Secret Number 3:
Learning to draw is about learning to see

Left Brain v. Right Brain. Neurological researchers have located different parts of the brain as being better suited for different functions -specifically the two different hemispheres of the brain. For instance language is a left hemisphere or "left brain" function.

Doing mathematics is another left brain function - and so is analyzing, and counting-out time like a drummer does, or as in linear, step-by-step problem solving. The rational left brain we call it.

Your right brain: the other, neglected side of your brain. Your right brain has been credited with being "nonlinear", musical, and poetic. It's intuitive, spatially-oriented, "in the moment". It's the improviser of the brain's two halves. It's the side at work when you "get" a joke. It can recognize things all at once and in giant leaps - rather than in logical steps. It's "language" is sound, feelings, and pictures.

How do we know this about the brain? We've learned it the hard way from people who've lost function of a brain hemisphere - be it by trauma or by a stroke (when either a blood clot in the brain or a bursting vessel causes brain tissue on that side of the brain to die), or even by experimental surgery.

But you need both of your brains

One side isn't any better than the other - you need both hemispheres of the brain developed to feel like you're fulfilling your potential, to feel like you're fully engaged with the world and with yourself. Like the rest of your body, your brain(s) needs exercise to keep all it's faculties and powers stimulated, excited, and sharp.

But there's a problem. Problem is, we live in a world that's almost all left-brained. Generally speaking, right brain skills aren't really respected or seen as necessary for survival in these modern days. We might be impressed with someone's drawing ability, but outside artistic circles, you don't often see them referred to as "a person of means" or as people of great social standing. More often, artists are seen as shifty, undependable, even promiscuous and always somehow different. That's the stereotype. The roots of that bias run deep and from it there's a built-in social suspicion against developing artistic skills. Because of that bias, we all lose. But back to drawing.

Back to drawing

So to learn to draw, you need to get out of your mind - out of your left brain to be exact. I've got more good news for you: you're already an expert at this. Like I hinted at above - whether you're aware of it or not - you're an old pro at getting into your right-brain hemisphere. Some simple examples? Walking is a right hemisphere evoking function - just like shooting baskets or balancing on a tightrope are. Parallel parking your car is another example.

Albert Einstein

And it turns out drawing and recognizing faces are two of the few activities that are purely "Right-Brained". What better way to develop the the right half of your brain than by drawing faces and caricatures - by using two of it's foremost and native skills?


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