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Art books we love: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
You can draw like Leonardo Da Vinci, you just need to choose practice.
This is the first in a series of the top ten Art Books I highly recommend.
You were not born speaking French, or playing tennis, or driving a car.
Drawing is just another normal skill that can be learned by anyone. There is no such thing as "talent" as we think of it. That does not exist. If you can write your name, you have the same manual dexterity that Leonardo Da Vinci had. The only difference between you two, is seeing things properly with your eyes, and moving the pencil a lot in practice.
I did not know how to draw growing up, but I did have a curiosity for it. I would doodle often, terribly, in the margins of my notebooks. Yes I was the kid the teacher singled out for drawing monsters, aliens and flying sharks and not paying attention. It was not until I was in my freshman year of highschool that I met a teacher who had this book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and was willing to hold my hand and encourage me through it.
Let me be clear here, Ms. Mullen did not teach me how to draw. She taught me how to see. The book does teach you how to draw, but it does it through training your eye to see things first. See things precisely as they are, unfiltered by your minds eye. Just objects and angles how they really are. This then gives your mind what it needs to translate all eye perception through your muscles, to your hand, to pencil, and finally to the page. That is the key. There is no magical thing as "talent". I will cover the science on “talent” in another book post: The Talent Code by Dan Coyle. The idea of magical “talent” negates the hours of training that is required to make anything. That cheapens the blood, sweat, and tears of someone practicing their craft. It's simply muscle memory, activated by what the eye sees, to the pencil, to the page. Every time you hit the ball over the net in tennis, your brain records that, learns, and can replay a proper shot again when asked. After a thousand proper hits, it gets easier. Drawing a circle, a line, ABC's, your name in cursive, repeatedly leads to mastery. Those lines are no different than the pencil lines of a tree, a mountain, a flower, a face. Same muscles, same strokes, same lines, most importantly the same eyes. It's muscle memory. Not talent.
Practice never stops. Should never stop. But I am grateful to Ms. Mullen for teaching me from this book. For showing me how to see, to practice, and thus how to draw. Even if I don't make a dollar from it, I can pick up a pencil and make an image. And my life has been infinitely better for it. I know in my gut I can make something from nothing. And that is a great comfort in this world. (I'm trying not to tear up writing this.) I am forever grateful to Ms. Mullen.
It is my story. Godspeed!
I'm here if you need me. You got this!
Next Time: The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
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