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Thread: Interesting form of drawing..

  1. #1

    Interesting form of drawing..

    I came across this while searching yesterday and I might try it. Drawing upside down, has anyone ever tried this?

  2. #2
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    Yes. There is a book by Dr. Betty Edwards entitled "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" which covers this concept. Essentially it tends to make us forget what we are looking at so that our preconceived ideas are laid aside as we draw and we pay more attention to what we are actually seeing. It is a very effective exercise. Go for it.
    Be well,

    "Teach, Learn, Thrive"~DM


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    It is a neat experiment that shows that artist's preconceptions can greatly affect his drawing. Actually, a large part of an artist's education consists of learning to see what there is, rather than what you think there is.

    So if you want to check it for yourself - try it.

    However, the best way to draw is to see what there is and understand what makes it so. Turning something upside down makes the second part harder; so if you do not suffer from preconceptions, drawing upside down will only impede you. (Not even mentioning that you cannot turn nature on its head, so you can only copy this way.)

    As for Edwards - don't. The book's full of flawed advice and pseudoscience; whatever working exercises it contains are mostly borrowed from other sources. It's more liable to plant a set of bad habits in you than help you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus
    As for Edwards - don't. The book's full of flawed advice and pseudoscience; whatever working exercises it contains are mostly borrowed from other sources. It's more liable to plant a set of bad habits in you than help you.
    Hi, there,

    Can I ask what brought you to those conclusions?

    This one book was solely responsible for both starting me drawing (in my early 20's mind you) and helped me develop skills to draw at a photorealistic level. I can't paint, mind you, which is why I love ArtRage - as a learning tool where I don't have to shell out hundreds in supplies in trial and error.

    But after trying with other books - notably the Walter Foster ones - and miserably failing up until I read RSB, I can't help see why anyone who wants to develop decent drawing skills (and doesn't already have them) wouldn't benefit highly from this. Sure it gets theoretical and delves into the mind's methods of perceiving, but maybe that's why some more "advanced" artists get turned off - they just like to draw without knowing why.

    I am also a very experienced musican and what I can tell you is that when I learned music theory my whole level of musicianship went up about 12 notches. However, I don't see where any sort of theory can detract from the end result of any creative endeavor, music, art, or otherwise.

    If you're one of those people who likes to "just draw" then good for you! Some of us, though, never were able to do that and needed some help and guidance, and for me this book was right on target.

    Thanks to forum members for letting me clarify,

    - A

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus
    As for Edwards - don't. The book's full of flawed advice and pseudoscience; whatever working exercises it contains are mostly borrowed from other sources. It's more liable to plant a set of bad habits in you than help you.
    Hi, there,

    Can I ask what brought you to those conclusions?

    This one book was solely responsible for both starting me drawing (in my early 20's mind you) and helped me develop skills to draw at a photorealistic level. I can't paint, mind you, which is why I love ArtRage - as a learning tool where I don't have to shell out hundreds in supplies in trial and error.

    But after trying with other books - notably the Walter Foster ones - and miserably failing up until I read RSB, I can't help see why anyone who wants to develop decent drawing skills (and doesn't already have them) wouldn't benefit highly from this. Sure it gets theoretical and delves into the mind's methods of perceiving, but maybe that's why some more "advanced" artists get turned off - they just like to draw without knowing why.

    I am also a very experienced musican and what I can tell you is that when I learned music theory my whole level of musicianship went up about 12 notches. However, I don't see where any sort of theory can detract from the end result of any creative endeavor, music, art, or otherwise.

    If you're one of those people who likes to "just draw" then good for you! Some of us, though, never were able to do that and needed some help and guidance, and for me this book was right on target.

    Thanks to forum members for letting me clarify,

    - A

  6. #6
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    Seems to me that any time you're drawing it's going into the plus column.

    And if someone is going to develop bad drawing habits, and they repeat those habits, some folks call it a style.

    On the other hand, if somebody is out to learn to draw in a particular style, like Andrew Loomis for example, and they are trying to make a living from a market that wants to see those skills, they should study Andrew Loomis.

    If they are exploring as a fine artist, then explore away -- anything and everything as it suits them.

    All depends on what one sees as the point of it all.

    Personally, when I went to school and was shelling out a fortune to learn how to paint and draw, and they didn't show me how to do that but rather gave me all this alternative stuff that wouldn't give you the hand/eye skills to paint a head that resembled the sitter, I felt very cheated. But I was interested in traditional work and eating regularly.

    On the other hand, were I trying to develop a new style and break new ground, or use art as a vehicle for personal exploration, or if I was in those circles that painted like that, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of these other tacks.

    To me, the choice is very individual. It's art after all. And that's about as broad a category as exists anywhere.

    Buzzwords like 'pseudoscience' when in novel and creative pursuits implies a sort of dismissive attitude that may be a little too 'tossing the baby out with the bathwater".

    I can see if someone who is trying to prove a case using a string of spurious 'therefores' tries to make it appear scientific could be off-putting to those who are more rigorous about proof. But when the issue is at it's heart about finding a way to break through someone's blocks, it's very individual, and what works for them works for them regardless of repeatability across the board.

    So trying it could well work for some. Yay! That's the point.

    And if the way to get to using the right brain, and thus the whole brain, is through the dominant rigorous left side (that many have only allowed themselves to use), good enough. Seems that the author of that particular book was approaching it that way.

    Whether one agrees that the method is right or not, that's a legit tack, I think.

    I don't care to use those techniques today, but I'm open to see what happens down the road. It's a long life hopefully, and drawings, like so many things, without variation can get a little redundant. There's lots of room for looking at things in more ways than one.

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    Theory can't hurt anyone provided that it's correct. Otherwise it can be harmful because you would be trying things that are wrongly claimed to work, and fail. :) Edwards' theory is not sound. It is unsystematic, to begin with. There are individual things in her book that work and are used in classical art education. (For example, negative space exercises.) But her system is unsound.

    If you don't like "pseudoscience", call it mythology. The whole "right/left brain" thing is an ungrounded model. If Edwards simply talked about seeing and stereotypical drawing habits, it wouldn't hurt anyone. Instead, she tries hard to sell a bunch of irrelevant misconceptions.

    Her book is good motivational material. I admit that it's a brilliant move: unload a bundle of tricks on the student that instantly produce visible progress from stick figures to what resembles real drawing. Anyone would buy in.

    Unfortunately, most of these tricks only work by breaking misconceptions. Once you persuade a person to stop scrawling what they *think* they see and actually pay attention to what they *do* see, the same effect will happen no matter what method you use to do that. But Edwards also has a bunch of theories and concepts riding on that breakthrough material that are themselves mostly misconceptions. And she does not have much more than that to offer. Her whole approach is copying what you see. The closest she gets to any kind of measurement or analysis is suggesting to use a grid for portraiture. (I am not kidding you. That chapter was added in the "New" edition of the book, the original one didn't have that. Apparently without grid the students' results were too poor.) Her method is good for selling the book - it seems to work "magically" - but not good for sustained learning.

    The trick is, by the time you get hit by the second set of misconceptions, you're through with the book, and don't attribute your further difficulties to the book. You only remember how it worked like charm at first. You give credit to the book, but blame yourself for later problems.

    So that's why I do not recommend Edwards. Systematic, sustained training may not produce the instant early gratification Edwards offers, but it does not load you with new problems at advanced stages either. Any textbook on art will by necessity have a bias of the author, but I'd stick with Loomis, Ryder, Tiner or someone like them, whose system just works, independent of psychological myths or availability of reference or a particular drawing style. Yes, it will be a slower start. But there won't be a fifteen-foot wall behind the corner, either.

    You may think what you want, of course. But there's one gotcha. For all the popularity and reputation, whenever you see an illustration in it that is correctly constructed and shows trained eye, it is by an old master or an instructor. Edwards' book does not contain a single solid drawing done by a student, to vouch for the efficiency of her method. Not even on the back cover.

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    Wow,

    Without wanting any sort of disdain here, I am wondering if we actually read the same book. The only reason I am replying is to give any of those inclined to try her book an encouraging viewpoint and not to convince you personally because it would seem that you have convinced yourself that this book is somehow (going over the top here, I know) a "Satanic Bible" of the Drawing World (apparently just down the road from Disney World )

    That's why I wonder if you've even read it. And though I'll give you any soft of kudos on your own work no matter what methods you used to gather your own skill, where you mentioned in the "New" edition about the grid being a "plus" is actually considered a "minus" to many due to the new reliance on tools rather than strengthening the eye itself.

    You keep mentioning over and over how the theory is "not sound" yet I can't seem to find anything in your posts as to why, which I would like to read to develop my own skills further - especially if I am missing something. I completely agree that this type of material WOULD turn off a 6th grader in art class. For grown adults, however, that have tried and failed - and in some cases (like my own) tried and failed multiple times and finally gave up - this book was the ONLY thing that worked for me, and worked rather quickly, mind you.

    I am not in the least bit trying to sell you out of your opinion, or even tell you that it's wrong, but I think it would be healthier just to admit that it doesn't work for you personally - maybe too wordy, maybe too much theory, whatever - than to convince new people on a forum who are new artists, too, that some very useful tool is unable to help them.

    One thing to keep in mind, is this is just a tool to get people started. A lot of other material started making sense once I finished with Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

    The right/left brain thing is hardly ungrounded, which is why I am wondering if you even read the book at all. Highly irrelevant for someone already skilled? Absolutely. Remember, though, that this book is intended for adult beginners.

    And funny, it was the significant "before and after" quality of the student drawings in a very short time period is why I bought it in the first place. Why would she NOT show a master's work for clarifying a certain principle? Why show anything in that regard where the clarity would be somehow not as good as it could be?

    Arenhaus, I am not going to go point-by-point in an more of your posts. Because in all that you've written, I can see only one fact -

    YOU JUST DON'T LIKE THE BOOK.

    There is nothing wrong with that. I don't like chocolate ice cream, for what it's worth.

    For the sake of any other adult newcomers to the art world, though, I would respectfully ask that you separate your own personal turn-offs from those things that do have significant merit, keeping in mind that, like training wheels, once those skills and newcomer steps are mastered they are discarded for more "serious" educational methods and tools just like in any other endeavor.

    And I promise not to turn anyone off to chocolate ice cream.

    Thank you for both your views and comments,

    - A

  9. #9
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    If you go to google and do a search for:

    'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Criticism'

    You will find several reviews and crtiques. Two of the most balanced articles are:

    Book Review:

    http://drawsketch.about.com/od/suppl...right_side.htm

    and

    Right Brain / Left Brain: What Is It All About?

    http://painting.about.com/od/rightle...ight_Brain.htm

    Please note in the second article that they mention that this right/left brain theory was put forth in the 1960's and "subsequent research has show things aren't quite as polarized as once thought (nor as simple) ". Things do move on in science and a theory that is roughly 40 years old is rather ancient and quite quaint. Much like Freudian psychology, there can still be some 'truth', but Freud's theory's are considered rather naive and old fashioned. 'Horse and Buggy Thinking' as they used to say.

    If you ask people in the field of brain research today, they will tell you that brain functions can be mapped, but they are NOT hard wired to a right brain/left brain map. People who have suffered brain damage in an accident often relearn certain skills-like language and verbal skills and that these do get stored in a different part of the brain.

    Books like Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain may well help some learn to draw, but they are the worst type of Pop Psychology designed to sell books.

    It's like those medical reports that appear in the media all the time. The media takes a theory like 'Food X appears to cause Cancer in a specific laboratory situation' and generalize it as 'Food X causes cancer' . The research has not been finalized but the general public gets the impression that 'food x causes cancer'. Then you find out that you have to eat 20 lbs. of the food a day, or some ridiculous amount.

    People today are always looking for short cuts-quick ways to do something without putting in the effort.

    Investing the time and effort to draw,draw,draw and paint, paint,paint will yield results. So will studying those masters who are well respected for their painting skills.

    The book can help some people, but IS filled with muddled pseudo science and half truths.

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    I am sorry, and this will be my last post on this, as I am in no need to prove a point, but only to give those newbies a chance not to be turned off to a good learning tool.

    RSB is not a psychology book and doesn't purport to be. It might be considered a self-help book, but only along the lines of how to draw better for someone without drawing skills yet. Once you have them, why would you do this book? You wouldn't, and would probably make fun of the method, especially if you took years to figure out yourself some of the techniques where people get results in a matter of days.

    Sometimes, hard work, trial and error, all that stuff, sure does have merit on it's own. But when I see a good piece of art, none of the blood, sweat, and tears of the artist even comes into my own mind at all. Just how nice the piece looks.

    RSB is simply one book that helps new people to the drawing world get results fast. This can be threatening to those who have either the need or interest in the belief that nothing is good without major personal sacrifice.

    Having made too many major personal sacrifices myself, I no longer value any path that glorifies hardship as a valueable trait.

    "Investing the time and effort to draw,draw,draw and paint, paint,paint will yield results. So will studying those masters who are well respected for their painting skills. "

    You are very right on this. I would like to add something, though, to not only bring balance, but clarity no matter how uncomfortable it is.

    "Investing the time and effort to draw,draw,draw and paint, paint,paint will yield results. So will studying those masters who are well respected for their painting skills. And having someone with good teaching skills will yeild those results faster."

    I don't know any other way to phrase this, but what the hell is it with art - and I mean visual art - seemingly being the only endeavor that has this mystic "unlearnable and unreachable and certainly unteachable" aura to the so-called educational methods to it? You don't find this in many other art forms.

    Music, dance, even acting all have very defined and doable processes to them in skillbuilding. Self-taught musicians DO make it, but those who have teachers can make it faster and sometimes better than if they were to embark solo.

    I know that because of the quickness of the results and the "anyone can do it" factor, some of those who consider their artistic skills and journey getting there as something sublime might take this book as a personal affront to what may have been a long and arduous path, as some seem to have done here.

    I can tell you with all honesty and respect, though, that since I went through that book almost 15 years ago, not once outside this thread have I ever thought of the psychology, "pop" or not, of the book, even in my recommendations. I simply told people - too old to go to art school or even to take a class - to get it and to do the exercises.

    Strangely, they all got better and didn't really give two hoots about the reasoning. And then they went on to other methods and developed their art even further. Some of her methods even come from "Kimon Nicolaides - The Natural Way to Draw" in a more condensed format.

    So Improv, here is a really great example that will sum up the various and obvously strong (at least in the negative) viewpooints. Say I would like to give you directions to my house. (I live near Disney World in Orlando). I could give you driving, walking, or flying directions. Your choice would simply depend upon how fast and difficult you would want it. You'll still get there no matter which choice you take. Or you could choose to just take off and not use my directions.

    And although there's no wrong choice, I would say that the only ones who would tell you that walking is good are other walkers.

    That's all. I actually cannot believe how detracting a thread has gotten on a forum dedicated to helping young (in skill) artists and with a method (not a psychology) book. I have turned many of people on to that book, and all have benefited in some way from it.

    I am wondering how many of the detractors have already developed their skill to some degree. The only reason I could see for being so negative about this ART book is embrassment at spending quite a lot of time and/or money that was unneeded.

    And on a positive note, if you are one of those people and reading this, then I do envy you. Simply because it means that you were able to enjoy the experience of making art a lot earlier than I was.

    Take care, all,

    - A

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