bod Right Brain Vs. Left Brain Thinking

Are You in Your Right Mind?

Posted by Debra Carmona on 28 December 2010 | 22 Comments

Man Face Photo ReferenceIntellect Versus Visual Information

I like to tell my art students that when they come to art class they are in their right mind because that is the real truth. All the creative processes come from the right side of the brain. Music, art, creative writing, and drama are products of the right side of the brain. Far too many people have nearly turned off the creative side of their brains. So could we say that they are only half there? The left side of the brain is the analytical side which works well for the math and sciences but it causes trouble when used for drawing in art class because it tends to create simplified symbols for what it sees. The left side of the brain uses spatial information which becomes data and the data is then simplified into known symbols. The left side of the brain is the analytical or intellectual side of the brain. It processes visual information in two ways intellectually and spatially. The spatial process is something we almost don't even think about. When you unpack your groceries and look for an open space in the cubboards to place the items you are thinking spatially. This is how we judge the constantly changing space or distances around us. You can do this automatically. We use this mode to move around from one location to another. I have even done this while driving in my car not remembering where I was headed, took a turn when I was supposed to go straight and not even realizing I had done so until my surroundings were unfamilar to where I was supposed to be headed.

Man Face SymbolThe Analytical Brain Focuses on the Surface Details it Can identify, ignoring information that explains the form.

This is a typical symbol approach. The spatial part of your brain does not identify what you see as what it actually is but uses conceptual symbols.  These simplified symbols often do not really represent the object which we are viewing such as the human face as seen in (illustration #2). When you allow your left brain to help you draw it will cause you to sacrifice all the wonderful information that makes beautiful drawings. Your analytical brain will generalize and focus on nameable details such as eyes, nose, mouth, ears, glasses, eye lashes, hair, ect. It pays no attention to their actual shapes afterall a symbol is just a symbol. Glasses are glasses why bother to get the actual shape when a simple symbol will do? Notice how the symbol approach pays no attention to the fact that the head is tilted (illustration #1) nor that you cannot see his left ear but it included details like a wrinkled forehead and the prominent laugh line and eye lashes which you can't really see from the photo reference. So the analytical brain also interjects from what it knows, everyone has eye lashes and two ears. So, if you allow your left brain to dominate your drawings will be distorted from what is reality. That might be why your drawings are not turning out like the object you are attempting to draw.

Man Face SketchTo Draw Well is to Pay Attention to What You Really See With Your Eyes

Drawing well requires you to reject the symbol approach proposed by your intellect, and ask yourself, "What do I actualy see." Someone has said that you have not really seen anything until you have taken the time to draw it. There are no shortcuts. The information cannot be generalized nor memmorized. It must be savored and enjoyed like a good meal. So open your eyes and study what you see then draw it. Keep studying comparing one part to other. The more you look the more you will discover about that object.

So, make an honest search for visual information that is before you. Learn to be a good observer and study what you see, look for shapes, lines, shadows, highlights and study the spaces between those elements. Only draw what you see. Do not add those things you cannot see in the subject. If you are not enjoying drawing it is because you are trying to do it with the wrong side of your brain. Drawing can be a very satisfying experience, only the analytical side of the brain thinks it to be tedious. So get into the right mind set use the right side of your brain to see the beauty that is before your eyes. You will probaly notice things you've never noticed before.

~ Debra  Carmona


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