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July 23rd, 2012 #14
whatever way you wanna see it... betty edwards book is rubish and a dead-end. period.
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July 23rd, 2012 #15
We all have our particular hobbyhorses. One of Arenhouse's is the uselessness of Betty Edward's book. I don't particularly agree, I think it can be the perfect first book for some people who need to break through to some basic artistic seeing techniques and learn the importance of observational drawing. The "science" in it is a useful metaphor at best, outdated bullshit at worst, though.
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July 23rd, 2012 #16Registered User
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There is a philosophy of seeing that is important to grapple with as you learn. And that is that every single jot you put down, every single color, every single line direction, every single shape, every single value, every single mass.... is in some relation to all the other jots, colors, directions, shapes, values, masses... etc.
What learning to see consists of, then, is learning to see things in their proper gestalt relations; that is, in their proper graphic relations to other elements. Over time what happens is that this necessary philosophy/understanding backs you away from the minute marks you make, the one line, the one color, the one value, and forces you to consider all things from a much broader perspective... from the compositional level.
So learning to see is really about broadening your perspective, step by step.
The first step is integrating the facts of anatomy and substance, the details, muscles, fur, bark, break patterns, etc, into the larger gestures of the silhouette of the object being drawn without compromising the silhouette shape or the unity of the mass.
In my opinion.
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July 23rd, 2012 #17
Pff, I did the exercises in the Betty Edwards book when I was nine or ten, they helped me get into learning to observe, they didn't cause permanent brain damage and I didn't have to unlearn them in order to move on to other things.
Sure, the book has a lot of pseudo-scientific fluff in it, but the Betty Edwards exercises can be useful to certain people at certain stages of learning to draw. Especially if you're a total beginner, or if you're stuck in a cartoon or anime style. If you find the exercises useful, there's nothing wrong with using them.
Last edited by QueenGwenevere; July 23rd, 2012 at 03:11 PM.
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July 23rd, 2012 #18
I think people who hate Betty Edward just don't get that they are not the target audience. I think the target audience is very very n00b but it exists.
For example, my boyfriend used swear he had not a pinch of artistry in him and he'd never ever be able to draw but he did quite well on the upside down Picasso exercise. Not that he's an artist now, but he believes he could learn if he tried which is a big improvement.
July 23rd, 2012 #19Learn to draw structurally, instead. Your eye may be "seeing" patches of light and dark, but your brain is seeing the solid form in space. Learn to be aware of that form and reconstruct it on paper. Then your drawing will work.
Learning is about the right combination of methods that work for us personally and that takes time and trial and error.
July 23rd, 2012 #20
July 23rd, 2012 #21
The fact is that the Betty Edwards book did help me as a noob with getting past drawing kiddie symbols, and more importantly it got me interested in learning to draw from observation in the first place. So it was a stepping stone to going on and learning more from other sources. That in itself is a good thing.
I'm not saying it's going to be useful for everyone in all situations (not by a long shot,) but if it helps some people get started, what's wrong with that? ANYTHING that helps people get started is a good thing.
July 23rd, 2012 #22
July 23rd, 2012 #23
I'll admit I'm a Betty Edwards hater too. It may help some people but there are many books that will do a better job teaching basics. Fun With A Pencil, Lessons on Drawing, The Jack Hamm books, the Famous Artists Course. Hell, most of the Walter Foster Books are better.
July 23rd, 2012 #24
just saying betty edwards book is a dead-end and therefore useless imo, not like other books adding to a foundation.
wtf has that to do with everything else you learned since then? i was nowhere attacking you just asking what me saying, that something is futile means that you get brain cancer from reading it... c'mon whats your problem?
 its the counter-argument that something didnt hurt, to someone saying its futile (used an analogy there), is ...well... kind of missing the point. thats what i ment, and not your art. you may not agree with me, and i admit some of my critiques are harsh, but i dont think i insulted someones art anywhen, strange you assume it in your case...
Last edited by sone_one; July 23rd, 2012 at 06:05 PM.
July 23rd, 2012 #25
Its because these principles on drawing are mutually exclusive. Not like they overlap or anything.
I wasnt too keen on Edward's book either but it was mostly due to it having too much focus on the psychology of the brain and having to wade through all of it to find some useful info.
But it did open my eyes a lot more into 'seeing' things clearly, supplementing that with 'structural' design and on the whole I've improved my arsenal of observation. It comes down to observation and 'absorbing' information from your subject, and whatever tool you can use for it, the better.
July 23rd, 2012 #26
My misinterpretation, then... I thought this part was referring to my art specifically for some reason. Chalk it up to awkward wording:
And for some beginners, the better books may be too intimidating to use as a first book. I've met plenty of people who literally think they can't learn to draw because they don't have "talent", and are scared off by real art instruction books. Betty Edwards' book is actually an ideal starting book for people like that - it persuades them that hey, maybe they CAN learn to draw, and if they're enthusiastic enough, they'll go on to learn more from other sources.
It's like this: for a total beginner, art is like a huge imposing building, and the beginner is standing outside across the street wishing they could go inside, but they think they can't because they don't have the "talent" to get in. Most art instruction books seem too intimidating to these beginners. But something like Betty Edwards gets them through the door. It doesn't get them much farther, but at least they've stepped through the door. And having taken that step, they're ready to learn.
For that matter, I know some people who first got interested in art through watching Bob Ross, and eventually went on to art school... Are you going to learn good painting skills from Bob Ross? I doubt it. But if somebody got their very first motivation to go pick up a brush by watching Bob Ross, then watching him wasn't a total waste of time, was it?
Same goes for any easy-cheesy beginner material. It wasn't a waste if it got you through the door.