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I do a few of these more complex drawing exercises every so often so that I don't lose my eye to hand co-ordination, and build on the "in the zone" feeling you get when dual brain or right side brain activity is happening.  Sort of like a marathon runner after they get their second wind!

As time permits, I'll expand on that with some really cool pencil sketching articles, but in the meantime, lets do a few of these exercises.

These are notes I've taken many years ago from a book entitled "Drawing on the right side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards.

Drawing is a learn-able skill that uses the "right" hemisphere (subordinate) of the brain. As a child, during normal development, the left hemisphere becomes dominant in most people (handles speech, movement, "logical" thoughts, math, etc.) The right hemisphere handles cognitive thinking, day dreaming, drawing, and other non-speech modes of communication. In men, the left side can become very dominant. Where studies have shown that most women retain a more balanced use of neuron activity between the two halves (more whole brain thinking). (There I go again calling myself a half-wit). Yes, my wife is laughing at me. The right hemisphere has been proven to handle certain things, but in order to allow R-mode function, the left hemisphere must relinquish control. This is called a shift from L to R mode thinking. Several complex drawing exercises can be used to help this happen. After training, you will be able to consciously shift from L-mode to R-mode in order to draw or paint or even do other functions that would require more insight, intuition, hunches, or creative problem solving. This is where you can let your creative spirit soar!

Lets get started! Try this simple exercise first. In the picture below, cover one half with hand, (the upper image.)

As you move your hand away, you will notice a face, then the second face, and finally at some point a vase will be apparent.  Your brain feel funny?  It just went into right mode thinking!

A second more complex drawing exercise involves printing the above image, and taking your pencil, imitate or copy the other half of the face/vase drawing on the bottom.  If you're left handed, keep the drawing as shown, if you're right handed, turn the paper around so the half of the vase is on the left.

Begin drawing at the top and attempt to copy exactly the image on the left.  You are attempting to complete the vase and make it identical on both sides.  During your concentration, your brain will go into right side mode. 

Learn to recognize the feeling of being in r-mode, though you won't be able to tell "when" the shift occurs, you will sense a change or a difference in "state of consciousness".  This is when R-mode is in control.


Please don't dismiss this as Weird Science.  I'll explain further on in the lesson.

Another exercise is probable one of the most convincing complex-drawing exercise concerning the right mode theory.  Take a black and white photo of someone you know well.  Turn this photo upside down and begin your drawing in this way.  Draw exactly what you see.  Your drawing will also be upside down.  Your L-mode brain will say, "this is nuts" and relinquish control.  The R-mode will jump in with both feet to accomplish the task.

Don't worry so much about all the shading, just get the major intersecting lines and some main shadows.  This complex drawing exercise is to help convince you that you can do this!

As your drawing progresses, you will become engrossed in the process of copying and will begin to forget about time.  I've found that when I'm really working well, I feel one with the work, the painter, the painting become one.  I feel excited yet calm.  Not happiness, but more like bliss.  Drawing and painting "in the zone" induces a changed state of consciousness that can last for hours, bringing great satisfaction.

I can remember before retiring from industry work, and after putting my kids to bed, I'd go to the studio just to work on a short passage.  I'd then notice my legs beginning to ache, and then realize it is 3AM in the morning, and I had been painting for over 6 hours straight!

How's your drawing coming along.  Have you completed the upside down exercise.  Were you surprised at the results?  I'm amazed at how close a resemblance to the photo the drawing usually is!  It is an exercise that will prove several things to you.  That you can draw and draw well, and being "in the zone" is a nice feeling!

Please write me of your experience and attach a copy of your drawing!  I may use it with your permission on the website as an example.  The really good ones will be those folks that have never done a serious portrait before!


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