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The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

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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 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 last decade, Dr. Edwards has refined her material through teaching hundreds of workshops and seminars. Truly The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, this edition includes: the very latest developments in brain research new material on using drawing techniques in the corporate world and in education instruction on self-expression through drawing an updated section on using color detailed information on using the five basic skills of drawing for problem solving


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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 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 last decade, Dr. Edwards has refined her material through teaching hundreds of workshops and seminars. Truly The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, this edition includes: the very latest developments in brain research new material on using drawing techniques in the corporate world and in education instruction on self-expression through drawing an updated section on using color detailed information on using the five basic skills of drawing for problem solving

30 review for The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

  1. 4 out of 5

    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!

  2. 5 out of 5

    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 Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. 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 better 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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    I’ve just finished reading a A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future – 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 A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future – 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    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 ،،

  6. 4 out of 5

    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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    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...

  8. 4 out of 5

    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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Teri

    My son and I are currently working through this with the accompanying DVD and workbook. I've never drawn from life before (only from two-dimensional photographs), but already a few lessons in, I've been doing so (see images below, which were done in an 8-day period)! Progress is impressively rapid with this method. I've never had more fun with a book! We're using this as a homeschool art curriculum and will continue to use it through the 2012-2013 school year. I think of this main text as the "te My son and I are currently working through this with the accompanying DVD and workbook. I've never drawn from life before (only from two-dimensional photographs), but already a few lessons in, I've been doing so (see images below, which were done in an 8-day period)! Progress is impressively rapid with this method. I've never had more fun with a book! We're using this as a homeschool art curriculum and will continue to use it through the 2012-2013 school year. I think of this main text as the "teacher text." It has long but interesting explanations about how the right and left hemispheres of the brain function, and how to access the parts needed to draw what you see. This is overkill for younger students (which is why I recommend the accompanying workbook as a "student text" since it gets down to the bare-bones of drawing.) The author divides drawing into 5 basic skills: the perception of edges, the perception of spaces (negative space), the perception of relationships (sighting perspective & proportions), the perception of lights & shadows, and perception of the whole. The DVD will give you a crash course of the book. I highly recommend viewing the entire thing before beginning to draw, as it makes the material in the book so clear and your progress will be rapid. The book will allow you to dig deeper into the concepts briefly presented on the DVD. One of the interesting things about this book is that its principles can be applied to other creative endeavors beyond drawing. I see applications for writers here, too. Here are some of my own drawings so far: Lesson 3 of the DVD: My Hand (perception of edges) Lesson 4 of the DVD: Chair (perception of negative spaces) Lesson 5 of the DVD: "Doorway" (perception of relationships) If you want a hassle-free way to get all the drawing materials you'll need for this book, go to the author's website. We love the Portfolio Workshop Kit. See my related review for the workbook that goes along with this main text here.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Firman Widyasmara

    Masih takut menggambar? Atau tidak percaya dengan term kebisaan menggambar itu sendiri? Jangan khawatir :) Bahasan terpenting dalam buku ini adalah: SEMUA ORANG BISA MENGGAMBAR. Idenya seru, dan dengan teknik yang juga seru. CUma modal satu hal: latihan. :D. Bocorannya tekniknya: instead of latihan menggambar wajah orang dengan modal cermin atau selembar foto dengan cara konvensional, hari ini coba latihan sketsa dengan modal selembar foto wajah siapa saja di tangan anda. Caranya? Ambil kertas, p Masih takut menggambar? Atau tidak percaya dengan term kebisaan menggambar itu sendiri? Jangan khawatir :) Bahasan terpenting dalam buku ini adalah: SEMUA ORANG BISA MENGGAMBAR. Idenya seru, dan dengan teknik yang juga seru. CUma modal satu hal: latihan. :D. Bocorannya tekniknya: instead of latihan menggambar wajah orang dengan modal cermin atau selembar foto dengan cara konvensional, hari ini coba latihan sketsa dengan modal selembar foto wajah siapa saja di tangan anda. Caranya? Ambil kertas, pinsil, dan lembar foto di hadapan. Lalu putar fotonya hingga 180 derajat. Fotonya akan terbalik atas bawah. Mulailah menggambar, dijamin: hasil gambarnya akan lebih mirip dari sebelumnya. :) Rahasianya: otak kita terbiasa dengan rekaman tipikal wajah manusia. Sehingga sadar atau tidak ketika disuruh menggambar yang bekerja bukannya tangan tetapi malah ingatan di kepala akan proporsional wajah. Maka terciptalah pagar itu. Membatasi tangan untuk bekerja secara jujur. Ubah perspektif sederhana, maka tangan kita akan bergerak sejujur jujurnya tanpa diganggu oleh pagar ingatan. :) Dicoba ya! :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bombus-pascuorum

    This book's title and content would lead one to believe that it attempts to ride the "right-brain-left-brain" car that a lot of pop science publications have been driving for a long time, searching for some fundamental division of human faculties linked to the actual division between the hemispheres of a cerebrum. One's beliefs would be justified, as the book follows the left-right-brain story intently. It's not really the crux of the book, however. From my perception of the book, it is easy and s This book's title and content would lead one to believe that it attempts to ride the "right-brain-left-brain" car that a lot of pop science publications have been driving for a long time, searching for some fundamental division of human faculties linked to the actual division between the hemispheres of a cerebrum. One's beliefs would be justified, as the book follows the left-right-brain story intently. It's not really the crux of the book, however. From my perception of the book, it is easy and sometimes necessary to separate the scientific motivations behind Edwards' drawing exercises from their rationales and ultimately their results. One enters the book with an explanation for the average person's inability to draw from observation; that is, that drawing for most people is dominated by the symbolic, analytical, linguistic, mathematical chunk of the brain, the studious Left Hemisphere. Hence, the simple barrier to learning to draw from observation is allowing the creative, objective, and somewhat whimsical Right to handle the observation for us. One can benefit from the insights held in this book without the left-right narrative, but the science behind them might, rightly, goad into drawing those who describe themselves as "not really artsy". To a high degree, that's just the person the book is largely marketed to: a person with little experience and asymptotically little interest in drawing. That being said, whether you're a hobbyist or someone just beginning their tortuous self-criticising art career, pick up this book, give it a good read, and do the exercises if you think they'll help. Do that, and pay no more heed afterward to this book, for it limits you intently in what it advises you do to draw well. After looking through this book I very quickly turned to Burne Hogarth, Andrew Loomis, and Robert Beverly Hale, authors who focus primarily on figure drawing for illustration. Their instructions rely heavily on exactly what Edwards warns against: drawing figures by relating a system of symbols to one's perception. In the years since reading DRSB, I can safely say the authors listed prior have given me far more tools for drawing well. Edwards' book is a good primer if you want to learn to draw accurately; if you want to draw masterfully and effortlessly, however, your only venue is, in the end, practice.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is the book my art teacher used to teach us when I was in my early teens. It's actually got some good ideas in there, with alot of jargon that I didn't understand (and didn't really care to, you don't miss much). Looking back, I appreciate some of the lessons I learned from it. Even if you think you can't draw, give this a chance! Forget that you think all your drawings look like a kid's, and try it, it really was good for me. The main idea seems to be that we draw what we THINK we see, not This is the book my art teacher used to teach us when I was in my early teens. It's actually got some good ideas in there, with alot of jargon that I didn't understand (and didn't really care to, you don't miss much). Looking back, I appreciate some of the lessons I learned from it. Even if you think you can't draw, give this a chance! Forget that you think all your drawings look like a kid's, and try it, it really was good for me. The main idea seems to be that we draw what we THINK we see, not what we actually see, because our brain interprets it on the way from our eye to our hand. It's so true! We did a lot of drawing from photographs turned upside down, to disguise the subject so that our brain didn't interpret it, and I think that was a good way to train your eye to see the real shapes. Of course, you still turn your picture around from time to time to get a good overview and see if things fit which you might have missed before, but overall the upside down method was useful for me when I was learning. That said, I really really HATED the portraits. Faces are a naturally complex subject to draw, and they are hardest to draw in pencil, and much easier with charcoal. I firmly am of the opinion that learning the anatomical rules to a face - learning to draw each of the parts separately, then how the head is proportioned and where the parts actually go on it (not just where we think they go), then combining the two - is a much better approach. Oh, and I really hated the hand drawings... where you draw your hand without looking at the paper. I understand the point was to train your hand and your eye to go at the same pace, but frankly I don't see anything wrong with looking at your paper and felt it was a dumb exercise every time I did it. Which was alot.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Warnock

    An excellent book for anyone interested in art; most of the focus is on perception and is beneficial for all skill levels. It took me a while to read since I followed all of the exercises, to get anything out of this book I recommend doing the exercises (otherwise I'm not sure any of it would make sense) One could make a strong argument against the "R-mode" and "L-mode" naming conventions, however, the very proven pedagogical basis is hard to fault. Call it "accessing your visual cortex" if you d An excellent book for anyone interested in art; most of the focus is on perception and is beneficial for all skill levels. It took me a while to read since I followed all of the exercises, to get anything out of this book I recommend doing the exercises (otherwise I'm not sure any of it would make sense) One could make a strong argument against the "R-mode" and "L-mode" naming conventions, however, the very proven pedagogical basis is hard to fault. Call it "accessing your visual cortex" if you don't like "R-mode", but the end result is the same. But still, there were at times too much emphasis on Right vs Left The handwriting section at the end was thoughtful, although a little forced as it seems bad handwriting is a pet-peeve of the author. Despite that, I found treating handwriting as an art to be as fun and engaging as the other exercises.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Frankly, this book's method has all the hallmarks of pseudoscientific snake oil: breathless testimonials on the back, anecdotes in the first chapter, and its own made-up lingo (it's easy to draw when you're in R-mode!). I picked it up because I'd heard lots of good things about it, because I could stand to be a lot more creative, and because I couldn't draw to save my life. It's true that the author is prone to wax poetic about the drawing process; at one point, for instance, she suggests you dra Frankly, this book's method has all the hallmarks of pseudoscientific snake oil: breathless testimonials on the back, anecdotes in the first chapter, and its own made-up lingo (it's easy to draw when you're in R-mode!). I picked it up because I'd heard lots of good things about it, because I could stand to be a lot more creative, and because I couldn't draw to save my life. It's true that the author is prone to wax poetic about the drawing process; at one point, for instance, she suggests you draw the folds in your palm without looking at your palm, and calls the result a "beautiful record of consciousness". However, It's also true that this book made a huge difference in my ability to draw what I see, especially given how little time I was able to spend working through the examples. I've never taken an art-related class in my life so every method was new to me. Just using a few of her recommendations (drawing negative spaces, for example, and trying to keep from naming what you're drawing) produced a shocking difference in how my drawings turned out. One excellent attribute of this book is that you can do most of the exercises with just a paper and pencil. The author recommends that you buy graphite and a special frame and bond paper and all kinds of other things, and I'm sure they're helpful, but in the end what you're doing here is pencil drawings, which everyone has already done in meetings and classes. This book did not make me an amazing artist, but I cannot imagine a more immediately practical and helpful guide for someone who just wants to be able to draw--like, yesterday. 5 stars. My one beef with this book is that it claims to be a handbook for increasing creativity, but the book is really only about one thing: drawing exactly what you see. That means you can draw from still life, or from someone sitting very still for half an hour. With regards to creativity, the author has several markedly defensive paragraphs in which she points out that there are modes for self-expression within the realistic format (for instance, you can use cross-hatching to create a darker area OR follow the contours of the subject!). I was hoping, however, that this book would show me some methods for drawing realistic but imagined people and scenes, and at this task it was not very helpful.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jose

    Great book for beginners and people that "think" they can not draw. Whether it's the right side or the left side or your knees that do the thinking, its quite irrelevant and I wish the author didn't put so much stake on the dubious inner workings and preliminary science of the mind. What is useful is the series of exercises that allow students to disconnect from the symbolic and verbal way of thinking when taking a realistic approach to drawing. This goes for painting as well in many aspects. I Great book for beginners and people that "think" they can not draw. Whether it's the right side or the left side or your knees that do the thinking, its quite irrelevant and I wish the author didn't put so much stake on the dubious inner workings and preliminary science of the mind. What is useful is the series of exercises that allow students to disconnect from the symbolic and verbal way of thinking when taking a realistic approach to drawing. This goes for painting as well in many aspects. I think the leap in confidence the book allows is remarkable for the immense majority of people that have allowed their logic to interfere with the proper way of seeing and translating what one sees, not merely as things but as shapes. I also liked the author's take on children and preadolescent art. Unlike many psychologists that ascribe convoluted theories to children's drawings, the author looks here for consequences of developing a language of symbols in the formal evolution of art while striving for realism and loosing the natural instinct for composition in the process. This is a great book to start. But once you've mastered the idea and are able to go into the trance, drawing what is in front of you, observing contours and negative shapes and generally looking without thinking , the next phase involves some serious , ahem, left brain activity. A realistic drawing is within reach but now you'll need to move on and make a good drawing. For that, there are plenty of other great books out there that will teach perspective (this book reduces it to a useful but limited extension of the previous techniques of mirroring the sighting), the creation of volume from within the figure, composition, edge and tone manipulation, etc. The power of achieving a qualitative step cannot be understated and therefore I recommend this book and its exercises with no reserves. Just don't get too enamored with which part of the brain is doing the work. I think that sells books but it might not be as useful to you.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    I found an improvement in my drawing after reading this book and doing the exercises. If nothing else, the idea that drawing is not a matter of manual dexterity (according to Edwards if can write decently, you can draw), it is a matter of how you look at objects and interpret it on paper was a boon. It made me stop thinking that I couldn't draw, and I couldn't learn to draw. I mean you must be able to learn to draw; think back to the days when an "accomplished" lady had to be able to speak Itali I found an improvement in my drawing after reading this book and doing the exercises. If nothing else, the idea that drawing is not a matter of manual dexterity (according to Edwards if can write decently, you can draw), it is a matter of how you look at objects and interpret it on paper was a boon. It made me stop thinking that I couldn't draw, and I couldn't learn to draw. I mean you must be able to learn to draw; think back to the days when an "accomplished" lady had to be able to speak Italian and do watercolors! Edwards uses a lot of jargon about the sides of the brain and modes, but basically the book boils down to the following: Instead of actually drawing what we really see, most of us try to draw symbols of what we see. It is really amazing--try it. Really examine objects and try to represent them on paper. I found that when I let my attention wander I would draw a line slanting the wrong way or the wrong length because I unconsciously slipped back into the mode of drawing what I thought the object looked like--not what it really looked like.[return][return]My biggest gripe about Edwards is her before and after portraits. Don't feel discouraged about them. In her seminars she has students use one method of drawing for the before and another method using charcoals for the after. Faces are hard anyway, and the charcoal makes it easier.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Richard Haddad

    I’m still going through this book so I will write up a more complete review in time but I will comment on what I think of it so far. Betty Edwards seems to express herself quite well in the way she teaches and the methods she uses to bring an absolute beginner from nothing to actually having a chance at art. She focuses so much on activating the creative side of the brain, or the right side of the brain. In order to do that, she teaches you how to train your eyes to see properly and then drawing I’m still going through this book so I will write up a more complete review in time but I will comment on what I think of it so far. Betty Edwards seems to express herself quite well in the way she teaches and the methods she uses to bring an absolute beginner from nothing to actually having a chance at art. She focuses so much on activating the creative side of the brain, or the right side of the brain. In order to do that, she teaches you how to train your eyes to see properly and then drawing exactly what you see and not what you think you see. The text in this book is well worth the read so if you are thinking of buying this book, make sure you are willing to sit down and just read and read. It’s truly rich in its content. The book also includes exercises you should do in order to advance from being a simple beginner in art. If you feel like drawing just doesn’t seem to be working out for you and are considering buying a book to help, this is definitely it. I highly recommend it. Check out more reviews at Kredentis Blogs

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tom Luca

    I actually picked this up because of the title, yeah I was deeply focused and involved in the basics of drawing in those days and sometimes still am, so I thought this would be an interesting read? As it turns out I was right and glad I bought it too, it is amazing! Betty wrote it very clear, concise and simple to understand especially for the beginner in mind. I like the fun little exercises inside too. And you know what? They really work! Know keep in mind I was just a beginner then and when I I actually picked this up because of the title, yeah I was deeply focused and involved in the basics of drawing in those days and sometimes still am, so I thought this would be an interesting read? As it turns out I was right and glad I bought it too, it is amazing! Betty wrote it very clear, concise and simple to understand especially for the beginner in mind. I like the fun little exercises inside too. And you know what? They really work! Know keep in mind I was just a beginner then and when I would finish an exercise and find out to my surprise that I had actually had done a good job I was excited as every novice is probably. Sometimes I go to my shelf and pull it for old times sake. I think this book is timeless, it should be read by anyone deciding to begin a life as an Artist. Of course I gave it 5 stars... It's one of the very first books I've read that got me started and on my way.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    The reviewers are right. This is a wonderful book in teaching you how to see, and then how to draw. Essentially, to be able to draw is not about the skill of the hand but the ability of the eye to see. The exercises help you learn to see: 1)edges (contours) 2)negative space 3)perspective and proportion and using a basic unit as measurement 4)light and shadow 5)wholeness I think it is important to do all the exercises as it did give me a little more confidence. These are 5 essential skills, and as we m The reviewers are right. This is a wonderful book in teaching you how to see, and then how to draw. Essentially, to be able to draw is not about the skill of the hand but the ability of the eye to see. The exercises help you learn to see: 1)edges (contours) 2)negative space 3)perspective and proportion and using a basic unit as measurement 4)light and shadow 5)wholeness I think it is important to do all the exercises as it did give me a little more confidence. These are 5 essential skills, and as we move along to learn about colours and the use of other mediums, we still need these 5 skills. The last 2 skills (not taught in the book but mentioned) in art is drawing from memory and from imagination. But these need to be built on the first five. I am very glad to have read this book, as there are many drawing books in the market and from what I see, many are not very useful because they teach techniques but not how to see.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Chind

    As we start our homeschooling journey I am often looking to the future for possible choices for curriculum and resources. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is definitely a resource I plan to keep around. Art is something that has always escaped me. I remember in elementary school there was a teacher who walked around to different classrooms with a cart teaching art, but that is all I remember. I do not remember any of our classes or really learning anything in that situation. I remember doi As we start our homeschooling journey I am often looking to the future for possible choices for curriculum and resources. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is definitely a resource I plan to keep around. Art is something that has always escaped me. I remember in elementary school there was a teacher who walked around to different classrooms with a cart teaching art, but that is all I remember. I do not remember any of our classes or really learning anything in that situation. I remember doing kits from a hobby store and learning different things that way, but the only one that stuck with me was cross stitch and later in my married life quilting. In first grade I won first price for a coloring contest, drawing and coloring, but that was just me having fun. I never learned any real skills. There was one summer, I think it must have still been in my elementary school years, where I took all sorts of classes on pottery and drawing and other things in artistic pursuit. I loved it, but nothing ever went any further. My schools did not have art classes after that, until I entered high school, but those classes were all advanced and for people that had been involved in art their whole lives so it was too late to get started. Now, a decade later I'm shown that it is not too late and that I indeed can learn to draw. That's fascinating! I have an advanced reader copy edition so I cannot promise that the final press print would appear like this. In my edition they are all black and white and some are quite dim and hard to see. But the real treasure in this book is not just in the images and examples but in the text. Reading through this book the student has a great teacher that cares about the skill of learning to draw. Yet there is more in psychology and neuroscience mentioned as well as teaching direction to draw. It is not surprising after reading through Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain that this is "the world's most widely used drawing instruction book". I agree that this book is written for all in the professional, academic and even hobbyist frame of mind. *Thanks to Tarcher/Penguin for providing an ARC for review.* posted: http://creativemadnessmama.com/blog/2...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica at Book Sake

    Regardless if you want to be an artist or not, this book is kind of an interesting read. It delves into the mysteries of the mind. It explores all the roadblocks that the pesky left brain builds to keep us from being the next Leonardo da Vinci. This is actually the book form of a live, instructional course taught by the writer. So there are mental exercises that are used to strengthen the right brain and force the left brain into the background. This is both a positive and negative. It’s positive Regardless if you want to be an artist or not, this book is kind of an interesting read. It delves into the mysteries of the mind. It explores all the roadblocks that the pesky left brain builds to keep us from being the next Leonardo da Vinci. This is actually the book form of a live, instructional course taught by the writer. So there are mental exercises that are used to strengthen the right brain and force the left brain into the background. This is both a positive and negative. It’s positive in the fact that there is some instruction that leads you along a path. Some other art books tend to speak of ‘ideas’ but don’t really tell you how to achieve an idea. The negative is that it becomes slightly tedious to read. Almost like programming a VCR. Do people still do that? How about putting together a kid’s toy? Anyways, once you do the exercise a few times, you’ll have the method memorized. Do they actually help? Yes, I believe so. It tells you why you can’t draw and describes an exercise to get over a particular shortcoming. I think ‘natural’ artists tend to see the world differently and this book, if you put in a lot of time, will help you see the world that way. Is it a quick fix? No, you will have to spend months doing the exercises over and over. If you don’t want to draw, the book is still interesting as it explains a few facts about the human mind. Explaining why people tend to fear drawing once they get older. Why it is so hard to draw in perspective. Also how the two sides of the brain interact and how the left brain is a bully. Reviewed by Chris for Book Sake.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Louisiana Levy

    This is probably the best book you could read to improve your skills at drawing. The key being that this book teaches you how to 'see'. In order to draw with accuracy it is necessary to let go of your preconceived notions about what things 'should' look like and using symbols to represent features rather than observing what is actually there. This book is an amazing tool for learning how to work with your own brain and become really observant and powerful artistically. I have seen it make a huge This is probably the best book you could read to improve your skills at drawing. The key being that this book teaches you how to 'see'. In order to draw with accuracy it is necessary to let go of your preconceived notions about what things 'should' look like and using symbols to represent features rather than observing what is actually there. This book is an amazing tool for learning how to work with your own brain and become really observant and powerful artistically. I have seen it make a huge impact on my art and that of others I know. I also noted when I first read this book that my first art teacher in school used some of the early assignments to teach us to draw.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I finished this forever ago, I don't know why I never wrote a review of it. Anyway it works. It does the trick. You will learn how to do representational drawing using this neat little self hyponsis trick. If you think you cannot do realistic drawing, you are incorrect. Anyone can do it really. But porting this skill onto drawing from memory or modeling shapes which don't actually exist in front of you... that is a completely separate task.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Randy Lacelle

    This book was very helpful to me when I began to really draw. Betty convinces you that you can draw no matter what... maybe part of it is that placebo effect but that never worked for me before :P Anyways she has alot of good information in the book, she also has some exercises I found helpful in forcing your mind to study a image and each part of it in concordance with other parts to attempt to more accurately depict your drawing. In other words it helps your image stay as close in proportions t This book was very helpful to me when I began to really draw. Betty convinces you that you can draw no matter what... maybe part of it is that placebo effect but that never worked for me before :P Anyways she has alot of good information in the book, she also has some exercises I found helpful in forcing your mind to study a image and each part of it in concordance with other parts to attempt to more accurately depict your drawing. In other words it helps your image stay as close in proportions to the original as possible. Unbelievably to me it worked the first time, I mean my drawing was no where near perfect but it was much better in proportion than any previous drawing I had ever done. I was quite surprised. While this information is helpful and the book will certainly make you a better artist there is nothing like practice. Unless you practice alot you will go nowhere so keep that in mind :)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wesley Harney

    I was impressed at first by the book, and I certainly have seen some improvement in my drawing but I think that after I read some critical reviews of the author and how "it is just copying" I became discouraged and became to find fault with the book. I don't disregard it because I have seen myself draw a few things that I never thought I could manage. However, when I'm not doing the specific exercises my drawing is no where near the quality of what the book claimed I should see. I suppose though I was impressed at first by the book, and I certainly have seen some improvement in my drawing but I think that after I read some critical reviews of the author and how "it is just copying" I became discouraged and became to find fault with the book. I don't disregard it because I have seen myself draw a few things that I never thought I could manage. However, when I'm not doing the specific exercises my drawing is no where near the quality of what the book claimed I should see. I suppose though the idea is to take what I have managed to learn and add new skills from other artists. But, I still don't feel that I actually can draw.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura Potts

    I am glad I read the book and would recommend it to anyone like me. I started pencil drawing about three months ago and have never had any drawing instruction previously. After spending about three weeks with this book, practicing for about 2-3 hours a day, I am now at a skill level where I feel comfortable (dare I say proud) to show my drawings to my friends. I am no longer afraid (out of embarrassment) to sign up for classes with the Art Students' League!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ji

    A couple of observations about the book: - I think it can be a good book for beginners, however, it lacks a lot of important information about drawing. - I don't know if the focus of the book was only to silent the L-hemisphere of the brain or to teach us how to draw. I sense it was more to say that L-hemisphere is not artistry and R-hemisphere is. - The last two chapters of the book I sensed was more about the Author's own opinions about the way she can use the tools rather than actual facts. One A couple of observations about the book: - I think it can be a good book for beginners, however, it lacks a lot of important information about drawing. - I don't know if the focus of the book was only to silent the L-hemisphere of the brain or to teach us how to draw. I sense it was more to say that L-hemisphere is not artistry and R-hemisphere is. - The last two chapters of the book I sensed was more about the Author's own opinions about the way she can use the tools rather than actual facts. One can have theories and create a lot of opinions on how to fit them into reality but do that really work? - A lot of self-theories but not real facts. I sense a deep explanation of her beliefs but zero proof for it. When it comes to things like explaining scientific concepts like the brain. Where are the graphics, documents, pictures? I understand there isn't the "perfect" book of art and I learned a few things reading this book. I followed all her drawing instructions but at the end... things like shadow/light are lacking explanation.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This book was recommended to me by an art teacher. Yes, I was fascinated by art, love photography and crafts. But felt I was unable to competently draw. I had given up even trying to draw, even though I had enjoyed art and drawing as a child. I love the realization that everyone, even you and me, has the ability and talent to draw - to be artistic. This book will help you to connect with this side of yourself that is often dormant or hidden. This is a wonderful journey into the brain! Read the boo This book was recommended to me by an art teacher. Yes, I was fascinated by art, love photography and crafts. But felt I was unable to competently draw. I had given up even trying to draw, even though I had enjoyed art and drawing as a child. I love the realization that everyone, even you and me, has the ability and talent to draw - to be artistic. This book will help you to connect with this side of yourself that is often dormant or hidden. This is a wonderful journey into the brain! Read the book, work through the exercises and be patient with yourself while knowing you can do it too! Great learning moments about how you perceive yourself and the world around you. I am grateful for be able to apply these lessons to other parts of my life too. Be amazed at your real potential !

  29. 5 out of 5

    Enikő

    I had been very skeptic about this book's content and the topic of the functions of right and left side brain. I am still for the matter. What I want to say about the book that is completely amazing, how the technics in it are helping to achieve me to be a better drawer and thinker. (I am still reading at the moment.) I am always occupied how we can change our thinking habits and make it more usable. I am not the kind who thinks in the law that we are "made at birth". That isn't the why we aren't I had been very skeptic about this book's content and the topic of the functions of right and left side brain. I am still for the matter. What I want to say about the book that is completely amazing, how the technics in it are helping to achieve me to be a better drawer and thinker. (I am still reading at the moment.) I am always occupied how we can change our thinking habits and make it more usable. I am not the kind who thinks in the law that we are "made at birth". That isn't the why we aren't able to sing, draw, or capable for doing things which are told that is impossible. This book teaches you the how. Betty Edwards is fantastic teacher who teaches you the way that you can learn to understand that drawing can be taught with clever, well-rehearsed tactics.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mie

    Love this book which gave me back the joy of drawing! I joined 3 art classes where our teacher used this book. I stopped drawing when I was 12 because I wasn't good at all. Now 40 years later after the first few classes and a lot of practice everyone including myself are very pleased with what I draw. I is so wonderful and it's giving you peace of mind only focused on one thing: the drawing infront of you.

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