2002-04-24 10:41 ☼ post
Inspired by Evan’s entry on learning to draw I went out and purchased The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards and I’m really enjoying it so far. The key premise of the book is that the capacity to create realistic drawings is built into the right hemisphere of the brain in everyone, but for most people the dominant left hemisphere keeps interfering. Once you learn how to tap into the right brain and ignore the left when drawing, amazing stuff is possible.
One of the first lessons in the book involves drawing a self portrait so that you have something to gauge down the line as your drawing skills improve. What really impressed me about the book (and Mary too when I showed her) were the before and after self portraits for people that have gone through the five day intensive program. The improvement was phenomenal! So I’m pretty excited about what I’ll be able to do after a few weeks of dedicated work.
I’m hoping I’ll be able to convince Mary to try this book after I finish it up because I think it’d be a great addition to the Fine Arts portion of her sixth grade class curriculum. Her classroom is actually decorated with a bunch of self portraits that the kids made a while back and when I first saw them I thought they seemed pretty unskilled for kids that age. Now having read the first several chapters of Betty Edwards’ book it turns out that their skill level is completely normal for their age group. The cool thing to me is that the exercises in the book are totally suited for kids around fifth or sixth grade. I’d love to see Mary work with her kids on this over the course of the year and see the resulting before and after pictures.