Left-handed drawing improves skill
Published: Thursday, October 13, 2005
Updated: Wednesday, September 2, 2009 15:09
Right-handed artists improve their drawing skills by drawing with their left hand. Art professors use left-handed drawing techniques to help students expand their understanding of drawing.
The left hand is controlled by the right side of the brain, biology Professor Rafael Torres said.
Torres said it is hard to discern why the brain hemispheres control opposite sides of the body.
Psychology Professor Jim Cook said each half of the brain has different advantages.
Cook said the left side of the brain controls analysis, such as speech and mathematics.
"The right side controls synthesis. Putting things together, seeing it as a whole," Cook said.
Art Professor Susan Witta-Kemph said there are several techniques she uses in class to make students pay attention to the model, which she calls the stimulus.
Witta-Kemph teaches one technique called blind contour.
Students place media - pencil, charcoal or conte - in their left hands and focus their line of sight around edges of the stimulus.
Students must trace the same path their eye follows with their left hand, without looking at the drawing surface.
"I use it to have students see for themselves that they can focus on perception, not conception," Witta-Kemph said.
Perceptual drawings focus on drawing what the artist sees, not what the artist imagines. The exercise is designed to shift attention from the verbal side of the brain to the visual side, she said.
"It's there with the right hand, too, it's just that it's controlled by the left brain. Once you learn it, it can be applied to the right hand, too. It's just a matter of paying attention," Witta-Kemph said.
Witta-Kemph said drawing with the left hand may not be easy for right-handed artists, but the results are immediate.
"When you put your pencil in your left hand, it could be that it makes the connection more directly to that part of the brain responsible for physical coordination and spatial perception," Witta-Kemph said.