The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

When Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain was first published in 1979, it hit the New York Times bestseller list within two weeks and stayed there for more than a year. In 1989, when Dr. Betty Edwards revised the book, it went straight to the Times list again. Now Dr. Edwards celebrates the twentieth anniversary of her classic book with a second revised edition.Over the...

Title:The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0874774241
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:291 pages

The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Reviews

  • Yoby

    I had an art class that used this book as one of the textbooks. It immeadiately changed the way I viewed things. It was one of the pivotal books of my life (I ought to include that as a tag.)

    When I home-schooled my then suicidal teen daughter and sat her down with this book, she flipped through it for 15 minutes, and started drawing as if she had been taking lessons her whole life. She found a talent she didn't know she had (and several others, but not because of this book.)

    I highly recommend it

    I had an art class that used this book as one of the textbooks. It immeadiately changed the way I viewed things. It was one of the pivotal books of my life (I ought to include that as a tag.)

    When I home-schooled my then suicidal teen daughter and sat her down with this book, she flipped through it for 15 minutes, and started drawing as if she had been taking lessons her whole life. She found a talent she didn't know she had (and several others, but not because of this book.)

    I highly recommend it for anyone who says "I can't even draw a stick figure." This book may change your mind.

  • Parka

    Coincidentally, one week before I bought the book at the bookshop, there was a student asking for 5 copies. This is a very popular title that frequently pops up when people ask for recommendation on books that teach drawing. Reviews on Amazon are overwhelmingly positive, which is not a surprise.

    This book not only teaches you how to think (and not think) when drawing, but also teaches you the techniques to draw. In short, it teaches the approach and the techniques. Drawing on the Right Side of th

    Coincidentally, one week before I bought the book at the bookshop, there was a student asking for 5 copies. This is a very popular title that frequently pops up when people ask for recommendation on books that teach drawing. Reviews on Amazon are overwhelmingly positive, which is not a surprise.

    This book not only teaches you how to think (and not think) when drawing, but also teaches you the techniques to draw. In short, it teaches the approach and the techniques. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain works on the premise that the right side of the brain is more suited for drawing, and teaches you how to engage it for drawing purposes.

    The different chapters are on contour drawings, negative space, sighting, portrait drawings, colors, light and shadow. At the end is an additional chapter on handwriting art. There are easy step-by-step exercises to follow along. Results will be visible but all the exercises must be done. Perfection requires more practice, of course. The techniques can be easily applied to challenging tasks like drawing foreshortening or a realistic portrait.

    One thing I noticed on online art forums is, beginners generally like the book. Those who have been drawing for a while say that left & right brain thing is more marketing and drawing is just about focusing. The thing is, this book provides the basic techniques to get people started. And yes, I did read everything and went through the exercises, which aren't really too hard.

    This book is highly recommended to beginners learning to draw.

  • Trevor

    I’ve just finished reading a

    – essentially a series of book reviews on books the author found interesting and in which he hopes to be able to draw together ideas in those books into a bit of an overarching theory. He wasn’t quite successful, but he did remind me of this book and that has to be a good thing.

    I read this book about ten years ago at a dark time in my life when I had just separated and moved out from the ex-wife. I had never b

    I’ve just finished reading a

    – essentially a series of book reviews on books the author found interesting and in which he hopes to be able to draw together ideas in those books into a bit of an overarching theory. He wasn’t quite successful, but he did remind me of this book and that has to be a good thing.

    I read this book about ten years ago at a dark time in my life when I had just separated and moved out from the ex-wife. I had never been any good at drawing and generally hated books that went on about the right brain / left brain distinction – so I’ve no idea why I picked this up. But I did pick it up and almost immediately became fascinated. You see, it diagnosed my problem with drawing in the first couple of pages and then gave me clear and competent instruction into how to make me a better drawer.

    For years at Primary and High School I had sat in art classes and learnt next to nothing. I wasn’t exactly the naughtiest boy in the class, I would sit and do whatever was asked of me, but all of my ‘art’ was pitifully bad. Like getting a dyslexic to read Shakespeare aloud for the class, there was something cruel in putting a pencil or paint brush into my hand.

    The problem was no one ever told me that you need to draw what you see – that is, literally what you see, not what you think you see. When we are kids we learn to draw ‘symbols’ of things. We draw triangles for noses and spread out heart shapes for mouths. But these symbols are not what people actually have. People have real eyes and real chins, not a collection of symbols. Just learning that, and that alone, was enough to change the way I drew. The point wasn’t to draw mouths and ears, it was to draw lines and shade and shapes.

    The other thing this book really taught me was the idea of flow. That being totally engaged in something is about living outside of time. I’m never going to spend enough time drawing to become a good drawer, but this book taught me that becoming a good drawer isn’t something that is genetically beyond me (something I pretty much assumed must have been the case previously). It taught me that the beauty of drawing is in how lost one becomes while drawing – as one does when writing poetry or extended prose. Time melts away. The point of drawing is to melt time, not really to produce great drawings.

    And this book taught me how to look. It made trips to the art gallery so much more interesting and worthwhile.

    The drawing exercises in this book should be virtually compulsory in schools. As a child who would, when asked to draw, scribble something tiny in the upper corner of the page – someone afraid of the momentum of lines (something I’m still afraid of) this book was like a light being turned on in a very dark room I had spent a lifetime stumbling around in. For years afterwards I would sit in meetings drawing my left hand. Like I said, Art teachers should be using this book as a matter of course. If you can’t draw a face without blushing, please, read this book – it will show you what the kids at school who could draw worked out on their own and why, without being shown, you never really had a chance of learning.

  • Garrett Zecker

    I can't believe that I am going to say this, but there is a chance that after reading this book and doing the exercises that I can draw a little bit. I mean, really. My drawings at this stage without too much more practice resemble the album covers of emo-teens with acoustic guitars, but I am certainly doing much better than Napoleon Dynamite. Big time. I think the approach to art that it presents is really intriguing - that we are primarily hammered into left-brain dominance through the acquisi

    I can't believe that I am going to say this, but there is a chance that after reading this book and doing the exercises that I can draw a little bit. I mean, really. My drawings at this stage without too much more practice resemble the album covers of emo-teens with acoustic guitars, but I am certainly doing much better than Napoleon Dynamite. Big time. I think the approach to art that it presents is really intriguing - that we are primarily hammered into left-brain dominance through the acquisition of language - and it is through a reconnection with defamiliarization and the foreign thought process of our childhood that we can shed this brain drain we have lived with for so long since elementary school. I still have a long way to go with this - I find that symbols are constantly at war with my conceptualization of the world (and strangely I am wondering if that takes away the beauty with which we see it, after all, a rose is a rose is a rise, right?) - but this book is certainly a big step in shedding the messed up approaches to visual thinking that I have acquired. As a writer I am at an even bigger disadvantage, but I am on my way. I have learned a great deal more than any other drawing manual I have encountered so far, and it really helps to understand that it is not me - that anyone could be a good illustrator given the correct parameters and education on the visual arts.

  • Fiya

    This book is a double-edged sword: On one side you have this immediate almost magical improvement in your drawing, on the other hand it's not good for long term improvement.

    My first drawing after reading just a few chapters, blew my mind away. It was a self-portrait and I could not believe that I had drawn it. After all, it takes months of practice not reading of a few chapters from a book to improve drawing, right?

    The downside is that you only learn to copy what you see in front of you. You don

    This book is a double-edged sword: On one side you have this immediate almost magical improvement in your drawing, on the other hand it's not good for long term improvement.

    My first drawing after reading just a few chapters, blew my mind away. It was a self-portrait and I could not believe that I had drawn it. After all, it takes months of practice not reading of a few chapters from a book to improve drawing, right?

    The downside is that you only learn to copy what you see in front of you. You don't learn how to use your drawing medium, nothing much about shadows, no anatomy, no perspective. The focus of the book is on portraits (Which the author rightly says is the hardest thing for artists and the most impressive).

    But once you're done with this book you must pickup some serious drawing book to improve, otherwise you will be stuck drawing nascent drawings (which you will enjoy neverthless :) )

    I will definitely recommend this for those are just starting with their drawing. This book is helluva motivator! You'll see results quickly, but once done, move on!

  • Sarah

    هذا كتاب باللغة الانجليزية رااائع جدا ،،

    يحاول أن يجعل المرء يتصل بالجانب الأيمن من دماغه ،وهو الجانب المعني بالفن والإبداع ،،

    رحلة عبر العقل ومحاولة لتعلم طربقة التفكير في الفن ،،

    فيه تمرينات ممتازة لبعض الرسومات والتقنيات الأساسية في الرسم مفيدة جدا خاصة للمبتدئين ،،

    أنصح به لكل مهتم ،، وهناك نسخ الكترونية على الشبكة ،،

  • Robin

    I've had several abortive attempts to learn to draw and paint over the last ten years. Part of the problem is that I become frustrated at how difficult it is to draw accurately and in proportion, and invariably put away my pencils and sketchbooks after a series of failures. And then, a year or two later, I try again, with a new how-to-draw book and vigor, only to repeat the process.

    Recently I unearthed my box of accumulated art supplies and drawing books, and noticed the orange spine of Betty Ed

    I've had several abortive attempts to learn to draw and paint over the last ten years. Part of the problem is that I become frustrated at how difficult it is to draw accurately and in proportion, and invariably put away my pencils and sketchbooks after a series of failures. And then, a year or two later, I try again, with a new how-to-draw book and vigor, only to repeat the process.

    Recently I unearthed my box of accumulated art supplies and drawing books, and noticed the orange spine of Betty Edwards

    . This is the most often recommended title for beginners. I recalled reading a bit of it years ago, and setting it aside because the exercises seemed rather complicated and required the use of tools.

    So, I decided to give it another try. I read it carefully from cover to cover before doing any drawing. Then, I ordered the recommended tools (these can be made inexpensively but I opted to just buy them from the author's website) and have been practicing these exercises ever since. Though much of information Edwards presents in her book isn't unique, the way she teaches it helped facilitate understanding for me in ways I never had before. My entire approach to drawing has changed dramatically and I finally feel like it is something I can eventually master.

    Edwards believes that drawing accurately is something can be taught, much like driving or learning a new language. Though some people will learn more quickly than others, most people can obtain a basic level of profiency through learning and practice. I don't know why I never thought about it like that before! Artistic talent is often though of as innate, but in reality it is a set of skills. Edwards contends that the only "talent" necessary for drawing is the ability to write legibly; if you can do that, you can learn to draw.

    Much of the beginning of the book sets forth Edwards' theory on neurology and how it affects the way we conceptualize drawing. Though most of this was written decades ago (the book has gone through several editions) and Edwards' theories about brain sided-ness have been disproven, a lot of her framework rings true. By necessity of language, people think symbolically - words represent objects. But, artists think visually and this is what she teaches - how to think and see like an artist.

    For example, if I were attempting to draw a lamp, Edward would suggest that I stop thinking of it as a lamp. It is a series of basic shapes that are connected to each other in various proportions. So, I would try to see the lamp as a partly a square connected to a cylinder, an oval, etc.

    By seeing objects as a sum of shapes, a beginning artist can resist the temptation to draw her own concept of what that object should look like. Edwards believes that this tendency to revert to symbolic thinking is what hampers beginning artist. She illustrates this concept brilliantly in a fascinating early chapter about children's drawings, showing how almost universally, children adopt symbols representative of what they wish to draw. Heads are circles, smiles are elongated "U"s. Once this pattern gets set cognitively, it's difficult to draw a head that isn't a circle. And heads are not circles!

    Edwards takes the reader through a series of exercises to show how much we tend to draw symbolically. In one exercise, a line drawing of a seated man is flipped upside down and we are instructed to draw it. It forces us to draw visually, as our brain doesn't process upside-down drawings as symbols. I remember drawing the circles of the man's glasses, not even realizing what they were! Most people will draw the upside-down image

    than the right-side up image.

    Each subsequent chapter introduces various accuracy skills: sighting, scaling, etc. She employs time honored tools such as picture planes to assist the beginner in seeing their subjects visually. Later chapters address drawing faces and using color.

    But I am really happy that I re-read this book and dived into its challenges. Thanks to Betty Edwards for teaching so many people that they can learn to draw.

    Postscript: As a person with a debilitating disabling illness, drawing is a bit of a challenge. I've found ways to work around some of the things that prevented me from trying (again). First, I made a place for my drawing materials where they could be easily accessible, and easily stored away: a nightstand drawer. I draw in a reclined position, with my sketchbook propped up on my knees, so I am comfortable. Some of the exercises require an hour or more of work; these I break up into smaller sessions, and I amend some of the suggested subjects if they are not suitable to my arrangement.

  • Maiken

    1) This book is based on a completely outdated view on neuroscience, the left brain-right brain terminology is nonsensical, 2) This is not a book for people interested in learning how to draw in a classical sense, I recommend lessons in classical drawing by Juliette Aristides for instance, she knows the craft, and knows what she's talking about, 3) The exercises do not teach you how to draw, instead they are meant to teach you how to tap into a creative flow whatever that may be (if Betty Edward

    1) This book is based on a completely outdated view on neuroscience, the left brain-right brain terminology is nonsensical, 2) This is not a book for people interested in learning how to draw in a classical sense, I recommend lessons in classical drawing by Juliette Aristides for instance, she knows the craft, and knows what she's talking about, 3) The exercises do not teach you how to draw, instead they are meant to teach you how to tap into a creative flow whatever that may be (if Betty Edwards had the answer to that she would be a world famous zillionaire by now), 4) I fail to understand how this book has become so immensely popular, I think it really sucks and does not teach you how to draw...


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