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  1. #1
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    "drawing on the right side of the brain" question

    Hey,

    I had a friend who recommended this book to me (he isn't a professional artist or anything just a guy who wanted to learn how to draw). I also heard about it from some other people, so I was wondering if anyone knew the facts behind the book. I read a couple negative reviews (I always read the negative ones :p ) and it seems that all that left-brain right-brain is pseudo-science bs. Anyone know anything about this? Some people also recommended "The Natural Way to Draw" for beginning artists. Are these just new-age art books or are they actually useful? If they are then what is a good book for a beginner (I want to help my friend out so I want to recommend a better book for him).
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  3. #2
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    Drawing on the right side of the brain won't teach you anatomy or perspective. It's more basic than that, it's about stoping to draw what you think something should look like and drawing what you see. It's good, but it's quite basic and it's for non-artists, mostly.

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    Not using both hemipheres of the brain will leave you retarded.

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    Good book in my opinion, worth a read.

    If you're awesome don't bother, way below you and there's nothing you can learn from this.

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    Regarding "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," I think the author did go a little overboard with the right brain/left brain stuff, but I still think the book has good information for a beginning or non-artist.

    For example, in one of the exercises you turn a line drawing upside and copy it that way. This forces you to stop thinking, "I am drawing a hand" and start thinking, "I am drawing shapes next to other shapes."

    emily

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    Hey Lap - I've never seen the book, but have been hearing about it for years (if it's the same one, anyway...). At the very least, see if you can pick it up at the library to sort of try it on for size. If it works for you, you can grab it from the book store. If it doesn't, nothing lost except a few minutes of reading time

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  8. #7
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    the nice thing for beginners about the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain book is you learn how to see.

    if you want to do that but without the whole PhD course in pseudo science you should check out;

    Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson

    i think its very good for beginners and focusses way more on the actual seeing and drawing. i.e. it is more practical and will get your boy excited and drawing immediately. it has excersises and lets you critique your own work - which is good because you learn by doing and by analysing.

    i think combining this with perspective/anatomy a little bit later on (with Loomis) is a pretty decent way of learning.

    tensai

  9. #8
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    here ill save u the trouble of picking up this book and tell u the jist of it

    draw what u see, and not what you think u see..

    thats about all you'll learn. The book is a waste of time. It doesnt really teach you all that much.

    www.saveloomis.org is a way better resource for learning how to draw than this book

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    True, it's not the word of god, but is reading any book a complete waste of time? I got some good out of this book, it's not bad. Don't expect to get much out of it unless your a beginner though.

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    i had to use it as a textbook for two different classes, for the whole semester.

    those exercises are the bomb. never thought i'd be able to sketch a pineapple accurately, but.. well, there ya go! fuckin teacher took my shit, tho. wish i'd scanned it.

    i've been thinking about making a thread so everyone can jump in on the fun and see for themselves what it teaches instead of idly ponder its contents.
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  12. #11
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    I have read this book in the past, and can say with absolute and resolute certainty that it is a SHAM.
    Not once during it's something-hundred pages did it mention ANYTHING about cracking open your own skull and using weird assemblies of mirrors to guide yourself as you sketch out fun dreams directly onto the core of your brain.
    A SHAM. A useless, painful and falsely advertised SHAM.

  13. #12
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    It is a good read.. I would'nt say it's going to be the single most staple of your learning of art. But it's a nice little thing to check out on the side.... If you want to learn anatomy or something, I'm say "Geroge Bridgeman's Complete Guide to Drawing From Life."
    * Help a CA artist! Visit the Constructive Critique section! *



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    n00b,
    i fail to recognize the characteristics the book has that qualifies it as a 'SHAM'. It helps many people get over the mental block of translating what they see onto paper. It helps many people get over the intimidation of art. It teaches that art is NOT magic, and it's something people can do if they try. Whether these endeavors yield fruitful, beautiful results showing an admirable aptitude in the visual arts or some crude, unskilled scribbling (like something i'd make, woe is me) is besides the point.

    i respect your opinion but i feel it's exaggerated and undue slander of a very useful book.

    maybe you're just bitter you had to spend your milk money on some book, ey? (i kid, i kid)
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    I think you're lying. Liar.

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by n00b
    I think you're lying. Liar.
    D00d.. you need to stop being such an idiot.
    * Help a CA artist! Visit the Constructive Critique section! *



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    IT will mess with your head for crying out loud!

    GO to Loomis...download this as well http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=51275

  18. #17
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    It is getting old, n00b.
    My work: [link]

  19. #18
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    fine. i was lying. it's a sham. noob.
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  20. #19
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    He 's just an emotional misunderstood guy from halflife2.net
    Anyway everyone thinks that lefties are more suited to art or does the book say otherwise?
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  21. #20
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    You know I have a straaaaaaaaaange feeeling about this noob. You know after this maybe you could buy me a beer

    BTW thx for the suggestions guys I'll let my friend know about some of the other books you guys recommended.
    Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bizarre
    n00b,
    i fail to recognize the characteristics the book has that qualifies it as a 'SHAM'.
    Maybe you should read the rest of his post again. He was just making a joke about the title of the book.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayabusa
    draw what u see, and not what you think u see..

    thats about all you'll learn. The book is a waste of time. It doesnt really teach you all that much.
    Seeing as how drawing what you think things are and not what you really see is the single biggest mistake beginners make, I can't imagine a book that teaches you ways to get around it would be a waste of time.

    I was given the book as a gift a few years ago and didn't find it very useful personally, but I used it while teaching an art class of 10-12 year olds and it was definitely very helpful for them.

    If you already know sort of what you're doing, books by artists like Loomis and Bridgeman are definitely the way to go. However, if you haven't picked up a pencil to draw since you were seven years old, I think there's a lot of use in it.

    That said, the "right brain/left brain" stuff was entirely superfluous. A book that just contained exercises and explained what they were helping you do would have been just as good.
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  24. #23
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    to me the hype about the right-side-of-the-brain-thinking is true.. cause last i checked left handers used more of their right-side, and being a lefty myself i can testify that theres distinct creative (and accordingly, artistic) properties. i mean, its like i have an internal photocopier wherein i can be given a small picture and blow it up many times bigger, often being uncannily accurate. this came naturally. i dont register what it is, i register form and composition. i also suck analytically (which is credited to the left-side of the brain), but score 19's outta 20 for creative year 12 english pieces regularly. i also have no attention span for things that take forever that arent creatively geared. that, or ive got ADD and havent been diagnosed as of yet..

  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tully
    That said, the "right brain/left brain" stuff was entirely superfluous. A book that just contained exercises and explained what they were helping you do would have been just as good.
    exactly. so i will say again:

    Quote Originally Posted by tensai
    if you want to do that but without the whole PhD course in pseudo science you should check out;

    Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson
    always wanted to quote myself..



    tensai

  26. #25
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    good book,
    i make my students read it.

    will it make you an amazing artist, no.
    will it help you to see things more clearly, yes.
    - Dan Dos Santos
    www.dandossantos.com

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    LaPalida, please don't mention Betty Edwards and Nicolaides' Natural Way to Draw in the same breath! Yes, both tend to appeal to a certain kind of "new age" drawing teacher, but the books themselves could hardly be more different. Edwards put together a whole bunch of basically old material and tried to pass it off as original and revolutionary. Nicolaides made a genuinely original and enormously influential contribution, and made it look simple, obvious and natural.

    The Edwards book has been covered well in this thread already. In learning to draw, ONE of the skills we need to develop is to see the two-dimensional shape presented by our subject objectively and accurately. To do this we need to overcome our tendencies to distort foreshortened objects into the shape we "know" them to be, to represent object by "symbols", and to show complex textures in a patternistic way. Edwards' book collects some exercises that can help beginners to take their first steps in mastering this one skill, and overlays them with some bogus science. On all of the more advanced skills, of thinking constructionally and of modelling surface form, she is useless.

    The Nicolaides book describes a varied program of exercises for students in their first year of serious drawing studies. It CAN appeal to the "new age" drawing teacher with little or no anatomical knowledge, I suppose because there are only a few pages of anatomy in the actual book, but this is to ignore the facts that anatomy occupies a reasonable proportion of the included work schedules for the second half of the year, and that Nicolaides specifically recommends the books by George Bridgman as an adjunct to his book.

    Although written to be used as a self-instruction manual, I think that really the guidance of a good teacher is needed to bring out the full value of the Nicolaides book for a beginner. In the hands of a such a teacher, the exercises can provide an excellent introduction to all of the basic technical elements of drawing. Gesture drawing can be harnessed to teach the concepts of proportion, rhythm and balance. Blind contour drawing can teach sensitivity of line and awareness of contours as form-enclosing horizons, not just edges of an image. The modelled drawing can teach the student to shade with a feeling of modelling form rather than just copying light. Exercises such as the potential gesture, descriptive pose, and right-angle study strengthen the student's capacity to draw from the imagination. Some other exercises train visual memory, and others again provide an excellent introduction to composition and design. A few exercises late in the book prompt the student to explore some more subjective elements of drawing. All in all a wonderful book that not just beginners but everyone who draws should at least read, if not work through.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSillustration
    good book,
    i make my students read it.

    will it make you an amazing artist, no.
    will it help you to see things more clearly, yes.
    Outstanding... another educator that sees the merit of this book.

    I agree with most of the other posters here, though... the first part of the book that discusses the author's theories on left/right brain interaction with the artists's ability to draw are not for the faint of heart. It's pretty dry reading, but if you can follow along with it, it's not that
    bad. OK, I guess maybe it is. I mostly gloss over that section, and stick to the lessons themsleves.

    Another good book in my artistic educational arsenal has some great lessons as well. Drawing for Older Children & Teens by Mona Brookes has a breakdown for students and teachers alike. It also teaches you to draw what you like, and to draw for yourself, which is what art is all about, IMHO. The lessons are good, the reading is interesting, and there are lots of comparisons between "real" artists and what beginners crank out that are simply uncanny.

    Hope this helps.

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    I went through the book for one of my community college drawing courses and it was helpful in several repsects. I was better able to see negative shapes, more cognizant of line weights, and had an increased sense of shape and relationships. It was, however, at a time when I had no other real training and getting poked in the eye would have helped. I think you're past the point of this helping without having it as part of a formal course (with Dan, for example), though. Well, it should help in some areas, but I don't think it will be dramatic. As briggsy notes, Nicolaides' book has far greater depth, but when I sat down in Barnes and Noble (all praise the bringers of chairs in bookstores, ommm…), it seemed like it almost required instructional support.

    I’ve been meaning to write my own art book: Drawing and Painting for Very Hot Women. Then I could just hang out in bookstores, seeing who picks it up.

  30. #29
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    Noob's got every right to mock the book. Personally I couldn't read more than a few of the sample pages on amazon.com, before getting annoyed. Briggsy has said everything I could say and more about both books. Niccolaides book is useable even without a teacher but I do wish I had a guide for some stuff. I can't believe all the people who think writing with your left hand means you can more easily think with your left brain. Different parts of the brain control motor skills and imagination, there's a different area that processes visual stimulai... highschool biology. Besides, if neuroscientists don't fully understand the brain why shoud we bother ourselves with it. "Bridgman's Guide to Drawing From Life" was mentioned, but that book is a waste of time(especially for beginners): badly organized, terrible descriptions, unclear drawings. "Figure Drawing" by Richard G. Hatton is more useful.
    Last edited by armando; September 13th, 2005 at 11:58 PM.

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    The only useful thing in Edwards' book is this: draw what you see, not what you think you see - learn to look before you try to draw.

    That's all. The rest is pseudoscience and disconnected exercises.

    I have a detailed discussion of it here.

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