Connect to Nature – Weekend Art Challenge

18.04.2020

Non- dominant hand drawing!

A few years ago I decided to teach myself to draw. I come from an artistic family, but writing has always been my strength. I love art and particularly abstract art, but decided that I wanted to learn mark making and the technicalities of observational drawing in order to improve my technique.

A very brilliant artist friend recommended this book.

It’s a 1970’s classic which I have been working my way through over time and have to say that my drawing skills have improved immensely. The thing I really love about this book more than anything is that it has taught me to observe properly. I have moved from drawing what I think I see to what I actually see, which is a huge step in observational drawing.

So the following technique is taken from the book. The idea is to loosen up the freedom of movement in our mark making, and also to begin observing correctly what we see in front of us.

So ….here are the steps.

1. Find something interesting to draw. It could be something from a natural space, although if you don’t have access to that, a piece of fruit or veg will do just as well.

2. Taking a blank piece of paper and a pencil, use your non dominant hand to draw an outline of the object and any patterns you can see emerging across the shape. Here is the really important part – try not to look at the paper while you are drawing. Instead focus on the object and imagine that your hand is tracing the outline and lines of the shapes that you can see.

3. When you have practised this two or three times repeat the excercise, this time use your dominant hand. See what happens. Only glance down at your paper to help with reference points of where one line starts and another finishes.

When I draw like this I often find that the non-dominant hand drawings create really beautiful shapes and abstract patterns. The photos included at the top show some of the before and after drawings produced using this technique at the St Nicks drawing class. I particularly like the birds nest, the more free nest (which is my favourite) was produced during a non-dominant hand exercise.

I hope you have fun with this task. I would love to see your results – you can email them to me at e.mckenzie1@yorksj.ac.uk I will include any drawings I receive in next Saturdays Art Challenge post.

With best wishes,

Emma

  1. I saw a grass emerald moth yesterday. So beautiful. Grass Emeralds Opalescent blue wings Flicker Between Sea green stems Great…

Published by Emma

Hi my name is Emma! I am a writer and artist. I work for the NHS at Converge (www.yorksj.ac.uk/converge) and I am also an MA graduate in Creative writing and am currently studying for a PhD in Humanities. I have been leading a creative writing class at the beautiful St Nicks in York (www.stnicks.org.uk) for the last five years. When I am not at work I'm on my allotment or at Base Camp (my home) planning new adventures.

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