Review: New Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain Workbook

Those of you who have read my tutorial on how to make comics know that you don’t need to be able to draw to create any comics. But then there are those of you out there who want to be able to draw.

Some of you may not know where to begin. Some of you may decide to seek out books from your local library or friendly neighborhood bookstore. But with so many books out there, it can be hard to choose something that will teach you any solid drawing skills. You want to learn to draw so that you can make presentable comics. Which text should you choose?

One I can definitely recommend is the New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook by Betty Edwards (Tarcher/Putnam, 2002).

Dr. Betty Edwards has written a textbook too of the same name as well as an instructional VHS/DVD.  You don’t need those since the New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook can stand on its own.  They can be helpful though – the video is useful and the book talks more about Dr. Edwards’ theories.  Okay, some of you are wondering why you should care about this book.  How good is it? 

It’s not good at all…this book is exceptional!!!  The teaching method is based on Dr. Edwards’ theory of the two sides of the human brain.  Our brains have a left and right hemisphere.  The left hemisphere is chiefly verbal while our right hemisphere is visual. The theory explains that most people produce “childish” drawings because they are using the left side of the brain rather than the right. The actual theory is covered more in depth in the primary New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain book, so consult that for more details.

The aim of this book is to get you to shift over to the right side of your brain when you draw. To do that, the book contains forty exercises. These exercises are divided up into five sections that cover the five basic skills of drawing: perception of edges, perception of spaces, perception of relationships, perception of lights and shadows, and perception of the gestalt.

The workbook comes with a plastic viewfinder which is used with some of the exercises.  Other materials that you’ll need for the exercises inside the New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook are relatively easy to find/cheap to buy such a pencils, erasers, graphite sticks, etc.

The exercises vary from starting off with a self-portrait and sketch of your hand to more varied tasks like drawing wrinkles in your hand, drawing a door, doing a negative space drawing, copying masterworks, and so on.

Believe me, some of these exercises may sound bizarre to you. But they pay off. By the end of the book, you’ll do a second self-portrait and when compared to your very first, you’ll notice a BIG difference. This workbook can be extremely handy to those who want to boost their drawing skills or learn the basics. My verdict? The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook is a must-have for your book collection, not just for drawing comics, but if you want to do illustration, animation, design, fine art, or anything else that requires drawing skills!

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About Max West

I am a freelance artist and the creator of Sunnyville Stories, an independent slice-of-life comics series.

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