- Product name: The new drawing on the right side of the brain
- My Rating: 9.5 out of 10
- Cheapest place to buy: Amazon.com
- Paperback: 291 pages
- Publisher: Tarcher; 2nd Revised & enlarged edition (August 30, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0874774241
- ISBN-13: 978-0874774245
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
Premise: this book isn’t closely related to oil painting, indeed it’s about drawing. However, I think that knowing how to draw is important in every field of visual art (including oil and acrylic painting). Unless you want to realize abstract artworks, knowing how to draw is very important and a good mastery of this skill can make your artworks more realistic. That explains why I’ve decided to review it.
An overview of
“The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”
The New Drawing on The Right Side of the Brain dispels the myth that the good capacity of drawing that artists posses is a done of the nature. These people can draw well not because they have an innate skill but because they have learned -or discovered- How to see. Yes, to see, not to draw. Indeed, everyone who can hold a pencil and draw an edge and a straight line can make realistic artworks. What distinguishes good designers from everyone who can hold a pencil is the capacity of seeing things as they are.
How can artists see the things as they are?
Artist can see things as they are because they can make hemisphere which is more suitable to draw (the right hemisphere) prevail on the other one. In other words they switch to what is called the “R-mode”(to use the terminology of the book). Indeed, our brain is divided in two sides: the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere. Each hemisphere has its own characteristics and carries out tasks that the other one can’t do.
Some characteristics of the left hemisphere:
- The left hemisphere is the center of the language and of language-related actions.
- It works in an analytical and rational way.
- It keeps track of time.
- We use the left hemisphere when we have to interpret a symbol or to give it a meaning (for example we interpret the signs + and – as addition and subtraction).
Some characteristics of the right hemisphere:
- It uses non-verbal cognition
- It is “synthetic”: it puts things together and it can see the whole things all at once.
- It works irrationally
- It can see spatial relations
- It doesn’t have the condition of time
We tend to use more the left hemisphere because it’s more useful than the other one in the everyday life. However, this hemisphere isn’t adapted to draw. Fore example it tends to process things too rationally: it can’t visualize how to represent something three-dimensional on a sheet (which is two-dimensional). Moreover, It needs only few pieces of information about the subject to be able to represent it (it is a disadvantage because by working this way we leave out a lot of important details).
The right hemisphere isn’t able to identify things. When we draw using the right hemisphere we aren’t able to recognize our subjects: we see them as an ensemble of lines and corners. This way of seeing our subjects simplifies the process of drawing in a simple “copying” these lines and corners.
The information I’ve given above is only a little extract of the capacities of the hemispheres. Through the book both the concept of right and left hemisphere and the drawing on the right side of the brain are treated in a more wide and precise manner.
The main aim of The New Drawing on The Right Side of the Brain is to teach you how to “switch in R-mode” in order to see things as they are and draw them in a more realistic way.
Why you need to read this book
This book is perfect for beginners, but I think everyone could learn something from it. In the previous chapter I’ve exposed the book’s main argument, the capacity of drawing on the right side of the brain. Well, I’m glad to tell you that it isn’t the only thing you can learn by reading it.
Here’s a list of The New Drawing on The Right Side of the Brain contents:
- How to switch to R-mode (don’t worry it’s not dangerous, I bet you have already switched to R-mode without realizing it)
- How to draw almost everything realistically
- How to realize realistic portraits and the relations between the parts of the face
- How to do the chiaroscuro
- A practical approach to perspective drawing (without knowing all the concepts related toperspective such has projection planes, vanishing points and horizon lines)
- The use of colors and their meaning
- How to improve your Handwriting
Moreover, the book contains not only theory but also exercises so the reader is given the possibility to implement what he’s learned.
The book is based on a course curated by the author. On its first pages are presented the self-portraits realized before and after having attended the course. I bet you would say that the first ones were made by a child and the second ones by an expert. The difference between the two was so big to make me skeptical. I have to admit that initially I thought it was the typical stratagem to encourage the people to purchase it (I didn’t buy the book, I found it by accident in the library of my school). I was dead wrong: I obtained great results right away.
The only thing I have to criticize is the “viewfinder” (a tool made by a carton framework and a transparent surface) you have to used to do some exercises: I wasn’t able to keep it still so the drawings on it appeared inaccurate. That drove me crazy.
Here my review ends. I hope it has helped you form your own opinion. If you have any question or if you have already read the book and you wish to express your opinion feel free to leave a comment =)