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Why Upside Down Drawing?

  1. Drawing Upside Down Learning to draw what you see! A visual exercise for building observational skills. Marsha Devine © 2007
  2. Why Upside Down Drawing? • Create a shift from left to right brain activity by drawing a picture upside down. • Learn to see lines in relationship to each other, rather than as preconceived shapes. • Develop observational skills • Have fun with drawing
  3. How does upside down drawing build observational skills? • Familiar things do not look the same upside down. • Our left brain expects to see things oriented in the customary way – with the right side up. • In upright orientation, we recognize familiar things, name them, and categorize them by matching what we see with our stored memories and concepts. • When an image is upside down, the visual cues don't match. We see the shapes and the areas of light and shadow, We see lines, instead of real objects.
  4. Upside-down Drawing Steps • You are to copy an upside-down image. • Copy the drawing just as you see it. • Your drawing will be done upside down. • Do not turn the original, or your drawing, around until you are finished. • Limit your time on this drawing to about 45-60 minutes
  5. Simple in steps, complex in action… • take a line drawing • place it upside down • and copy it. • observe shapes, lines and their relationships rather than naming objects & features.
  6. The following slides have images that are upside down. Copy each image – having few distractions and taking time to observe the lines and spaces of the original. Do your best, but remember – this is not supposed to be a perfect piece of artwork – this is a visual exercise – like Pilates for the brain! Turn over only when you are finished.
  7. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Portrait of Igor Stravinsky. Paris, May 21, 1920
  8. Ballerina, Edgar Degas
  9. Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528), The Rhinoceros
  10. Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Cottage among Trees, 1648-50
  11. Danny Gregory – Artist & Author • Website • See him draw a portrait with a Koh-in-noor Rapidograph and then fill it in with a wash of Sumi Ink all the while keeping his sketchbook upside down.
  12. Reflect & Review • After completing your upside-down drawing, compare it to the original – look at how the lines, shapes, and spaces relate to each other. • Is your drawing similar to the original? • Whenever you are looking to ‘free-up’ your mind, hone your observational skills, or just have a little drawing fun – try this technique again!
  13. References • Betty Edwards, The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Putnam Publishing Group; Revised & Expanded edition, 1999. ISBN: 0874774241. • Betty Edwards, The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook: Guided Practice in the Five Basic Skills of Drawing, Jeremy P. Tarcher, 2002. ISBN: 1585421952. p.17.