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The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence Hardcover – September 6, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 355 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Betty Edwards is professor emeritus of art at California State University in Long Beach, California. She is the author of The New Drawing on the Right Side of the, the world's most widely used drawing instructional, which has been translated into thirteen foreign languages with U.S. sales of almost three million copies. She speaks regularly at universities, art schools, and companies, including the Walt Disney Corporation and the Apple Corporation.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; Rev Exp edition (September 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874774195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874774191
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (355 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm in a drawing course at a community college where the instructor has used the 1989 edition for a number of years with good results. Needing the book, I purchased the new edition (by mistake) through Amazon and must return it. However, having now reviewed both books, I believe that the new edition suffers by comparison.
There are too many mechanical aids required in the new edition, and the mechanics of their application is poorly and vaguely explained, which will discourage some people. My general feeling is also that the author is stretching to revitalize the work and, in the process, has weakened its impact.
Though I find her work valuable and helpful, I'm distracted by the lengthly and repetitious discussions about the need to silence the left brain and to allow the right brain to function. A great deal of verbiage could have been saved if most of this was edited out and replaced by a short phrase to simply remind the reader of this necessity.
However, having said these things, let me also say that I have found the book to be valuable and helpful in my own efforts to gain solid drawing skills that should allow me to render better value sketches before I start my watercolors.
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Format: Paperback
I can't emphatize how good this book is. I used to consider myself absolutely useless at drawing. I barely managed to pass exams at art classes at school. Now I am drawing fairly decent portraits from almost everyone I know. The book focueses on seeing the things' real shapes and it is just this non rational, non mathematically based approach that makes it work. I used to have big problems with proportions and perspective, and Betty Edwards made me realise it's all a matter of looking at things with loving attention (and not attaching a name to the bit you are drawing). This book has made me realise I've lost many years of my life blocking myself as an artist. Drawing is a skill that everyone can learn. Do it with this book!
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By A Customer on January 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Seems to be a lot of reviews here that hate Edwards and a lot that love her. I think this is a great book, but only for getting your drawing skills up to a certain level of competency. I am glad I read the book and would recommend it to anyone like me.
I took up the pencil about two months ago and have never had any drawing instruction previously. After spending about three weeks with her book, practicing 2-3 hours a day, I am now at a skill level where I feel comfortable (dare I say proud) to show my drawings to my friends. I am no longer afraid (out of embarrassment) to sign up for classes with the Art Students' League.
That is what Edwards' book will do for you. It will not make you an artist; it will teach you a skill, quickly. I don't want to get dragged into who is and who is not an artist, but consider this book more like how to ride a bike, not on how to be a cyclist.
Regarding the two mind theory, I say skim through all of the bits about the brain, but don't skip it. Whether or not it is proven is unimportant. The concept of two brains is proven as an effective model for teaching drawing, and that is all that is important.
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Format: Paperback
I can understand why some previous reviewers who already have developed skills in drawing would see this book as overrated but I think that it is heavily aimed at those who believe that they can't draw and who are radically unsure of how to begin. My own experience was that this book debunked some of my core beliefs about drawing: I can't draw because I don't have the manual skill; people who can draw are dismissive of those who are not as able as them; there is no use in trying if I can't become a brilliant artist; etc, etc.
This book made me realise for the first time, despite attending art classes for many years at school, that drawing well is not about the dexterity of your hand but about how you see things, the approach you take to looking at an object and how you translate that to the page. Not having a scientific background, I am not able to judge the accuracy of Edwards's use of right/left brain theory but in some ways the 'truth' of it is irrelevant. What is important is that you recieve the confidence to give it a go and to persist, and not be intimidated by those more advanced than you. Subjectively, I have found that time spent drawing is a very different experience to my usual language based pursuits, and I do feel that I'm stretching hitherto unused faculties, whatever side of the brain they are on.
I would strongly recommend this book to any beginners interested in improving their ability to draw what they see. Practising this is no less of an artistic endeavour than any other - the element of originality and self-expression exists in everyone's unique way of seeing and interpreting things around them, This book simply helps you to pay more attention.
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Format: Paperback
I taught myself how to draw passably well when I was a kid and have been drawing sporadically ever since. Recently, however, I wanted to really learn to draw - to really understand form and how to represent it on paper. I practiced constantly, but I wasn't really improving on my own, so I started reading art instruction books to expose myself to new ideas that might help me improve my drawing. The first book I read was "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain", which I chose because I had heard so much about how great it was. I was expecting it to be profound in some way. I read it very carefully to the end and completed all of the exercises, but about halfway through I realized it wasn't giving me any new ideas at all.
The book is written for ABSOLUTE beginners in drawing - if you have been drawing for any length of time there are other books that will be much more helpful to you. If you are just starting out in drawing, if you haven't drawn since you were a kid, this book should be extremely useful. It explains drawing on a much more basic level than any other book I have ever read, but that is exactly what absolute beginners need. It would be difficult to try to write a sentence before learning the alphabet, and this book teaches the "alphabet" of drawing. But if you can already write, even at a basic level, reviewing the alphabet would be a waste of time.
I really dislike the actual style the book is written in; Edwards is egotistical and she spends too much time on subjects that are not directly related to learning to draw, for example, several pages are spent defending the "right brain/left brain" theory and too much space is spent throughout the book giving examples of "evidence" for her theory.
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