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235 of 247 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book years ago, and it taught me how to dramatically improve my drawing skills.

I believe people who are blocked from drawing well will get the most from this book. More accomplished artists may benefit as well by understanding better how the process works.

It shows you how to look at things differently, and uses different techniques to enable you to bypass your left (logical) brain, and access your right brain, (your subconscious mind), hence the title.

Instead of using left brain- right brain theory to describe this, in my view the more correct description would be to learn to access your subconscious mind which functions at a deeper level, while reducing the way in which your conscious mind interferes with the creative process.

Your brain has four levels of consciousness, beta which is normal waking state, alpha which is a relaxed meditative state such as when you are about to go to sleep, theta which is a deeper state associated with creativity and light sleep, and delta which is deep sleep.

Normally, your brain shows shows some activity at all these levels. Artists and other creative people are able to access the creative mental state more easily.

Here is an example of how the process works.

If you try to draw a chair you may have a definite idea in your logical mind of how a chair should be, so when you draw you are thinking 4 legs, a seat and a back. You know all the legs are the same length, and therefore you may draw that way.

This can interfere with you doing a good drawing, because each leg from an artistic viewpoint is longer or shorter depending on the distance from your eye, so you have to learn how to use your vision to see it differently.

This can interfere with you doing a good drawing, because each leg from an artistic viewpoint is longer or shorter depending on the distance from your eye, so you have to learn how to use your imagination instead.

In this book there is a picture of something such as a chair or a person's face, and you may draw it as it is. You can also use a picture from a newspaper or magazine. This represents your current skill level.

Now, turn the picture upside down and draw the picture upside down. As you do this drawing, you may notice that you are producing a more accurate copy of the picture. This is because you are now using different skills. I was amazed at the results. This is so simple to do. Try it yourself and discover how easy it is.

There are other examples and illustrations to show you how to see pictures differently, and use space, light and shade, optical illusions and so forth.

As you become more experienced you will learn how to use your new skills automatically. I particularly enjoyed using pictures of movie stars, turning them upside down, copying them, and then doing it again right side up.

I have referred several people who would love to draw well to this book. If you are not as artistic as you would like to be, and were to follow the exercises in this book there is no reason your skill level should not improve dramatically. Naturally, the more you practice, the more you improve. If it worked for me, it can work for you. This is pretty easy.

Imagine drawing anything you want to draw completely accurately, and with incredible detail, subtlety and nuance just like a professional artist. This potential is just a few clicks away. If it worked for me, it can work for you, as my natural drawing was ability not good.
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125 of 131 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2013
The '89 edition is far superior to the 4th. In the 4th, the paper is thin enough to see through. Many of the drawing instructions are reproduced far too light and hard to see, much less to study. The chapter on color is GONE. Most of the interesting and informative margin notes are gone (though the space is still there), and the few that are there are in print so tiny it's not easy to read. In chapter 6, the student is advised to lift lights to create shadows, but this is not really taught until chapter 10 on lights and shadows. Why is this thrust on the student in chapter 6 when they haven't been taught it yet and may end up doing it in an incorrect way? And last, the index is incomplete, and I had to go through many pages in order to find things, since all the pages for a subject were not listed. The '89 edition is excellent.
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112 of 120 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2004
I read this book, and later took a course based on this book. In fact, the book was really all I needed. For anyone who thinks drawing is a talent you have to be born with-check out the drawings by Van Gogh included in this book. It seems Vincent was in despair and was going to give up art, until he read a book on drawing (but not this one!). The author gives a before and after example of Van Gogh drawings. The difference was amazing, and clearly shows that drawing is a skill you can learn, no matter how inept your drawing is at first. Do the tasks in this book, and while you may not draw as well as Vincent (or you may), you will be pleased with the improvement you make.
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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2004
I have always considered myself to be an artist who couldn't draw. I work as a graphic and multimedia designer and I am an avid watercolourist - but to pick up a pencil and sketch would terrify me. This book sat on my shelf for years before I summoned the courage to crack it open and start to learn to draw. My motivation was to be able to draw the scenes I would experience on my summer vacation to the Maritimes....I merely wanted to be able to draw realistic buildings and figured that the human form was beyond me...well, let me tell you --I never thought it could be so simple! Now I am drawing realistic hands and objects, full of depth and realism. I feel like an artist who can draw (and draw well) and it took me only a bit over a week (in the evenings) and some practice. I love how easy Edwards makes it seem and I am so glad to have had the chance to read this book and apply its principles. I highly recommend it to anyone who is too scared to pick up a drawing pencil and bring some life to a plain sheet of paper!
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162 of 182 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2012
I have had at least two previous editions of this book. They were printed on good stock. The hardback version of the current edition has paper that is thin enough to see the illustration on the next page. That's annoying. The reproductions of the drawings in earlier editions were of good quality and large enough to easily appreciate the differences pre and post-instruction. The reproductions in this edition are muddy-looking compared those in earlier editions. In the earlier versions, there were many examples of pre and post-instruction drawings, especially by kids. Those are all gone. Perhaps someone thought the date of their composition was too old to include them in this "newer" edition. That was a BIG mistake. The pre and post-instruction portraits in this edition are confined to tiny examples on two pages and are badly reproduced. It also looks as though the talent of her students has markedly decreased over the years since the previous editions. This is a big disappointment. I'm sorry I ordered this rather than the earlier one for my young friend. Now I'll have to send him the earlier version and an apology as well. Anyway, Betty Edwards, sue your publisher. Defenestrate your editor, too, if that editor was responsible for removing those great pre and post-instruction drawings contained in the earlier versions. I regret having spent the money on this edition, having talked it up on Facebook, and having waited so eagerly to receive it.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2002
When my wife, an artist, received this book recently as a gift, we both had a good laugh over it, for Emma is self-taught and extremely talented in many areas of artistic expression. Good-natured and a voracious reader, she cracked open the book and was pleasantly surprised by what she learned about herself and the way humans visually perceive things. Drawing On The Right...can't turn no-talents into featured artists at big-city galleries, but it can open the doorway between the creative mind and worried hands and allow those who "can't draw a straight line" to find delight in doing simple portraits or design where there was little aptitude for these things before. Emma thoroughly enjoyed the simple exercises and her work underwent an immediate leap towards the refinement of her style. It also helped her experiment artistically with styles she'd never explored before. I relented and read it myself, amazed at my own progress with simple line drawings and determining the placement of shadow. She'll always remain the artist, but now I can better express my own ideas on paper with brushes or graphite, sketching for my own enjoyment or giving her outlines she can flesh out for me with colors and shadows. Not entirely an instructional guide, Drawing...reads nothing like a boring textbook and ventures into fascinating studies of people who've suffered brain injury and how this affects perception. A fantastic and highly recommended book for artists (even great ones), art therapists, art teachers, beginning artists, or anyone who ever thought they had no talent or couldn't accomplish anything. This book gives hope where there was none before, can boost self-esteem, and improves near-perfection in art.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 1997
"Drawing? No, no, I can't draw. That's the job of artists." Isn't this what most of us say when someone talks about drawing or art? What we don't say is that we also have a secret wish that we can draw like an artist. If you are one of these people, grab this book and you will be amazed by what you can draw by following the author's assignments. She really teaches us how to SEE what's in front of us, rather than by our preconceptions. You learn not only how to draw but a new way of seeing your inner self: being creative and artistic -- something you always are but you didn't believe that you were before reading this book and doing all those drawing exercises
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 1998
An acquaintance who is gainfully employed in the graphic arts commented on the sudden improvement in my drawing from scrawls to something distantly resembling art. He asked what I had been doing to improve and I told him that I had been following the course of instruction in the book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards.
"Oh", he replied. "That b**ch."
Apparently, Dr. Edwards is attaining a status among some professional artists similar to TV's infamous Masked Magician. She has DARED to lay open for all to see the very process by which the artistic eye and mind can dissasemble something (a face, a landscape, a still life) and reassemble it on paper. She has opened up the world of drawing to all of us. She has given all of us the means to express ourselves in a way that we had all believed belonged to a privileged few. And for that, her work is admired by millions and reviled, understandably, by a few.
Inspiring so much passion at BOTH ends of the scale is quite an accomplishment.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The third and earlier editions of this work are a wonderful product of an artist's love for her craft. This ugly fourth edition is solely an empty money maker for an uninspired author. What was once contained in the gem of one volume is now sold as a book and a workbook, with references to each that makes you feel you're not getting a complete instruction without buying both. I loathe that kind of writing, particularly with this book that has done well as one book for years. I started pencil drawing with the third edition, and will never move beyond it to the fourth edition here.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2013
I can see by the reviews I'm outnumbered, but I was disappointed. I felt there was far too much emphasis on drawing portraits, something I have no interest in. Huge chunks of the book was devoted to the ratios of the nose to the eyes, or the ear to the chin etc. and portraits were the subject of far too many of exercises. If your end goal is drawing landscapes or flowers or anything other than human faces, you will waste a lot of time with this book.
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