Introduction

The subject of how people learn to draw has never lost its charm and fascination for me. Just when I begin to think I have a grasp on the subject, a whole new vista or puzzlement opens up. This book, therefore, is a work in progress, documenting my understanding 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 pioneering insight into the dual nature of human thinking verbal, analytic thinking mainly...

For art students

Many successful contemporary artists believe that realistic drawing skills are not important. It is true, generally speaking, that contemporary art does not necessarily require drawing skill, and good art even great art has been produced by modern artists who can't draw. They are able to produce good art, I suspect, because their aesthetic sensibilities have been cultivated by means other than the traditional, basic teaching methods of art schools drawing and painting from the model, the still...

Realism as a means to an end

A number of the exercises and instructional sequences in this book are designed to enable you to draw recognizable portraits. Let me explain why I think portrait drawing is useful as a subject for beginners in art. Broadly speaking, except for the degree of complexity, all drawing is the same. One drawing task is no harder than any other. The same skills and ways of seeing are involved in drawing still-life setups, landscapes, the figure, random objects, even imaginary subjects, and portrait...

Setting up the conditions for the L R shift

How Draw Realistic Female Figures

The exercises in the next chapter are specifically designed to cause a (hypothesized) mental shift from L-mode to R-mode. The basic assumption of the exercises is that the nature of the task can influence which mode will take up the job while inhibiting the other hemisphere. But the question is what factors determine which mode will predominate Through studies with animals, split-brain patients, and individuals with intact brains, scientists believe that the control question may be decided...

Drawing on your creative self

I see you as an individual with creative potential for expressing yourself through drawing. My aim is to provide the means for releasing that potential, for gaining access at a conscious level to your inventive, intuitive, imaginative powers that may have been largely untapped by our verbal, technological culture and educational system. I am going to teach you how to draw, but drawing is only the means, not the end. Drawing will tap the special abilities that are right for drawing. By learning...

The first component skill The perception of edges

Pure Contour Drawing has introduced you to the first component skill of drawing the perception of edges. In drawing, the term edge has a special meaning, different from its ordinary definition as a border or outline. In drawing, an edge is where two things come together. In the Pure Contour Drawing you just finished, for example, the edge you drew was the place (the wrinkle) where two parts of the flesh of your palm came together to form a single boundary for both parts. That shared boundary,...

Corporate training seminars

Analog drawings are purely expressive drawings, with no nam-able objects depicted, using only the expressive quality of line or lines. Unexpectedly, persons untrained in art are able to use this language that is, produce expressive draw-ings and are also able to read the drawings for meaning. The drawing lessons of the seminar's first segment are used mainly to increase artistic self-confidence and confidence in the efficacy of analog drawing. My work with various corporations represents, I...

Upsidedown drawing Making the shift to Rmode

Upside Down Drawing Pictures

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 expect to see things oriented in the usual way that is, right side up. For, in upright orientation, we can 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 clues don't match. The message is strange, and the brain becomes confused. We see...

Perspective and proportion

Learning 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 overcome 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 you can see the connection to problem solving. One of the first steps in solving problems is to...

Contents

Drawing and the Art of Bicycle Riding 2. The Drawing Exercises One Step at a Time 3. Your Brain The Right and Left of It 4. Crossing Over Experiencing the Shift from Left to Right 5. Drawing on Memories Your History as an Artist 6. Getting Around Your Symbol System Meeting Edges and Contours 7. Perceiving the Shape of a Space The Positive Aspects of Negative Space 15 8. Relationships in a New Mode Putting Sighting in Perspective 9. Facing Forward Portrait Drawing with Ease 10. The Value of...

The cognitive battle of perception

Figures 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 and slide projector. In Figure 7-16, the first drawing, the student had great difficulty reconciling his stored knowledge of what the objects were supposed to look like with what he saw. Notice in the drawing that the legs of the cart are all the same length, and a symbol is used for the wheels. When he shifted to using a viewfinder and drawing only the shapes of...

Expanding harmonious color

We have explored complementary color schemes in the exercises above. Two additional ways of arranging harmonious color are monochromatic schemes and analogous schemes. Monochromatic color, meaning variations of a single hue, is an interesting experiment with color. Choose a colored paper and use all the pencils you have in hues related to that color. In her Umbrella Still Life (Figure 11-17), student Laura Wright used variations on a theme of orange the color orange in all its transformations,...

The artists way of seeing A twofold process

Drawing is not really very difficult. Seeing is the problem, or, to be more specific, shifting to a particular way of seeing. You may not believe me at this moment. You may feel that you are seeing things just fine and that it's the drawing that is hard. But the opposite 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 access by conscious volition to the visual, perceptual mode of thinking in order to experience...

Summing up

Once you have absorbed and practiced the basic fundamentals of beautiful handwriting, you will be free to develop your individual style. As your handwriting changes to a more artistic style, you will find it interesting to observe the reactions these changes cause. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I hope this brief review of the expressive qualities of handwriting is helpful and inspiring. I believe the Japanese are right in their insistence on the importance of nonverbal messages and...

Two ways of knowing

Along with the opposite connotations of left and right in our language, concepts of the duality, or two-sidedness, of human nature and thought have been postulated by philosophers, teachers, and scientists from many different times and cultures. The key idea is that there are two parallel ways of knowing. You probably are familiar with these ideas. As with the left right terms, they are embedded in our languages and cultures. The main divisions are, for example, between thinking and feeling,...

The Zen of Drawing Drawing Out the Artist Within

Anime Male Body Outline

Pencil. Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, then the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself. The life of Zen begins with the opening of satori. Satori may be defined as intuitive looking into, in contradiction to intellectual and logical understanding. Whatever the definition, satori means the...

An empirical basis for my theory

The underlying theory of this revised edition remains the same to explain in basic terms the relationship of drawing to visual, perceptual brain processes and to provide methods of accessing and controlling these processes. As a number of scientists have noted, research on the human brain is complicated 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 know that is observing itself,...

Getting to know the L R shift

Two important points of progress emerge from the upside-down exercise. The first is your conscious recall of how you felt after you made the L > R cognitive shift. The quality of the R-mode state of consciousness is different from the L-mode. One can detect those differences and begin to recognize when the cognitive shift has occurred. Oddly, the moment of shifting between states of consciousness always remains out of awareness. For example, one can be aware of being alert and then of being...

A comparison of leftmode and rightmode characteristics

Verbal Using words to name, describe, define. Nonverbal Using non-verbal cognition to process perceptions. Analytic Figuring things out step-by-step and part- Synthetic Putting things together to form wholes. Symbolic Using a symbol to stand for something. For example, the drawn form < e5 stands for eye, the sign + stands for the process of addition. Actual, real Relating to things as they are, at the present moment. Abstract Taking out a small bit of information and using it to represent the...

Ready to draw

Colouring Pages Dentist Morror

Now that we've reviewed crosshatching and the general proportions for the frontal and three-quarter views, you are ready for the last drawing exercise, your Self-Portrait in fully articulated lights and shadows. 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 A paper tissue or towel for...

Drawing attention to states of consciousness

The slightly altered consciousness state of feeling transported, which most artists experience while drawing, painting, sculpting, or doing any kind of art work, is a state probably not altogether unfamiliar to you. You may have observed in yourself slight shifts in your state of consciousness while engaged in much more ordinary activities than artwork. For example, most people are aware that they occasionally slip from ordinary waking consciousness into the slightly altered state of...

Drawing as a magical ability

Because only a few individuals seem to possess the ability to see and draw, artists are often regarded as persons with a rare God-given talent. To many people, the process of drawing seems mysterious and somehow beyond human understanding. Artists themselves often do little to dispel the mystery. If you ask an artist (that is, someone who draws well as a result of either long training or chance discovery of the artist's way of seeing), How do you draw something so that it looks real say a...

Handedness and drawing

Does left-handedness, then, improve a person's ability to gain access to right-hemisphere functions such as drawing From my observations as a teacher, I can't say that I have noticed much difference in ease of learning to draw between left- and righthanders. Drawing came easily to me, for example, and I am extremely right-handed though, like many people, I have some right left confusion, perhaps indicating bilateral functions. (A person with right left confusion is one who says Turn left, while...

The two modes of information processing

Inside each of our skulls, therefore, we have a double brain with two ways of knowing. The dualities and differing characteristics of the two halves of the brain and body, intuitively expressed in our language, have a real basis in the physiology of the human brain. Because the connecting fibers are intact in normal brains, we rarely experience at a conscious level conflicts revealed by the tests on split-brain patients. Nevertheless, as each of our hemispheres gathers in the same sensory...

On believing what you think you see

One of the problems of seeing comes from the brain's ability to change visual information for the purpose of fitting incoming information to pre-existing concepts or beliefs. The parts that are important (that is, provide key information), or the parts that we decide are larger, or the parts that we think should be larger, we see as larger than they actually are. Conversely, parts that are unimportant, or that we decide are smaller, or that we think should be smaller, we see as being smaller...

Taking the first steps in color drawing

Before you begin, please read all of the instructions. I will use the Degas drawing on pink paper (Figure 11-6) as the basis for instructions, but please choose any subject that appeals to you a group of objects for a still-life drawing, a person who will pose for a figure drawing or a portrait, another reproduction of a master drawing, a photograph that appeals to you, or a self-portrait (the artist always has one available model ). 1. Choose a sheet of colored paper, not necessarily pink. 2....

Preinstruction drawings A valuable record of your art skills

Tyranny Drawings

First, you need to make a record of your present drawing skills. This is important You don't want to miss the pleasure of having a real memento of your starting point to compare with your later drawings. I'm fully aware how difficult this is, but just do it As the great Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh wrote (in a letter to his brother, Theo) Just dash something down if you see a blank canvas staring at you with a certain imbecility. You do not know how paralyzing it is,...

Perceptual skill seven The dialogue

Skill seven takes us all the way to the art of the museums, I believe. I briefly outlined some main aspects of this skill in Chapter Ten, page 221. The artist has a vague idea, let's say, to draw a creature that never existed, perhaps a winged dragon. The artist has a vague imagined image and begins to draw, making a few marks that perhaps indicate the head of the dragon. Those marks trigger an imagined extension and elaboration of, say, the head and neck. The artist sees or envisions these...

Nicolaidess contour drawing

I've called the method of the next exercise Pure Contour Drawing, and your 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 widely used by art teachers. I believe that our new knowledge about how the brain divides its workload provides a conceptual basis for understanding why Pure Contour Drawing is effective as a teaching method. At the time of writing his book, Nicolaides...

How the symbol system developed in childhood influences seeing

How The Draw The Thought Symbol

Now we are coming closer to the problem and its solution. First, what prevents a person from seeing things clearly enough to draw them The left hemisphere has no patience with this detailed perception and says, in effect, It's a chair, I tell you. That's enough to know. In fact, don't bother to look at it, because I've got a ready-made symbol for you. Here it is add a few details if you want, but don't bother me with this looking business. And where do the symbols come from From the years of...

Now the real thing A profile portrait of a person

Sit Lean Stool

Now you are ready to draw a real portrait of a person. You'll be seeing the wondrous complexity of contours, watching your drawing evolve from the line that is your unique, creative invention, and observing yourself integrating your skills into the drawing process. You will be seeing, in the artist's mode of seeing, the astounding thing-as-it-is, not a pale, symbolized, categorized, analyzed, memorized shell of itself. Opening the door to see clearly that which is before you, you will draw the...

Looking ahead

The technique I have just taught you, informal perspective, relies only on sights taken on the plane. Most artists use informal perspective, even though they may have complete knowledge of formal perspective. One of the advantages of learning informal sighting is that it can be used for any subject matter, as you will see in the next exercise. You will be drawing a profile portrait, putting to use your skills of perceiving edges, spaces, and proportional relationships in drawing the human head....

Five basic skills of drawing

The global skill of drawing a perceived object, person, landscape (something that you see out there) requires only five basic component skills, no more. These skills are not drawing skills. They are perceptual skills, listed as follows Three the perception of relationships Four the perception of lights and shadows Five the perception of the whole, or gestalt I am aware, of course, that additional basic skills are required for imaginative, expressive drawing leading to Art with a capital A. Of...

A quick review of the five perceptual skills of drawing

In this lesson, we are working on the perception of edges as one of the component skills of drawing. Recall that there are four others and together these five components make up the whole skill of drawing 1. The perception of edges the shared edges of contour drawing . 2. The perception of spaces in drawing called negative spaces . 3. The perception of relationships known as perspective and proportion . 4. The perception of lights and shadows often called shading . 5. The perception of the...

Choosing a Basic Unit

Drawing Basic Unit

On looking at a finished drawing, students just beginning to draw often wonder how the artist decided where to start. This is one of the most serious problems that plague students. They ask, After I've decided what to draw, how do I know where to start or What happens if I start too large or too small Using a Basic Unit to start a drawing answers both these questions, and ensures that you will end with the composition you so carefully chose before you started a drawing. After years of teaching...

Learning the basics of color

Drawing Opositive Engles

Nearly everyone is interested in color, yet most people have surprisingly little comprehensive knowledge about it. We often take it for granted that we know enough about color to know what we like, and we feel that's sufficient. Yet knowing something of the enormous body of knowledge about color increases pleasure in color, as in almost every subject. In the following pages, you will add a few color skills to your newly acquired basic perceptual skills of drawing. Something odd happens when a...

The paradox of the Pure Contour Drawing exercise

For reasons that are still unclear, Pure Contour Drawing is one of the key exercises in learning to draw. But it's a paradox Pure Contour Drawing, which doesn't produce a good drawing in students' estimations , is the best exercise for effectively and efficiently causing students later to achieve good drawing. Even more important, though, this is the exercise that revives our childhood wonder and the sense of beauty found in ordinary things. Apparently, in our habitual use of brain modes,...

From infancy to adolescence

Wonderful Memories Cartoon

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 seem to unstick their artistic development more easily in order to move on to adult skills. Making marks on paper begins at about age one and a half, when you as an infant were given a pencil or crayon, and you, by yourself, made a mark. It's...

Handwriting a Lost

Palmer Method Handwriting

ODAY, HANDWRITING IS NO LONGER a subject of interest. Like the times tables, moral sayings, and polite manners at tea parties, handwriting if it is thought of at all is relegated to quaint customs of the past century. Yet when I ask a group of people, How many of you would like to improve your handwriting nearly all the hands go up. If I ask Why the answers vary I want my handwriting to look better to be more readable to be good enough to be proud of. This response has surprised me....

On dealing with the twopart skill of sighting angles and proportions

Sighting Angles Drawing

The term sighting really means seeing, but seeing in the artist's special way seeing relationships on the picture plane See Figures 8-1 and 8-2 . All of sighting is comparison What is this angle compared to vertical How big is the apple compared to the melon How wide is the table compared to its length All comparisons are made relative to constants Angles are compared to the constants vertical and horizontal. Sizes proportions are also compared to a constant our Basic Unit. On dealing with...

A selfportrait in pencil

Full Face Diagram Drawing

Gaze at your reflection in the mirror, searching for negative spaces, interesting edges, and the shapes of lights and shadows. Try to suppress language entirely, particularly verbal criticism of your face or features. This is not easy to do, because this is a new use of a mirror not for checking or correcting, but to reflect an image in an almost impersonal way. Try to regard yourself the way you would regard a stilllife setup or a photograph of a stranger. 2. Choose a Basic Unit. This is...

Student showing A preview of beforeandafter drawings

Frank Fernandez Angie Hinckel

Now I would like to show you some drawings done by my students. The drawings show typical changes in students' drawing The 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. Drawings from the five-day Seattle class, continued. ability from the first lesson before instruction to the last lesson. Most of these students attended five-day workshops, eight hours a day for the five days. Both the...

Consistency is the key

To control consistency of slant and proportions, try the following exercises 1. Place one sheet of lined paper over another, with the lines of the bottom sheet running vertically, at right angles to the horizontal lines of the top sheet. Adjust the bottom sheet until the angle seems right to you. You may want to try several different slants. Practice writing your signature, or copying a paragraph of text, aligning the slant to a perfectly consistent angle. At the same time, focus on forming the...

The double brain

Brain Commissure

With the exception of human beings and possibly songbirds, the greater apes, and certain other mammals, the cerebral hemispheres the two halves of the brain of Earth's creatures are Fig. 3-2. The crossover connections of left hand to right hemisphere, right hand to left hemisphere. Fig. 3-2. The crossover connections of left hand to right hemisphere, right hand to left hemisphere. essentially alike, or symmetrical, both in appearance and in function. Human cerebral hemispheres, and those of the...

The crisis period

The beginning of adolescence seems to mark the abrupt end of artistic development in terms of drawing skills for many adults. As children, they confronted an artistic crisis, a conflict between their increasingly complex perceptions of the world around them and their current level of art skills. Most children between the ages of about nine and eleven have a passion for realistic drawing. They become sharply critical of their childhood drawings and begin to draw certain favorite subjects over...

Both sides of your brain

Brain Drawing

Seen from above, the human brain resembles the halves of a walnut two similar appearing, convoluted, rounded halves connected at the center Figure 3-1 . The two halves are called the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body the right hemisphere controls the left side. If you suffer a stroke or accidental brain damage to the left half of your brain, for example, the right half of your body will be most seriously affected and vice versa. As...

Language clues

In hindsight, we realize that human beings must have had some sense of the differences between the halves of the brain. Languages worldwide contain numerous words and phrases suggesting that the left side of a person has different characteristics from the right side. These terms indicate not just differences in location but differences in fundamental traits or qualities. For example, if we want to compare unlike ideas, we say, On the one hand on the other hand A left-handed compliment, meaning...

The Basic UnitA definition

In Chapter Six, I stated that all parts of a composition negative 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 The artist is not at liberty to change the proportional relationships. I'm sure you can see that if you change one part, something else necessarily gets changed. In Chapter Six I used a child's jigsaw puzzle to illustrate the...

Drawing as a learnable teachable skill

You will soon discover that drawing is a skill that can be learned by every normal person with average eyesight and average eye-hand coordination with sufficient ability, for example, to thread a needle or catch a baseball. Contrary to popular opinion, manual skill is not a primary factor in drawing. If your handwriting is readable, or if you can print legibly, you have ample dexterity to draw well. We need say no more here about hands, but about eyes we cannot say enough. Learning to draw is...

Modified Contour Drawing First drawing on the picture plane

Frustrated Student Drawing

Your clear plastic Picture Plane Before you begin Please read through all of the instructions before starting your drawing. In the next section I will define and fully explain the Picture Plane. For now, you will be simply using it. Just follow the instructions. 1. Rest your hand on a desk or table in front of you the left hand if you are right-handed, and the right, if you are left-handed with the ringers and thumb curved upward, pointing toward your face. This is a foreshortened view of your...

Abc Defg Hi Jklmnopqr St U V W

Shodo Painting William Reed

Ball-and-stick letters are round, unjoined, and upright. aJyodjiJ hipiimri BclILcuvcL stXcJc ioinjLcL, This is surely the low-water mark of handwriting awkward to the hand, without flow, and totally unrelated to the historical development of handwriting. Have soft eyes and a gentle manner. Shodo painting by William Reed. Have soft eyes and a gentle manner. Shodo painting by William Reed. Write your signature three times. First, your usual signature next, your best hand last, your odd hand...

How I came to write this book

Thinking With Pencil Henning Nelms

Over the years, many people have asked me how I came to write this book. As often happens, it was the result of numerous chance events and seemingly random choices. First, my training and background were in fine arts drawing and painting, not in art education. This 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 private lessons in painting and drawing in my studio to help pay the bills....

Drawing a blank to see better than ever

Draw Again Memres

Draw a blank, an oval shape used by artists to represent the human skull in diagrams. The shape is shown in Figure 9-8. Draw a vertical line through the center of the blank, dividing the shape in half. This is called the central axis. 2. Next, you will locate the horizontal eye level line, which crosses the central axis at a right angle. Use your pencil to measure on your own head the distance from the inside corner of your eye to the bottom of your chin. Do this by placing the eraser end to...

The frontal view

Line Drawing Eye

Keeping this book open to the diagram on page 212, sit in front of a mirror with the book, a piece of paper, and a pencil. You are going to observe and diagram the relationships of various parts of your own head, as you go step by step through the exercise. 1. First, draw a blank an oval shape on your paper and draw the central axis dividing the diagram. Then, observe and measure on your own head the eye level line. It will be halfway. On the blank, draw in an eye level line. Be sure to measure...

Drawing the contours of the alphabet

Contour Alphabet Drawing

The perception of edges Try a Pure Contour Drawing of your handwriting. Tape a piece of paper down. Choose a pen or pencil that you like, with the width of line that feels comfortable to you. Turn away from the taped-down paper, so that it is out of As children grow and change, so will their handwriting. a b c d t f g h ij k imn o -p ci r s t u v w x y 2 Christopher Jarman designed this alphabet with the aim of using simple, economical letters that can be written with any type of writing...

Sighting a beautiful hand

Hard And Soft Line Drawing

In art, the word relationships expresses a constant theme. As you have learned, art is relationship parts brought into beautiful relationships with one another and with the whole, thus creating that most treasured attribute of art, unity. The same holds true for the art of handwriting. Precisely the same skills will shape your handwriting into closely related parts, fitted into a rhythmic, coherent, unified whole, thus creating Recall that in learning to draw, you learned the skill of...

Modified Contour Drawing of your hand

How Draw Hands Holding Objects

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 The Viewfinder you used for your drawing on the Picture Plane An hour of uninterrupted time Before you begin Please read through all of the instructions. In this drawing, we are modifying the instructions for Pure Contour Drawing. You will sit in a normal position and therefore be able to glance at your drawing to monitor its...

Now well turn to the threequarter view

Brian Bomeisler

Recall our previous definition of the three-quarter view one-half of the head plus one-quarter. Still sitting in front of a mirror, pose your head in this view by starting with a full, frontal view and then turning either left or right so that you can only partly see one side of your head. You are now seeing one full side plus one-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...

Shading into a continuous tone

Continuous Tone Drawing

Areas of continuous tone are created without using the separate strokes of crosshatching. The pencil is applied in either short, overlapping movements or in elliptical movements, going from dark areas to light and back again, if necessary, to create a smooth tone. Most students have little trouble with continuous tone, although practice is usually needed for smoothly modulated tones. Charles Sheeler's complex light shadow drawing of the cat sleeping on a chair Figure 10-12 superbly illustrates...

The bias of language and customs

Words and phrases concerning concepts of left and right permeate our language and thinking. The right hand meaning also the left hemisphere is strongly connected with what is good, just, moral, and proper. The left hand therefore the right hemisphere is strongly linked with concepts of anarchy and feelings that are out of conscious control somehow bad, immoral, and dangerous. Until very recently, the ancient bias against the left hand right hemisphere sometimes even led parents and teachers of...

Expressing yourself in drawing The nonverbal language of art

Expressive Drawing Exercises

The purpose of this book is to teach you basic skills in seeing and drawing. The purpose of this book is not to teach you to express yourself, but instead to provide you with the skills that will release you from stereotypic expression. This release in turn will open the way for you to express your individuality your essential uniqueness in your own way, using your own particular drawing style. If, for a moment, we could regard your handwriting as a form of expressive drawing, we could say that...

Upsidedown drawing

Picasso Igor Stravinsky

An exercise that reduces mental conflict We shall use this gap in the abilities of the left hemisphere to allow R-mode to have a chance to take over for a while. Figure 4-7 is a reproduction of a line drawing by Picasso of the composer Igor Stravinsky. The image is upside down. You will be copying the upside-down image. Your drawing, therefore, will be done also upside down. In other words, you will copy the Picasso drawing just as you see it. See Figures 4-8 and 4-9. The reproduction of the...

The next step Tricking Lmode with empty space

Negative Space Drawings Flowers

So far, we have located some gaps in the abilities of the left hemisphere. It has problems with mirror images as in the Vase Faces drawing . It can't deal with upside-down perceptual information as in the upside-down Stravinsky drawing . It refuses to process slow, complex perceptions as in the Pure and Modified Contour drawings . We used those gaps to give R-mode a chance to process visual information without interference from L-mode. The next lesson on negative space is designed to...

Drawing on the logic of light for a fully modeled tonal volumetric selfportrait

In these lessons, we began with line drawing and we end with a fully realized drawing. The 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. The basic skills will soon become integrated into a global skill, and you will find yourself just drawing. You will shift flexibly from edges to spaces to angles and proportions, lights and...

Showing all manner of negative spaces

Winslow Homer Sketch Chair

These drawings are intriguingly pleasurable to look at, even when the positive forms are as mundane as schoolroom chairs. One could speculate that the reason is that the method of drawing raises to a conscious level the unity of positive and negative shapes and spaces. Another reason may be that the technique results in excellent compositions with particularly interesting divisions of shapes and spaces within the format. Learning to see clearly through drawing can surely enhance your capacity...

A brief review What is learned in learning to draw

Realistic drawing of a perceived image requires the visual mode of the brain, most often mainly located in the right hemisphere. This visual mode of thinking is fundamentally different from the brain's verbal system the one we largely rely on nearly all of our waking hours. For most tasks, the two modes are combined. Drawing a perceived object or person may be one of the few tasks that requires mainly one mode the visual mode largely unassisted by the ver- bal mode. There are other examples....

Seeing values

Four Aspects Light

Light logic also requires that you learn to see differences in tones of light and dark. These tonal differences are called values. Pale, light tones are called high in value, dark tones low in value. A complete value scale goes from pure white to pure black with literally thousands of minute gradations between the two extremes of the scale. An abbreviated scale with twelve tones in evenly graduated steps between light and dark is shown in Figure Fig. 10-2. Henry Fuseli 1741-1825 , The Victoria...

A further complication

Cave Painting Bellowing Bison

One further complication of seeing needs mentioning. The eyes gather visual information by constantly scanning the environment. But visual data from out there, gathered by sight, is not the end of the story. At least part, and perhaps much of what we see is changed, interpreted, or conceptualized 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. This expectation or decision, however, often is not a...

Vases and faces An exercise for the double brain

Mental Conflict

A puzzle If one picture is worth a thousand words, can a thousand words explicate one picture A Transformational Theory of Aesthetics, London Routledge, 1990 The exercises that follow are specifically designed to help you understand the shift from dominant left-hemisphere mode to subdominant R-mode. I could go on describing the process over and over in words, but only you can experience for yourself this cognitive shift, this slight change in subjective state. As Fats Waller once said, If you...

The mystery of the choppedoff skull

Chopped Off Skull Error

Most people find it quite difficult to perceive the relative proportions of the features and the skull. In this introduction to profile-portrait drawing, I'll concentrate 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 location of the ear in the profile view. I believe these are two examples of perceptual errors caused by the brain's propensity to...

Showing of profile portraits

Line Drawing Profile Portraits

Study the drawings on the following pages. Notice the variations in styles of drawing. Check the proportions by measuring with your pencil. In the next chapter, you will learn the fourth skill of drawing, the perception of lights and shadows. The main exercise will be a fully modeled, tonal, volumetric self-portrait and will bring us full-circle to your Before Instruction self-portrait for comparison. Your After Instruction self-portrait will be either a three-quarter view or a full-face view....

Using the negative spaces of handwriting

Drawing Negative Shapes

In Japanese as well as in European American calligraphy, the negative spaces of the letters are as important as the lines we generally think of as constituting the letters. Examine the alphabets, first for enclosed, rounded negative spaces a, b, d, 1. Practice these rounded negative spaces. Try not to think that you are drawing the letter o, for example. Think decide that you are drawing the space inside and that it is a beautiful shape, embraced by the line with its precise closure. Write your...

Drawing materials

Drawing Viewfinder

The materials list for the first two editions was very simple some inexpensive bond typing paper or a pad of inexpensive drawing paper, a pencil, and an eraser. I mentioned that a 4B drawing 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, you still need these basic materials, but I wish to suggest a few additional aids that will help you learn to draw quickly. You will need a piece of...

Crosshatching a lighter shadow

Drawing Crosshatch Forms

Before we advance to the next drawing, your self-portrait, I want to show you how to crosshatch. This is a technical term for creating a variety of tones or values in a drawing by laying down a sort of carpet 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 review the proportions of the head in frontal view and in three-quarter view. In former years, I thought that crosshatching was a natural...

Placing color in the brain

All About Art But Thurber

Given sufficient light to perceive colors, scientists also tell us that the brain's reaction to colors seems to depend on the differences in thinking modes of the various sections of the brain. Very bright, intense colors and colors that shine and glitter draw a response from the so-called primitive brain, the limbic system. This response is an emotional one, perhaps connected to our biological heritage of color as communication. For example, many people say, When I get mad, I see red The...

A warmup exercise A copy of the Courbet selfportrait

Berthe Morisot Self Portrait 1885

Imagine that you are honored by a visit from the nineteenth-century French artist, Gustave Courbet pronounced goos-tav koor-bay , and that he has agreed to sit for a portrait drawing, wearing his jaunty hat and smoking his pipe. The artist is in a rather serious mood, quiet and thoughtful. See Figure. 10-3, page 197. Imagine further that you have arranged a spotlight so that it shines from above and in front of Courbet, illuminating the top of his face but leaving the eyes and much of the face...

Before and after A personal comparison

Pics Hellen Keller Color

Your recent R-mode drawings, on the other hand, are more complex, more linked to actual perceptual information from out there, drawn from the present moment, not from memorized symbols of the past. These drawings are therefore more realistic. A friend might remark upon looking at your drawings that you had uncovered a hidden talent. In a way, I believe this is true, although I am convinced that this talent is not confined to a few, but instead is as widespread as, say, talent for reading. Your...

Taking the next step

Edward Hopper Self Portrait Conte

I'm sure you are aware that we have moved from seeing and drawing every detailed edge, as in Pure Contour Drawing, to precisely seeing and drawing negative space, to seeing exact proportional relationships, to accurately seeing and drawing the large and small shapes of lights and shadows. As you continue to draw after completing these lessons, you will begin to find your own unique style of using these fundamental components. Your personal style may evolve into a rapid, vigorous calligraphy as...

The importance of composing within the format

Joan Mir Personages With Star

In Chapter Five, we saw that young 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 Fig. 7-3. Joan Miro, Personages with Star 1933 . Courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago. Fig. 7-3. Joan Miro, Personages with Star 1933 . Courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago. forms and spaces, and young children often produce nearly flawless compositions. The composition by a six-year-old in...

Formal perspective versus informal perspective

Informal Perspective

But the system of formal perspective is not without problems. Followed to the letter, strictly applied perspective rules can result in rather dry and rigid drawings. Perhaps the most serious problem with the formal perspective system is that it is so left-brained. It employs the style of left-hemisphere processing analysis, sequential logical cogitation, and mental calculations within a pre-prescribed system. There are vanishing points, horizon lines, perspective of circles and ellipses, and so...

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 equipped to teach the right-hemisphere mode. The right hemisphere is not, after all, under very The nineteenth-century mathematician Henri Poincare described a sudden intuition that gave him the solution to a difficult problem One evening, contrary to my custom, I drank black coffee and could not sleep. Ideas rose in crowds I felt them collide until pairs interlocked, so to speak, making a stable...

What are negative spaces and positive forms

Positive Forms

Two terms traditionally used in art are negative spaces and positive forms. In the drawings of the bighorn sheep, for example, the sheep is the positive form and the sky behind and ground below the animal are the negative spaces. The word negative 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. The terms negative spaces and positive forms have the advantage of being easy to...

Handedness left or right

Mayan Soothsayer

Students ask many questions about left- and right-handedness. This is a good place to address the subject, before we begin instruction in the basic skills of drawing. I will attempt to clarify only a few points, because the extensive research on handedness is difficult and complicated. First, classifying people as strictly left-handed or right-handed is not quite accurate. People range from being completely left-handed or completely right-handed to being completely ambidextrous that is, able to...

Recalling the art of your childhood

Practice Upside Down Sketches

In the next chapter we'll review your childhood development as an artist. The 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 functions. 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...

Drawing as a mirror and metaphor for the artist

Torii Kiyonobu Prints

The object of drawing is not only to show what you are trying to portray, but also to show you. To illustrate how much personal style is embedded in drawings, I wish to show you two drawings on page 24, done at the same time by two different people myself and artist teacher Brian Bomeisler. We sat on either side of our model, Heather Allan. We were demonstrating how to draw a profile portrait for a group of students, the same profile portrait you will learn to do in Chapter Nine. The materials...

The role of Rmode in perceiving shadows

Gustave Courbet Wadsworth Atheneum

In the same curious way that L-mode apparently will pay almost no attention to negative space or upside-down information, it seems also to ignore lights and shadows. L-mode, after all, may be unaware that R-mode perceptions help with naming and categorizing. You will therefore need to learn to see lights and shadows at a conscious level. To illustrate for yourself how we interpret rather than see lights and shadows, turn this book upside down and look at Gustave Courbet's Self-portrait, Figure...

Using Pure Contour Drawing to bypass your symbol system

Kimon Nicolaides

In my classes, I demonstrate Pure Contour Drawing, describing how to use the method as I draw if I can manage to keep talking an L-mode function while I'm drawing. Usually, I start out all right but begin trailing off in mid-sentence after a minute or so. By that time, however, my students have the idea. Following the demonstration, I show examples of previous students' Pure Contour Drawings. See examples of students' drawings on page 95. Several pieces of drawing paper. You will draw on the...

The importance of proportion in portrait drawing

All drawing involves proportion, whether the subject is still life, landscape, figure drawing, or portrait drawing. Proportion is important whether an artwork's style is realistic, abstract, or completely nonobjective that is, without recognizable forms from the external world . Realistic drawing in particular depends heavily on proportional correctness. Therefore, realistic drawing is especially effective in training the eye to see the thing-as-it-is in its relational proportions. Individuals...

The three basic portrait poses

John Singer Sargent Olimpio

In portrait drawing, artists have traditionally posed their models or themselves in self-portraits in one of three views Full face The model faces the artist directly with both sides of the model's face fully visible to the artist. Profile The view you drew in the last exercises. The 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 The model makes a half-turn toward the artist's left or right, making...

A warmup exercise

Drawing Side Down

To illuminate for yourself the connection of edges, spaces, and relationships in portrait drawing, I suggest that you copy make a drawing of John Singer Sargent's beautiful profile portrait of Mme. Pierre Gautreau, which Sargent drew in 1883 Figure 9-23 . You may wish turn it upside down. For the past forty years or so, most art teachers have not recommended copying masterworks as an aid to learning to draw. With the advent of modern art, many art schools rejected traditional teaching methods...

Irrefutable evidence that the top of the head is important after all

Cut Off Skull Problem Drawing

First, I have drawn the lower part of the faces of two models, one in profile and one in three-quarter view see Figure 9-13 . Contrary to what one would expect, most students have few serious problems in learning to see and draw the features. The problem is not the features it's in perceiving the skull that things go wrong. What 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 your brain is less interested and...

Pressing on to a pastel world

Portret Drawing Males Boys

Your next purchase should be a set of pastels, which are pure pigments pressed into round or square chalks sometimes called pastel crayons using a minimum of binder. You can buy a basic set of twelve chalks ten hues plus black and white or a larger set of up to one hundred hues. But be assured that the small basic set is sufficient for these first exercises. I must warn you that pastels have some serious drawbacks. They are quite soft and break easily. They rub off on your hands and clothes,...

Defining perspective

Renaissance Perspective

The term perspective comes from the Latin word prospectus, meaning to look forward. Linear perspective, the system most familiar to us, was perfected during the Renaissance by European artists. Linear perspective enabled artists to reproduce visual changes of lines and forms as they appear in three-dimensional space. Various cultures have developed different conventions or perspective systems. Egyptian and Oriental artists, for example, developed a kind of stair-step or tiered perspective, in...

Placing the ear in a profile portrait

Drawing Profile Human Eye

The next measurement is extremely important in helping you perceive correctly the placement of the ear, which in turn will help you perceive correctly the width of the head in profile and prevent chopping off the back of the skull. On almost every head, the position of the ear doesn't vary much. On your own face, use your pencil again to measure the length from the inside corner of your eye to the bottom of your chin Figure 9-18 . Now, holding that measurement, lay the pencil horizontally along...

Drawing another blank and getting a line on the profile

Eye Side View Drawing

Draw another blank now, this time for a profile. The profile blank is a somewhat different shape like an oddly shaped egg. This is because the human skull Figure 9-17 , seen from the side, is a different shape than the skull seen from the front. It's easier to Fig. 9-15. Vincent Van Gogh, Woman Mourning 1882 . Courtesy of Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, Otterlo. Fig. 9-16. Albrecht Durer, Four Heads 1513 or 1515 . Courtesy of The Nelson Gallery-Atkins Museum. Kansas City, Missouri Nelson Fund are...