BEGINNERS' Drawing Workshop - Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain


Hi BernieK!

Yes! It’s doesn’t really matter if the viewfinders are exactly like described in the book, as long as it’s something transparant with the horizontal and vertical lines. You’ve done this very well.

What is so cool is that this method conveys depth. It really looks like your hand is “coming out of the picture”, if you know what I mean. Getting a sense of movement in a drawing is one of the most difficult things to do. And here you’ve done it!

One thing that will make it a little easier to work the exercises with this guideline method. Try to place the subject you are drawing a little more in the middle in such a way that the empty space is evenly distributed in all four rectangles. This empty space, also called negative space, is an important part of learning to see with the “artist eye”. I’ll post an example of what I mean later in the morning.


About using guidelines and viewfinders.

The hardest part of learning to draw is estimating the length and angle of lines by eyesight. The guidelines are a trick to help measuring these lines. It’s easier to estimate an angle when you compare it with a straight line. It’s also easier to estimate the length of a line by comparing it with a section of the guidelines.

For that reason (and none other), it’s easier to place the subject you are drawing in such a way that it is evenly distrubuted in all four sections. WHen there’s only a little bit of the subject in one section, it’s a little harder to estimate the length and angle of the lines.

In the first drawing there is a lot of space on the left side.

In the second I’ve cropped the picture and moved the vertical guideline. Now there’s more of the subject in each section. Try placing the guidelines in such a way that it makes the drawing easier.


Great thoughts here, Margie!! Thanks a lot for all your hard work! :thumbsup:

Cheers, :slight_smile:



Hello all!

I’ve been lurking around on these forums for quite a long time, and then found out about the “new drawing on the right side of the brain” book. So i bought it, and started to do the exersizes.

Anyway, i just did the negative spaces chair drawing exercize. I found it a bit hard. But this was mainly caused by an uncomfortable drawing position, (ie. Couldn’t keep my picture plane at the same position when it was in my hand + i didn’t have something steady like an easel to draw on) I might try something smaller, like an eggbeater or so.

      Here are some drawings i made:
   [[img][/img]]( [[img][/img]]( [[img][/img]](
   The first is the contour drawing exercise. (with help of the picture plane etc.)
      The second is my hand directly drawn without help of the picture plane
      The third is the negative spaces chair exercise.

(the colors are a bit Jpg-erized… (i just got my new scanner, and i still need to figure out to scan pencil sketches in the right colors. .(they get kinda blue-ish))



Welcome aboard! I’m going to leave the critiquing to Margie, since she is far better at it than I, but I’d just like to say congrats on your first post! :slight_smile:

Hope that you will enjoy participating in the forum! :slight_smile:




Hello Hioxz!

Good to hear you were inspired by these forums and this thread.  :)

Thanks for posting you work. I especially like the second one. It’s my personal opinion of course, but I think the blueish tint is rather nice.

I understand the difficulty you had with the negative space exercise, it’s almost impossible to hold the viewfinder up in the same position for longer than a minute.
Traditional painters usually stick it to the top of an easel, but anything at eye height will do. Maybe a tip: you can get a little table easel really cheap (5.95 euro) at Blokker household stores.

Cropping the view a little closer around the object also helps, it’s not only easier to draw, it also makes for a better, more coherent composition. The object stands out more and does not get “lost in space” and the shape of the negative space around the chair becomes part of the picture.

I hope you don’t mind I’ve taken the liberty to take your negative space drawing of the chair and cropped it in this way to show what I mean.



Hello Rebecca and Margie,

Thank you for your kind replies,

I will look at the “blokker” or some other shop soon for an easel. It might indeed solve my problems with holding my “stuff”.

About the cropping of the images; i still have some problems getting my basic unit right. (with the chair this was mainly caused by the shaking of my hand) But in general i tend to choose my basic unit too large (ie. i copy it too large from the picture plane) or i copy it way too small. (like with the chair… wich i originaly saw pretty big on the picture plane

I guess i will look at this more at the next chapter(8) since it it about sighting and perspective, and about basic units, But i might have to practise some more to “get it right”

I will try some more, do some more exercises and try to post here when i got some new drawings (btw. i am currently working on the “child seated in a wicker chair” drawing on page 135… I look forward to try the Rubens after that)


Don’t feel bad about that! It takes a great deal of practise to get the basic unit right. Chapter 7 is not an easy one, it introduces two concepts that are difficult to grasp. The first - negative space - requires a mindset a bit like the vase/face exercise. When viewed as an object, it’s a vase. That’s how we normally perceive the world. But if you look at it another way, there are two faces looking at each other. What you’re seeing at that moment is the shape of negative space.

By learning to look at negative space as a shape, it becomes easier to estimate the length of an edge. It’s a diffrent way of looking at something you draw from life of from a reference photo.
It takes a LOT of practise to become aware of negative space. I still have to remind myself to look at/for it and I learned about negative space a long time ago.

Apart from drawing, it’s also a good practise just to look at an object/photo and then try to see the negative space. The reason why it’s easier not to have too much negative space around the object you are drawing, is that an interesting negatibve space that is fairly small and in balance with the positive space, is easier to draw. It’s like putting pieces of a puzzle together.

Hope this made sense. It’s not easy to explain negative space in words.

The other concept chapter 7 goes into is composition. That’s a whole field of study! There’s a lot to be said about composition, which I won’t do now. For the moment the most important part is that if negative and positive space are in balance (about just as much negative space as positive space), the composition is almost always good.

I will try some more, do some more exercises and try to post here when i got some new drawings (btw. i am currently working on the “child seated in a wicker chair” drawing on page 135… I look forward to try the Rubens after that)

I’m looking forward to see your work. :slight_smile:


Hi, everyone!

I’m new to the forums but I’ve been visiting the galleries for a couples of months, and I think this workshop is fantastic! (Beginner’s Lounge is a great idea too!) My girlfriend gave me Betty Edwards’s “Drawing on the Right of the Brain” about a year ago, and it made me see drawing from a totally new point of view.
Anyway, I did some of the exercises contained in the book about six months ago and I was considering posting them here. Do you think it would be better if I posted new ones (starting from scratch) instead of the ones I’ve already got?
This is what I have:
Self-portrait / Portrait of someone from memory / My hand
Picasso’s Stravinsky Upside-down
Pure Contours Drawing

Sorry for the long post, and thanks for giving so much attention to begginers!!


First of all, Margie thanks for your patience and help

I “finished” the copies on page 135 of Winslow Homer and Rubens.

It was quite hard to copy these, and did take me a while. The results are… well, not my best results… :slight_smile: but it will do, and i guess i learned something of drawing these. (it where actually my first copies of a real master’s drawing)

When drawing the "child in the wicker chair " i didn’t pay attention to negative spaces, (i also forgot to tone the background and just started to try to copy) (ow i should mention i copied it upside down) The image isn’t really cropped, but i hope this is ok since i tried to copy the original) I might have discarded this drawing a bit too fast. ( i didn’t like the way the face of the girl looked, and i couldn’t get it right somehow)

The second copy, the rubens copy was also a kinda hard, but it was a more pleasant experience to copy this drawing than the previous. I tried to pay attention to the negative spaces. I feel like i had some moments of “understanding” these negative spaces, resulting in actually drawing the negative spaces, and paying attention to these, rather than the normal shapes and tones.

I had some problems with positioning or copying the small drawings ie. legs, arms+head and arm at the right location. I feel that the negative-spaces-way-of-seeing helped me with this positioning.

Well i might copy some more masterpieces and get to chapter 8. (or i might look for some more information on composition first?)

Again, thanks for your help.

(Btw. I just got a new appartment, and i have to paint the house and move in the next couple of days/week(s) so i might not be able to post or draw much until i am settled.

But i will be back soon! :scream:


Hello DanielNasc, welcome aboard and thanks for the kind words!

Great to hear that Betty Edwards’ book was such an eye opener for you. It was for me too!

Regarding your question which drawings to post: I leave that up to you to decide. It all depends on what you want to get our of the workshop and only you can decide that.

You could keep the format of the book and start from scratch. In this way, you’ll see your progress from now on.
It might also be interesting to post some of these drawings from 6 months ago. I would certainly be interested in seeing them. :slight_smile:

Looking forward to see some of your work and I hope you’ll enjoy the workshop. Betty Edwards’ book is one of those rare books that offer something for everyone.



First of all, some comments on your drawings 
  The child in the chair: Lovely! You have captured the essence of the child snoozing with the little kitten realy well! 
  Rubens copy: Wow! Great work! 

In general: In the Rubens’ copy, the negative spaces are excellent. They are not entirely “correct” in the child in chair drawing, but here comes one of the paradoxes of art: expression wins hands down every time, even if the drawing is technically a little faulty.

If you have the chance, there’s an exhibition of the works of Michelangelo in Haarlem, Teyler Museum. Besides the famous statues everyone knows so well and a really interesting presentation of the Sisteen chapel painting, there are also a lot of studies, where you can see that even a genius like Michelangelo didn’t get it right all the time either.
The exhibition runs until jan 8th 2006.


About doing more master copies: yes, yes, yes! It’s a great way to learn to draw. Rebecca has posted some great drawings to copy in the beginners’ lounge.

  (post 163 by Rebeccca)

No problem of you can’t post in the coming weeks. I’m a great believer of working at whatever pace suits best. Good luck with the house moving!


Thanks for the reply Margie, I’ll try to restart from scracth and then post both old and new drawings. I think I’ll be able to post the scans by this weekend (gotta scan everything at a friend’s), so until then! And keep up the good work everyone!:slight_smile:


Thanks for the comments Margie,

It’s great to hear positive comments on my drawings. (makes me want to draw more instead of the house moving, lol :slight_smile: )

I saw some posters of the exhibition in Haarlem on the trainstations a while ago, i definitely want to visit it. (btw. I thought it was running longer, but since it’s running till the 8th of januari i will have to hurry up visiting the exhibition).

I noticed the drawings rebecca posted in the beginners lounge topic. I might also buy a book with artist’s drawings, since i don’t like copying from the monitor (i could also print out some drawings ofcourse)… But i just like books alot :slight_smile: (Saw a huge book of Da Vinci 's works a while ago in the book shop… (i believe it costed around 150 euro’s though… )

Well, i will be moving some more these days :slight_smile: Thanks for your kind reply


Hi there,

I´ve never seen this thread before! This is just great!
How do you draw? Pen&Paper or Tablet?
Is it too late to join the “beginners group” or can I still begin with my work?



Hello TheHellmaster!

Thanks for the kind words.

To answer your questions:

You can use whatever medium you feel most comfortable with, traditional pencil/paper or tablet. All exercises can be done digitally, except one, which is tracing your hand.

I’ve done all the exercises digitally, because I felt I couldn’t draw as well as I can with traditional media and I must say it has helped a lot.

This is a continously running workshop, so you can still join and start from the beginning.
At the moment we’ve just finished chapter 6 and chapter 7 exercise will be posted sometime tonight, but don’t let that stop you from doing the first exercise. All exercises are posted on the first page of this thread.

Welcome aboard, looking forward to seeing your work. :slight_smile:


Thanks for the fast answer!

I bought the book allready 4 months before, but I never finished it cause I lost my motivation, but with this thread, I think I can do it. :slight_smile:
Is there any difference between the english and the german version?

Wich tablet & app are you using? I got a Volito tablet and photoshop, do you think it´s ok?

I will start with the first excercises tonight and post my work soon.



I really hope so. It’s not very easy to study drawing all by yourself and it’s very easy to loose motivation if you can’t show your work and get positive feedback from fellow artists.
You’re in the right place! Wait until you meet motivator extraordinaire Rebecca. This girl has got me drawing like never before!

  Is there any difference between the english and the german version?

No, I don’t think so. The book was translated in many languages. I’ve got the Dutch and English versions and they are identical.

Wich tablet & app are you using? I got a Volito tablet and photoshop, do you think it´s ok?

Graphire and anything that has a good paint engine. Volito and PS sounds perfect for the job!

I will start with the first excercises tonight and post my work soon.
Great! :thumbsup:



Please note that the Instructions for EXERCISE #5 have been posted at the beginning of this thread, [b]>>here<<:


Thanks to Margie for doing a great job writing these up! :slight_smile:


Ok, I tried my self portrait with my tablet, but I think I will stay @ pen&paper.

Drawing with the tablet feels strange and well… strange :slight_smile:

Anyway, here´s the tablet version from me…