Learning to draw

On my ‘about me’ page on this website I list four things I’m interested in, one of which is learning to draw. I’ve not said anything so far in this blog on the subject so I thought perhaps it was time I did. I was keen on drawing at school but not very good at it, and there was never the slightest indication that it was possible to learn to draw. The art teacher certainly never attempted to teach us how to draw, and I wonder now whether she could draw herself. Many years later I cottoned on to the existence of a book about drawing that took a radical approach: Betty Edwards’ ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ . Betty Edwards - Drawing on the Right Side of the BrainThe book was first published in 1979, but has been updated since and I see that the 4th edition has been published recently.

Betty Edwards’ view of drawing is that it is a ‘teachable, learnable skill’, which is excellent news for anyone who may have felt that it was a natural ability that you’re either born with.. or not. The book includes a lot about research on the workings of the brain (hence the title), but more significantly for anyone who wants to learn to draw it contains what is effectively a course in learning to see and to draw. There are plenty of accolades around for this book (have a look at the relevant pages on Amazon for some rave reviews), and I’m happy to confirm that it really is effective. I conscientiously worked my way through the book and by the end of it I could draw pretty much anything more or less accurately. Of course, I can’t draw like Picasso or David Hockney, and learning to draw doesn’t make you an artist (as Betty Edwards points out). However, learning to see is a pretty important skill in the visual arts, so this book could just help to set people on the road to becoming an artist.

I’ll write another post sometime about drawing and what I’ve done since I finished working through the Betty Edwards book.

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