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Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  310,742 ratings  ·  817 reviews
This Deluxe eBook includes over 35 minutes of video featuring Betty Edwards illustrating the core techniques of her enduring classic.

A revised edition of the classic drawing book that has sold more than 1.7 million copies in the United States alone.

Translated into more than seventeen languages, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is the world's most widely used drawing
Kindle Edition, Deluxe, Enhanced, 4th Edition, 320 pages
Published April 26th 2012 by TarcherPerigee (first published 1979)
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Airgam Perfectly ok. The theory behind it is weak to say the least, and the explanations and exercises themselves are more than enough. I would recommend rea…morePerfectly ok. The theory behind it is weak to say the least, and the explanations and exercises themselves are more than enough. I would recommend reading the chapter on children drawings, though.(less)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a double-edged sword: On one side you have this immediate almost magical improvement in your drawing, on the other hand it's not good for long term improvement.

My first drawing after reading just a few chapters, blew my mind away. It was a self-portrait and I could not believe that I had drawn it. After all, it takes months of practice not reading of a few chapters from a book to improve drawing, right?

The downside is that you only learn to copy what you see in front of you. You don
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I've had several abortive attempts to learn to draw and paint over the last ten years. Part of the problem is that I become frustrated at how difficult it is to draw accurately and in proportion, and invariably put away my pencils and sketchbooks after a series of failures. And then, a year or two later, I try again, with a new how-to-draw book and vigor, only to repeat the process.

Recently I unearthed my box of accumulated art supplies and drawing books, and noticed the orange spine of Betty Ed
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
I’ve just finished reading a A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future – essentially a series of book reviews on books the author found interesting and in which he hopes to be able to draw together ideas in those books into a bit of an overarching theory. He wasn’t quite successful, but he did remind me of this book and that has to be a good thing.

I read this book about ten years ago at a dark time in my life when I had just separated and moved out from the ex-wife. I had never b
Ahmad Sharabiani
Drawing on the right side of the brain: a course in enhancing creativity and artistic confidence = Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards
Originally published: 1979. The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, this edition includes:
The very latest developments in brain research
New material on using drawing techniques in the corporate world and in education
Instruction on self-expression through drawing
an updated section on using color
detailed information on using the five basic
Garrett Zecker
I can't believe that I am going to say this, but there is a chance that after reading this book and doing the exercises that I can draw a little bit. I mean, really. My drawings at this stage without too much more practice resemble the album covers of emo-teens with acoustic guitars, but I am certainly doing much better than Napoleon Dynamite. Big time. I think the approach to art that it presents is really intriguing - that we are primarily hammered into left-brain dominance through the acquisi ...more
Oct 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1) This book is based on a completely outdated view on neuroscience, the left brain-right brain terminology is nonsensical, 2) This is not a book for people interested in learning how to draw in a classical sense, I recommend lessons in classical drawing by Juliette Aristides for instance, she knows the craft, and knows what she's talking about, 3) The exercises do not teach you how to draw, instead they are meant to teach you how to tap into a creative flow whatever that may be (if Betty Edward ...more
Nov 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coincidentally, one week before I bought the book at the bookshop, there was a student asking for 5 copies. This is a very popular title that frequently pops up when people ask for recommendation on books that teach drawing. Reviews on Amazon are overwhelmingly positive, which is not a surprise.

This book not only teaches you how to think (and not think) when drawing, but also teaches you the techniques to draw. In short, it teaches the approach and the techniques. Drawing on the Right Side of th
I had an art class that used this book as one of the textbooks. It immeadiately changed the way I viewed things. It was one of the pivotal books of my life (I ought to include that as a tag.)

When I home-schooled my then suicidal teen daughter and sat her down with this book, she flipped through it for 15 minutes, and started drawing as if she had been taking lessons her whole life. She found a talent she didn't know she had (and several others, but not because of this book.)

I highly recommend it
Tamar...light at the end of the tunnel?
I read this book in 1989 and it is amazing. For those with the heart of an artist but none of the talent (like me), it teaches a whole new way to look at and draw things. I remember that I enjoyed many hypnotic mellow hours practicing what I was reading. I also remember that if you concentrate on the the shape of the spaces and shadows instead of the lines of an object, you can draw a pretty accurate picture/portrait.
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
My son and I are currently working through this with the accompanying DVD and workbook. I've never drawn from life before (only from two-dimensional photographs), but already a few lessons in, I've been doing so (see images below, which were done in an 8-day period)! Progress is impressively rapid with this method. I've never had more fun with a book! We're using this as a homeschool art curriculum and will continue to use it through the 2012-2013 school year.

I think of this main text as the "te
Manuel Antão
Aug 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Picture Thinking: "The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain - A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence" by Betty Edwards

One of the essential reasons why neuroscience is, and probably will remain for a long time, at a stage of infancy has to do the so-called scientific approaches used to understand the workings of the brain. Its main pillars are, risibly, correlation and mapping. Rather than attempt to understand t
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Frankly, this book's method has all the hallmarks of pseudoscientific snake oil: breathless testimonials on the back, anecdotes in the first chapter, and its own made-up lingo (it's easy to draw when you're in R-mode!). I picked it up because I'd heard lots of good things about it, because I could stand to be a lot more creative, and because I couldn't draw to save my life.

It's true that the author is prone to wax poetic about the drawing process; at one point, for instance, she suggests you dra
This book's title and content would lead one to believe that it attempts to ride the "right-brain-left-brain" car that a lot of pop science publications have been driving for a long time, searching for some fundamental division of human faculties linked to the actual division between the hemispheres of a cerebrum.

One's beliefs would be justified, as the book follows the left-right-brain story intently. It's not really the crux of the book, however.

From my perception of the book, it is easy and s
Timothy Warnock
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book for anyone interested in art; most of the focus is on perception and is beneficial for all skill levels. It took me a while to read since I followed all of the exercises, to get anything out of this book I recommend doing the exercises (otherwise I'm not sure any of it would make sense)

One could make a strong argument against the "R-mode" and "L-mode" naming conventions, however, the very proven pedagogical basis is hard to fault. Call it "accessing your visual cortex" if you d
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, art-technique
This is a great introductory course for drawing. It helps new artists to push beyond what they think things should look like to actually seeing what they look like. If you're thinking of starting drawing as a hobby, you can't go wrong with this. There is a short section at the end of the book where the author tries to apply the core skills of drawing to the decision making process in an effort to make drawing skills seem more necessary. I didn't feel that section worked very well. ...more
Oct 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who feel they can't draw
Recommended to Sarah by: Art teacher
This is the book my art teacher used to teach us when I was in my early teens. It's actually got some good ideas in there, with alot of jargon that I didn't understand (and didn't really care to, you don't miss much). Looking back, I appreciate some of the lessons I learned from it. Even if you think you can't draw, give this a chance! Forget that you think all your drawings look like a kid's, and try it, it really was good for me.

The main idea seems to be that we draw what we THINK we see, not
Nov 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book for beginners and people that "think" they can not draw. Whether it's the right side or the left side or your knees that do the thinking, its quite irrelevant and I wish the author didn't put so much stake on the dubious inner workings and preliminary science of the mind. What is useful is the series of exercises that allow students to disconnect from the symbolic and verbal way of thinking when taking a realistic approach to drawing. This goes for painting as well in many aspects. I ...more
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found an improvement in my drawing after reading this book and doing the exercises. If nothing else, the idea that drawing is not a matter of manual dexterity (according to Edwards if can write decently, you can draw), it is a matter of how you look at objects and interpret it on paper was a boon. It made me stop thinking that I couldn't draw, and I couldn't learn to draw. I mean you must be able to learn to draw; think back to the days when an "accomplished" lady had to be able to speak Itali ...more
Richard Haddad
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
I’m still going through this book so I will write up a more complete review in time but I will comment on what I think of it so far.

Betty Edwards seems to express herself quite well in the way she teaches and the methods she uses to bring an absolute beginner from nothing to actually having a chance at art. She focuses so much on activating the creative side of the brain, or the right side of the brain. In order to do that, she teaches you how to train your eyes to see properly and then drawing
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
A couple of observations about the book:
- I think it can be a good book for beginners, however, it lacks a lot of important information about drawing.
- I don't know if the focus of the book was only to silent the L-hemisphere of the brain or to teach us how to draw. I sense it was more to say that L-hemisphere is not artistry and R-hemisphere is.
- The last two chapters of the book I sensed was more about the Author's own opinions about the way she can use the tools rather than actual facts. One
The reviewers are right. This is a wonderful book in teaching you how to see, and then how to draw. Essentially, to be able to draw is not about the skill of the hand but the ability of the eye to see.

The exercises help you learn to see:

1)edges (contours)
2)negative space
3)perspective and proportion and using a basic unit as measurement
4)light and shadow

I think it is important to do all the exercises as it did give me a little more confidence. These are 5 essential skills, and as we m
Tom Luca
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually picked this up because of the title, yeah I was deeply focused and involved in the basics of drawing in those days and sometimes still am, so I thought this would be an interesting read? As it turns out I was right and glad I bought it too, it is amazing!
Betty wrote it very clear, concise and simple to understand especially for the beginner in mind. I like the fun little exercises inside too. And you know what? They really work! Know keep in mind I was just a beginner then and when I
Margaret Chind
As we start our homeschooling journey I am often looking to the future for possible choices for curriculum and resources. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is definitely a resource I plan to keep around. Art is something that has always escaped me. I remember in elementary school there was a teacher who walked around to different classrooms with a cart teaching art, but that is all I remember. I do not remember any of our classes or really learning anything in that situation. I remember doi ...more
Jessica at Book Sake
Regardless if you want to be an artist or not, this book is kind of an interesting read. It delves into the mysteries of the mind. It explores all the roadblocks that the pesky left brain builds to keep us from being the next Leonardo da Vinci.

This is actually the book form of a live, instructional course taught by the writer. So there are mental exercises that are used to strengthen the right brain and force the left brain into the background. This is both a positive and negative. It’s positive
Louisiana Levy
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the best book you could read to improve your skills at drawing. The key being that this book teaches you how to 'see'. In order to draw with accuracy it is necessary to let go of your preconceived notions about what things 'should' look like and using symbols to represent features rather than observing what is actually there. This book is an amazing tool for learning how to work with your own brain and become really observant and powerful artistically. I have seen it make a huge ...more
Randy Lacelle
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has failed at drawing before
Recommended to Randy by: found it in a bookstore
Shelves: art-books, drawing
This book was very helpful to me when I began to really draw. Betty convinces you that you can draw no matter what... maybe part of it is that placebo effect but that never worked for me before :P

Anyways she has alot of good information in the book, she also has some exercises I found helpful in forcing your mind to study a image and each part of it in concordance with other parts to attempt to more accurately depict your drawing. In other words it helps your image stay as close in proportions t
Wesley Harney
I was impressed at first by the book, and I certainly have seen some improvement in my drawing but I think that after I read some critical reviews of the author and how "it is just copying" I became discouraged and became to find fault with the book. I don't disregard it because I have seen myself draw a few things that I never thought I could manage. However, when I'm not doing the specific exercises my drawing is no where near the quality of what the book claimed I should see. I suppose though ...more
Laura Potts
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am glad I read the book and would recommend it to anyone like me. I started pencil drawing about three months ago and have never had any drawing instruction previously. After spending about three weeks with this book, practicing for about 2-3 hours a day, I am now at a skill level where I feel comfortable (dare I say proud) to show my drawings to my friends. I am no longer afraid (out of embarrassment) to sign up for classes with the Art Students' League! ...more
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful and informative. Really helped me approach drawing. Something I always wanted to try, but was afraid I was no good at. This book was a gift from my more artistic daughter, and she was very thoughtful to give it to me. Following the author's exercises, really helped me learn how to approach drawing. I won't say I'm great at it, but I do enjoy what I can do. As my daughter told me, you have to practice to get better. The author's approach was quite doable. Thumbs up! ...more
This book was recommended to me by an art teacher.

Yes, I was fascinated by art, love photography and crafts. But felt I was unable to competently draw. I had given up even trying to draw, even though I had enjoyed art and drawing as a child.

I love the realization that everyone, even you and me, has the ability and talent to draw - to be artistic. This book will help you to connect with this side of yourself that is often dormant or hidden.

This is a wonderful journey into the brain! Read the boo
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