Drawing lessons? What drawing lessons…

OK. I have not been keeping up with any of my planned lessons for drawing, history, or anything else. Instead, I’ve been making a LOT OF ART. Which…I cannot regret.

I’m currently holding myself to three daily challenges. (THREE??) I’m doing Feathruary — bird art every day. I’m doing Making Art Every Day — drawing in procreate based on prompts. And, I decided to do a 100 Day project — 100 Days of Rainbow Joy.

It’s a lot. Oh, plus I’m taking Wanderlust 2021, which involves a weekly lesson and I am bound and determined to keep up with it this year (after I did about 3 lessons last year and then never got back to it….)

And I work full time, although, last week, we only had 3 days of school, thank you snow storm. Actually, no thank you, it is C.O.L.D. now in Iowa. We’re talking the temperature on the thermometer is negative 17, not just the windchill.

That’s a lot of words to say: I haven’t done any more work in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain since the post I wrote two weeks ago.

But again: I’m not sorry, because I have been drawing. A LOT. I have made a TON of art in Procreate and some of that has been drawing animals. Starting with tracing them, but then moving to drawing them on my own.

I also made my first (but not my last) repeat pattern and I LOVED IT. I have already planned (in my head) an entire collection of fabric that goes with it. Now…to execute those plans…

I am supposed to be writing about my history studies again next Monday, so hopefully by then I will have done some more work on that. I have also looked at my stack of books I have been planning to read and think I’d better at least open one of them soon.

Overcoming My Drawing Resistance

I drew this upside down on the page — following a line drawing I had created on my iPad by tracing a photo of myself.

We made up a posting schedule last week and I promptly ignored it as soon as I shared it with Shae. She has gotten us back on track with her art history post yesterday, and now it’s my turn to talk about my basic art skills progress today.

Drawing

When your brain has determined that you cannot do something, it’s hard to convince it to even try. And the lengths to which I go to avoid my drawing lessons are pretty impressive. I rarely clean, but suddenly, I need to clean my desk completely before I can properly get to work. And maybe I need to vacuum out the cracks in the hardwood floor.

And some of my resistance is in direct opposition to evidence to the contrary — I’m really proud of the picture above. So why do I continue to tell myself I can’t draw??

I am also good at making up excuses, such as my trouble with depth perception. I can’t always judge distances very accurately in real life. (Which is probably why I have bruises on my shins and trip over dust). Several of the drawings you see below were done with the original and my copy upside down. The exercise is all about the linework rather than knowing what you are drawing. Even though they look “fine” — I can totally see where I went off the rails with the lengths of my lines, which is clearly related to my depth perception issues, so therefore I should just abandon any hope of accurately drawing things…….

HOWEVER: here I am, pushing back against that resistance, reporting on my drawing homework from the last few weeks and recommitting to both the process and to making progress.

The top left picture is a pure blind contour picture — I was looking at the lines of my left hand, drawing blind with my right hand with a rainbow pencil. Because regular pencils are boring. The other three pictures are the ones I copied from images in the book, but upside down. The bottom three pictures are my pre-instruction drawings — a drawing of myself, looking in a mirror, my hand (trust me, my pinky finger is NOT broken), and a corner of my home.

Digital Art

On a related note, I have completed a piece of art in Procreate every day this month (so far). I am learning so much about Procreate itself, as well as about drawing (see, I recognize the absurdity of my brain saying I can’t draw, but yet, I have spent tons of time DRAWING……….SIGH).

I’m following along with a challenge called Making Art Every Day by Lisa Bardot. She provides prompts and tutorials and all kinds of inspiration every day. The first month has all been food related. I’ve been trying different styles and it’s hard to pick favorites!

You can see all of my digital artwork on Instagram: Suzanne’s Digital Art.

Learning to Draw (again)

I came to art a bit late in my undergraduate career. After three years in the astrophysics department, I changed my major to art (a story for another day perhaps). Miraculously I had credits to fill most of my art degree requirements, so I escaped a lot of fundamental training tortures like drawing and color theory. Besides, I was a sculpture major, I didn’t care about drawing. In fact, I was quite resentful of people (teachers) telling me I had to keep a sketchbook and draw my sculptures. It seemed like an unnecessary step; I could easily translate what was in my head directly into three dimensions. Why would I take on the laborious task of drawing it first?

I did end up taking one intro level drawing class taught by a grad student named Keith Love. He said one thing that has stuck with me through the years: your brain interferes with the communication between your eyes and your hand. In other words, your brain tries to draw what it thinks it sees, and not what it actually sees. And he was right. It turns out that, specifically, the left side of your brain interferes with your ability to draw and it really has no idea how to do the job.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Suzanne and I are both starting our MFA program with drawing since it seems to be the thing we’re both the most resistant to. Serendipitously, I was recently gifted Betty Edward’s book/workbook, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. As it turns out, Suzanne had a languishing edition of the book as well. I’ve been so captivated by the content on hand/hemisphere dominance, cultural right hand prejudice, neuroscience and brain plasticity that I have been following some rabbit trails on that and not getting much drawing done. Ahem.

Right or Left Handed?

I have always been suspicious that I am actually left handed and was switched as a child in school. I am just old enough for that to have still been a practice in elementary school, and I do have some telling clues, like being able to draw fairly well with my left hand (almost better in some cases). It is also quite possible that I am what is referred to as cross-dominant. I have preferred tasks for each hand and have a fair amount of ambidextrous abilities. I am left eye dominate too! Multiple right brain/left brain tests I’ve done come out with equal dominance between them, furthering my cross dominance theory. Apparently this is more common in women, and can also lead to left-right confusion, as in, turn left- no- turn right (my husband will attest to this, and in fact he did).

If you want to take a fun test that determines brain hemisphere dominance go here: https://www.mentalup.co/blog/right-brain-left-brain-test. Before you get excited though, I must warn you that this apparently has no bearing on learning how to draw. We are all equally teachable!

I’ve done my pre-instruction drawings which I am assured will be helpful in gauging progress. I won’t lie, it was not a comfortable thing to do.

I am finally moving on to starting the training exercises, and for once I think I am actually excited to learn how to draw.