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The Artistic Side of the Brain

No matter how good or bad you think they are, you are certain to improve by following these tips and competing the exercises

First, let’s look at how we use our brain to draw and do other things.

The left and right sides of the brain

Seen from above your brain has two distinct parts, the left side and the right side. Scientists have shown that each part is responsible for different tasks, although they are connected together with millions nerve pathways that allow the brain to work as one.

Some of the tasks performed by each half are shown below.

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The left side of the brain was always thought to be the dominant side since it is responsible for logical reasoning and language and it is these functions that play a major role in everyday life. Unfortunately they can also get in the way of the artistic and creative right side of the brain when it comes to drawing and other forms of art.

Somehow, we have to trick our brains into using its right side when we need to do anything creative and not allow the well developed left side from interfering.

When we are drawing, the usual problem is that the left side of our brain keeps trying to tell us things like – “that is a chair, and the legs go straight up and down”, or “that is an ear, and it is simply an oval shape on the side of the head”, instead of letting us see exactly what is in front of us.

The problem is that our brain automatically names things while we are drawing and it is this activity that we have to stop. When we identify something that our brain recognises, we seem to have a shorthand version of it thrust into our minds as a type of symbol for the object. After all, our brains have to do this to be able to cope with millions of pieces of information provided by our senses to be able to deal with the world around us.

How do I get the right side of my brain to control my drawing?

Before we go into some of the techniques that you can use to get the right side of your brain to help with your drawings, we can do a quick exercise to get you to experience two ways of drawing.

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First, take a piece of paper and a pencil and towards the left side (or right side if you are left handed) draw the profile of a face, from top to bottom,

As you draw, you can name the parts – forehead, nose, lips, and chin. It should be something like the one below, but make up your own version of it, from the shapes for each of those things that you can recall from memory.

When you have finished, draw two lines along the top and the bottom of the drawing

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Now by treating the drawing as a simple line, without naming the parts of the profile, copy the shape in reverse from top to bottom.

This time, concentrate on the distance from the first line, the angle, the roundness of the curve, the position of the pencil down the page. Don’t think of the names of the parts as you do it

This is right brain activity – dealing with shape and the relationship between parts of an image. You may have noticed that you were thinking differently that time, just copying the lines in front of you.

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Before we move on, it would be a good idea to try a few more of these types of drawing. This time, just make up a profile like this one or anything else you feel like, and carefully copy it in reverse.

Take your time and think about how the lines are related to the other side of the picture, how they curve, where they turn, how long they are and so on.

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