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  1. #1
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    Question Learning to draw with my off-hand

    I was at a party the other night and somehow managed to break my left thumb. Seeing as I draw left-handedly, it really sucks not to be able to draw for three weeks.
    So now I have an ambitious plan; I shall learn to draw with my right hand! The reason I call it ambitious is that just can't draw or write for shit with that hand. Looks like a five-year-old did it.
    So what I'm basically asking for is suggestions for how I should go about all this. I guess I should perhaps start by gaining basic control by drawing circles and stuff?
    Anyone got any interesting stories about people who have learned to draw with their off-hand?

    All help is appreciated.


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  3. #2
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    Old adagio:
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  4. #3
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    I find that I can draw with my off hand - it actually tends to be looser, as I'm not expecting greatness from the other paw. Fine details don't work, but I draw bigger, looser, faster - and like some of it better!

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    A few years ago I spent a half hour everyday writing with my left hand for a year. After all that time I could write legibly but it was still awkward and never really felt natural, I tried drawing too but couldn't control at all. I think it takes quite awhile for the muscles needed for that precise control to develop. But then again I've read online that others had totally switched their writing hands and became ambidextrous in even less time. So I guess it depends. But yeah, I would do circles and shapes and basically it was just exercise for my finger muscles. Good luck, I have a feeling your hand will heal before you are able to draw as well as your dominant hand.

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    Using your opposite is like trying to learn things all over again.
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    Hey its fun, and there are professionals whom have used their off hands to draw due to RTS and other injuries.

    I was using my left hand for about 6 weeks to draw too... came out crap, but what the hell, being ambidextrous would be a cool thing.

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    I was thinking the other day whether you would draw the same with both hands after you switched and had used your other hand long enough. Because everyone has their own style and a distinct way they make lines and stuff, I think it's from the way you trained your fingers through the years of practice. Like everybody has different swings in baseball and different strides when walking, everyone has different ways of mark making. So if you use your other hand would it come out different. Like you'd have two distinct styles. Anyone ambidextrous??

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    Concentrate on holding your pencil, resting the hand on the paper, and having the orientation of the paper exactly as you would with your left hand. This requires a lot more awareness than you initially might think.

    Until you get control down, go slow and concentrate. Try to draw subjects that incorporate more organic than geometric lines.

  10. #9
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    Thanks for all your suggestions.

    Did a few test runs a few hours ago. Looked like crap, although I really see how learning to draw has paid off. I still know where to put lines and whatnot, the problem comes when trying to actually control exactly where the pencil is going.

    When I draw with my left hand I hold it almost upside-down. I think this is normal for most lefties, at least those that I've met. However, that just doesn't seem right when using my right hand. Perhaps it's because I do everything 'cept drawing right-handedly?

    Oh well. The experimentation continues. Perhaps I'll post some examples to show how much I suck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iambanana View Post
    ...now I have an ambitious plan; I shall learn to draw with my right hand!

    I've been working on this same plan for 30+ years and still don't have it figured out yet. If you can do it in three weeks then hat's off to ya'.

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  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CosmoChimp View Post
    Using your opposite is like trying to learn things all over again.
    Incorrect.

    What you've learned about drawing is already in your brain.
    It's a matter of mustering the motor skills.

    I know Lukias broke his drawing hand once and learned to draw with his other hand. He said some of his best works were produced with that hand.

    That's gotta suck though, I'm paranoid about breaking my drawing hand/arm.
    Good luck!

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    just be careful, this could happen

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    I almost think there would be an advantage switching to your off-hand when you have a good amount of drawing experience with your main.

    Here's a theory, but I might just be talking out my ass. Wouldn't it be better training your mind with motor functions/hand muscles simotaneously, for DRAWING? Personally I learned to hold the pencil a certain way in my right hand to write. Then when I started drawing, I held it the same way - But I wasn't writing. Thus my drawings often lack fluidity and looseness, much like my handwriting. (perhaps also because I hold the pencil between ring and middle finger lol. Is that a bad habit?)

    Just tried off-hand drawing, and though lines are a little wobbly, everything comes out much looser and more fluid. Almost makes me want to give up on my right hand now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesworthy View Post
    Here's a theory, but I might just be talking out my ass. Wouldn't it be better training your mind with motor functions/hand muscles simotaneously, for DRAWING? Personally I learned to hold the pencil a certain way in my right hand to write. Then when I started drawing, I held it the same way - But I wasn't writing. Thus my drawings often lack fluidity and looseness, much like my handwriting. (perhaps also because I hold the pencil between ring and middle finger lol. Is that a bad habit?)
    How the pencil is held has little relevance to the quality of line work.
    You're most likely not using enough whole arm movement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HunterKiller_ View Post
    How the pencil is held has little relevance to the quality of line work.
    You're most likely not using enough whole arm movement.
    True, but I meant more of how you use you're hand, rather than hold the pencil.

    But actually you just helped me fix something. Just examined how much more my left arm moves when I draw, where as my right hand does most of the movement when it's drawing. Thank ya

  18. #16
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    Don't compare your "off" hand with your other, it confuses the mind.

    Treat your hand like it has it's own individuality and character and stuff that makes it special and useful and you get a hand that can do stuff your other cant. They won't be the same but they can both be great.
    It's the same for a person that loses a hand or even both hands. They accept their new tools, off hand, feet, mouth or whatever and they make the best of them and they develop their own character.

    Don't misread it either. Just because a human is symmetrical does not mean that function is applied that way. Your off hand has also specialized in being a second hand. Where the main arm/hand is specialized with power and control the off hand have specialized in becoming a brace or a stabilizer. Same with the eyes. People say that they have a lazy eye; that is not always true, it's just that the eyes have split jobs. The dominant eye can have sharpness and looks for detail and texture while the other looks for bulk form and rhythm/motion. They still work together to judge distance but they figured out between themselves what they can do more effectively working together in a specific way.
    Last edited by George Abraham; May 7th, 2009 at 05:46 AM.
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  20. #17
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    I broke my right arm twice in a row when I was in grade seven, so I had 6 months when i was a kid when I could only write/draw with my left hand.

    I still suck, mostly from lack of practice, but being forced to not use your main arm for half a year means you have to learn to do it. Also it had the weird effect of leaving my off-hand much stronger than my right one!

    The point is, half an hour a day isn't going to do it, because your brain literally needs to rewire in order to do it properly. Three weeks without your drawing hand will help, but I don't know if it'll be enough time? Also don't know if it'll effect you as much as it did me because you're not as young as I was.

    (To give you guys an idea, my drawing in my left hand sucks nuts, but I write almost as clearly as I do with my right hand - I draw about as well as I did in Grade 8 . )

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    Just a thought, maybe you could try out something like Pollocks Number 18 or something similair now when you have a disabled drawing hand.
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  22. #19
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    I saw something on Ripley's once about some dude who taught himself how to write with all of his limbs (and his teeth) at the same time.

  23. #20
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    I believe it was Alti who posted a video a while back showing how you could basically mirror what your dominant hand does with your opposite. Perhaps you could try something like this, moving your left hand in the motions you would while drawing something, and try and mirror it with your right hand?

  24. #21
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    Im not that bad with my left hand to be honest, I just read this, made a quick cartoon and wrote "I drew this with my left hand" and it was not that much worse than what I do with my right hand. It's looser, but everything else is almost fine, and my left handed handwriting is legible, looks a bit like that of a 8 year old boy but its ok. I'm slower but I think that's a good thing in my case, lol. Might I be ambidextrous??? lol

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    This topic rocks. That sounded so much fun I even had to try it myself. My big brother is left handed and my lil sis is right handed. I was more or less ambidexterous when I was like four. But after I started school my teacher told me that's a bad thing to do, so I haven't used my other hand to drawing or writing since. Even though I can for example play badminton as well with both hands, which means I actually suck with both of them.

    It would be nice to see other's experiments. Here is mine. I did same image with my right hand and then the same thing with my wrong, left hand. I didn't practise, I just drew so I really can't give any tips. What do you think?
    "Not all those who wander
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