING SIGHTING IN PERSPECTIVE
  • 156. shapes. T h e n , again estimating, draw the angles into your draw- ing. Use the same procedure for the floor angles (Figure 8-22). T h e s e fundamental sighting movements or measuring ges- tures in d r a w i n g are not difficult to master, once you have a real understanding of the purpose of the movements. • T h e purpose of closing one eye, as I explained earlier, is to see a 2 - D image only, not a 3-D binocular image. • T h e purpose of locking the elbow is to ensure using a single scale in sighting proportions. Relaxing the elbow even slightly can cause errors by changing the scale of the sights. In sighting angles, it is not necessary to take the sights at arm's length, but you must stay on the plane. • T h e purpose of comparing angles to vertical or horizontal is obvious. Angles can vary infinitely around 360 degrees. Only true vertical and true horizontal are constant and reliable. A n d since the edges of the paper (and the edges of the format you have drawn) also represent vertical and horizontal, any angle can be assessed on the plane and transferred into the drawing in relation to those constants. Some important points about sighting angles • A l l angles are sighted relative to the two constants: vertical and horizontal. • In your drawing, the edges of your format represent the con- stants vertical and horizontal. O n c e you have determined an angle quot;out therequot; in the real world, you will draw it into the drawing relative to the edges of your format. • A l l angles are sighted on the picture-plane. T h i s is a solid plane. You cannot quot;poke throughquot; it to align your pencil with an edge as it moves through space. You determine the angle as it appears on the plane (Figure 8-23). • You can sight angles by holding your pencil either vertically Fig. 8-23. Later, when you have or horizontally and comparing the angle with the edge of the learned to sight and have discarded pencil. You can also use the crosshairs on your clear plastic the actual Picture Plane, you must Picture Plane or even the edge of one of the Viewfinders. You still remember to sight on the plane just need some edge that you can hold up in a vertical or hori- and be careful to not quot;poke throughquot; the imaginary plane. 150 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 157. zontal position on the plane to compare the angle you intend I realize that sighting sounds very quot;left-brainedquot; at this point. But to draw. T h e pencil is simply the easiest to use and doesn't remember we are searching out interrupt your drawing. relationships. T h e right hemi- • Visual information seen on the plane is nearly always differ- sphere is specialized for the ent from what you know about things. Say you are facing a perception of relationships—how things compare. As I said before, corner of a room. You know that the ceiling is flat—that is, the quot;counting upquot; of sighting is just horizontal—and that it meets the wall at right angles. But if a simple way of quot;taggingquot; our per- you hold up your pencil perfectly horizontally, close one eye, ceptions. T h e Basic Unit is always and, staying on the plane, line up the corner so that it touches quot;One,quot; because it is the first part of a comparison. After you practice the center of your horizontal pencil, you will find that the sighting a bit, you are hardly aware edges of the ceiling go off at odd angles. Perhaps one angle is of the process and it is very rapid. steeper than the other. See Figure 8-22, page 149. Also, with practice in drawing, you will be doing a lot of • You must draw these angles just as you see them. O n l y then quot;eyeballing,quot; meaning estimating will the ceiling look flat and the right angles of the walls rather than needing to sight appear to be correct in your finished drawing. T h i s is one of everything. But for any difficult the great paradoxes of drawing. perception, as in foreshortening, an experienced artist gladly • You must put these paradoxical angles into your drawing just uses sighting. Like negative space, as you perceive them. To do this, you remember the shape of sighting helps to make drawing one of the triangles made by the edge of the ceiling and your easy. horizontal pencil. T h e n , imagining a horizontal line in your drawing (parallel to the top and bottom edges of your for- mat), draw the same triangle. Use the same process to draw the other angled edge of the ceiling. See Figure 8-21, page 149, for an illustration of this. I usually r e c o m m e n d that students not try to designate an angle by degrees: a 4 5 - d e g r e e angle; a 30-degree angle; etc. It really is best to simply r e m e m b e r the shape the angle makes w h e n c o m - pared to vertical and horizontal and carry that visual shape in your mind to draw it. You may have to double-check angles a few times at first, but my students learn this skill very quickly. T h e decision whether to use vertical or horizontal as the c o n - stant against which to see a particular angle occasionally puzzles students. I r e c o m m e n d that y o u choose w h i c h e v e r w i l l p r o d u c e the smaller angle. RELATIONSHIPS IN A NEW MODE: PUTTING SIGHTING IN PERSPECTIVE
  • 158. A quot;realquot; perspective drawing T r y to remember that drawing always produces an approximate What you'll need: version of the subject, even for a person highly skilled in drawing. • Your drawing board Drawing is not photography. T h e person who is drawing consciously • Several sheets of drawing paper, in a stack for padding or subconsciously edits, empha- • Your masking tape sizes (or minimizes), or otherwise • Your drawing pencils, sharpened, and your eraser slightly changes various aspects of • Your graphite stick and several paper towels or paper napkins the subject. Students are often very critical of their work because it is • Your plastic Picture Plane and your felt-tip marker not an exact rendition, but the sub- • Your larger Viewfinder conscious choices made during drawing are part of the expressive- Before you start: ness of drawings. T a p e a stack of several sheets of drawing paper to your drawing board. D r a w a format on y o u r drawing paper and tone the paper within the format to a m e d i u m gray tone. Draw the crosshairs on the toned paper, i. C h o o s e y o u r subject. L e a r n i n g how to draw quot;in proportionquot; and quot;in p e r s p e c t i v e quot; are the two great challenges—the Waterloo, e v e n — o f most drawing students in art schools. You will want to prove to y o u r s e l f that y o u can achieve this skill. T h e r e f o r e , pick y o u r subject with that objective in mind: C h o o s e a v i e w or a site that you think would be really hard to d r a w — o n e with lots of angles or a complicated ceiling or a l o n g v i e w d o w n a hall. See the student drawing on page 153. T h e best way to choose a site is to walk around, using your Viewfinder to find a composition that pleases y o u — m u c h in the same way as composing with a camera's viewfinder. Please note that in public places you will attract an audience of Possible sites: viewers who will very likely want to • A kitchen corner talk with you—not a good situation • A hallway for maintaining an R-mode, word- less state of mind. On the other • A v i e w through an open doorway hand, if you would like to make • A corner of any room in your house some new friends, drawing in a • A porch or balcony public spot will work every time. • A n y street corner where you can sit in your car or on a bench For some reason, people who ordi- narily would not approach a and draw stranger do not hesitate to talk • An entrance to any public building, inside or out with someone who is drawing. 152 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 159. Set yourself up to draw at your chosen site. You will need two chairs, one for sitting on and one on which to lean your draw- ing board. If y o u are drawing outside, folding chairs are c o n - venient. M a k e sure that y o u are directly facing y o u r chosen view. 2. C l i p y o u r larger Viewfinder and the plastic P i c t u r e P l a n e together. Draw a format edge on the plastic plane by running the felt-tip marker around the inside edge of the Viewfinder opening. C l o s i n g one eye, move the V i e w f i n d e r / p l a s t i c P i c - ture Plane backward and forward to find the best c o m p o s i - tion—the one you like best. 3. Having found a composition you like, choose your Basic Unit. Your Basic Unit should be of medium size and of a shape that is not too complicated. It might be a w i n d o w or a picture on the wall or a doorway. It can be a positive form or a negative space. It can be a single line or a shape. D r a w your Basic Unit directly on the plastic with your felt-tip marker. A student's drawing of an interest- ing and challenging view. 153
  • 160. 4. Set aside y o u r Viewfinder/plastic Picture Plane on a piece of After you have drawn your Basic Unit on the plastic Picture Plane, w h i t e paper so that y o u can see what y o u have drawn on it. you may also wish to draw one or Y o u w i l l next draw y o u r Basic Unit on your paper. It will be two of the more important edges the same shape but larger, just as your toned format is larger on the plastic Picture Plane, but be than the Viewfinder opening. aware that the line will be very shaky and uncertain. T h e essential 5. Transfer y o u r Basic Unit onto the toned paper using your piece of information is your Basic crosshairs as a guide. On both the P i c t u r e Plane and on your Unit, and that is really all you toned paper, the crosshairs divide the drawing area into four need. quadrants. Refer to F i g u r e s 8-11 and 8-12 on page 146 for how to transfer y o u r Basic Unit from your P i c t u r e Plane to your toned paper by using these quadrants. H o w to re-find y o u r composition: S o m e t i m e s it is useful to go back to the P i c t u r e Plane to check on an angle or proportion. To re-find y o u r composition, simply hold up your Viewfinder/plas- tic P i c t u r e Plane, close one eye and move the plane forward or backward until your Basic Unit quot;out therequot; lines up with the felt- tip d r a w i n g of Basic Unit on the plastic plane. T h e n check out any angle or proportion that may be puzzling you. For most p e o p l e just learning to draw, the hardest part of d r a w i n g is b e l i e v i n g their o w n sights of both angles and propor- tions. M a n y times I have watched students take a sight, shake their heads, take the sight again, again shake their heads, even say out loud, quot;It [an angle] can't be that steep,quot; or, quot;It [a proportion] can't be that small.quot; A perspective drawing by Cindy W i t h a little more experience in drawing, students are able to Ball-Kingston. You will find inter- a c c e p t the information they obtain by sighting. You just have to esting compositions in unexpected places. swallow it whole, so to speak, and make a decision not to second- guess y o u r sights. I say to my students, quot;If you see it so, you draw it so. Don't argue with yourself about it.quot; Of course, the sights have to be taken as correctly and care- fully as possible. W h e n I demonstrate drawing in a workshop, stu- dents see me m a k i n g a v e r y careful, deliberate movement to e x t e n d my arm, lock my elbow, and close one eye in order to carefully c h e c k a proportion or an angle on the plane. But these m o v e m e n t s b e c o m e quite automatic v e r y quickly, just as one quickly learns to brake a car to a smooth stop. THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN 154
  • 161. To complete your perspective drawing: 1. Again, you will fit the pieces of y o u r d r a w i n g together like a fascinating puzzle. Work from part to adjacent part, always c he c k in g the relationships of each n e w part to the parts already drawn. Also, r e m e m b e r the c o n c e p t of edges as shared edges, with the positive forms and negative spaces fitted into the format to create a composition. Remember that all the information you need for this d r a w i n g is right there before your eyes. You now know the strategies artists use to quot;unlockquot; that visual information and you have the correct devices to help you. 2. Be sure to use negative spaces as an important part of y o u r drawing as in F i g u r e 8-24. You will add strength to y o u r drawing if you use negative space to see and draw small items such as lamps, tables, signs with lettering, and so on. If you do not, and focus only on the positive shapes, they w i l l tend to weaken your drawing. If y o u are d r a w i n g a landscape, trees and foliage in particular are much stronger w h e n their nega- tive spaces are emphasized. 3. O n c e you have completed the main parts of the drawing, y o u can focus on the lights and shadows. quot;Squintingquot; y o u r eyes a bit will blur the details and allow y o u to see large shapes of Fig. 8-24. Remember to emphasize lighted areas and shadowed areas. A g a i n using y o u r n e w negative spaces in your drawing. sighting skills, y o u can erase out the shapes of lights and use your pencil to darken in the shapes of shadows. T h e s e shapes are sighted in exactly the same way as y o u have sighted the other parts of the drawing: quot;What is the angle of that shadow relative to horizontal? H o w wide is that streak of light relative to the width of the window?quot; 4. If any part of the drawing seems quot;offquot; or quot;out of drawing,quot; as such errors are called, c h e c k out the troublesome area with your clear plastic Picture Plane. L o o k at the image on the plane (with one eye closed, of course) and alternately glance down at your d r a w i n g to d o u b l e - c h e c k angles and propor- tions. M a k e any corrections that seem reasonably easy to make. RELATIONSHIPS IN A NEW MODE: PUTTING SIGHTING IN PERSPECTIVE 155
  • 162. After you have finished: Artist/teacher Robert Henri sends a stern warning to his students: Congratulations! Y o u have just accomplished a task that many quot;If in your drawing you habitually university art students would find daunting if not impossible. disregard proportions you become Sighting is an aptly named skill. You take a sight and you see accustomed to the sight of distor- tion and lose critical ability. A per- things as they really appear on the picture-plane. T h i s skill will son living in squalor eventually enable you to draw anything you can see with your own eyes. You gets used to it.quot; need not search for quot;easyquot; subjects. You will be able to draw any- — The Art Spirit, 1923. thing at all. T h e skill of sighting takes some practice to master, but very soon y o u will find yourself quot;just drawing,quot; taking sights automati- cally, at times even w i t h o u t n e e d i n g to measure proportions or assess angles. I think it's significant that this is called quot;eyeballing.quot; Also, when you c o m e to the difficult foreshortened parts, you will have just the skills needed to make the drawing seem easy. Fig. 8-25. Charles White, Preacher (1952). Courtesy of the Whitney Museum. This drawing by Charles White demonstrates a foreshortened view. Study it. C o p y it, turning the drawing upside down if necessary. You might use the length of the man's left hand from the wrist to the tip of the pointing finger as your Basic Unit. Perhaps you'll be surprised to find that the ratio of the head to the model's left hand is 1:1 2/3. Each time you experience the fact that drawing just what you see works the wonder of creating the illusion of space and volume on the flat surface of the paper, the meth- ods will become more securely integrated as your way of seeing— the artist's way of seeing. THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 163. Fig. 8-26. Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Dancer Adjusting Her Slipper (1873). Courtesy of T h e Metropolitan Museum of Art, bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929. T h e H. O. Havemeyer Collection T h e Use of Sighting in Figure Drawing This technique of using the con- stants, vertical and horizontal, against which to gauge angles is an important basic skill in drawing figures as well as objects. Many artists' sketches still show traces of sight lines drawn in by the artist, as in the Edgar Degas drawing entitled Dancer Adjusting Her Slip- per (Figure 8-26). Degas was proba- bly sighting such points as the location of the left toe in relation to the ear and the angle of the arm compared to vertical. N o t e that Degas's Basic Unit was from the topmost edge of the hair to the neckband. T h e artist used the same Basic Unit in Figure 11-6, shown in the chapter on color. T h e visible world is replete with foreshortened views of p e o - ple, streets, trees, and flowers. B e g i n n i n g students s o m e t i m e s avoid these quot;difficultquot; v i e w s and search instead for quot;easyquot; v i e w s . With the skills y o u now have, this l i m i t i n g of subject matter for your d r a w i n g is unnecessary. E d g e s , negative spaces, and sight- ings of relationships work t o g e t h e r to make d r a w i n g foreshort- ened forms not just possible—they b e c o m e downright enjoyable. As in learning any skill, learning the quot;hard partsquot; is c h a l l e n g i n g and exhilarating. RELATIONSHIPS IN A NEW MODE: P U T T I N G SIGHTING IN PERSPECTIVE 157
  • 164. Looking ahead T h e t e c h n i q u e I have just taught y o u , quot;informal perspective,quot; relies only on sights taken on the plane. M o s t artists use informal perspective, even though they may have complete knowledge of formal perspective. O n e of the advantages of learning informal sighting is that it can be used for any subject matter, as y o u will see in the next exercise. Y o u will be d r a w i n g a profile portrait, putting to use your skills of perceiving edges, spaces, and propor- tional relationships in drawing the human head. R e m e m b e r that realistic drawings of perceived subjects always require the same basic perceptual skills—the skills you are learning right now. Of course, this is true of other R - m o d e global skills. For example, once y o u have learned to drive, you can very likely drive any make of automobile. In y o u r next drawing, y o u will enjoy d r a w i n g the human head, a most intriguing and challenging subject. Randa Cardwell THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 165. H U M A N FACES HAVE ALWAYS FASCINATED ARTISTS. To C a t c h a likeness, to show the exterior in such a way that the inner person can be seen, is a challenging, inviting prospect. Moreover, a portrait can reveal not only the appearance and personality (the gestalt) of the sitter but also the soul of the artist. Paradoxically, the m o r e c l e a r l y the artist sees the sitter, the more clearly the v i e w e r can see through the likeness to perceive the artist. T h e s e revelations beyond the likeness are not intentional. T h e y are sim- ply the result of close, sustained R - m o d e observation. T h e r e f o r e , because we are searching for y o u through the images y o u draw, y o u will be drawing human faces in the next set of exercises. T h e more clearly y o u see, the better y o u will draw, and the more you will express yourself to yourself and to others. Since portrait drawing requires very fine perceptions in order to p r o d u c e a likeness, faces are effective for training beginners in seeing and drawing. T h e feedback on the correctness of percep- tion is immediate and certain, because we all know when a draw- ing of a human head is correct in its general proportions. A n d if we k n o w the sitter, we can make even more precise judgments about the accuracy of the perceptions. But perhaps m o r e important for our purposes, drawing the human head has a special advantage for us in our quest for ways to gain conscious access to our r i g h t - h e m i s p h e r e functions. T h e right hemisphere of the human brain is specialized for the recog- nition of faces. P e o p l e with right-hemisphere injury caused by a stroke or accident often have difficulty r e c o g n i z i n g their friends or e v e n r e c o g n i z i n g their o w n faces in the mirror. L e f t - h e m i - sphere-injured patients usually do not experience this deficit. Beginners often think that drawing people is the hardest of all kinds of drawing. It isn't, actually. As with any other subject mat- ter, the visual information is right there, ready and available. A g a i n , the p r o b l e m is seeing. To restate a major premise of this book, d r a w i n g is always the same task—that is, e v e r y drawing requires the basic perceptual skills y o u are learning. Aside from c o m p l e x i t y , one subject is not harder or easier than another. H o w e v e r , certain subjects often seem harder than others, proba- bly because e m b e d d e d s y m b o l systems, w h i c h interfere with THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 166. clear perceptions, are stronger for some subjects than for others. Most people have a very strong, persistent symbol system for drawing the human head. For example, a c o m m o n s y m b o l for an eye is made of two curved lines enclosing a small circle (the iris). Your own unique set of symbols, as we discussed in C h a p t e r Five, was developed and memorized during c h i l d h o o d and is remark- ably stable and resistant to change. T h e s e symbols actually seem to override seeing, and therefore few p e o p l e can draw a realistic human head. Even fewer can draw recognizable portraits. S u m m i n g up, then, portrait drawing is useful to our goals for these reasons: First, it is a suitable subject for accessing the right hemisphere, which is specialized for recognition of human faces and for making the fine visual discriminations necessary to achieve a likeness. Second, d r a w i n g faces will h e l p y o u to strengthen your ability to perceive proportional relationships, since proportion is integral to portraiture. Third, drawing faces is excellent practice in bypassing e m b e d d e d s y m b o l systems. A n d fourth, the ability to draw portraits with credible likenesses is a convincing demonstration to y o u r ever-critical left h e m i s p h e r e that you h a v e — d a r e we say it?—talent for drawing. A n d y o u ' l l find that drawing portraits is not difficult once y o u can shift to the artist's way of seeing. In drawing your profile portrait, y o u w i l l be u s i n g all of the skills you have learned so far: • H o w to perceive and draw edges • H o w to perceive and draw spaces • H o w to perceive and draw relationships • H o w to perceive and draw (a bit of) lights and shadows (I will present more in-depth instruction on lights and shad- ows in Chapter Ten.) • And in addition, you will acquire a new skill, how to perceive and draw the gestalt of your model—the character and per- sonality behind the drawn image—by focussing intently on the first four skills. O u r main strategy for accessing R - m o d e remains the same: to A reminder: T h e global skill of present the brain with a task that L - m o d e will turn down. drawing has five component skills. FACING FORWARD: PORTRAIT DRAWING WITH EASE 163
  • 167. The importance of proportion in portrait drawing A l l d r a w i n g involves proportion, w h e t h e r the subject is still life, landscape, figure drawing, or portrait drawing. Proportion is important whether an artwork's style is realistic, abstract, or c o m - pletely nonobjective (that is, without recognizable forms from the external world). Realistic d r a w i n g in particular depends heavily on proportional correctness. Therefore, realistic drawing is espe- cially effective in training the eye to see the thing-as-it-is in its relational proportions. Individuals whose jobs require close esti- mations of size relationships—carpenters, dentists, dressmakers, carpet-layers, and surgeons—develop great facility in perceiving proportion. C r e a t i v e thinkers in all fields benefit from enhanced Fig. 9-1. T h e four figures are the awareness of p a r t - t o - w h o l e relationships—from seeing both the same size. trees and the forest. On believing what you think you see O n e of the p r o b l e m s of seeing c o m e s from the brain's ability to change visual information for the purpose of fitting i n c o m i n g information to pre-existing concepts or beliefs. T h e parts that are important (that is, provide key information), or the parts that we Fig. 9-2. Mark the size of one figure d e c i d e are larger, or the parts that we think should be larger, we on a piece of paper. see as larger than they actually are. C o n v e r s e l y , parts that are unimportant, or that we d e c i d e are smaller, or that we think should be smaller, we see as being smaller than they actually are. L e t me give y o u a couple of examples of this perceptual phe- n o m e n o n . F i g u r e 9-1 shows a diagrammatic landscape with four men. T h e man at the far right appears to be the largest of the four. But all four figures are exactly the same size. L a y a pencil along- side first the left-hand man and the right-hand man to measure and test the validity of that statement. E v e n after measuring and p r o v i n g to y o u r s e l f that the figures are the same size, however, y o u w i l l probably find that the man on the right will still look larger (Figure 9-2,9-3). Fig. 9-3. C u t out a notch the size of T h e reason for this misperception of proportionate size prob- one figure and measure each of the figures by fitting it into the cut-out ably derives from our past knowledge and experience of the effect notch. 164 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 168. of distance on the apparent size of forms: G i v e n two objects of the same size, one nearby and o n e at a distance away, the distant object will appear to be smaller. If they look the same size, the far object must be a great deal larger than the near object. T h i s makes sense, and we don't quarrel with the concept. But c o m i n g back to the drawing, apparently the brain enlarges the far object to make the c o n c e p t truer than true. T h i s is o v e r d o i n g it! A n d this is p r e - cisely the kind of o v e r d o i n g — o f o v e r l a y i n g m e m o r i z e d verbal concepts onto visual p e r c e p t i o n s — t h a t causes p r o b l e m s w i t h proportion for beginning drawing students. E v e n after we have measured the men in the d r a w i n g and have determined with irrefutable evidence that they are the same size, we still w r o n g l y see the right-hand man as being larger than the left. On the other hand, if you turn this book upside down and view the drawing in the inverted orientation that the verbal, c o n - ceptual mode apparently rejects, y o u will find that y o u can more easily see that the t w o men are the same size. T h e same visual information triggers a different response. T h e brain, apparently now less influenced by the verbal c o n c e p t of d i m i n i s h i n g size in distant forms, allows us to see the proportion correctly. For an even more striking e x a m p l e of p e r c e p t u a l illusion, look at the drawing of two tables, Figure 9-4. Will you believe me that the two tabletops are e x a c t l y the same shape and size? Y o u may have to use y o u r plastic P i c t u r e P l a n e and trace o n e of the tabletops, then slide the P l a n e over the other tabletop to b e l i e v e this. T h i s wonderfully original illusion d r a w i n g is by R o g e r N. Shepard, a renowned psychologist of perception and cognition. On not believing what you see Fig. 9-4. From Mind Sights by Roger N. Shepard, 1990. Repro- O n e more example: Stand in front of a mirror at about arm's duced by permission of the author. distance away. H o w large would you say is the image of your head in the mirror? A b o u t the same size as y o u r head? U s i n g a felt-tip pen or a crayon, extend y o u r arm and make t w o marks on the mirror—one at the top of the reflected i m a g e (the outside c o n - tour of y o u r head) and one at the bottom c o n t o u r of y o u r chin (Figure 9-5). S t e p to one side to see h o w l o n g the i m a g e is in F A C I N G FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 169. inches. Y o u ' l l find it's about four and one half to five inches, or o n e - h a l f the true size of y o u r head. Yet, w h e n y o u remove the marks and look again at y o u r s e l f in the mirror, it seems that the image must be life-size! A g a i n , y o u are seeing what y o u believe, not believing what y o u see. Drawing closer to reality O n c e we have a c c e p t e d that the brain is c h a n g i n g information and not t e l l i n g us that it has done so, some of the problems of drawing b e c o m e clearer, and learning to see what is actually quot;out therequot; in the real world b e c o m e s very interesting. N o t e that this perceptual p h e n o m e n o n is probably essential to ordinary life. It reduces the c o m p l e x i t y of i n c o m i n g data and enables us to have stable c o n c e p t s . T h e problems start w h e n we try to see what is 166 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
  • 170. really quot;out there,quot; for purposes of c h e c k i n g reality, s o l v i n g real problems, or d r a w i n g realistically. To a c c o m p l i s h that, we shall try to prove in a logical way that certain proportions are what they are. The mystery of the chopped-off skull Most people find it quite difficult to perceive the relative propor- tions of the features and the skull. In this introduction to profile-portrait drawing, I'll c o n c e n - trate on two critical relationships that are persistently difficult for beginning drawing students to correctly perceive: the location of eye level in relation to the length of the whole head; and the loca- tion of the ear in the profile view. I b e l i e v e these are t w o e x a m - ples of perceptual errors caused by the brain's p r o p e n s i t y to change visual information to better fit its concepts. L e t me explain. To most people, the eye level line (an imagi- Fig. 9-6. A student drawing illus- nary horizontal line that passes through the inside corners of the trating the chopped-off-skull eyes) appears to be about one-third of the way d o w n from the top error. of the head. T h e actual measure is one-half. I think this misper- ception occurs because we tend to see that the important visual information is in the features, not in foreheads and hair areas. Apparently, the top half of the head seems less c o m p e l l i n g than the features, and therefore is p e r c e i v e d as smaller. T h i s error in perception results in what I've called the quot;chopped-off-skull error,quot; my term for the most c o m m o n p e r c e p t u a l error made by beginning drawing students (Figures 9-6,9-7). I stumbled on this problem one day while teaching a group of beginning drawing students at the university. T h e y were working on portrait drawings and one after another had quot;chopped offquot; the skull of the model. I went through my quot;Can't y o u see that the eye level line is halfway b e t w e e n the b o t t o m of the chin and the top edge of the hair?quot; queries. T h e students said, quot; N o . We can't see Fig. 9-7. T h e same facial features that.quot; I asked them to measure the model's head, then their o w n traced from the student's drawing heads, and then each others' heads. quot;Was the measure o n e to with two corrections: the size of one?quot; I asked. quot;Yes,quot; they said. quot;Well,quot; I said, quot;now y o u can see on the skull and placement of the eye on the right-hand side of the draw- the model's head that the proportional relationship is one to one, ing. 167 F A C I N G FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 171. isn't that true?quot; quot; N o , quot; they said, quot;we still can't see it.quot; O n e student even said, quot;We'll see it when we can believe it.quot; T h i s w e n t on for a w h i l e until finally the light dawned and I said, quot;Are y o u telling me that y o u really can't see that relation- ship?quot; quot;Yes,quot; they said, quot;we really can't see it.quot; At that point I real- ized that brain processes w e r e actually preventing accurate p e r c e p t i o n and c a u s i n g the quot;chopped-off-skullquot; error. O n c e we all agreed on this p h e n o m e n o n , the students were able to accept their sightings of the proportion, and soon the problem was solved. N o w we must put your own brain into a logical box (by show- ing it irrefutable e v i d e n c e ) that will help it accept your sightings of the proportions of the head. Drawing a blank to see better than ever 1. D r a w a quot;blank,quot; an oval shape used by artists to represent the human skull in diagrams. T h e shape is shown in F i g u r e 9-8. D r a w a vertical line through the center of the blank, dividing the shape in half. T h i s is called the central axis. 2. N e x t , y o u w i l l locate the horizontal quot;eye level line,quot; which crosses the central axis at a right angle. Use y o u r pencil to measure on y o u r o w n head the distance from the inside cor- ner of y o u r eye to the bottom of your chin. Do this by placing the eraser end (to protect y o u r eye) at the inside corner of y o u r eye and m a r k i n g with y o u r thumb where your chin hits the pencil, as in F i g u r e 9-9. N o w , holding that measurement, raise the p e n c i l , as in F i g u r e 9-10, and c o m p a r e the first dis- tance (eye level to chin) with the distance from your eye level to the top of y o u r head (feel across from the end of the pencil to the topmost part of your head). You will find that those two distances are approximately the same. 3. Repeat the m e a s u r e m e n t in front of a mirror. Regard the re- flection of y o u r head. W i t h o u t measuring, visually compare the bottom half with the top half of your head. T h e n use your pencil to repeat the measurement of eye level one more time. THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 172. 4. If you have newspapers or magazines handy, c h e c k this p r o - portion in photographs of people, or use the photo of English writer G e o r g e O r w e l l , F i g u r e 9-11. U s e y o u r p e n c i l to m e a - sure. You will find that: Eye level to chin equals eye level to the top of the skull. This is an almost invariant proportion. 5. C h e c k the photographs again. In each head, is the eye level at about the middle, dividing the whole shape of the head about in half? C a n y o u clearly see that proportion? If not, turn on television to a news program and measure heads right on the television screen by p l a c i n g y o u r pencil flat on the screen, Fig. 9-10. measuring first eye level to chin, then eye level to the top edge of the head. N o w , take the pencil away and look again. C a n you see the proportion clearly now? 169 F A C I N G FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 173. W h e n y o u finally b e l i e v e what y o u see, y o u will find that on n e a r l y e v e r y head y o u observe, the eye level is at about the halfway mark. T h e eye level is almost never less than half—that is, almost never nearer to the top of the skull than to the bottom of the chin (See F i g u r e 9-12). A n d if the hair is thick, the top half of the h e a d — e y e level to the topmost edge of the hair—is bigger than the bottom half. T h e quot; c h o p p e d - o f f skullquot; creates the masklike effect so often seen in children's drawings, abstract or expressionistic art, and in s o - c a l l e d quot;primitivequot; or quot;ethnicquot; art. T h i s masklike effect of e n l a r g i n g the features relative to the skull size, of course, can have tremendous expressive power, as seen, for example, in works by Picasso, Matisse, and M o d i g l i a n i , and great works of other Fig. 9-12. cultures. T h e point is that master artists, especially of our own time and culture, use the d e v i c e by c h o i c e and not by mistake. L e t me demonstrate the effect of misperception. Irrefutable evidence that the top of the head is Many quot;police artistsquot; are officers more or less assigned to putting important after all together composite drawings of suspects from witnesses' descrip- First, I have drawn the lower part of the faces of two models, one tions. T h e resulting drawings often in profile and one in three-quarter v i e w (see F i g u r e 9-13). C o n - display the perceptual error I've trary to what one w o u l d e x p e c t , most students have few serious described in this section. problems in learning to see and draw the features. T h e problem is not the features; it's in p e r c e i v i n g the skull that things go wrong. W h a t I want to demonstrate is how important it is to provide the full skull for the features—not to cut off the top of the head because y o u r brain is less interested and makes y o u see it as smaller. In F i g u r e 9-13 are t w o sets of three drawings: First, the fea- tures only, without the rest of the skull; second, the identical fea- tures with the cut-off-skull error; and third, the identical features, this time with the full skull, which complements and supports the features. You can see that it's not the features that cause the problem of w r o n g proportion; it's the skull. N o w turn to Figure 9-14 and see that Van G o g h in his 1880 d r a w i n g of the carpenter apparently 170 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
  • 174. T h e same features again, this time T h e cut-off-skull error, using the Fig. 9-13. T h e features only. with the full skull. same features. F A C I N G FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 175. Fig. 9-14. Vincent Van G o g h (1853-1890), Carpenter (1880). Courtesy of Rijksmuseum Kroller- Muller, Otterlo. Van G o g h worked as an artist only during the last ten years of his life, from the age of 27 until he died at 37. During the first two years of that decade, Van G o g h did draw- ings only, teaching himself how to draw. As you can see in the drawing of the carpenter, he struggled with problems of proportion and place- ment of forms. By 1882, however— two years later—in his Woman Mourning, Van G o g h had overcome his difficulties with drawing and increased the expressive quality of his work. made the quot; c h o p p e d - o f f skullquot; error in the carpenter's head. Also, see the D u r e r e t c h i n g in F i g u r e 9-16 in w h i c h the artist d e m o n - strates the effort of d i m i n i s h i n g the relative proportion of the skull to the features. A r e you convinced? Is your logical left hemi- sphere c o n v i n c e d ? G o o d . Y o u w i l l save y o u r s e l f innumerable hours of baffling mistakes in drawing. 172 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
  • 176. Fig. 9-15. Vincent Van Gogh, Woman Mourning (1882). Courtesy of Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, Otterlo. Drawing another blank and getting a line on the profile Draw another blank now, this time for a profile. T h e profile blank is a somewhat different shape—like an oddly shaped egg. T h i s is because the human skull ( F i g u r e 9-17), seen from the side, is a different shape than the skull seen from the front. It's easier to 173 F A C I N G FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 177. Fig. 9-16. Albrecht Durer, Four Heads (1513 or 1515). Courtesy draw the blank i f y o u look at the shapes o f the negative spaces of The Nelson Gallery-Atkins around the blank in F i g u r e 9-17. N o t i c e that the negative spaces Museum. Kansas City, Missouri are different in each corner. (Nelson Fund) If it helps y o u to see, draw in some s y m b o l i c shapes for nose, eye, m o u t h , and chin, m a k i n g sure that you have first drawn the eye level line at the halfway point on the blank. Fig. 9-17. T h e side-view blank. N o t e that (a) eye level to chin equals (b) eye level to highest part of the skull. 174 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
  • 178. Placing the ear in a profile portrait T h e next m e a s u r e m e n t is e x t r e m e l y important in h e l p i n g you perceive c o r r e c t l y the p l a c e m e n t of the ear, w h i c h in turn will help y o u perceive c o r r e c t l y the width of the head in profile and prevent chopping off the back of the skull. On almost e v e r y head, the position of the ear doesn't vary much. On your o w n face, use y o u r pencil again to measure the length from the inside corner of y o u r eye to the bottom of y o u r chin (Figure 9-18). Now, holding that measurement, lay the pencil horizontally along y o u r eye level line ( F i g u r e 9-19) with the eraser end at the outside c o r n e r of y o u r eye. T h a t m e a s u r e m e n t coincides with the back of your ear. Putting that another way, the length from eye level to chin equals the distance from the back of the eye to the back of the ear. M a k e a mark for the ear p l a c e m e n t on the eye level line of the blank, as in Figure 9-20. T h i s proportion may seem a little c o m - plex, but if you will learn the measurement, it will save y o u from another stubborn problem in d r a w i n g the human head: M o s t beginning students draw the ear too close to the features w h e n drawing a profile. W h e n the ear is placed too close to the features, the skull is o n c e more c h o p p e d off, this time at the back. A g a i n , the reason for the problem may be that the expanse of cheek and jaw is uninteresting and boring, and therefore beginning students fail to perceive the width of the space correctly You can memorize this important measurement as a saying or mnemonic, similar to quot;iquot; before quot;e,quot; except after quot;c.quot; To place the ear in a profile portrait, m e m o r i z e this m n e m o n i c : eye l e v e l - t o - chin equals back-of-the-eye to the back-of-the-ear. N o t e that enlarging the features and d i m i n i s h i n g the skull produce strong, expressive, s y m b o l i c effects, a d e v i c e y o u can always use later if y o u wish. R i g h t now, for this quot;basic training,quot; we want you to be able to see things as they really are in their cor- rect proportion. Visualizing is another useful technique for teaching the cor- rect placement of the ear. Since you now know that two measure- ments are equal—from eye level to chin, and from the back of the FACING FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 179. Fig. 9-22. Locate also the point where the neck joins the skull (the place that bends) relative to the upper lip. Correct point in relation to the fa- cial features. A c o m m o n error: misplacement of the point w h e r e the neck joins the skull. eye to the back of the e a r — y o u can visualize an equal-sided right-angle triangle (an isosceles triangle) connecting these three points, as shown in the drawing in Figure 9-12, page 170. This is an easy way to place the ear correctly. T h e isosceles triangle can be Fig. 9-21. Check the location of the visualized on the model. See Figure 9-20, page 175. bottom of the ear relative to the Practice seeing proportional relationships now by looking at upper lip. photographs or drawings of people in the profile view and visual- izing the isosceles triangle, as in Figure 9-12. T h i s technique will save y o u from a lot of problems and errors in y o u r profile draw- ings. We still need to make two more measurements on the profile blank. First, holding your pencil horizontally, just under your ear, slide the pencil forward as in F i g u r e 9-21. Y o u c o m e to the space b e t w e e n y o u r nose and mouth. T h i s is the level of the bottom of your ear. M a k e a mark on the blank. A g a i n , h o l d i n g y o u r pencil horizontally just under your ear, slide the pencil backward this time. You will c o m e to the place w h e r e y o u r skull and neck c o n n e c t — t h e place that bends, as in F i g u r e 9-22. M a r k this point on the blank. T h e point is higher than y o u think. In s y m b o l i c drawing, the neck is usually placed b e l o w the circle of the head, with the point that bends on the level of the chin. T h i s will cause problems in your drawing: T h e n e c k will be too narrow. M a k e sure that you perceive on your m o d e l the correct place where the neck begins at the back of the skull. 176 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
  • 180. N o w y o u w i l l need to practice these perceptions. L o o k at people. Practice perceiving faces, observing relationships, seeing the unique forms of each individual face. You are ready now to draw a profile portrait. You will be using all of the skills you have learned so far: • Focusing on complex edges and negative spaces until you feel the shift to an alternative state of consciousness, one in which your right hemisphere leads and y o u r left h e m i s p h e r e is quiet. R e m e m b e r that this process requires an uninterrupted block of time. • Estimating angles in relation to the vertical and horizontal edges of the paper • Drawing just what you see without trying to identify or attach verbal labels to forms (you learned the value of this in the upside-down drawing) • Drawing just what you see without relying on old stored-and- memorized symbols from your childhood drawing • Estimating relationships of s i z e s — h o w b i g is this form c o m - pared to that one? And finally: • P e r c e i v i n g proportions as they really are, w i t h o u t c h a n g i n g or revising visual information to fit p r e c o n c e p t i o n s about what parts are important. T h e y are all important, and each part must be given its full proportion in relation to the other parts. T h i s requires bypassing the brain's p r o p e n s i t y to change i n c o m i n g information w i t h o u t quot;tellingquot; y o u what it has done. Y o u r sighting t o o l — y o u r p e n c i l — w i l l enable y o u to quot;get atquot; the true proportions. If you feel that y o u need to r e v i e w any of the t e c h n i q u e s at this point, turn to the p r e v i o u s chapters to refresh y o u r memory. R e v i e w i n g some of the exercises, in fact, w i l l help to strengthen your new skills. P u r e C o n t o u r D r a w i n g is particularly useful in strengthening your newfound m e t h o d of gaining access to y o u r right hemisphere and quieting the left. F A C I N G F O R W A R D : P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 181. If, as occasionally happens, your A warm-up exercise L-mode remains active as you start To illuminate for y o u r s e l f the connection of edges, spaces, and to draw, the best remedy is to do a short session of Pure Contour relationships in portrait drawing, I suggest that you copy (make a Drawing, drawing any complex d r a w i n g of) John Singer Sargent's beautiful profile portrait of object—a crumpled piece of paper M m e . Pierre Gautreau, which Sargent drew in 1883 (Figure 9-23). is fine. Pure Contour Drawing You may wish turn it upside down. seems to force the shift to R-mode and therefore is a good warm-up For the past forty years or so, most art teachers have not rec- exercise for drawing any subject. o m m e n d e d c o p y i n g masterworks as an aid to learning to draw. W i t h the advent of m o d e r n art, many art schools rejected tradi- tional t e a c h i n g methods and c o p y i n g master drawings went out of favor. N o w , c o p y i n g drawings and paintings is c o m i n g back into favor as an effective means of training the eye in art. I b e l i e v e that c o p y i n g great drawings is v e r y instructive for b e g i n n i n g students. C o p y i n g forces one to slow down and really see what the artist saw. I can practically guarantee that carefully c o p y i n g any masterwork of d r a w i n g will forever imprint the i m a g e in y o u r memory. T h e r e f o r e , because copied drawings b e c o m e an almost permanent file of memorized images, I recom- mend that you copy only the work of major and minor masters of drawing. We are fortunate these days to have reproductions of great works readily and inexpensively available. For how to do an exercise copy of Sargent's profile portrait of Mme. Pierre Gautreau, also k n o w n as quot; M a d a m e X , quot; please read all of the instructions before you begin. What you'll need: • Your drawing paper • Your # 2 B writing pencil and # 4 B drawing pencils, sharpened, and your eraser • Your plastic Picture Plane • An hour of uninterrupted time What you'll do: T h e s e instructions will be appropriate for either right-side-up or upside-down drawing of the Sargent portrait. 178 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 B R A I N
  • 182. 1. As always, in starting a drawing, y o u w i l l first draw a format. Fig. 9-23. John Singer Sargent. Mme. Pierre Gautreau, 1883 C e n t e r one of the Viewfinders on your drawing paper and use y o u r pencil to draw around the outside edges. T h e n , l i g h t l y draw crosshairs on your paper. 2. You will be using y o u r new skills of seeing edges, spaces, and relationships in this drawing. Since the original is a line draw- ing, lights and shadows are not relevant in this exercise. 3. L a y y o u r clear plastic P i c t u r e P l a n e d i r e c t l y on top of the Sargent and note w h e r e the crosshairs fall on the portrait drawing. You will i m m e d i a t e l y see h o w this w i l l h e l p y o u in 179 FACING FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 183. quot;People have many illusions which d e c i d i n g on y o u r Basic U n i t and starting y o u r c o p y of the block them from acting in their drawing. Y o u can c h e c k proportional relationships right on own best interest as a species, as the original drawing and transfer them to your copy. well as individuals. In dealing with the present problems of life, we Ask y o u r s e l f the f o l l o w i n g series of questions. ( N o t e that I must must first be able to see the reali- n a m e the features in order to give these verbal instructions, but ties of our lives.quot; when y o u are drawing, try to clear your mind of words.) L o o k i n g —Jonas Salk at the Sargent drawing and using the crosshairs as in Figure 9-24, The Anatomy of Reality, ask yourself the following: 1983 1. W h e r e is the point where the forehead meets the hairline? 2. W h e r e is the outermost curve of the tip of the nose? W h a t are the angles of the forehead? 3. W h a t is the negative shape that lies between those two points? 4. If y o u draw a line b e t w e e n the tip of the nose and the outer- most c u r v e of the chin, what is the angle of that line relative to vertical (or horizontal)? 5. W h a t is the negative shape defined by that line? 6. Relative to the crosshairs, w h e r e is the c u r v e of the front of the neck? 7. W h a t is the negative space made by the chin and neck? 8., 9., and 10. C h e c k the position of the back of the ear, bend of the neck, and the slant of the back. Fig. 9-24. C o n t i n u e in this fashion, putting the d r a w i n g together like a jig- saw p u z z l e : W h e r e is the ear? H o w big is it relative to the profile y o u have just drawn? W h a t is the angle of the back of the neck? W h a t is the shape of the negative space made by the back of the neck and the hair? A n d so on. D r a w just what y o u see, nothing more. N o t i c e h o w small the eye is relative to the nose, and notice the size of the m o u t h relative to the eye. W h e n y o u have unlocked the true proportion by sighting, you will be surprised, I feel quite sure. In fact, if y o u lay one finger over the features in Sargent's drawing, y o u w i l l see what a small proportion of the w h o l e form is o c c u p i e d by the main features. T h i s is often quite surprising to beginning drawing students. 180 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
  • 184. Now, the real thing: A profile portrait of a person N o w you are ready to draw a real portrait of a person. Y o u ' l l be seeing the wondrous c o m p l e x i t y of contours, w a t c h i n g y o u r drawing evolve from the line that is y o u r unique, creative inven- tion, and observing yourself integrating your skills into the draw- ing process. You will be seeing, in the artist's m o d e of seeing, the astounding thing-as-it-is, not a pale, s y m b o l i z e d , categorized, analyzed, m e m o r i z e d shell of itself. O p e n i n g the d o o r to see clearly that which is before y o u , y o u w i l l draw the image by which you make yourself known to us. If I were personally demonstrating the process of d r a w i n g a portrait profile, I would not be naming parts. I would point to the various areas and refer to features, for example, as quot;this form, this contour, this angle, the curve of this form,quot; and so on. For the sake of clarity in writing, unfortunately, I'll have to name the parts. I fear that the process may seem c u m b e r s o m e and detailed w h e n written out as verbal instructions. T h e truth is that y o u r drawing will seem like a wordless, antic dance, an exhilarating investiga- tion, with each new perception m i r a c u l o u s l y linked to the last and to the next. With that caution in mind, read through all of the instruc- tions before y o u start and then try to do the d r a w i n g w i t h o u t interruption. What you'll need: 1. M o s t important, you'll need a m o d e l — s o m e o n e w h o w i l l pose for you in profile view. F i n d i n g a m o d e l is not easy. M a n y p e o p l e strenuously object to sitting perfectly still for any period of time. O n e solution is to draw s o m e o n e w h o is watching television. A n o t h e r possibility is to catch s o m e o n e sleeping—preferably upright in a chair, t h o u g h that doesn't seem to happen too often! 2. Your clear plastic Picture P l a n e and y o u r felt-tip m a r k i n g pen 3. T w o or three sheets of y o u r d r a w i n g paper, taped in a stack onto your drawing board l8l FACING FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 185. 4. Your drawing pencils and eraser 5. T w o chairs, one to sit on and one on which to lean your draw- ing board. See Figure 9-25 for setting up to draw. N o t e that it's also helpful to have a small table or a stool or even another chair on which to put your pencils, erasers, and other gear. 6. An hour or more of uninterrupted time What you'll do: 1. As always, start by drawing a format. You may use the outside edge of your Picture Plane as a template. 2. L i g h t l y tone y o u r paper. T h i s will allow you to erase out lighted areas and to add graphite for shadowed areas. I'll give complete instructions for the fourth perceptual skill, perceiv- ing lights and shadows, in the next chapter. You have already had some experience with quot;shading,quot; however, and I find that my students greatly enjoy adding at least some lights and shadows to this exercise. On the other hand, y o u may prefer to do a line drawing without toning the paper, as John Singer Sargent did in his profile portrait of M m e . Gautreau. W h e t h e r y o u tone the paper or not, be sure to add the crosshairs. 3. Pose your model. T h e model can be facing either right or left, but in this first profile drawing, I suggest that you place your m o d e l facing to y o u r left if y o u are right-handed, and to the right if you are left-handed. W i t h this arrangement, you will not be c o v e r i n g up the features as y o u draw the skull, hair, neck and shoulders. 4. Sit as close to y o u r m o d e l as possible. T w o to four feet is about ideal, and this distance can be managed even with the intervening chair for propping up your drawing board. C h e c k the setup again in Figure 9-25. 5. N e x t , use y o u r plastic P i c t u r e P l a n e to compose your draw- ing. C l o s e one eye and hold up the Picture Plane with a c l i p p e d - o n Viewfinder; move it backward and forward until the head of y o u r m o d e l is placed pleasingly within the for- mat—that is, not too crowded on any edge and with enough of the neck and shoulders to provide quot;supportquot; for the head. 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
  • 186. A composition y o u certainly don't want is one in w h i c h the model's chin is resting on the bottom edge of the format. 6. W h e n you have decided on y o u r composition, hold the plas- tic Picture Plane as steadily as possible. You will next choose a Basic U n i t — a c o n v e n i e n t size and shape to g u i d e p r o p o r - tions as you draw. I usually use the span from the model's eye level to the bottom of the chin. You, however, might prefer to use another Basic Unit—perhaps the length of the nose or the span from the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin (Figure 9-27). 7. W h e n y o u have chosen y o u r Basic Unit, mark the unit with your felt-tip marker directly on y o u r plastic P i c t u r e P l a n e . T h e n , transfer the Basic Unit to y o u r d r a w i n g paper, using the same p r o c e d u r e that you have learned in previous e x e r - cises. You may need to r e v i e w the instructions on pages 126-130 and Figures 8-11 and 8-12, page 146. Y o u may want to also mark the topmost e d g e of the hair and the back of the head at the point opposite eye level. Y o u can transfer these marks to your paper as a rough guide for the drawing (Figure 9-28). 8. At this point, y o u can begin to draw, confident that y o u will end up with the composition you have so carefully chosen. Again, I must remind you that although this process seems c u m - bersome now, later on it b e c o m e s so automatic and so rapid that you will hardly be aware of how y o u start a drawing. A l l o w y o u r mind to roam over the many c o m p l i c a t e d processes y o u a c c o m - plish without thinking of the step-by-step methods: making a U- turn on a t w o - w a y street; c r a c k i n g and separating an e g g y o l k from the white; crossing a busy intersection on foot w h e r e there is no stoplight; m a k i n g a phone call from a pay phone. Imagine how many steps you w o u l d need to put instructions into words for any one of those skills. In time, and with practice, starting a drawing becomes almost completely automatic, allowing you to concentrate on the model and on c o m p o s i n g y o u r drawing. Y o u will hardly be aware of choosing a Basic Unit, sizing it and p l a c i n g it on the d r a w i n g paper. I recall an incident when one of my students realized that 183 F A C I N G FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 187. she was quot;just drawing.quot; She e x c l a i m e d , quot;I'm d o i n g it!quot; T h e same thing will happen to you-—in time, and with practice. 9. G a z e at the negative space in front of the profile and begin to draw that negative shape. C h e c k the angle of the nose relative to vertical. It m a y help to hold up your pencil vertically to c h e c k that shape, or y o u may want to use one of your Viewfinders. R e m e m b e r that the outside edge of the negative shape is the outer e d g e of the format, but to make a negative space easier to see, y o u may want to make a new, closer edge. See Figure 9-29 for how to check the angle formed by holding y o u r pencil on the plane against the tip of the nose and the outermost curve of the chin. 10. Y o u m a y c h o o s e to erase out the negative space around the head. T h i s w i l l enable y o u to see the head as a whole, sepa- rated from the ground. On the other hand, y o u may decide to darken the negative spaces around the head or to leave the tone as it is, w o r k i n g o n l y within the head. See the d e m o n - stration drawings at the end of the chapter for examples. These are aesthetic c h o i c e s — s o m e of the many that you'll make in this drawing. 11. If y o u r m o d e l wears glasses, use the negative shapes around the outside edges of the glasses ( r e m e m b e r i n g to close one eye to see a 2 - D image of your model). See Figure 9-30. 12. P l a c e the eye in relation to the innermost curve of the bridge of the nose. C h e c k the angle of the eyelid relative to horizon- tal. 13. Use the shape u n d e r the nostril as a negative shape (Figure 9-31). 14. C h e c k the angle of the centerline of the mouth. T h i s is the o n l y true e d g e of the m o u t h — t h e upper and lower contours only mark a color change. It's usually best to draw this color- change b o u n d a r y lightly, especially in portraits of males. N o t e that, in profile, the angle of the centerline of the mouth—the true edge—often descends relative to horizontal. D o n ' t hesitate to draw this angle just as y o u see it. See Figure 9-32. 15. Using your pencil to measure (Figure 9-33), you can check the 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
  • 188. Fig. 9-31. Look for the shape of the space under the nostril. This shape will vary from model to model and should be specifically observed on each individual. position of the ear (if it is visible). To place the ear in profile portrait, recall our mnemonic: E y e level-to-chin equals back- of-the-eye to the back-of-the-ear. R e m e m b e r also that this measure forms an isosceles triangle, which can be visualized on the model. See Figure 9-34. 16. C h e c k the length and width of the ear. Ears are nearly always bigger than y o u expect them to be. C h e c k the size against the features of the profile. 17. C h e c k the height of the topmost curve of the h e a d — t h a t is, the topmost edge of the hair or of the skull if y o u r m o d e l happens to have a shaved head or thin hair. See Figure 9-35. 18. In drawing the back of the head, sight as follows: • Close,one eye, extend your arm holding your pencil perfectly vertically, lock y o u r elbow, and take a sight on eye level to chin. • T h e n , holding that measure, turn y o u r pencil to horizontal and check how far it is to the back of the head. It will be 1 (to the back of the ear) and s o m e t h i n g m o r e — p e r h a p s 1:1 1/2 or even 1:2 if the hair is very thick. Keep that ratio in your mind. • T h e n , turn back to y o u r d r a w i n g to transfer the ratio. U s i n g the pencil, re-measure eye level to chin in the drawing. H o l d - ing that measure with your thumb, turning your pencil to the horizontal position, measure from the back of the eye to the back of the ear, then to the back of the head (or hair). M a k e a mark. Perhaps y o u will not b e l i e v e y o u r o w n sights. If c a r e - fully taken, they are true, and y o u r job is to believe what your eyes tell you. L e a r n i n g to have faith in one's p e r c e p t i o n s is one of the principal keys to d r a w i n g well. I'm sure y o u can extrapolate the importance of this to other areas of life. F A C I N G FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 189. 19. In d r a w i n g y o u r model's hair, what y o u want not to do is to draw hairs. Students often ask me, quot; H o w do you draw hair?quot; I think the question really means, quot; G i v e me a quick and easy way to draw hair that looks good and doesn't take too long.quot; But the answer to the question is, quot; L o o k carefully at the model's (unique) hair and draw what y o u see.quot; If the model's hair is a c o m p l i c a t e d mass of curls, the student is likely to answer, quot;You can't be serious! Draw all of that?quot; But it really isn't necessary to draw every hair and every curl. W h a t your v i e w e r wants is for you to express the character of the hair, particularly the hair closest to the face. L o o k for the dark areas w h e r e the hair separates and use those areas as negative spaces. L o o k for the major directional movements, the exact turn of a strand or wave. T h e right hemisphere, loving complexity, can b e c o m e entranced with the perception of hair, and the record of Fig. 9-35. y o u r perceptions in this part of a portrait can have great impact, as in the portrait of Proud Maisie (Figure 9-36). To be avoided are the thin, glib, s y m b o l i c marks that spell out h-a-i-r on the same level as if y o u lettered the word across the skull of your portrait. G i v e n e n o u g h clues, the v i e w e r can extrapolate and, in fact, enjoys extrapolating the general texture and nature of the hair. See the demonstration drawings at the end of this chapter for examples. D r a w i n g hair is largely a light-shadow process. In the next chapter, we'll take up the perception of lights and shadows in depth. For now, I'll set d o w n some brief suggestions. To draw y o u r model's hair, gaze at it with y o u r eyes squinted to obscure details and to see w h e r e the larger highlights lie and where the larger shadows fall. N o t i c e particularly the characteristics of the hair (wordlessly, of course, though I must use words for the sake of clarity). Is the hair crinkly and dense, smooth and shiny, ran- d o m l y curled, short and stiff? T a k e notice of the overall shape of the hair and make sure that y o u have matched that shape in your drawing. B e g i n to draw the hair in some detail where the hair meets the face, transcribing the light-shadow patterns and the direction of angles and curves in various segments of the hair. 186 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 B R A I N
  • 190. Fig. 9-37. N o t e the position of the ear. T h e placement fits our mnemonic for locating the ear in profile view: Eye level-to-chin equals back-of-the-eye to the back-of-the-ear. Fig. 9-36. Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys (1832-1904), Proud Maisie. Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 2 0 . Finally, t o c o m p l e t e y o u r profile portrait, draw i n the n e c k and shoulders, w h i c h p r o v i d e a support for the profile head. T h e amount of detail of c l o t h i n g is another aesthetic c h o i c e with no strict guidelines. T h e major aims are to p r o v i d e enough detail to fit—that is, to be congruent with—the draw- ing of the head, and to make sure that the d r a w i n g of details of clothing adds to, and does not detract from, y o u r d r a w i n g of the head. See Figure 9-36 for an example. 187 FACING FORWARD: P O R T R A I T DRAWING W I T H EASE
  • 191. Some further tips Eyes: O b s e r v e that the eyelids have thickness. T h e eyeball is behind the lids (Figure 9-38). To draw the iris (the colored part of the e y e ) — d o n ' t draw it. D r a w the shape of the white (Figure 9- 39). T h e white can be regarded as negative space, sharing edges with the iris. By d r a w i n g the (negative) shape of the white part, you'll get the iris right because you'll bypass your memorized s y m b o l for iris. N o t e that this bypassing technique works for e v e r y t h i n g that y o u might find quot;hard to draw.quot; T h e technique is to shift to the next adjacent shape or space and draw that instead. O b s e r v e that the u p p e r lashes grow first downward and then (sometimes) c u r v e upward. O b s e r v e that the whole shape of the eye slants back at an angle from the front of the profile (Figure 9-38). T h i s is because of the way the eyeball is set in the sur- r o u n d i n g bony structure. O b s e r v e this angle on y o u r model's eye—this is an important detail. Neck: Use the negative space in front of the neck in order to perceive the contour under the chin and the contour of the neck (Figure 9-40). C h e c k the angle of the front of the neck in relation to vertical. M a k e sure to check the point where the back of the neck joins the skull. T h i s is often at about the level of the nose or mouth (Figure 9-22). Collar: D o n ' t draw the collar. Collars, too, are strongly symbolic. Instead, use the neck as negative space to draw the top of the collar, and use negative spaces to draw collar points, open necks o f shirts, and the c o n t o u r o f the b a c k b e l o w the n e c k , a s i n F i g u r e s 9-40 and 9-41. ( T h i s bypassing technique works, of course, because shapes such as the spaces around collars cannot be easily named and have generated no preexisting symbols to distort perception.) After you have finished: C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s on d r a w i n g y o u r first profile portrait. You are now using the perceptual skills of drawing with some confidence, I feel sure. D o n ' t forget to practice seeing the angles and propor- T H E NEW D R A W I N G O N T H E R I G H T SIDE O F T H E BRAIN
  • 192. tions you have just sighted. T e l e v i s i o n is wonderful for supplying models for practice, and the television screen is, after all, a quot;pic- ture-plane.quot; E v e n if y o u can't draw these free m o d e l s because they rarely stay still, y o u can practice e y e b a l l i n g edges, spaces, angles, and proportions. Soon, these perceptions will o c c u r auto- matically, and you will be really seeing. Showing of profile portraits Study the drawings on the following pages. N o t i c e the variations in styles of drawing. C h e c k the proportions by m e a s u r i n g with your pencil. In the next chapter, y o u will learn the fourth skill of drawing, the perception of lights and shadows. T h e main exercise will be a fully modeled, tonal, v o l u m e t r i c self-portrait and w i l l bring us full-circle to your quot;Before Instructionquot; self-portrait for compari- son. Your quot;After Instructionquot; self-portrait will be either a quot;three- quarterquot; v i e w or a quot;full-facequot; view. I'll define the three portrait views for you before we turn to lights and shadows. FACING FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 193. Another example of two styles of drawing. Instructor Brian Bomeisler and I sat on either side of G r a c e Kennedy, who is also one of our instructors, and drew these demonstration drawings for our students. We were using the same materials, the same model, and the same lighting. Demonstration drawing by the author. Demonstration drawing by instructor Brian Bomeisler. 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 B R A I N
  • 194. A student drawing by Heather Tappen. quot;Portrait of Joyquot; by student Jerome Broekhuijsen. quot;Portrait of Scottquot; demonstration drawing by Demonstration drawing by the author. instructor Beth Firmin. FACING FORWARD: P O R T R A I T D R A W I N G W I T H EASE
  • 195. N ow that y o u have gained e x p e r i e n c e with the first three p e r c e p t u a l skills of d r a w i n g — t h e p e r c e p t i o n of edges, spaces, and r e l a t i o n s h i p s — y o u are ready to put them together with the fourth skill, the perception of lights and shadows. After the mental stretch and effort of sighting relationships, you will find that d r a w i n g lights and shadows is especially joyful. T h i s is the skill most desired by d r a w i n g students. It enables them to make things look t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l through the use of a t e c h - nique students often call quot;shading,quot; but which in art terminology is called quot;light logic.quot; T h i s term means just what it says: L i g h t falling on forms cre- ates lights and shadows in a logical way. L o o k for a moment at H e n r y Fuseli's self-portrait ( F i g u r e 10-2). C l e a r l y , there is a source of light, perhaps from a lamp. T h i s light strikes the side of the head nearest the light source (the side on your left, as Fuseli faces y o u ) . S h a d o w s are l o g i c a l l y formed w h e r e the light is Fig. 10-1. Drawing by student blocked, for example, by the nose. We constantly use this R-mode Elizabeth Arnold. visual information in our everyday perceptions because it enables Light logic. Light falls on objects us to k n o w the t h r e e - d i m e n s i o n a l shapes of objects we see and (logically) results in the four around us. But, like m u c h R - m o d e processing, seeing lights and aspects of light/shadow: shadows remains b e l o w the conscious level; we use the p e r c e p - 1. Highlight: T h e brightest light, tions without quot;knowingquot; what we see. where light from the source falls most directly on the object. L e a r n i n g to draw requires learning consciously to see lights and shadows and to draw them with all their inherent logic. This 2. Cast shadow: The darkest shadow, caused by the object's blocking of is new learning for most students, just as learning to see complex light from the source. edges, negative spaces, and the relationships of angles and pro- 3. Reflected light: A dim light, portions are newly acquired skills. bounced back onto the object by light falling on surfaces around the Seeing values object. 4. Crest shadow: A shadow that lies L i g h t logic also requires that you learn to see differences in tones on the crest of a rounded form, of light and dark. T h e s e tonal differences are called quot;values.quot; between the highlight and the Pale, light tones are called quot; h i g h quot; in value, dark tones quot;lowquot; in reflected light. Crest shadows and value. A c o m p l e t e value scale goes from pure white to pure black reflected lights are difficult to see at first, but are the key to quot;round- with literally thousands of minute gradations between the two ing upquot; forms for the illusion of e x t r e m e s of the scale. An abbreviated scale with t w e l v e tones in 3-D on the flat paper. evenly graduated steps between light and dark is shown in Figure 194 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 196. Fig. 10-2. Henry Fuseli (1741-1825), Portrait of the Artist. Courtesy of T h e Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Find the four aspects of light logic in Fuseli's self-portrait. 1. Highlights: Forehead, cheeks, etc. 2. Cast shadows: Cast by the nose, lips, hands. 3. Reflected lights: Side of the nose, side of the cheek. 4. Crest shadows: Crest of the nose, crest of the cheek, temple. 11-4 in the color section following page 210. In pencil drawing, the lightest possible light is the white of the paper. (See the white areas on Fuseli's forehead, cheeks, and nose.) T h e darkest dark appears where the pencil lines are packed together in a tone as dark as the graphite will allow. (See the dark shadows cast by Fuseli's nose and hand.) F u s e l i a c h i e v e d the many tones b e t w e e n the lightest light and the darkest dark by various methods of using the pencil: solid shading, crosshatching, T H E VALUE O F L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D S H A D O W S 195
  • 197. and combinations of techniques. M a n y of the white shapes he actually erased out, using an eraser as a drawing tool. (See the highlights on Fuseli's forehead.) In this chapter, I'll show y o u how to see and draw lights and shadows as shapes and how to perceive value relationships to achieve quot;depthquot; or three-dimensionality in your drawings. These skills lead directly to color and subsequently to painting, as I out- lined in the Preface. As we proceed, keep in mind the following: T h e perception of edges (line) leads to the perception of shapes (negative spaces and positive shapes), drawn in correct proportion and perspective (sighting). T h e s e skills lead to the perception of values (light l o g i c ) , w h i c h leads to the p e r c e p t i o n of colors as values, which leads to painting. The role of R-mode in perceiving shadows In the same curious way that L - m o d e apparently will pay almost no attention to negative space or u p s i d e - d o w n information, it seems also to ignore lights and shadows. L-mode, after all, may be unaware that R - m o d e perceptions help with naming and catego- rizing. quot;Shadows are capricious. T h e y You will therefore need to learn to see lights and shadows at a change constantly—with time of conscious level. To illustrate for yourself how we interpret rather day, wattage of light bulbs, place- ment of lamps, and changes in your than see lights and shadows, turn this book upside down and look own location. Although you at G u s t a v e C o u r b e t ' s Self-portrait, F i g u r e 10-3. Upside down, the depend on shadow for visual infor- d r a w i n g looks entirely different—simply a pattern of dark areas mation about the form of an object, and light areas. you are not usually aware of it as a quality separate from the object N o w , turn the book right side up. You will see that the dark/ itself. You usually discount the light pattern seems to change and, in a sense, disappear into the shadow and exclude it from con- three-dimensional shape of the head. T h i s is another of the many scious perception of the object. paradoxes of drawing: If you draw the shapes of lighted areas and After all, shadows change, but objects do not.quot; shadowed areas just as you perceive them, a viewer of your draw- ing will not notice those shapes. Instead, the v i e w e r will wonder — Carolyn M. Bloomer Principles of Visual how you were able to make your subject so quot;real,quot; meaning three- Perception, N e w York: dimensional. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1976 196 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
  • 198. Fig. 10-3. Self-portrait, Gustave Courbet, 1897. Courtesy of T h e T h e s e special perceptions, like all d r a w i n g skills, are easy to Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut. attain once you have made a cognitive shift to the artist's mode of seeing. Research on the brain indicates that the right hemisphere, as well as being able to perceive the shapes of particular shadows, is also specialized for deriving meaning from patterns of shadows. Apparently, this derived m e a n i n g is then c o m m u n i c a t e d to the conscious verbal system, which names it. 197 T H E VALUE O F L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D SHADOWS
  • 199. Fig. 10-4. H o w does R - m o d e accomplish the leap of insight required to know what these patterns of light and dark areas mean? A p p a r - ently R - m o d e is able to extrapolate from incomplete information to envision a c o m p l e t e image. T h e right brain seems undeterred by missing p i e c e s of information and appears to delight in quot;get- tingquot; the picture, despite its incompleteness. L o o k , for e x a m p l e , at the patterns in F i g u r e 1 0 - 4 . In each of the drawings, notice that y o u first see the pattern, then you per- ceive it as a gestalt, and then you name it. Patients with right-hemisphere injuries often have great diffi- c u l t y m a k i n g sense of c o m p l e x , fragmentary shadow patterns such as those in Figure 1 0 - 4 . T h e y see only random light and dark shapes. T r y turning the book upside down to approximate seeing the patterns as these patients do—as unnamable shapes. Your task in drawing is to see the shadow-shapes in this way even when the image is right side up, w h i l e h o l d i n g at arm's length, so to speak, knowledge of what the shapes mean. T h i s quot;trick of the artistquot; is great fun. I'm sure you will enjoy these last exercises in which you will put together all of the basic s k i l l s — e d g e s , spaces, relationships, lights and shadows, and, finally, e x p r e s s i n g y o u r u n i q u e response to the gestalt—the quot;thingness of the thing.quot; In this chapter, we'll work with the remaining two of the three basic portrait poses. The three basic portrait poses In portrait drawing, artists have traditionally posed their models (or themselves in self-portraits) in one of three views: • Full face: T h e model faces the artist directly with both sides 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
  • 200. of the model's face fully visible to the artist. • Profile: T h e v i e w you drew in the last exercises. T h e model faces toward the artist's left or right and only one side (one half) of the model's face is visible to the artist. • Three-quarter view: T h e model makes a half-turn toward the artist's left or right, making visible to the artist three-quarters of the model's face—the profile (one half) plus one quarter of the remaining half-face. N o t e that the full-face and profile v i e w s are relatively invariant, while the three-quarter v i e w can v a r y from an almost profile to an almost full-face pose and still be called a quot;three-quarter view.quot; John Singer Sargent, 1856-1925. Study for quot;Madame X.quot; Courtesy of T h e Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Frances Ormond and Miss Emily Sargent, 1931 John Singer Sargent, 1856-1925. Olimpio Fusco, c. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1828-82. Jane Burden, Later Mrs. William Morris, as Queen Guinevere. Courtesy 1905-15? Courtesy of T h e Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington. of T h e National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin. 199 T H E VALUE O F L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D S H A D O W S
  • 201. A warm-up exercise: A copy of the Courbet self- portrait Imagine that you are honored by a visit from the nineteenth-cen- tury French artist, Gustave C o u r b e t (pronounced goos-tav koor- bay), and that he has agreed to sit for a portrait drawing, wearing his jaunty hat and smoking his pipe. T h e artist is in a rather seri- ous mood, quiet and thoughtful. See Figure. 10-3, page 197. Imagine further that y o u have arranged a spotlight so that it shines from above and in front of Courbet, illuminating the top of his face but l e a v i n g the eyes and m u c h of the face and neck in rather d e e p shadow. T a k e a m o m e n t to consciously see how the lights and shadows l o g i c a l l y fall relative to the source of light. T h e n turn the book u p s i d e - d o w n to see the shadows as a pattern of shapes. T h e wall behind is dark, silhouetting your model. What you'll need: 1. Your # 4 B drawing pencil 2. Your eraser 3. Your clear plastic Picture Plane 4. A stack of three or four sheets of drawing paper 5. Your graphite stick and some paper napkins What you'll do: Please read through all of the instructions before starting. 1. As always, draw a format edge on y o u r drawing paper, using the outside edge of one of your Viewfinders. T h i s format is in the same proportion, width to height, as the reproduction. 2. T o n e y o u r paper with a rubbed graphite ground to a medium-dark silvery gray—about the tone of the wall behind Courbet. L i g h t l y draw the crosshairs as shown in Figure 10-5. You may wish to copy this drawing upside down. 3. Set y o u r P i c t u r e P l a n e on top of the reproduction of the C o u r b e t drawing. T h e crosshairs on the plastic Picture Plane will instantly show you where to locate the essential points of Fig. 10-6. the drawing. I suggest that you work upside down for at least 200 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 B R A I N
  • 202. the first quot;blocking inquot; of the lights and shadows (Figure. 10-6). 4. Decide on a Basic Unit, perhaps the light-shape from the c e n - ter of the hat brim to the top of the u p p e r lip, or perhaps the pipe stem, or you may decide on another Basic Unit. R e m e m - ber that everything in Courbet's drawing is locked into a rela- tionship. For this reason, y o u can start with any Basic U n i t and end up with the correct relationships. T h e n , transfer your Basic Unit to the drawing paper, following the instructions on page 130 and in Figures 8-11 and 8-12, page 146. Note: T h e step-by-step procedure I offer b e l o w is only a sug- gestion about how to p r o c e e d . Y o u m a y wish to use an entirely different sequence. A l s o note that I am naming parts of the drawing only for instructional purposes. As y o u draw, try your best to see the shapes of lights and darks wordlessly. I realize that this is like t r y i n g not to think of the w o r d quot; e l e - phant,quot; but as y o u continue to draw, thinking w o r d l e s s l y becomes second nature. 5. You will be quot;drawingquot; with an eraser. Sharpen y o u r eraser into a drawing tool by cutting one end into a w e d g e shape as shown in Figure 10-7. Fig. 10-7. Drawing with an eraser. Begin by erasing out the major shapes of light, on the face, hat, and shirtfront, always c h e c k i n g the size and position of a. A nibbed graphite ground of middle value those shapes against y o u r Basic Unit. Y o u might think of these light-shapes as negative shapes that share edges w i t h b. An eraser trimmed for precise the dark forms. By c o r r e c t l y s e e i n g and erasing the light erasing of light areas. T h e n use a # 4 B or #6b pencil to darken shad- shapes, you'll have the dark shapes quot;for free.quot; owed areas 6. N e x t , carefully erase the lightest parts of the hat, the side of the neck, and the coat. Y o u r toned ground supplies the m i d - dle value of the hat and coat (Figure. 10-8). 7. Using y o u r # 4 B pencil, darken in the area around the head, the shadow u n d e r the hat brim, the shadows b e l o w the e y e - brows, under the nose, u n d e r the lower lip, the beard, the shadow of the beard, and the shadows u n d e r the shirt collar and the coat collar. Carefully observe the shapes of these shad- ows. K e e p y o u r tones quite smooth, either crosshatching or working a continuous tone or c o m b i n i n g the two. A s k y o u r - self: Where is the darkest dark? W h e r e is the lightest light? 20I THE VALUE OF L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D SHADOWS
  • 203. N o t i c e also that there is almost no information in the shad- o w e d areas. T h e y are nearly uniform tones. Yet, when y o u turn the book right side up, the face and features emerge out of the shadows. T h e s e perceptions are occurring in your own brain, i m a g i n g and extrapolating from i n c o m p l e t e informa- tion. T h e hardest part of this d r a w i n g will be resisting the temptation to give too m u c h information! L e t the shadows stay shadowy, and have faith that your viewer will extrapolate the features, the expression, the eyes, the beard, e v e r y t h i n g (Figure. 10-9). 8. At this point y o u have the d r a w i n g quot;blocked in.quot; T h e rest is all refinement, called quot; w o r k i n g u p quot; the drawing to a finish. N o t e that, because the original drawing was done in charcoal and y o u are w o r k i n g in pencil, the exact roughness of the charcoal m e d i u m is difficult to reproduce in pencil. But also, e v e n t h o u g h y o u are c o p y i n g C o u r b e t ' s self-portrait, your drawing is your drawing. Your unique line quality and choice of emphasis will differ from Courbet's. 9. At each step, pull back a little from the drawing, squint your eyes a bit, and move your head from side to side slightly to see if the image is b e g i n n i n g to e m e r g e . T r y to see (that is, to image) what y o u have not yet drawn. Use this emerging, i m a g i n e d i m a g e to add to, change, reinforce what is there in Fig. 10-9. the drawing. Y o u will find y o u r s e l f shifting back and forth: drawing, imaging, d r a w i n g again. Be parsimonious! Provide o n l y e n o u g h information to the v i e w e r to allow the correct i m a g e to o c c u r in the viewer's imagined perception. Do not overdraw. At this point, I hope y o u will be really seeing, really drawing, really experiencing the joy of drawing. Later, when drawing a person from life, y o u will find y o u r s e l f w o n d e r i n g why you never n o t i c e d how beautiful the person is, noticing perhaps for the first time the shape of the nose or the expression of the eyes (Figure. 10-10). 10. As y o u are w o r k i n g up the drawing, try to focus your atten- tion on the original. For any problem that you encounter, the answer is in the original. For example, you will want to 202 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
  • 204. Fig. 10-10. A copy in pencil of Courbet's Self-portrait by instruc- tor Brian Bomeisler. achieve the same facial expression: the way to accomplish that is to pay careful attention to the exact shapes of the lights and the shadows. For example, notice the exact angle (relative to vertical or horizontal) of the shadow in the c o r n e r of the mouth. N o t i c e the exact curve of the shadow under Courbet's right eye and the exact shape of that small shadow u n d e r the right c h e e k b o n e . T r y not to talk to y o u r s e l f about the facial expression. 203 T H E VALUE O F L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D SHADOWS
  • 205. 11. D r a w just what you see, no more, no less. You'll notice that the whites of the eyes are barely lighter than the dark shadow surrounding the eye. You will be tempted to erase out the whites because, well, you know they are called quot;whites of the eyes.quot; D o n ' t do it! A l l o w the v i e w e r of your drawing to quot;play the g a m e quot; of quot;seeingquot; what is not there. Your job is to barely suggest, just as C o u r b e t did. After you have finished: In drawing the C o u r b e t portrait, you were bound to be impressed by this work, its subtlety and strength, and how the personality and character of C o u r b e t emerge from the shadows. I'm sure that this exercise has provided you with a taste for the power of light/ shadow drawing. An even greater satisfaction, of course, will come from doing your own self-portrait. Taking the next step I'm sure y o u are aware that we have moved from seeing and drawing every detailed edge, as in Pure C o n t o u r Drawing, to pre- cisely seeing and drawing negative space, to seeing exact propor- tional relationships, to accurately seeing and drawing the large and small shapes of lights and shadows. As you continue to draw after c o m p l e t i n g these lessons, y o u will begin to find your own unique style of using these fundamental components. Your per- sonal style may evolve into a rapid, vigorous calligraphy (as in the M o r i s o t Self-Portrait, F i g u r e 10-11), a beautifully pale, delicate style of drawing, or a strong, dense style. Or y o u r style may b e c o m e more and more precise, as in the Sheeler drawing, Figure Fig. 10-11. Berthe Morisot 10-12. Remember, you are always searching for your way of seeing (1841-1895). Self-Portrait, c. 1885. and drawing. No matter how y o u r style evolves, however, you Courtesy of T h e Art Institute of will always be using edges, spaces, relationships, and (usually) Chicago. lights and shadows, and y o u will depict the thing itself (the gestalt) in your own way. In this lesson, we are r e l y i n g on the skills y o u ' v e developed with the first three c o m p o n e n t s to learn the fourth, lights and shadows, so the v i e w e r can c o r r e c t l y see what y o u have left out. 204 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
  • 206. Fig. 10-12. Charles Sheeler (1883—1965), Feline Felicity, 1934. Conte crayon on white paper. Courtesy of T h e Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. Purchase-Louise E. Bettens Fund. For this process to work, it is helpful to see the exact shapes of lights and shadows as positive and negative shapes, and to c o r - rectly see the angles and proportions of lights and shadows. M o r e than the other components, this fourth skill apparently strongly triggers the brain's ability to envision a c o m p l e t e form from i n c o m p l e t e information. By suggesting a form w i t h l i g h t / shadow shapes, y o u cause to v i e w e r to see s o m e t h i n g that is not actually there. A n d the viewer's brain apparently always gets it right. If you provide the right clues, y o u r v i e w e r s w i l l see mar- velous things that you don't even have to draw! For examples, see the self-portrait by Edward Hopper, Figure 10-13. T h e truth is, you can cause y o u r s e l f to see what is actually T H E VALUE O F L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D S H A D O W S
  • 207. Fig. 10-13. Edward Hopper (1882- 1967), Self-Portrait, 1903. Conte crayon on white paper. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. T h e artist shadowed the left side of his head in an almost even tone. Yet the viewer quot;seesquot; the eye that is bare- ley suggested. not there, and y o u should strive for this p h e n o m e n o n . L e a r n i n g this quot;trick of the artistquot; is quite intriguing. As you are drawing, constantly squint you eyes to see if you can yet quot;seequot; the form you intend. A n d w h e n y o u quot; s e e quot; it—that is, the envisioned image is there—stop! So m a n y times in workshops, watching a beginning student draw, I find m y s e l f u r g e n t l y saying, quot;Stop! It's there. Y o u ' v e got it. D o n ' t o v e r w o r k it!quot; T h e r e is an amusing saying in art circles that e v e r y artist needs s o m e o n e standing right behind w i t h a s l e d g e h a m m e r to let the artist k n o w when the artwork is finished. 206 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 B R A I N
  • 208. Crosshatching a lighter shadow Before we advance to the next drawing, y o u r self-portrait, I want to show you how to quot;crosshatch.quot; T h i s is a technical term for c r e - ating a variety of tones or values in a d r a w i n g by l a y i n g d o w n a sort of quot;carpetquot; of pencil strokes, often crossing the strokes at angles. Figure 10-14 is an example of a tonal drawing built almost entirely of crosshatches. I'll also r e v i e w the proportions of the head in frontal view and in three-quarter view. In former years, I t h o u g h t that crosshatching was a natural activity, not requiring teaching. Apparently, this is not the case. T h e technique must be taught and must be learned. In fact, I now believe that the ability to Crosshatch is a mark of a trained artist. If you glance through this book at the many reproductions, y o u will see that almost every drawing has some area of hatching. You will also notice that crosshatching has almost as many forms as there are artists to use them. Each artist, it seems, develops a per- sonal style of hatching, almost a quot;signature,quot; and, v e r y quickly, so will you. At this point, I will show y o u the t e c h n i q u e and a few of the traditional styles of hatching. You will need paper and a carefully sharpened pencil. 1. H o l d your pencil firmly and make a g r o u p of parallel marks, called a quot;setquot; (shown in F i g u r e 10-15), by p l a c i n g the pencil point down firmly, fingers extended. S w i n g off each mark by moving the whole hand from the wrist. T h e wrist remains sta- tionary and the fingers pull the pencil back just a bit for each successive hatch. W h e n you have finished one quot;setquot; of eight to ten hatch marks, move your hand and wrist to a new position and hatch a new set. T r y s w i n g i n g the mark toward y o u , and also try swinging it away from y o u in an outward m o v e m e n t to see which seems more natural for y o u . T r y c h a n g i n g the angle of the marks. 2. Practice making sets until y o u have found the direction, spac- ing, and length of marks that seem right for you. 3. T h e next step is to make the quot;crossquot; sets. In classical hatching, the cross set is made at an angle o n l y slightly different from T H E VALUE O F L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D SHADOWS
  • 209. the original set, as shown in F i g u r e 10-16. T h i s slight angle produces a very pretty moire pattern that causes a drawing to seem to shimmer with light and air. T r y this. F i g u r e 10-17 shows how to use crosshatching to create a three-dimensional form. 4. By increasing the angle of crossing, a different style of cross- hatch is achieved. In F i g u r e 10-18, see various e x a m p l e s of styles of hatching: full cross (hatch marks crossing at right angles), cross-contour (usually c u r v e d hatches), and hooked hatches (where a slight hook inadvertently o c c u r s at the end of the hatch), as in the topmost example of hatching styles in Figure 10-18. T h e r e are myriad styles of hatching. 5. To increase the darkness of tone, simply pile up one set of hatches onto others, as shown in the left arm of the figure drawing by Alphonse Legros, Figure 10-19. 6. Practice, practice, practice. Instead of d o o d l i n g while talking on the telephone, practice crosshatching—perhaps shading geometric forms such as spheres, or cylinders. (See the e x a m - ples in F i g u r e 10-20.) As I mentioned, crosshatching is not a naturally o c c u r r i n g skill for most individuals, but it can be rapidly d e v e l o p e d with practice. I assure y o u that skillful, Fig. 10-20. individualized use of hatching in your drawings will be grati- fying to you and much admired by your viewers. Shading into a continuous tone Areas of continuous tone are created w i t h o u t using the separate strokes of crosshatching. T h e pencil is applied in either short, overlapping movements or in elliptical movements, g o i n g from dark areas to light and back again, if necessary, to create a smooth tone. M o s t students have little trouble with c o n t i n u o u s tone, although practice is usually n e e d e d for s m o o t h l y m o d u l a t e d tones. Charles Sheeler's complex light/shadow drawing of the cat sleeping on a chair (Figure 10-12) superbly illustrates this t e c h - nique. Soon y o u will bring together all of y o u r n e w skills, the basic component skills of drawing: perceptions of edges, spaces, and 209 T H E VALUE O F L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D S H A D O W S
  • 210. shapes, relationships of angles and proportions, lights and shad- ows, the gestalt of the thing drawn, and the skills of crosshatching and continuous tone. Drawing on the logic of light for a fully modeled, tonal, volumetric self-portrait In these lessons, we began with line drawing and we end with a fully realized drawing. T h e terms in the subhead above are the technical terms that describe the drawing you will do next. From this exercise onward, you will practice the five perceptual skills of drawing with constantly changing subject matter. T h e basic skills will soon b e c o m e integrated into a global skill, and you will find y o u r s e l f quot;just drawing.quot; You will shift flexibly from edges to spaces to angles and proportions, lights and shadows. Soon, the skills will be on automatic and s o m e o n e watching you draw will be baffled by how y o u do it. I feel sure that you will find yourself s e e i n g things differently, and I hope that, for you, as for many of my students, life will seem much richer by having learned to see and draw. Before y o u start y o u r drawing, we need to review briefly the proportions of the frontal or full-face view and the three-quarter view. You will use one of these views for your Self-Portrait. The frontal view I believe that this training for pre- cise perceptions is one of the great K e e p i n g this book open to the diagram on page 212, sit in front of bonuses of learning to draw. One really does learn to see better a mirror with the book, a p i e c e of paper, and a pencil. You are through drawing, to see with going to observe and diagram the relationships of various parts of greater precision and finer dis- your own head, as you go step by step through the exercise. crimination. I feel sure that you 1. First, draw a blank (an oval shape) on your paper and draw can extrapolate the importance of the central axis d i v i d i n g the diagram. T h e n , observe and this to general thinking skills. We often describe creative intelligence measure on y o u r o w n head the eye level line. It will be as quot;the ability to see things halfway. On the blank, draw in an eye level line. Be sure to clearly.quot; measure to make sure you make this placement accurately. 210 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
  • 211. Fig. 10-21. Vincent Van G o g h (etching, 1890), B-10, 283. Courtesy of T h e National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Rosenwald Collection. An interesting example of the expressive effect of skewed features. 2. N o w , looking at your o w n face in the mirror, visualize a c e n - tral axis that divides your face and an eye level line at a right angle to the central axis. T i p your head to one side, as in F i g - ure 10-23. N o t i c e that the central axis and the eye level line remain at a right angle no matter what direction you tip your head. (This is only logical, I know, but many beginners ignore this fact and skew the features as in the e x a m p l e in F i g u r e 10-22.) 3. O b s e r v e in the mirror: W h a t is the width of the distance between your eyes, compared to the width of one eye? Yes, it's the width of one eye. Divide the eye level in fifths, as shown in Figure 10-24. Mark the outside corners of the eyes. 4. O b s e r v e y o u r face in the mirror. B e t w e e n eye level and chin, where is the end of the nose? T h i s is the most variable of all the features of the human head. You can visualize an inverted Fig. 10-23. triangle on your own face, with the wide points at the outside corners of your eyes and the center point at the bottom edge of your nose. T h i s method is quite reliable. M a r k the bottom edge of your nose on the blank. See Figure 10-24. 211 THE VALUE OF LOGICAL LIGHTS AND SHADOWS
  • 212. Fig. 10-24. T h e full-face view dia- gram. N o t e that this diagram is only a general guide to propor- tions that vary from head to head. T h e differences, however, are often very slight and must be carefully perceived and drawn to achieve a likeness. 5. W h e r e is the level of the centerline of the mouth? A b o u t a third between the nose and chin. M a k e a mark on the blank. 6. Again, observe in the mirror: If y o u drop a straight line down from the inside corners of y o u r eyes, what do y o u c o m e to? T h e edges of y o u r nostrils. N o s e s are w i d e r than you think. M a r k the blank. 7. If y o u drop a line straight d o w n from the center of the pupils of y o u r eyes, what do y o u c o m e to? T h e outside corners of y o u r mouth. M o u t h s are w i d e r than y o u think. M a r k the blank. 212 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
  • 213. quot;When drawing a face, any face, it 8. If you move your pencil along a horizontal line on the level of is as if curtain after curtain, mask your eyes, what do y o u c o m e to? T h e tops of y o u r ears. M a r k after mask, falls away . . . until a the blank. final mask remains, one that can 9. C o m i n g back from the bottoms of y o u r ears, in a horizontal no longer be removed, reduced. By the time the drawing is finished, line, what do y o u c o m e to? In most faces, the space b e t w e e n I know a great deal about that face, y o u r nose and mouth. Ears are bigger than y o u think. M a r k for no face can hide itself for long. the blank. But although nothing escapes the 10. Feel on your own face and neck: H o w w i d e is y o u r neck c o m - eye, all is forgiven beforehand. T h e eye does not judge, moralize, pared to the width of your jaw just in front of your ears? You'll criticize. It accepts the masks in see that y o u r neck is almost as w i d e — i n some men, it's as gratitude as it does the long bam- w i d e or wider. M a r k the blank. N o t e that necks are w i d e r boos being long, the goldenrod than you think. being yellow.quot; 11. N o w test each of your perceptions on people, photographs of — Frederick Franck people, images of p e o p l e on the t e l e v i s i o n screen. P r a c t i c e The Zen of Seeing, 1973 often, observing—first w i t h o u t measuring, then if necessary corroborating by m e a s u r i n g — p e r c e i v i n g relationships b e - tween this feature and that, p e r c e i v i n g the u n i q u e , m i n u t e differences between faces; seeing, seeing, seeing. Eventually, you w i l l have m e m o r i z e d the general m e a s u r e m e n t s given above and y o u won't have to analyze in the left-hemisphere mode as we have been doing. But for now it's best to practice observing the specific proportions. Now we'll turn to the three-quarter view Recall our previous definition of the three-quarter view: o n e - h a l f of the head plus one-quarter. Still sitting in front of a mirror, pose your head in this v i e w by starting with a full, frontal v i e w and then turning (either left or right) so that y o u can o n l y partly see one side of your head. You are now seeing one full side plus o n e - quarter—in other words a three-quarter view. Artists of the Renaissance loved the three-quarter view, once they had finally worked through the problems of the proportions. I hope you will choose this v i e w for y o u r self-portrait. It's s o m e - what complicated, but fascinating to draw. Y o u n g children rarely draw p e o p l e with heads turned to the three-quarter view. C h i l d r e n generally draw either profiles or the THE VALUE OF LOGICAL LIGHTS AND SHADOWS 213
  • 214. Fig. 10-25. A sketch by the author from a three-quarter view portrait by the German artist Lucas Cranach (1472-1553), Head of a Youth •with a Red Cap. full, frontal view. A r o u n d age ten or so, children begin to attempt t h r e e - q u a r t e r v i e w drawings, perhaps because this v i e w can be p a r t i c u l a r l y expressive o f the personality o f the model. T h e problems y o u n g artists encounter with this v i e w are the same old problems: the three-quarter v i e w brings visual perceptions into conflict with the s y m b o l i c forms d e v e l o p e d t h r o u g h o u t child- hood for profile and full-face views, which by age ten are embed- ded in the memory. W h a t are those conflicts? First, as you see in F i g u r e 10-25, the nose is not the same as a nose seen in profile. In three-quarter view, y o u see the top and the side of the nose, m a k i n g it seem v e r y w i d e . S e c o n d , the t w o sides of the face are different w i d t h s — o n e side narrow, one side w i d e . T h i r d , the eye on the turned side is narrower and shaped differently from the other eye. Fourth, the m o u t h from its c e n t e r to the c o r n e r is shorter on the turned side and shaped differently from the mouth on the other side of the centerline. T h e s e p e r c e p t i o n s of n o n m a t c h i n g fea- tures conflict w i t h the m e m o r i z e d s y m b o l s for features that are 214 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
  • 215. usually more symmetrical. T h e solution to the conflict is of course to draw just what y o u see without questioning why it is thus or so and without changing the perceived forms to fit with a m e m o r i z e d - a n d - s t o r e d set of symbols for features. To see the thing-as-it-is in all of its u n i q u e and marvelous complexity—that is always the key. My students have found it helpful if I point out some specific aids to seeing the three-quarter proportions. L e t me again take you through the process step by step, g i v i n g y o u some methods for keeping y o u r perceptions clear. A g a i n note that if I w e r e Fig. 10-26. First, see this whole area as a shape. demonstrating the t h r e e - q u a r t e r - v i e w drawing, I w o u l d not be naming any of the parts, o n l y pointing to each area. W h e n y o u are drawing, do not name the parts to yourself. In fact, try not to talk to yourself at all while drawing. 1. Again, sit in front of a mirror with paper and a pencil. N o w , close one eye and pose in the three-quarter v i e w so that the tip of y o u r nose nearly c o i n c i d e s with the o u t e r c o n t o u r of the turned cheek, as in F i g u r e 10-25. Y o u can see that this forms an enclosed shape (see Figure 10-26). 2. O b s e r v e y o u r head. Perceive the central axis—that is, an imaginary line that passes through the very center of the face. In three-quarter view, the central axis passes t h r o u g h t w o points: a point at the center of the bridge of the nose and a point at the middle of the u p p e r lip. Image this as a thin wire that passes right through the form of the nose (Figure 10-27). By holding your pencil vertically at arm's length toward your reflection in the mirror, check the angle or tilt of the central axis of y o u r head. Each person may have a different charac- teristic tilt to the head, or the axis may be perfectly vertical. 3. N e x t , observe that the eye level line is at right angles to the central axis. T h i s observation will help y o u to avoid skewing the features as I m e n t i o n e d on page 212. N e x t measure on your head to observe that the eye level line is at half of the Fig. 10-27. Observe the tilt of the whole form. central axis compared to vertical 5. Now, practice making a line drawing of a three-quarter v i e w (your pencil). T h e eye level line is on your scratch paper. Y o u will be u s i n g the m e t h o d of at a right angle compared to the modified contour drawing: d r a w i n g slowly, d i r e c t i n g y o u r central axis. THE VALUE OF LOGICAL LIGHTS AND SHADOWS
  • 216. Fig. 10-29. Fig. 10-28. g a z e at edges, and p e r c e i v i n g relational sizes, angles, etc. A g a i n , y o u can start a n y w h e r e y o u wish. I tend to start with that shape b e t w e e n the nose and the c o n t o u r of the turned side of the c h e e k because that shape is easy to see, as in F i g - u r e 10-25. N o t e that this shape can be used as an quot;interiorquot; negative shape—a shape you have no name for. I'll describe a definite order for the drawing, but you may prefer a different order. 6. D i r e c t y o u r eyes at the shape and wait until y o u can see it clearly. D r a w the e d g e s of that shape. B e c a u s e the edges are shared, y o u w i l l have also drawn the edge of the nose. Inside the shape y o u have drawn is the eye with the odd configura- tion of the three-quarter eye. To draw the eye, don't draw the eye. D r a w the shapes around the eye. You may want to use the A three-quarter portrait, Bandalu, order 1, 2, 3, 4 as shown in F i g u r e 10-28, but any order will by the author. N o t e the tilt of the central axis. w o r k as w e l l . First the shape over the eye (I), then the shape next to it (2), then the shape of the white part of the eye (3), 216 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 217. then the shape under the eye (4). T r y not to think about what you are drawing. Just draw each shape, always shifting to the next adjacent shape. 7. N e x t , locate the correct p l a c e m e n t of the eye on the side of the head closest to you. O b s e r v e on y o u r m o d e l that the inside corner lies on the eye level line. N o t e e s p e c i a l l y how far away from the edge of the nose this eye is. T h i s distance is nearly always a distance equal to the full width of the eye on the near side of your head. Be sure to look at F i g u r e 10-28 for this proportion. T h e most c o m m o n error b e g i n n i n g students make in this v i e w of the model is to place the eye too close to the nose. T h i s error throws all of the r e m a i n i n g perceptions off and can spoil the drawing. M a k e sure that y o u see (by sighting) the width of that space and draw it as y o u see it. Incidentally, it took the early Renaissance artists half a century to work out this particular proportion. We benefit, of course, from their h a r d - w o n insights (Figures 10-28 and 10-29). 8. N e x t , the nose. C h e c k on y o u r reflection w h e r e the e d g e of the nostril is in relation to the inside corner of the eye: D r o p a line straight down, f o l l o w i n g (that is, parallel to) the central axis (Figure 10-29). R e m e m b e r that noses are bigger than y o u think. 9. O b s e r v e where the corner of y o u r m o u t h lies in relation to the eye (Figure 10-29). T h e n observe the c e n t e r l i n e of the mouth and the exact curve. T h i s curve is important in catch- ing the expression of the model. D o n ' t talk to y o u r s e l f about this. T h e visual perceptions are there to be seen. By s e e i n g clearly and d r a w i n g e x a c t l y what y o u s e e — e x a c t angles, edges, spaces, proportions, lights, and shadows. In R - m o d e , you do respond—but not in words. 10. O b s e r v e the u p p e r and lower edges of y o u r lips, r e m e m b e r - ing that the line is usually light because these are not true edges or strong contours. 11. On the turned side of y o u r head, observe the shapes of the spaces around the mouth. A g a i n , note the e x a c t c u r v e of the centerline on this side. T H E VALUE O F L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D S H A D O W S
  • 218. 12. T h e ear. T h e m n e m o n i c for placing the ear in profile view must be slightly changed to account for the added quarter in three-quarter view. Profile: E y e level-to-chin = back-of-the-eye to the back-of-the-ear becomes Three-quarter: E y e level-to-chin = front-of-the-eye to the back-of-the-ear You can perceive this relationship by measuring it on your reflec- tion in the mirror. T h e n note where the top of the ear is, and then the bottom. See Figure 10-30. Fig. 10-30. A three-quarter self- Ready to draw! portrait by instructor Brian Bomeisler. N o w that w e ' v e reviewed crosshatching and the general propor- tions for the frontal and three-quarter v i e w s , y o u are ready for the last d r a w i n g exercise, y o u r Self-Portrait in fully articulated lights and shadows. What you'll need: • Your drawing paper—three or four sheets (for padding), taped to your drawing board. • Your pencils, sharpened, and your eraser • A mirror and tape for attaching the mirror to a wall, or you may want to sit in front of a bathroom mirror or dressing table mirror • Your felt-tip marker • Your graphite stick • A paper tissue or towel for rubbing in a ground • A dampened tissue for correcting marker-pen marks on plastic • A floor lamp or a table lamp to illuminate one side of your head (Figure 10-31 shows an inexpensive spot lamp) • A hat, scarf, or headdress, if that idea appeals to you Fig. 10-31. 218 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 B R A I N
  • 219. What you'll do: 1. First, prepare y o u r d r a w i n g paper with a ground. Y o u may choose any level of tone. You may want to do a quot; h i g h - k e y quot; (meaning light) d r a w i n g by starting with a pale ground, or you may decide to use the drama of a dark ground for a quot;low- keyquot; (meaning dark) drawing. Or, perhaps y o u prefer a m i d - dle value. Be sure to lightly draw in the crosshairs. N o t e that in this drawing, you will not need your plastic P i c - ture Plane. T h e mirror itself becomes the picture-plane. T r y to think that through—I'm sure you will see the logic of it. 2. Once your ground is prepared, set yourself up to draw. C h e c k the setup in Figure 10-32. You will need one chair to sit in and one chair or small table to hold y o u r d r a w i n g tools. As y o u see in the diagram, y o u will lean y o u r d r a w i n g board against the wall. O n c e you are seated, adjust the mirror on the wall so that you can comfortably see y o u r image. A l s o , the mirror should be just at arm's length from where y o u are sitting. You want to be able to take sightings directly on the mirror as well as directly on your face and skull as you observe the measure- ments in the mirror. 3. Adjust the lamp and test out various poses by turning y o u r head, raising or lowering your chin, and adjusting your hat or headdress, until you see in the mirror a composition in lights and shadows that you like. D e c i d e whether to draw a full-face view or a three-quarter view, and d e c i d e which way y o u will turn, left or right, if you choose the three-quarter view. 4. O n c e you have carefully chosen your composition in the mir- ror and the pose is quot;set,quot; try to keep all of y o u r gear in the same places until the d r a w i n g is finished. If y o u stand up to take a break, for e x a m p l e , try not to move y o u r chair or the lamp. Students often find it v e r y frustrating if they can't recapture exactly the same view when they sit down again. 5. You are now ready to draw. T h e instructions that follow are really only a suggestion for one p r o c e d u r e a m o n g myriad possible procedures. I suggest that you read through all of the remaining instructions and then begin to draw following the T H E VALUE O F L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D S H A D O W S
  • 220. suggested p r o c e d u r e . Later on, you'll find your own way to proceed. A self-portrait in pencil 1. G a z e at y o u r reflection in the mirror, searching for negative spaces, interesting edges, and the shapes of lights and shad- ows. T r y to suppress language entirely, particularly verbal criticism of y o u r face or features. T h i s is not easy to do, because this is a new use of a mirror—not for c h e c k i n g or correcting, but to reflect an image in an almost impersonal way. T r y to regard y o u r s e l f the way y o u would regard a still- life setup or a photograph of a stranger. Fig. 10-33. 2. C h o o s e a Basic Unit. T h i s is entirely up to you. I generally use eye level to chin, and I often draw in a central axis (a line that vertically bisects the head, running through the center of the bridge of the nose and the center of the mouth). N e x t , draw in the eye level line. T h e s e two guidelines, the central axis and the eye level line, always cross at right angles, w h e t h e r in full-face v i e w or three- quarter and whether the person's head is tilted relative to vertical or is held perfectly upright. I suggest drawing the central axis and eye level line directly on the mirror with y o u r felt-tip pen. (You m a y prefer to start y o u r d r a w i n g another way, perhaps relying only on the crosshairs printed on y o u r mirror. Please feel free to do so.) Y o u must, however, be sure to mark the top and bottom of your Basic Unit directly on the mirror. 3. T h e next step, of course, is to transfer your Basic Unit to your d r a w i n g paper with its crosshairs and toned ground. Just make marks at the top and bottom of y o u r Basic Unit. You may wish to add marks for the top edge and side edges of the image in the mirror. Transfer these marks to your drawing. 4. N e x t , squint y o u r eye a bit to mask out some of the detail in y o u r mirror image and find the large lighted shapes. N o t e where they are located relative to y o u r Basic Unit and to the crosshairs on the mirror and in y o u r drawing and to the cen- tral a x i s / e y e level lines, if you are using them. 220 THE NEW DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
  • 221. 5. Begin your drawing by erasing out the largest lighted shapes, as in F i g u r e 10-34. T r y to avoid any small forms or edges. Right now you are trying to see the large lights and shadows. 6. You may wish to erase out the ground around the head, leav- ing the toned ground as the middle value of the head. Y o u may, on the other hand, want to l o w e r the value (darken) the negative spaces. T h e s e are aesthetic choices. F i g u r e 10-34 shows both. 7. You may want to add some graphite to the shadowed side of the face. For this, I r e c o m m e n d y o u r # 4 B pencil, not the graphite stick, w h i c h is s o m e w h a t hard to control and becomes rather greasy if pressed hard on the paper. 8. I'm sure y o u ' v e noticed that I have said n o t h i n g about eyes, nose, or mouth up to this point. If y o u can resist the impulse to draw the features first, and allow them to quot;come outquot; of the light/shadow pattern, as I describe in the margin, y o u will be able to exploit the full power of this kind of drawing. This lesson leads to one of the two 9. Rather than drawing the eyes, for example, I r e c o m m e n d that additional basic skills I mentioned y o u rub your # 4 B pencil point on a scrap of paper, rub y o u r in the Introduction: the quot;dialoguequot; forefinger over the graphite, and, c h e c k i n g back in the mirror that goes on in drawing from the for the location of the eyes, rub y o u r graphited finger w h e r e imagination. This is drawing at a more advanced level. You check the eyes should be. S u d d e n l y y o u w i l l be able to quot;seequot; the the information quot;out therequot; or in eyes, and you need only to reinforce that ghostly perception. your imagination and just barely 10. O n c e y o u have the large shapes of lights and shadows drawn, indicate placement of the first begin to look for some of the smaller shapes. For e x a m p l e , marks. This causes an imagined image in the mind of the artist, who you may find a shadowed shape under the lower lip or u n d e r then draws what he or she has the chin or u n d e r the nose. You m a y see a s h a d o w - s h a p e on already quot;seen.quot; Thus drawing the side of the nose or u n d e r the l o w e r lid. Y o u can slightly becomes a kind of dialogue tone the shadow-shape with your pencil, using crosshatching, between the artist's intent and what develops on the paper. T h e or, if y o u wish, rub the tone in with y o u r finger to s m o o t h it. artist makes a mark. T h a t mark Be sure that you place and tone the shadow-shapes exactly as generates a further image. T h e y o u see them. T h e y are the shapes they are because of the artist reinforces the imagined bone structure and the particular light that falls on the shape. addition, which triggers more imaging, and so on. 11. At this point, you are ready to d e c i d e w h e t h e r y o u want to leave the d r a w i n g at this s o m e w h a t rough or quot;unfinishedquot; stage, or whether you want to work the d r a w i n g up to a quot;high 221 T H E VALUE OF L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D SHADOWS
  • 222. finish.quot; T h r o u g h o u t this book, you will find numerous exam- ples of drawings at various degrees of quot;finish.quot; 12. I will briefly list again some of the main proportions to watch for. R e m e m b e r that your brain may not be helping you to see w h a t is really quot;out there,quot; and these reminders may encour- age you to take sights on everything! • For a full-face self-portrait: E y e level to chin = eye level to the top of the skull. • If the hair is thick, the upper part will be greater than half. • T h e space between the eyes is approximately one eye-width. • D e t e r m i n e the length of the nose by imaging an inverted tri- angle with the outside points at the outside corners of the eyes and the point at the bottom edge of the nose. T h i s is a Fig. 10-35. A diagram of the three- quarter self-portrait shown in Fig. variable proportion. T h e inverted triangle is a particular 10-37. shape for each particular model. • T h e outside edges of the nostrils of the nose are usually directly under the inside corners of the eyes. T h i s proportion also varies. • T h e outside corners of the mouth fall under the pupils of the eyes. T h i s proportion varies. N o t e with special care the posi- tion and shape of the outer corners of the mouth, where much of the subtle expression of a face is located. • T h e tops of the ears fall a p p r o x i m a t e l y at or slightly above eye level line. • T h e bottoms of the ears are approximately at (or slightly above or b e l o w ) the u p p e r lip. N o t e that if the head is tilted up or d o w n , the location of the ears—as seen on the picture plane—relative to the eye level line will change. • O b s e r v e the neck, collar, and shoulders relative to the head. Fig. 10-36. T h e full-face view dia- gram. M a k e sure that the neck is w i d e e n o u g h by c h e c k i n g the width in relation to the width of the face. Use negative space for the collar (draw the spaces under and around the collar). N o t i c e how w i d e the shoulders are. A frequent student error is m a k i n g the shoulders too narrow. Sight the width relative to your Basic Unit. • In drawing the hair, look for the largest lights and shadows of the hair first and then work d o w n to the finer details later. 222 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
  • 223. N o t e the major directions in w h i c h the hair grows and the places where it parts to shows a darker tone underneath. N o t e and draw details of how the hair grows and what its texture is close to the face. G i v e your v i e w e r enough information about the hair to know what it is like. T h e portrait drawings t h r o u g h o u t this book will demonstrate various ways of d r a w i n g different types of hair. T h e r e is o b v i - ously no one way of d r a w i n g hair just as there is no one way to draw eyes, noses, or mouths. As always, the answer to any drawing problem is to draw what you see. If you have d e c i d e d on a three-quarter view, please r e v i e w the proportions for that v i e w that I provided earlier in this c h a p - Fig. 10-37. T h e completed drawing: ter. Also, see Figure 10-35. O n e caution: Beginning students some- A self-portrait by instructor Brian times begin to widen the narrow side of the face and then, Bomeisler. because that makes the face seem too wide, they narrow the near side of the face. Often, the d r a w i n g ends up a frontal view, even though the person was posing in three-quarter view. T h i s is v e r y frustrating for students, because they often can't figure out what happened. T h e key is to accept y o u perceptions. D r a w just what you see! Don't second-guess your sightings. N o w that you have read all of the instructions, you are ready to begin. I hope you will find y o u r s e l f q u i c k l y shifting into R- mode. After you have finished: W h e n the drawing is finished, observe in y o u r s e l f that y o u sit back and regard the drawing in a different way from the way y o u regarded the drawing while working on it. Afterward, y o u regard the drawing more critically, more analytically, perhaps noting slight errors, slight discrepancies b e t w e e n y o u r d r a w i n g and the model. T h i s is the artist's way. Shifting out of the w o r k i n g R- mode and back to L - m o d e , the artist assesses the next move, tests the drawing against the critical left brain's standards, plans the required corrections, notes where areas must be reworked. T h e n , by taking up the brush or pencil and starting in again, the artist shifts back into the working R - m o d e . T h i s on-off procedure c o n - 223 THE VALUE OF LOGICAL LIGHTS AND SHADOWS
  • 224. quot;One of life's most fulfilling tinues until the work is done—that is, until the artist decides that moments occurs in that split sec- no further work is needed. ond when the familiar is suddenly transformed into the dazzling aura Before and after: A personal comparison of the profoundly n e w . . . . These breakthroughs are too infrequent, T h i s is a good time to retrieve y o u r pre-instruction drawings and more uncommon than common; and we are mired most of the time c o m p a r e them with the drawing you have just completed. Please in the mundane and the trivial. lay out the drawings for review. T h e shocker: what seems mundane I fully expect that you are looking at a transformation of your and trivial is the very stuff that dis- d r a w i n g skills. Often my students are amazed, even incredulous, covery is made of. T h e only differ- ence is our perspective, our that they c o u l d actually have done the pre-instruction drawings readiness to put the pieces they now find in front of them. T h e errors in perception seem so together in an entirely new way o b v i o u s , so childish, that it even seems that s o m e o n e else must and to see patterns where only have d o n e the drawing. A n d in a way, I suppose, this is true. L- shadows appeared just a moment before.quot; mode, in drawing, sees what is quot;out therequot; in its own way—linked c o n c e p t u a l l y and s y m b o l i c a l l y to ways of seeing and drawing — Edward B. Lindaman Thinking in Future Tense, developed during childhood. T h e s e drawings are generalized. 1978 Y o u r r e c e n t R - m o d e drawings, on the other hand, are more complex, more linked to actual perceptual information from quot;out there,quot; drawn from the present moment, not from memorized symbols of the past. T h e s e drawings are therefore more realistic. A friend might remark u p o n l o o k i n g at y o u r drawings that you had u n c o v e r e d a hidden talent. In a way, I b e l i e v e this is true, although I am c o n v i n c e d that this talent is not confined to a few, but instead is as widespread as, say, talent for reading. Your recent drawings aren't necessarily more expressive than y o u r quot;Before-Instructionquot; drawings. C o n c e p t u a l L - m o d e draw- ings can be powerfully expressive. Your quot;After-Instructionquot; draw- ings are expressive as w e l l , but in a different way: T h e y are more specific, more c o m p l i c a t e d , and more true to life. T h e y are the result of newfound skills for seeing things differently, of drawing from a different point of view. T h e true and more subtle expres- sion is in y o u r u n i q u e line and y o u r u n i q u e quot;takequot; on the m o d e l — i n this instance yourself. At some future time, y o u may wish to partly reintegrate sim- plified, c o n c e p t u a l forms into y o u r drawings. But you will do so by design, not by mistake or inability to draw realistically. For 224 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
  • 225. quot;The object, which is back of every now, I hope you are proud of y o u r drawings as signs of v i c t o r y in true work of art, is the attainment of the struggle to learn basic p e r c e p t u a l skills and to control the a state of being, a state of high func- processes of your brain. tioning, a more than ordinary N o w that you have, with great care, seen and drawn y o u r own moment of existence.... We make our discoveries while in the state face and the faces o f o t h e r h u m a n b e i n g s , s u r e l y y o u u n d e r - because then we are clear- stand what artists mean w h e n they say that e v e r y h u m a n face is sighted.quot; beautiful. — Robert Henri The Art Spirit, 1923 A s h o w i n g of portraits As you look at the portraits on the f o l l o w i n g pages, try to m e n - tally review how each d r a w i n g d e v e l o p e d from start to finish. G o through the m e a s u r e m e n t process yourself. T h i s w i l l help to reinforce y o u r skill and train y o u r eye. T h r e e of the drawings are i n s t r u c t i o n a l d e m o n s t r a t i o n d r a w i n g s from o u r f i v e - d a y workshop. A suggestion for a next drawing A drawing suggestion that has proven to be amusing and interest- ing is a self-portrait as a character from art history. A few such examples might include quot;Self-Portrait as the M o n a Lisaquot;; quot;Self- Portrait as a Renaissance Youthquot;; quot;Self-Portrait as V e n u s R i s i n g from the Sea.quot; 225 T H E VALUE O F L O G I C A L L I G H T S A N D S H A D O W S
  • 226. Two additional self-portraits by instructor Brian Bomeisler. N o t e how they differ one from another. You will find that your self- portraits wi