For Those Who Can’t Draw
“I can’t draw.” I really hate it when I hear someone say that. I believe that anyone can do anything if they want to work a little and study a little bit. There was a time when I couldn’t draw. My left brain saw drawing as a series of lines, circles, and curves put together in a way that forms whatever object I wanted to create. I had been using pencils all my life to form letters and shapes and my brain just couldn’t get past that. My hands simply couldn’t draw with the information they received from my dominant left brain.
I never really wanted to draw anyway. I just wanted to paint. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to paint without drawing skills. Backward often seems to work best for me though, so I started painting first. Somehow thinking about the smooth strokes and blending, made it easier for me to recreate what I was seeing. I think it’s because my left brain had no idea what to do with paint, so it allowed my right brain to take over for a change.
The fact that I couldn’t draw continued to nag at me, however. I’d never feel like a real artist until I could conquer the pencil. Fortunately, a friend introduced me to the book The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence by Betty Edwards. I highly recommend this book to anyone who “can’t” draw, but would like to be able to.
The book helps you to realize that drawing is more about seeing than it is about putting lines on paper. You realize that it’s possible to draw by looking at the negative space around an object and drawing those shapes and spaces instead of trying to draw the actual object.
As I worked through the book my left brain allowed my right brain to take a look at the pencil and my drawing began to improve. The act of drawing that confounded my left brain made perfect sense to my right brain. Now when I draw, I see negative spaces, shadows, and highlights around and within an object instead of complicated lines. I can use the smooth strokes and blending with my pencil instead of trying to force hard lines to create an image.
Obviously, I can’t explain this concept as well as Betty Edwards does. Before you say “I can’t draw” again, do yourself a favor and purchase the book. It is well worth the money if you wish you could draw.
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