Search This Blog

Friday, April 25, 2014

read this book to improve your drawing

The 4th Edition of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

The Bottom Line

If an art book has been in print for more than 30 years, then it must have something going for it. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain has become something of a classic, though readers whose attention span has dwindled to bite-size length may be surprised to discover how much text is in it. The underlining premise remains true: You know when things flow and you produce great work yet you’re not sure how? Betty Edwards says it’s when you’re using the brain’s right side. She explains how to do this and how anyone can draw. If you're a painter who never learned to draw and now feels your painting will benefit from doing so, hers is an approach that's interesting and achieves good results fairly quickly if you follow the exercises. If you're not prepared to put in the time, it's not the book for you.

See Also: Review by Drawing Guide Helen South

<!--#echo encoding="none" var="lcp" -->


  • Basic premise is that anyone can draw and get creative side of brain working.

  • Straightforward language used to explain theory and practical projects.
  • Skills learnt build from project to project. "Before/After" examples to encourage you.


  • Four editions now in print, so be sure which you're getting.
  • Need the patience to read quite a bit of text between the drawing you'll be doing.


  • 320 pages. Paperback edition ISBN 9781585429202. Sketchbook edition ISBN9781585429219. Hardback edition 978185429196.
  • Subtitled: A course in enhancing creativity and artistic confidence. It's about hands-on doing, not theory.
  • Chapters include perceiving edges, spaces, relationships, light and shadow. Plus using perceptual skills for problem solving and creativity.
  • Glossary explains technical art terms; index helps you find specific information.

Guide Review - The 4th Edition of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

Basically put, left brain thinking is verbal and analytical, while right brain is non-verbal and intuitive, using pictures rather than words. By consciously using the right side of our brain, we are more creative. Through exercises which build up skills, you learn to access the right brain and apply the fundamental skills of drawing and observation. Written in easy-to-understand terms Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards explains how this can be used with a set of basic skills to learn to draw.

The fourth edition has been updated to take in developments in psychology and creativity, such as the plasticity of the brain, and adds new tools for identifying and problem solving in everyday life using visual-thinking skills from art.

This is the classic book on the concept of left / right brain activity and art. First published in 1979, it's been in print for more than 30 years and translated into 17 languages. In 2012 the fourth edition was issued, a fully revised edition updated with current research on brain plasticity, new reproductions of the master drawings, a new introduction and new section on the link between early childhood scribbling and later language acquisition, as well as new tools for problem solving in everyday life with the visual-thinking skills acquired through drawing.

It remains a text-heavy book, one that requires commitment to sit and read, to work through the tasks and challenges. It's not a picture-heavy book illustrating every tiny step in a process. Take your time with it, be patient with yourself, and make your own notes in a sketchbook or margins of the book so you can get back easily at the bits you find key.

If you think you haven't any talent or can't improve your drawing, take the time to read this book and work through the projects. Experienced artists should read it for the info on getting things to 'flow' and improving perception.

If you've already got an edition, should you buy the latest one? I'd say it depends how you use the book. If you're teaching from it, then probably. If you're only referring to it occasionally, then not. If you're working your way through it still, keep going with the edition you've got rather than start again, then perhaps borrow a copy from a library to read the new information, then decide if you want your own copy with this in.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive