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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Years ago a neighbor, who has since moved away, suggested I find a book called Drawing With The Right Side Of Your Brain by Betty Edwards. I found it at the library and read it but did very little of the exercises. I found it at a thrift store recently and when I got it home I tried some of the drawings. Some of them are rather boring, so I only did about half of them. Just recently I decided to take up where I left off and did some more drawings. A few months have elapsed between the two sets, but I did very little drawing between that time other than the exercises I just did recently.

The book says to draw specific "before" drawings, so here is a drawing of my hand that I did.

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Here is another pose, a few months and a few drawings later.

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Granted, the after isn't incredible. But the difference between the two is a lot more than I expected.

Here is a vase I drew.
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And here is an object I drew a few days ago.
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Again, same thing. It's not incredible but it's a lot better than the first one!

You can check out Betty Edward's site and see what's on there for info on the exercises (I think she describes at least one) but one of them in particular that I found interesting (and helpful) she calls Pure Contour Drawing. Pick a complex object and put it to your left (or right, if you're left handed). Now put some paper to your right on a table or a clipboard (where it's not going to move) and very slowly move your eyes along the edges or lines of the object, recording every detail. Move your pencil along the paper just as your eyes do but don't look at the paper. Here's what it might end up looking like:
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Those lines look drastically different than what I would normally draw for my hand. They actually look like the contours of my hand rather than whatever image I have stored in my brain to draw for the word "hand." After I had done several of these pure contour drawings and the other exercises (copying drawings upside down and the one at the website) I did the hand while moving my pencil more or less the same way I did for the pure contour drawing, but looking at the paper to gauge position and perspective.

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