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Guess what! Ritsumei was ever so kind and thought she would join me in my art series. Please welcome her with me.
I was introduced to Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by a friend of mine, a Real Artist. I asked him one day, “How’d you do that??” –and after he told me, he loaned me this book. Which I quickly decided I needed to buy. That was in 1994, and this book has been my friend ever since then.
It’s a little worn… the poor thing split into two “volumes” when I had my oldest son working in it not long ago, and not because he was rough on it; he wasn’t.
It’s just the kind of how-to book that’s easy to refer to and easy to use… and we gradually used it up.
The book was first published in 1979, and a lot of the brain research that it rests on has been updated: I understand that the idea of the strict right-brain/left-brain categorization of tasks (logical work to the left; artistic on the right) has been refined and even outgrown. And when I sat my son down to read the book and do the exercises, I told him that: the science is dated.
Well, the science may be dated, but the exercises work.
So we continue to use the book.
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…”
-From Chapter 1: Drawing and the Art of Bicycle riding, page 4
And it’s true: the things that Jay taught me in the five minute conversation that literally took me from drawing bad stick figures to doing a recognizable portrait that afternoon were all about how to look at things. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain continued the lessons in how to see, and just as important, to trust what I see.
I still have the first sketch book that I bought, where I did the exercises in the book, and thumbing back through it, I still remember the thrill of putting the things I see on paper — and having other people look at them and say, “Yep, that’s what it looks like.”
I thought that my sister got all that talent; really, she learned to see before I did.
So. The book.
It’s got a nice collection of before-and-after student work. These two are my favorites.
Throughout the book, there are readings, as the author teaches in the main body of the text, and puts a great collection of quotes and exercises and artwork from both students and masters in the sidebars on each page.
The exercises start in chapter four, and they are excellent. Sitting in school, I passed time by doodling vase faces on my notebooks and folders long after I had completed the exercise. I still enjoy doing them; to make a convincing face requires a relatively high degree of concentration and care, which makes it a good exercise long after the basics of drawing become familiar.
…if you do use words to think, ask yourself only such things as:
“Where does that curve start?”
“How deep is that curve?”
What is the angle relative to the edge of the paper?”
“How long is that line relative to the one I’ve just drawn?”
These are R-mode questions: spatial, relational and comparative. Notice that no parts are named. No statements are made, no conclusions drawn, such as, “The chin must come out as far as the nose,” or, “Noses are curved.”
-From Chapter 4: Experiencing the Shift From Left to Right, p 49
Ritsumei is a wife and a mother of
three. She has been using a Classical/Charlotte Mason approach to
homeschooling for ~8 years, since her oldest started doing preschool.
You can find her blogging at Baby Steps, where she primarily posts about homeschooling life, educational philosophy, and the Bible.
Ritsumei is a wife and a mother of three. She has been using a Classical/Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling for ~8 years, since her oldest started doing preschool. You can find her blogging at Baby Steps, where she primarily posts about homeschooling life, educational philosophy, and the Bible.
|Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
Where to find: Amazon Link.