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Ilikesoup
07-12-2005, 06:35 PM
While posting on Conceptart.org the other day, I found this book review (http://chiseledrocks.com/articles/snakeoil/section0.htm) of Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I wondered if anybody would find it as much of a relevation as I did.

I first read DOtRSOtB at about age 10 --it was presented as a text book in art class. The idea that the left and right halves of the brain process information differently was easy enough to accept. In fact, I still think that way -- some days I'll opt to balance my check book rather than sketching because I'm "in a Left Brain mood". So why is this book review significant? I'm now convinced that Betty Edwards has been holding me back.

Oh, sure, she was great in the beginning, helping me to see that there's more to drawing a nose than making an "L" shape. I learned early how to copy from an existing image. For awhile that's all that drawing was. Whenever I tried to draw without reference my own creations were either simple or full of mistakes. Anatomy? Composition? Shading? Perspective? Proportion? What are those?

Anyway, I'm 35 and the blinders are now off -- I feel like I've been following a flawed belief system and wasted a lot of time in the process. Now that I know better I'll be going back and practicing the "fundamentals" for awhile.

LoTekK
07-12-2005, 06:55 PM
If the book was the only resource you looked to, then yes, I'd say hurtful. The book, to me, was not so much a "teach yourself fundamentals in a week," as it was a jumpstart towards my journey. I, too, was introduced to this book as a textbook in a visual communications class, and I went from someone who was certain he'd never be able to draw, to someone who was suddenly incredibly interested in creating art.

The theories within seemed sound, and I enjoyed the theoretical aspects of the teaching, but it was the way it helped me to change my mindset about drawing that I found most useful of all. After getting my feet wet with the book, I dove straight into other, more comprehensive resources, like artist anatomy books, color theory books, etc.

Again, the important thing is that the book should serve more as a jumpoff point than a comprehensive resource. I, for one, still recommend the book to people interested in getting into art.

Jean Genie
07-12-2005, 09:10 PM
Again, the important thing is that the book should serve more as a jumpoff point than a comprehensive resource. I, for one, still recommend the book to people interested in getting into art.

I couln't agree more. Betty Edwards states in her book that she doesn't go into proportions, etc. because there are already many good books on the subject.

The review is just silly to me, a reaction to overpopularity. Never in the book does she say that we shouln't use the left side of the brain while drawing. She uses that approach at first to make sure people get a feel of what it is. Then it's all about shifting from left to right easily and in a balanced way.

As to whether her theory is true or not, it's highly personnal. I know it arose my awareness and my ablility to observe in a very strong fashion. It makes sense to me. But it's not gonna stop me from looking for other references.

Marc-OlivierBouchard
07-12-2005, 11:56 PM
While posting on Conceptart.org the other day, I found this book review (http://chiseledrocks.com/articles/snakeoil/section0.htm)of Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I wondered if anybody would find it as much of a relevation as I did.

I first read DOtRSOtB at about age 10 --it was presented as a text book in art class. The idea that the left and right halves of the brain process information differently was easy enough to accept. In fact, I still think that way -- some days I'll opt to balance my check book rather than sketching because I'm "in a Left Brain mood". So why is this book review significant? I'm now convinced that Betty Edwards has been holding me back.

Oh, sure, she was great in the beginning, helping me to see that there's more to drawing a nose than making an "L" shape. I learned early how to copy from an existing image. For awhile that's all that drawing was. Whenever I tried to draw without reference my own creations were either simple or full of mistakes. Anatomy? Composition? Shading? Perspective? Proportion? What are those?

Anyway, I'm 35 and the blinders are now off -- I feel like I've been following a flawed belief system and wasted a lot of time in the process. Now that I know better I'll be going back and practicing the "fundamentals" for awhile.

To me the issue seems to be that you put all your eggs in the same basket for too long, believed one idea and joined an ideology.
Maybe you were introduced to it too early and took it for like you say a belief system.
I think this book was never a method opposing the existing ones but a serie of exercises to help you understand the process at work in your head.
Or it's how it helped me so far anyway.

LoTekK
07-13-2005, 12:02 AM
Crikey, I didn't even notice the link to the review the first time I read the opening post. That review sounds pretty silly, in all honesty, and sounds like the writings of someone who set out to find fault in the book from the outset. :shrug:

PatternRecognition
07-13-2005, 12:25 AM
Concentrating on one opinion for so long is sure to be hurtful :)

Personally I've never even opened that book, but that is because I don't believe in the right side, left side stuff when it comes to art. Artists are both very logical and illogical people, you can't lock them up in half the brain, now can you?

For me it's more important to be able to create realistic drawings out of your head or with minimum reference than just be able to copy something. But then again that's the concept artist *coughwannabecough* in me talking :)

MikeRhone
07-13-2005, 12:41 AM
I couln't agree more. Betty Edwards states in her book that she doesn't go into proportions, etc. because there are already many good books on the subject.

The review is just silly to me, a reaction to overpopularity. Never in the book does she say that we shouln't use the left side of the brain while drawing. She uses that approach at first to make sure people get a feel of what it is. Then it's all about shifting from left to right easily and in a balanced way.

As to whether her theory is true or not, it's highly personnal. I know it arose my awareness and my ablility to observe in a very strong fashion. It makes sense to me. But it's not gonna stop me from looking for other references.

Very well put. Its a good book to get your head focused on observing. I would guess that the same type of lessons would benefit animtors who are stuggling with timing just as much, as for the whole "L mode" "R Mode" thing, I didnt pay much mind to the psychology. I also have not finished the book, but as flat out training, I'de give it a total thumbs up. As Jean alluded to though, its is a bit more popular than it likely should be

m

Jean Genie
07-13-2005, 02:03 AM
Personally I've never even opened that book, but that is because I don't believe in the right side, left side stuff when it comes to art. Artists are both very logical and illogical people, you can't lock them up in half the brain, now can you?

Let's not be taken away... Yes, we are both logical (left-brained) and illogical (that kind of timelessness, intuitive creativity; right-brained). That's what the book takes as a premise.

It emphasizes on the right side because that aspect of learning has been tremendously neglected and put down by the logic orientation of modern education. She only tries to bring back a certain balance.

erilaz
07-13-2005, 02:09 AM
That book was great and I found it very useful, but it's no substitute for a decent life-drawing class.

mangolass
07-13-2005, 02:52 AM
Personally I've never even opened that book, but that is because I don't believe in the right side, left side stuff when it comes to art. Artists are both very logical and illogical people, you can't lock them up in half the brain, now can you?

Really you don't need to get too pre-occupied with that analogy - the book is about learning to let go of certain prejudices that hurt your art, that make beginner's art look more childish and iconic, and learning how to bring more into your work by observing what's aroudn you with more of an open mind.

For me it's more important to be able to create realistic drawings out of your head or with minimum reference than just be able to copy something. But then again that's the concept artist *coughwannabecough* in me talking

To make "realistic" (drawn from what's real) pictures, you're always copying something - if you are representing what something looks like from memory, then learning to observe the details taht make something realistic is even more important. Even if you are showing people a painting of something they've never seen before, you still need to draw from life - artists learned that in the Renessance. If you want to make a painting of Heaven look convincing, you study what clouds look like, what an angel's flesh looks like, what cloth looks like, how the angel's hair should appear when its back-lit, and if you can make all of those things convincing, you can make the viewer believe that it is a painting of Heaven.

LT

endseason
07-14-2005, 09:01 AM
i think this is one of the most important book in my progress, but is not the only one, and as always u must give the right balance to it, studied this book gave me a new way to look around me, and take new inspiration.

u just learn some concepts and ways to approach, and they become very natural to u , and is easy to add this kind of approach to ur others techniques....

alone the book will not make the difference, but is a very important brick for a solid formation.

btw this is just my experience with this book, is like 3 years i took it back sometimes and go on making some of the works new and old...it help me to get new ideas and relax:)

BillB
07-14-2005, 09:28 AM
If you want to make a painting of Heaven look convincing, you study what ... an angel's flesh looks likeLT
Ok, spill - where do I go to do that, barring the obvious?
;)

MCronin
07-14-2005, 10:24 AM
Concentrating on one opinion for so long is sure to be hurtful :)

Personally I've never even opened that book, but that is because I don't believe in the right side, left side stuff when it comes to art. Artists are both very logical and illogical people, you can't lock them up in half the brain, now can you?

You should probably read the book. There's pretty much a moutain of research out there proving fairly convicingly that the hemispheres of the brain are independently modal, and people tend to favor their left hemisphere due to lack of development of the right hemisphere through adolescence. The book's title is actually a bit misleading, it'd be more appropriate to call it drawing from both sides of the brain. It's not about logic vs illogic, it's about the visual AND the analytical, and not allowing the analytical dominate. Her methods have without a doubt generated incredible results, so I think she's deffinitely on to something. The current version of the book talks about perspective, drawing from your mind, shading and even a bit about color. It's worth reading.

Anyhow, I don't think it hurtful at all to read the book, even if it's the only book you read, even if you think you know how to draw. All drawing is visualization. Getting mired in studying things like anatomy, composition, etc I think only serves placate your analytical mind. They are subjects with limited depth, if you really thought about it you'd realize that you already grasp these subjects pretty innately because you've seen it so often. If you can step out of your work and look at it objectively you see instantly if your composition doesn't convey what you want, and you have so much experience looking at people you can tell when your anatomy isn't correct or isn't what you are after at the very least. Your time in a lot of cases would probably be better spent just drawing and looking at your work objectively. You also have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone. Sit down and draw something you wouldn't normally draw once in a while.

MrPositive
07-14-2005, 04:43 PM
I have one thing to say......that book changed my life. I probably cannot say that about any other piece of literature. This is the "slap in the face you've been brainwashed by the gov't to learn only left brain principles in school and forgo art' book but it in no way should be the only thing in your reference list for art. She received her Phd for this book and has changed thousands of lives.......I seriously doubt the reviewer of the book can say that. Oh by the way my friend has drawn for Disney and Cartoon Network and he started with this book, as well. As my art instructor in college always used to say "if you cant learn how to draw the body right in front of you correctly, how the hell can you break the rules and draw from your mind". And he could do both amazingly...

Edit: Oh yeah you dont have to go any further than this site www.cameronmiyasaki.com/ (http://www.cameronmiyasaki.com/)
to see that being able to draw what you see (the figure) will not hurt you on your respective job prospects ......... I seriously doubt the reviewer even did the exercises which is the whole point for goodness sakes...

Boone
07-15-2005, 08:25 PM
Betty Edward made a book for beginners and those who have a fear of art. The book has a tried and proven method of instruction - thats why it has sold so many copies.

The guy who wrote that review had got in his head that Betty Edwards was writing the ten commandment or something - she wasn't. She just gave us another take on art that she found to be improving her student's work.

I admit, Betty Edwards's lectures in the book made me yawn from time to time. But the techniques in the book are pretty much valid and give the new-artist a good place to start - after that, we can do what we like in futher development.

In my closing view of the review, I think this guy is bitter that one or two advanced art books are no longer in print and decides to attack a book focused on beginners to work off his frustration.

DaddyMack
07-15-2005, 09:51 PM
Hmmm... Interesting views... I agree with the general consensus that the book is good, but not a bible, and that much further learning is indeed needed... Anyways, I'm currently in the process of going through the book again, this time with my 2 daughters, and they seem to be really benefitting so far from the insights it provides into ones own thought processes... It's going great so far, and my wee mind fails to see any harm in it;)

accesskb
07-18-2005, 03:47 AM
I've purchased a fair amount of drawing books in the past two years. I realize that there isn't a single book out there that teaches everything right on. I'd suggest you to pick up a few books since some books teach proportion well, some for speed drawing while some drawing from memory.

mrtristan
07-18-2005, 08:31 PM
Actually, has anyone read the "Drawing on the Artist Within" (another book by Edwards)? While it's definitely the same writing style (very verbose), and it covers a lot of the same territory as her other book, the whole idea of analog drawing was pretty new to me. (I'd define analog drawing as a visual representation of an emotion or abstract concept.)

I found it to be an interesting concept. I think sitting down and trying to represent many of the emotions you want to employ in your work without doing any actual representation is a great way to start out a new piece.

Has anyone else ever heard of the analog drawing thing?

Boone
07-18-2005, 09:30 PM
Re: Mrtristan.

Hmm - I might check that one out. I found "Right-side" to be useful, so I wouldn't mind another book by Edwards. :D

Kanga
07-23-2005, 11:25 AM
When you draw things from your imagination and are dissapointed it might be because your inner ideas can't be put to paper because the images you have in your mind and experience are not strong enough yet.

The only thing that seems to work without fail is indeed practice. This has absolutely nothing to do with proportions or methods. If like me you prefer a classic approach then life drawwing is the go, if you like 11 toes on your figures or are an abstract freak then life drawing might be a waste of time. Getting out your inner images whatever style they are is a question of holding a pencil often and holding it with your mind.

It's a lifelong wonderfull search:thumbsup:

PatternRecognition
07-23-2005, 02:40 PM
Really you don't need to get too pre-occupied with that analogy - the book is about learning to let go of certain prejudices that hurt your art, that make beginner's art look more childish and iconic, and learning how to bring more into your work by observing what's aroudn you with more of an open mind.



To make "realistic" (drawn from what's real) pictures, you're always copying something - if you are representing what something looks like from memory, then learning to observe the details taht make something realistic is even more important. Even if you are showing people a painting of something they've never seen before, you still need to draw from life - artists learned that in the Renessance. If you want to make a painting of Heaven look convincing, you study what clouds look like, what an angel's flesh looks like, what cloth looks like, how the angel's hair should appear when its back-lit, and if you can make all of those things convincing, you can make the viewer believe that it is a painting of Heaven.


Quoted for agreement. And by realistic I meant plausible, convincing, to be able to look like they fit and that simple laws of gravity/physics apply.



You should probably read the book. There's pretty much a moutain of research out there proving fairly convicingly that the hemispheres of the brain are independently modal, and people tend to favor their left hemisphere due to lack of development of the right hemisphere through adolescence. The book's title is actually a bit misleading, it'd be more appropriate to call it drawing from both sides of the brain. It's not about logic vs illogic, it's about the visual AND the analytical, and not allowing the analytical dominate. Her methods have without a doubt generated incredible results, so I think she's deffinitely on to something. The current version of the book talks about perspective, drawing from your mind, shading and even a bit about color. It's worth reading.

Anyhow, I don't think it hurtful at all to read the book, even if it's the only book you read, even if you think you know how to draw. All drawing is visualization. Getting mired in studying things like anatomy, composition, etc I think only serves placate your analytical mind. They are subjects with limited depth, if you really thought about it you'd realize that you already grasp these subjects pretty innately because you've seen it so often. If you can step out of your work and look at it objectively you see instantly if your composition doesn't convey what you want, and you have so much experience looking at people you can tell when your anatomy isn't correct or isn't what you are after at the very least. Your time in a lot of cases would probably be better spent just drawing and looking at your work objectively. You also have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone. Sit down and draw something you wouldn't normally draw once in a while.

Yeah thanks. What I was trying to say is that you DO have to get out of your comfort zone and explore new territory, not follow a single book. I have quite a bit of literature and I must say that I prefer not to read it, but to go online to places like conceptart.org. You have 1000 professionals with about 500 different approaches. Certainly better than 500 books, eh? :) (saves paper too)

Garma
07-23-2005, 03:06 PM
Personally I've never even opened that book, but that is because I don't believe in the right side, left side stuff when it comes to art. Artists are both very logical and illogical people, you can't lock them up in half the brain, now can you?


can't believe you're actually serious. listen to yourself: "I don't listen to you because it's not true what you're saying". Go read the book, then we'll talk.

:hmm:

for the book, I completely agree with the things said. Also, for it to be completely helpful, and to get the best out of it, one needs to have the opportunity to go out in the city and actually practice the brain switching stuff on actual objects, in order to draw them later without reference. That can be a problem. I love drawing environments, but heck, ever been to Holland? As flat as it can be :D it's not like I go 300 miles south every week to check out a mountain. The same goes for a lot of things: trains, flowers, beautiful girls, cloudy skies, castles, forests, etc.

PatternRecognition
07-23-2005, 03:20 PM
can't believe you're actually serious. listen to yourself: "I don't listen to you because it's not true what you're saying". Go read the book, then we'll talk.

:hmm:



You thought I was serious? *raises eyebrow* Sorry if that came out wrong, man.

Garma
07-23-2005, 04:30 PM
You thought I was serious? *raises eyebrow* Sorry if that came out wrong, man.

that clarifies :D yea I actually thought you were. I'm sorry man.

PatternRecognition
07-23-2005, 04:45 PM
No hard feelings then :)

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