Book Review: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain cover imageSince debuting in 1979, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain has been guiding people on how to improve their seeing skills in order to improve their drawing skills. I know art teachers who use it as well as friends who like to draw. We own a copy of the third edition, and we used it to encourage creativity and drawing skills with both our daughters as they were growing up.

So I was excited when I heard that a fourth edition was being released with new revisions and updates more than a decade after the book I owned was published. Author Betty Edwards has a way of teaching through step-by-step instructions that can help anyone who believes she is just not good at drawing.

Features in the new, updated edition include a section on recent research that shows how “scribbling” in early childhood is linked to language acquisition. There’s also a new chapter that talks about using the “five basic perceptual skills of drawing”—seeing edges, negative spaces, perspective and proportion, lights and shadows, and the gestalt—to address issues in all areas of life, not just art and drawing.

Edwards says in Chapter 1, “I firmly believe that given good instruction, drawing is a skill that can be learned by every normal person with average eyesight and average eye-hand coordination.” Then she sets about giving that good instruction. It’s hard to go wrong keeping a copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain handy in your home and giving it as gifts to friends. It is available in both hardcover and paperback (my preference because it lies open on a table so you can easily reference it while you draw).

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review.


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