Book study: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (Day 7)

On 7 March, 2013 by eraza


Tonight I read another chapter in the book. This one was all about the different developmental stages that we go through as children.

I have always had an interest in why people do what they do so reading about stuff like this is always enjoyable to me.

The book was talking how kids start out drawing at around the age of 1.5 when they first hold a pencil or other implement and make marks on paper (or books, or tablets, or the walls!) and how at this point it’s just fun and interesting to make these marks. Then later, around the age of 2-3 the scribbles start getting noticeable features like eyes. And it is at this point that the left brain half really starts to influence our drawing as we slowly start turning everything into symbols. Later on around age 7 the genders divide where boys start drawing cars and warfare and heroes while girls tend to draw milder things like flowers, horses (and other creatures) and people wearing specific clothes.

At the age of 10 our interests really take off alongside our artistic skill and for many this is where the peak of their ability in art remains as this is when realism really starts becoming a burning necessity to many. It is at this stage where your artistic eye and your artistic ability start spreading widely apart and even though you see things you can’t express them onto paper. The ensuing frustration leads most people to stop drawing all together (other than the occasional doodle on post-its).

The chapter went into much more than the above, this was just my little excerpt.

During the chapter the author showed examples of children’s landscapes as they grew older. She then asked the reader to try to remember just how they used to draw landscapes as a child and to employ the same symbols and marks as best they could. This is what I remembered doing from my childhood:

Day 7 - Recalled childhood landscape


Even though I didn’t live in a home like this when I was a kid, we didn’t have a circular window above the door cross frames in our windows, this is how I remember drawing my house as a child. When I really try to remember the circular window I seem to recall an institution I lived in for a little while before moving in with my grand parents, perhaps that’s where this totally out of place window came from. I also used to put the standard circular hole in the singular tree as so many others did, again, not sure why.

Come to think of it, so many kids do these symbols in the exact same or very similar ways. I wonder why that is. Culture and upbringing certainly plays a part, I draw a line with a droop at the end of it to symbolize a handle on the door where many Americans would probably draw a circle to represent a doorknob instead, however, so many of the same base shapes and elements repeat in children’s drawings from different cultures, especially the damn tree with the circular hole! I may have to research this question one day.

After finishing the drawing the author asked a series of questions. Did you recall exactly what symbols you used for the different elements as a kid? Did it come back to you quickly? Did you know exactly where to place the different things? Did everything have its own place and did the composition turn out balanced? Did you feel the same enjoyment drawing as you did when you were a child? Was it easy to suddenly say the image was finished and being happy with your result?

To all of these questions I immediately answered yes (except for the last one, I remember hating my drawings when I was a kid as they were never good enough) and letting out a loud laugh as I realized just how happy sitting down for 2 minutes and doing the simplest drawing, using the simplest shapes and elements was compared to my usual drawings these days. At the time I was talking to a friend on a Google hangout and told him about it, he laughed and said that he agreed and that he was so happy when he didn’t have to worry about all the details and could just draw for the sheer joy of it. I wish I felt like that every time I did a drawing, instead I feel like I am the biggest joke in the world and I should just stop then and there. Hasn’t stopped me from continuing though!

This ended up being a much wordier post than I had planned. That’s me done for now.

Next chapter will be on contour lines I think!



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