Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Drawing on the right side of the brain


When I was in high school my Dad bought Drawing on the right side of the brain. Though I did not complete the entire book, my drawings improved dramatically, especially in drawing likenesses. I've recently corresponded with Historical Arrtist/ Illustrator David Rickman. David has done a number of coloring books in addition to work for the National Park Service. In addition to his style I also admire his meticulous attention to detail and accuracy. In one of his Emails He suggested I give this book a try. Fortunately I still have my copy and will be starting tomorrow. Here is a review I found on the book.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is based on the premise that the left and right hemispheres of the brain process information in very different ways. While this theory has become somewhat outmoded, it is still a useful model to explain the way we function. The right-side concept is referred to continually throughout the book, which focuses extensively on the 'how and why' behind the mental process of drawing, rather than simply demonstrating the techniques.

Right Brain VS Left Brain
In essence, the 'left brain' is logical, rational using words to describe concepts and able to manipulate abstract ideas, numbers and the concept of time. The right brain, in contrast, takes a wholistic approach, sensing relationships and patterns, tends to be intuitive and irrational, and has no sense of time. While some suggest that theories about brain function have moved on from this 'hemispherical' notion, it is still a useful model for how we manipulate information in practice. The first chapters of Drawing on the Right Side are largely devoted to explaining the left/right model, and explaining its relevance to drawing - or more importantly to SEEING. The stages of development in children's drawing are explored, and the impact of the persistence of the childish symbol-system discussed.

I strongly suggest this book to those that feel they can't draw at all or that well. You'll be surprised at the results if you follow the different exercises. A huge thanks goes out to David for his comments and suggestions.