Doing a 180
My pal, Jim, is directing our commercials out here in LA. After reading Everyday Matters, he’s become increasingly intrigued with learning to draw. He told me he knew he couldn’t draw, didn’t think he ever could, but still always wanted to know how. I told him about Betty Edwards’ book and the next day, he showed up with his own copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
Each day he reads the book between takes and each night he works on drawing exercises. Just three days in, he drew the drawing above, a copy of Picasso’s Stravinsky.
This is one of the most powerful exercises in Edward’s book. You are told to copy this image which is printed upside down in the book. You draw each line individually, then move on to the next, building up the picture stroke by stroke. Everyone who tries it describes the same reaction. They are beating themselves up as they do it, ‘Oh, you drew that line wrong, this is a mess, you’ll never do this, etc.’ and yet persevere. When they are finished and turn the page around, they are blown away. They cannot believe their eyes. The drawing looks remarkably like Picasso’s original.
For almost everyone, this simple fifteen minute exercise transforms their view of themselves. It flips a switch in your head that says I can draw! and gives you permission to keep going, to polish your skills, to trust that you’ll keep improving, and get on the road to drawing as you only dreamed you could.
If you’d like to try this exercise, use Jim’s drawing (You can download a bigger scan of it here.). Print it out, turn it upside down, then slowly and carefully copy each line with a pen onto a sheet of paper. Then, brace yourself and turn it around.
What do you think? Let me know.