Thursday, January 7, 2010

With One Hand Tied -- A Creativity Warm-Up

Yesterday in the studio I knew I would be doing some freehand cutting for applique elements. So for my creativity warm-up exercise, I chose sketching with my non-dominant hand. Take another look at the photo: I'm right-handed, but used my left hand to sketch this arrangement of items I grabbed off the shelf.

As you can probably tell, I've never had a drawing class. I think I learned this exercise from an earlier edition of Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain by Betty Edwards. Some artists use this exercise to loosen up their strokes. I use it to sharpen my observation skills, particularly when I'm trying to get in the right mode to simplify and abstract what I see so it becomes what I see.

When I do this exercise in workshops, I know it scares some students. I suspect they think they're "no good" at drawing with their dominant hand so they'll be terrible with their non-dominant hand. And they're really surprised at the results. But remember, the point here isn't the resulting image -- it's the warm-up. Try it and let me know what you think.

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