Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards’ classic book, has sold almost three million copies and is essential reading for artists and other creative people. She teaches us that in order to learn how to draw, first we have to learn how to see. This requires a radical shift in perspective, as we let go of the “left brain” world of words and thoughts and numbers, and shift to a purely visual plane.
The book is a powerful reminder that our brains operate in different modes that we use for different purposes.
Living in a purely visual world comes naturally to artists. You get uncomfortable when you have to come back to the world of words. When you need to talk and write about your art or do other career tasks, you are making a profound shift. Pay attention to this transition.
If you’ve spent the whole morning in the studio, happily making art, don’t get on the computer right away, even if you just plan to do a simple task. Take a walk, read a book, listen to music, play with the dog. Give your brain the time it needs to make a transition to a different way of operating.
Then spend an hour or two doing all those left brain tasks. Answer emails, update your website, enter that juried show, draft the proposal. All of these activities use the same part of your brain, so it will be easier to do them together.
When you’re done, take another break before you re-enter your creative space.
Mary Edwards, Ph.D
Career & Life Coach for Artists
“Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”