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Drawing on the Right (nook book)

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence by Betty Edwards (Tarcher/Penguin Group, $19.95, 320 pages)

Just imagine, by following the text carefully and participating in the exercises in a book, you can learn to draw. This is not some huckster come-on or phony art school premise. Author and teacher Betty Edwards has expanded and updated the fourth edition of her book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Ms. Edwards has carefully translated her thorough and patient teaching style into a truly worthwhile course in drawing. Moreover, she has taken the basic concepts, tools and philosophy behind the value of learning to draw and set forth a detailed and well-illustrated guide for everyone. If you can hold a pencil and are able to see, you can draw, not just ordinary stick figures, but rather, fully-developed and recognizable portraits.

Drawing on the Right Side includes ample historic context for the role that drawing and illustration have played over the last few centuries. As recently as the 1800s, the need for accurate drawings was critical to the success of newspapers, magazines and books. With the technological advancements associated with photography in the ensuing decades, the importance of drawing, and specifically the teaching of drawing, slipped into the background. With the transition to this invention, artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seurat were free to express themselves and explore artistic techniques without the expectation of producing accurate naturalistic pictures. That’s not to say that these artists skipped learning the skills required to render shapes and appealing compositions. In particular, van Gogh spent serious time and effort learning to draw.

Ms. Edwards sets the reader at ease by demystifying the process of drawing. She grounds her methodology in carefully researched neurological facts. The left side of the brain is vastly different than the right side. The left is the logical, sequential and verbal side; whereas, the right side is all about spacial and relational interpretation and sensing. Be assured it takes a bit of effort to override the over-developed left side in order to get to the creative, artistic ability we all possess.

As someone who participated in live classes based upon these techniques years ago, I know they produce truly gratifying results. There’s nothing missing here. Anyone who wants to know how to draw will be able to do so by committing to doing the exercises and reclaiming their youthful view of drawing and creating.

Highly recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is also available in a hardcover edition, and as a Kindle Edition or Nook Book download.

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Coming Up Next…

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (updated)

A review of the classic drawing instruction book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, now expanded and updated.

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Racing in the Rain with Enzo the Dog: A Book Giveaway

We’re going to give away a trade paperback copy of the five-star (Powell’s Books) book The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.   Here’s a summary of the book as prepared by the publisher:

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs:  A philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.   Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast.   Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through…   Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure to return as a man.   A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story.

Contest Rules

We’re keeping this simple and easy.   To enter, you must be a resident of the continental United States with a mailing address that may (unlike the case in most contests) include a P.O. box.   Send your entries to josephsreviews@gmail.com  by Friday, September 4, 2009.   To be entered once in this contest, send in your name and e-mail address; the latter will only be used to contact you if you are the winner.   To be entered a second time, send in the name of your all-time favorite or current pet and indicate what type of animal this is (dog, cat, bird, etc.).

All entries received by the end of the day on September 4th will be placed in a very large and inexpensive plastic container and Munchy the Norwegian Forest Cat will pick out the winner – using his very sharp claws – on the following weekend.   The winner will be notified via e-mail on Monday, September 7, 2009.art of racing

That’s it.   Good luck and good reading!

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