This drawing exercise could change your life

Flexing your artistic muscles with a new drawing exercise will only make you a better artist. And this particular exercise deals with a problem faced by many new (and even experienced) artists – drawing what you think you see rather than what's in front of you. 

This video, shared on YouTube, teaches you a way of solving the problem by utilising the differences between the left and right sides of your brain. It's simpler than it sounds, honest. In fact, all it takes is turning the reference image upside down. Check it out and then head over to our how to draw tutorial roundup.

The Virtual Instructor based the idea on the book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards, which promises to teach you how to become a representational artist. As the video host explains, our brains are made up of the left and right hemispheres. The left side is responsible for analysis while the right side handles creativity (such as drawing and painting).

So, in theory, the right side should flourish when you're drawing. In fact, that pesky left side often gets in the way by overriding what's there with what you think you should be be seeing based on previous experience. This results in a drawing that isn't an accurate representation of what actually sits in front of you. 

The solution, according to this video, is to practice by copying a reference image turned upside down. This allows you to focus on the specific lines and shapes you're actually seeing, therefore activating the right side of the brain. Even better, if you keep doing it the right side gets stronger and it improves your art even when the subject is the right way up. 

If you'd like to know more about reference images, see our dedicated how to use reference images guide.

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Georgia Coggan

Georgia is lucky enough to be Creative Bloq's Editor. She has been working for Creative Bloq since 2018, starting out as a freelancer writing about all things branding, design, art, tech and creativity – as well as sniffing out genuinely good deals on creative technology. Since becoming Editor, she has been managing the site on a day-to-day basis, helping to shape the diverse content streams CB is known for and leading the team in their own creativity.