Submitted by: Barbara Rhodes, retired art teacher from Little Rock, Arkansas
Title: Drawing With The Right Side Of The Brain
Unit: Art I
Computer practice paper; Sharpie Fine Point Markers or ink pen; desire to do the exercises CORRECTLY so you do not cheat yourself out of a stronger brain.
(For extra credit select the words you are not familiar with and find their definitions in the dictionary. Write theses meanings down on notebook paper and turn them in) : analytical; zone out; intuitive; nonverbal; serially; left-brained; right-brained; perceptual; L-mode; R-mode; paradoxically
To provide you with exercises to strengthen your right side of your brain so you can draw what you see and not what you think you see. Right-brained people are supposed to be artistic and spontaneous, while left-brainers are literal and analytical; in other words, Captain Kirk and Spock. This ubiquitous bit of pop science wisdom came out of Nobel Prize-winning neurology, and it spawned the bestseller Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. The story of the two brains stands up in the age of the MRI.
"You have two brains: a left and a right. Modern brain scientists now know that your left brain is your verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words… Your right brain is your nonverbal and intuitive brain; it thinks in patterns, or pictures, composed of ‘whole things,’ and does not comprehend reductions, either numbers, letters, or words."
These before and after drawings were collected from Five Day Intensive Drawing Classes. The students came from various professions and backgrounds but all had one common goal - to learn to draw. Only five days had elapsed between "before" and "after!"
Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, has used the terms L-Mode and R-Mode to designate two ways of knowing and seeing - the verbal, analytic mode and the visual, perceptual mode - no matter where they are located in the individual brain. You are probably aware of these different characteristics. L-mode is a step-by-step style of thinking, using words, numbers and other symbols. L-mode strings things out in sequences, like words in a sentence. R-mode on the other hand, uses visual information and processes, not step-by-step, but all at once, like recognizing the face of a friend.
Most activities require both modes, each contributing its special functions, but a few activities require mainly one mode, without interference from the other. Drawing is one of these activities.
Learning to draw, then, turns out not to be "learning to draw." Paradoxically, "learning to draw" means learning to make a mental shift from L-mode to R-mode. That is what a person trained in drawing does, and that is what you can learn.
Since Betty Edwards first published her book in 1979, it has been on the New York Times best seller list with more than 2.5 million copies sold. It has been translated into 13 languages and is the world's most widely used drawing instruction book.
Whether you feel you have little talent and doubt you could ever learn; or you enjoy drawing but have not been able to get beyond a child-like level, these exercises will show you how to gain and master drawing skills. If you are already drawing as a professional artist it will give you a greater confidence in your ability and deepen your artistic perception.
Once learned, drawing can be used to record what you see either in reality or in your mind's eye, in a manner not totally unlike the way we can record our thoughts and ideas in words. Many 20th century abstract painters who appear to draw and paint in a completely random fashion, had to learn to draw realistically before they were able to make the shift into abstract painting. Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Matisse, Mondrian and Jackson Pollock are a few examples of great abstract painters who first learned to draw realistically.
For most students, one of the frequent effects is a new self-perception as a creative and artistic person who can actually draw what they see. You will be learning 6 exercises to help put the left side to sleep and exercise the right side. In all of these exercises you can not talk. Talking turns on the left side and that is what we are trying not to do. You can not even think in words.
The first exercise is BREAKING UP SPACE:
➢ Only draw vertical and horizontal lines
➢ Do not pick up your pencil until time is called
➢ Do not think in terms of words
➢ Draw at a slow to medium pace
➢ If you run out of space just retrace the lines you have already drawn
➢ Do not stop until time is called.
The second exercise is EYE AND HAND CO-ORDINATION:
➢ Your eye and hand need to move in the same direction, at the same time.
➢ Keep your eyes on the object in the teacher’s hand.
➢ Do not look at your paper
➢ Label each exercise with its number and title after each exercise
➢ Do not speak
➢ Do not try to figure out what object you are drawing until the exercise is over
The third exercise is FORGERY:
➢ Do not say the ‘name’ of the letter in your head
➢ Do not speak
➢ Use cursive writing for the signatures
➢ Look and copy the enclosed shapes as well the length and angle of the lines.
Turn all 3 exercises in with your name and period on each page and have all pages in order and stapled together.
The fourth exercise is VASE/FACE DRAWING:
Here is a quick exercise designed to illustrate the mental conflict that can occur between L-mode and R-mode. This is a famous optical illusion drawing, called "Vase/Faces" because it can be seen as either two facing profiles or as a symmetrical vase in the center. Your job, of course, is to complete the second profile, which will inadvertently complete the symmetrical vase in the center.
➢ Redraw the profile already printed. Just take your pencil and go over the lines, naming the parts as you go, like this: “Forehead... nose... upper lip... lower lip... chin and neck."
➢ Go to the other side and start to draw the missing profile that will complete the symmetrical vase
Did you experience some conflict during the drawing?
This Vase/Faces exercise helps each person to experience, in their own minds, the mental "crunch" that can occur in drawing. Let me tell you why this mental conflict happens. First, I asked you to name each feature, thus strongly "plugging in" the verbal system of the brain. Then I asked you to simultaneously complete the second profile and the vase. This can only be done by shifting to the visual, spatial mode of the brain. The difficulty of making that mental shift causes a feeling of conflict and confusion - and perhaps even a momentary mental paralysis. Didn't you feel it? The solution to the conflict, of course, is to draw just what you see without naming the parts.
➢ Do this same exercise again, but this time do NOT label any part of the face
➢ Do not think in any words
➢ Also break the area into smaller sections (keep in mind “You can eat an elephant one bite at a time") as shown by the teacher
➢ Do a vase/witch
➢ Do a vase/monster
The fifth exercise is the UNKNOWN ON THE OVERHEAD: Follow the teacher’s instructions and do not try to guess what it is. Only think in terms of lines and spaces.
The sixth exercise is the THIN MAN: Tracings do not get a grade!!! You only work for one half of a period and shown Mrs. Rhodes at the end of the period what you have done this period so your grade can be recorded. For an ‘A’ it must show an honest effort. Turn the original UPSIDE DOWN and do not think in terms of labels.
The seventh exercise is the HORSE: Tracings do not get a grade!!! You only work for one half of a period. For an ‘A’ it must show an honest effort. Turn the original UPSIDE DOWN and do not think in terms of labels.
The eighth exercise is the KNIGHT: Tracings do not get a grade!!! You only work for one half of a period and shown Mrs. Rhodes at the end of the period what you have done this period so your grade can be recorded. For an ‘A’ it must show an honest effort. Turn the original UPSIDE DOWN and do not think in terms of labels.
The ninth exercise is the SEATED WOMAN: Tracings do not get a grade!!! You only work for one half of a period and shown Mrs. Rhodes at the end of the period what you have done so your grade can be recorded. For an ‘A’ it must show an honest effort. Turn the original UPSIDE DOWN and do not think in terms of labels.
Finally you will select the THIN MAN, KNIGHT or SEATED WOMAN. You will draw it in ink (can use pencil first) as a larger drawing than the original. Turn the original UPSIDE DOWN and do not think in terms of labels.
1st Day- Finish BREAKING UP SPACE, EYE AND HAND CO-ORDINATION and FORGERY
2nd Day - Finish VASE/FACE DRAWING, UNKNOWN ON THE OVERHEAD and THIN MAN
3rd Day - Finish HORSE and KNIGHT
4th Day - Finish SEATED WOMAN and start on FINAL large drawing of either the THIN MAN, the KNIGHT or the SEATED WOMAN
5th Day - Finalize the FINAL by the end of class – Bring all exercises (make sure they are in order or they will not be graded until they are) and final drawing up to the computer with your assessment and watch your grades being recorded. Work on extra credit (see me about browsing the programs we have in the computer)
Total Points (100 points per class period) = 50 for BREAKING UP OF SPACE + 50 for EYE AND HAND CO-ORDINATION + 50 for FORGERY + 50 for VASE/FACE DRAWING + 50 for UNKNOWN ON THE OVERHEAD + 50 for THIN MAN + 50 for FAT MAN + 50 for WOMAN + 50 for WOMAN WITH DETAIL + 150 for FINAL = total of 600 POINTS
EARN EXTRA CREDIT BY TEACHING THESE EXERCISES TO SOMEONE ELSE OR ACTUALLY “EXERCISE" BY DOING THEM OVER AT HOME.
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain - Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is the world's most widely used drawing instruction book. Whether you are drawing as a professional artist, as an artist in training, or as a hobby, this book will give you greater confidence in your ability and deepen your artistic perception, as well as foster a new appreciation of the world around you.
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook - A fully revised and updated edition of the essential companion to Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain--over half of the exercises are new!