Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain

From Robert Hamill Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

by Betty Edwards

In this book, Ms. Edwards accomplishes two things both of which are worthy of effort. First, she provides numerous exercises of striking originality that are sure to increase one's artistic skill. Second, she makes abundantly clear the differing roles of the brain's hemispheres in processing information. With this second achievement, Ms. Edwards pushes her book far above the typical self-help art book.

Briefly stated, her hypothesis is that most adults use their left hemispheres when they draw (because so much of life is word-driven). The left side is excellent for verbal descriptions, but to sketch from this scheme leads to stereotyped images. The right side of the brain uses geometric imaging, making it the better hemisphere for drawing. For so long, in school and society, we have exalted the verbal (left) that the imaging (of the right) has been muted.

The exercises are aimed at freeing the visual side from the dominance of the left hemisphere in drawing. Ms. Edwards has interspersed before-and-after drawings by her students. The improvements are remarkable.

In summary, I recommend the book highly to any artist or aspiring artist. Also, her elaboration of the differences in the cognitive facilities of the two hemispheres is so cogent that I recommend non-artists to, at least, scan the book as they stand at their local booksellers.

Review 1990