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Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

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  • lindwood@webtv.net
    I ve read Mona Brooks book, but I am a total convert of the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain approach to teaching drawing. For me, DOTRSOTB literally
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2005
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      I've read Mona Brooks' book, but I am a total convert of the Drawing on
      the Right Side of the Brain approach to teaching drawing. For me,
      DOTRSOTB literally flung open the doors and windows of my brain to add
      quantum leaps to my understanding of drawing. My students easily grasp
      the concepts from the book and find that it is very helpful to them as
      well. It is a way to look at anything and translate what you see into
      your drawing hand. I tell my kids to describe what they see, not name
      it so that they don't end up fighting a stereotype instead of really
      seeing their subject. I tell them to imagine that there is a steel bar
      that connects their eye looking at the contour edge of objects to their
      hand drawing that object. Their eye should move slowly like an ant
      crawling over a surface. If their eye follows a line that goes up
      towards two o'clock, their hand follows that same direction towards two
      o'clock or whatever the direction is. I use the concept of clock face a
      lot, but you could also have them think about compass direction as they
      change directions or angles as they draw. Hope that makes sense just
      describing it. I also teach them about angle transfer...laying their
      pencil through the axis line of something, or from corner to corner of
      an eye, or along a roof line, etc. and then drop down to their page
      without twisting their wrist...voila, the same angle will be laid out
      for them on their paper. We use viewfinders a lot when we draw still
      life. I have them make their own viewfinders with the same ratio as
      their drawing paper. Then they can look at their view of the still life
      through the viewfinder and see how large things are in the viewfinder
      and how to place it accordingly to be in scale in their drawing. For
      example, if the violin is 3/4ths as tall as the viewfinder and 1/4 as
      wide, they can look at their drawing paper and make a few guide dots
      before they start drawing it to help them draw it in the right
      proportion to their page. Another thing I am constantly reminding them
      to do is to look at their subject to see what is directly below, beside,
      above, etc. something they have already drawn to help them with scale
      and placement as they draw. Another thing I tell them to do is "dry
      tracing" to get the feeling of a line before they draw it. What I mean
      by that is to tell them to look at their subject and, if it is a 3D
      object in front of them, close one eye so they don't see double, and
      "trace" over the contour line, see where it goees, study the detail as
      if they were drawing it in the air. It gives them a kinesthetic feeling
      for their line before they actually draw it, and it slows them down
      enough to notice SO much more. If they are ever looking at something in
      front of them on a page, say a Dover Animal book, I tell them to dry
      trace over the line to get the feeling and explore what happens. They
      learn so much about detail by doing this, then they have more
      understanding when they go to actually draw it. They just put their
      pencil point a tiny bit above the actual photo or image that they are
      looking at and pretend to draw on it or follow lines through to
      completion as they explore. When they do this they notice textures,
      parallel lines, values, etc. that their eyes might not otherwise pick up
      in a quick glance. I teach kids to draw negative space as in DOTRSOTB,
      and I teach them to use whatever they start with as a measuring stick to
      find ratio/proportion for the rest of the drawing. For example, if they
      draw the head of a horse first, they measure the horse's head that they
      are looking at and figure how many heads long the horse is, how many
      heads tall, etc. If they are drawing a house and start with a door,
      they measure how many doors tall the house is, or how many wide. When
      drawing faces we always start with the eye and base the rest of the face
      on the eye. For example, how many eyes long is the nose? How many eyes
      would fit between the nose and the chin? It works. Kids get it. I
      teach these concepts with all drawing exercises. I have kids write down
      the following concepts to refer to when they get into a drawing pickle,
      when things are not just flowing, when they run into a problem and need
      to figure out how to solve it:
      Dry trace
      Angle Transfer
      What's above, below, beside what's
      already drawn?
      Clock face
      ratio/proportion
      Don't name it, describe it

      My my, this did definitely turn into a lengthy description of how I
      teach drawing, didn't it? I hope it makes sense. It's easier to
      demonstrate some of it than describe it. Any other Drawing on the Right
      Side of the Brain freaks out there?

      Linda

      Visit our Lower and Middle School Art Gallery Sites:
      www.sjs.org
      Click on Arts, Lower School or Middle School, Gallery
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