I have heard so many people say this statement: “I couldn’t even draw a stick figure if I tried!”, but I believe that all most people would need is a little motivation and instruction, and they could be drawing things that they never believed possible in a very short period of time.
I have been drawing all my life, but started really focusing on it and seeking improvement after I was married in 1998, and my husband told me he had a dream that I would become an artist. At the time, I felt that I couldn’t call myself an “artist” without blushing in embarrassment. I felt my drawings weren’t worth looking at. I just called them “doodles”. Can you relate?
For a long time, I was actually scared to draw faces. I had dozens of faceless drawings lying around, because I would draw anything – or anyone as long as it wasn’t a face. My faces always seemed to turn out so disproportional, not looking anything like the people I was trying to draw…so I got frustrated with myself and figured it was just easier not to even try doing them (even though that was the one thing I really wanted to draw).
Well, one day, I stumbled across this book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
by Betty Edwards. That book completely changed the way I understood everything I had ever done with a pencil. Within the book, she very articulately introduced a very foreign idea (at least, for me). She suggested drawing pictures upside down (as in, turning the reference picture upside down, and drawing it as you see it).
The idea behind this suggestion (crazy as it might sound) is that because your mind automatically labels things it sees (For example: “eyes”, “ears”, “nose”, etc), and it is pretty stubborn about deciding what certain labeled objects are “supposed” to look like (an eye is supposed to look like an almond, right? And noses have two symmetrical sides with two holes for nostrils?)
Unrealized by your brain, you are not supposed to be drawing an “eye”, or an “ear”, or a “nose”. You are supposed to be drawing shapes, lines, and shadows. Drawing the picture upside down forces your brain to look at your picture another way…it makes it harder to recognize the shapes your brain has predetermined looks one way, and causes you to begin only seeing lines, shapes, and shadows and translating them onto paper correctly.
When you turn the picture over, you’ll be amazed at how well you’ve done by using this simple trick.
I tried this method once and amazingly, it produced fabulous results! It helped me realize how to look at pictures, and now that I have practiced enough, I don’t actually have to have them upside down in order to see them anymore – although I do frequently will turn my pictures around while drawing if I become stumped, or if I want to add depth and can’t figure out what’s wrong with a specific part (like a shadow looks wrong).
I would love to dedicate some of my blog posts to teaching YOU to draw! How many of you would be interested in some posts on that?
I will go step by step into how I can start with a rough outline like this:
Bring depth to it, and make it come alive….
(or, barely awake, haha)
Let me know your thoughts. Does this sound like something you would be interested in? If so, do you have any particular questions you would like answers to?