Art & Communication

Art & Communication

When you see in a special way in which experienced artists see, then you can draw.
–Betty Edwards

After getting an “F” in art at 8th grade, I’ve always avoided art. Getting an “F” was like told “you f*ck at ‘art’ and you should never even mention the term ever again!”
But what I experienced a couple of months ago totally blew me off. It changed my perceptions of the way I see art and the way now I see the world.
First, I would like you to see my picture of my “artistic” right hand I drew the other day. Yes, I can hear you! “What the hell? What’s that mummy hand doing here? You really deserve an ‘F’.” But I tell you. A miracle happens the next day…
Before the “miracle,” the quote above is from the book “Drawing from the right side of the brain” written by Betty Edwards.

OK. Now see the picture I drew the very next day. Yes, this is hard to imagine. Same person writing the same thing within 24 hours. I was in quite of a shock after finish drawing it and seeing it for myself.

Edwards says that she had been constantly frustrated by her student’s drawings when she was teaching a drawing class for a high school. When assigned a task to the students, such as drawing a vase with an orange in front of it, students continuously misplaced the orange. She wondered why students couldn’t see exactly what it was in front of them. One day, as frustrated with a particular student, she asked the student “Why not draw upside down instead of right side up?” and made the student replicate a drawing done by Picasso and thus a Picasso was born!
Edwards asked the student “Why couldn’t you draw when it was right side up and done such good work when the drawing was upside down?” and was shocked with the response “I didn’t know what I was drawing till I finished drawing it.” Edwards says that this was her “epiphany,” suddenly realizing that the way artist view things are very different from what non-artists see.

Artists, for example when writing a hand, do not think of what they are seeing as a “hand.” They see them as an object created by edges and spaces. And they draw the “object” accurately just the way they see it. Non-artists, on the other hand, view this as “hand.” And the perceived notion of “hands should be this way” while drawing confuses them throughout the drawing process. I think this is a Nobel Prize class discovery.

When I was writing my second sketch, I first the notion that I was drawing a hand and stared at an edge of my thumb. I even took time to erase my thoughts that it was a finger I was about to draw. After succeeding to do this, I just followed the edges and spaces slowly for 30 minutes until I felt I drew the whole thing. And and only then, I looked at the whole picture, amazed.
This is a really good example of changing mindsets that I’ve been writing about for the past year (in my Japanese blog) for communication.
When you can see in a special way in which good communicators do, then you begin to communicate.
–Masafumi Otsuka

Yes, I’m a copy cat but I truly believe this!

Posted by Masafumi Otsuka

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