October 17, 2011

How To Draw (This Is Not An Article About How To Draw)

junie b jones-park.JPG

easier then it looks

"Some people have it, some people don't."

The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence is a famous drawing book which uses the insights of neuroscience to improve drawing skills.  (Here's how recent the insights are: the author's name is Betty Edwards.)

Nevertheless, this is an outstanding book that everyone should read once, regardless of your interest in drawing.

Given my awareness of the biases and cognitive shortcuts that make our lives easier yet sabotage us, I was surprised that I didn't naturally appreciate what makes people/me terrible at drawing: reliance on cognitive shortcuts, i.e. symbols.

If I were to draw a person, I would draw a circle, then two smaller eye ovals, a triangle nose, and double line for a mouth, then tubes for arms and legs.  Hence, all my drawings look like they belong on a refrigerator.  But that's "how I draw": head= circle, eyes=ovals, legs=cylinders.  An example from a children's book I started a long time ago:


refusing the call 548px.png

And cave=tunnel.

Edwards calls this the "tyranny of the symbol system" because it dictates to us, forces our hand to draw symbols rather than what we see. 

But it isn't simply that we draw using these symbols; we perceive using them as well.  I don't bother to see the actual shape of a head because it was never important to; in order to see it for what it really is, I need to practice my perception.  It is easy for me to see a news story as a manufactured construct, but it never occurred to me I was seeing every day objects wrong.  My tilted computer monitor isn't a rectangle; it's a trapezoid.

So "draw what you see" requires practice perceiving things correctly: without the aid of your symbols.  So lesson 1: draw something upside down.

Stravinsky-picasso.jpgFocus on the lines, not on what you think it is.

Symbolic drawing also impairs depth perception, angles, sizes, overlaps.  Hold up your hand and point your fingers at your face.  How would you draw that?  Five long tubes? But in 2D, they're actually irregular stumps.

To relearn perception, Edwards says to hang a piece of glass (or use a window) and place your hand on the other side, close one eye (finally, being a pirate pays off) and draw the outlines you see. 


hand glass.JPG



It will feel weird, because you'll want the pencil to go "in" to the glass. Instead, you'll have to draw the line in an unnatural direction that will feel wrong.  But practice this exercise enough times and you'll see things differently all the time, you'll be able to switch back and forth between 3D and 2D and witness the impact of perspective in your every day life.  Edwards includes the following letter from Van Gogh:

I remember quite well, now that you write about it, that at the time when you spoke of my becoming a painter, I thought it very impractical and would not hear of it. What made me stop doubting was reading a clear book on perspective, Cassange's Guide to the ABC of Drawing; and a week later I drew the interior of a kitchen with stove, chair, table and window - in their places and on their legs - whereas before it had seemed to me that getting depth and the right perspective into a drawing was witchcraft or pure chance.


II.

Though this is a book about drawing, Edwards includes the following quote from George Orwell:

In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been visualizing you probably hunt about until you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one's meaning as clear as one can through pictures and sensations.

There is a controversy about whether language expresses thought or creates thought.  I don't know.  But I do know that language offers a feeling of certainty and masks ignorance

Your explanation of why Obama or Bush are terrible Presidents are the equivalent of my drawing of a person, the difference is that you can see how my symbolic drawing results in a poor representation of reality, but you are unaware of how your explanations are just as primitive.  Take a look at how many times you use a stock phrase or someone else's words ("in my opinion" "it's long been held", "tax and spend" "war of aggression" "fiscal discipline",  etc).  Cut those out and see what's left.  But you'll use more words to cover your revealed ignorance.  The problem isn't that you can't express yourself well, the problem, as in drawing, is that you did not perceive well.  You relied on symbols, and they made you feel knowledgeable.

No surprise that many "geniuses" report seeing their tasks in two modalities, like the physicist who has a mental image of what the equations represent or the writer who hears his words as music.  And when one is stuck at a thought or an emotion, it is helpful to translate pictures into words and words into pictures. (1)

III.


Next lesson: negative space.  When you draw a chair, your mind is focused on the shape of the chair, but as this is a 2D drawing the spaces in between the chair are just as real.  You should be able to draw a chair by drawing everything else but the chair:


chair-negative.jpg

This forces you to pay attention to the shape of the negative space, and also the contents of the negative space.

The analogy to media images is to "see" what isn't there: how is the story constructed out of what is not shown?  A typical media maneuver is to show a story without showing you the media itself, because seeing it tells a different story.  So as much as this looks cool and makes you feel a certain way:

110610-JonesPhoto-hmed-0110p.grid-6x2.jpg

it really looks like this:


gal_raiders_10.jpg


Which doesn't make you feel that kind of way anymore.

You know this, but willingly unknow it to enjoy the movie.  But we also willingly unknow that this same setup exists when they're interviewing the President or getting footage of a protest.  The top picture doesn't just leave some things out, it leaves almost everything out except one tiny part.  The top picture's focus is Indy; what is the bottom picture's focus?

Looking at the bottom picture, try drawing Indy as the product of negative space only.  Did you consequently notice the guy behind the idol?


IV.

I've only covered a third of the book, but the three lessons discussed here-- drawing an inverted image, drawing a hand on a glass plate, and drawing the negative spaces are sufficient to improve your drawing immensely.

But I wanted to conduct an experiment.



junie attempt 1.jpg
pre-test



An 8 year old girl with Tourette's "copied" the cover of the Junie B. Jones book as part of a book report.  Even the slug and the rabbit are unhappy about how they turned out.  My experiment was: could she draw better after practicing those three exercises (inverted drawing, hand behind glass, negative spaces)? 

This is the first attempt after practicing the exercises:

junie attempt 2.jpgattempt 1



You can already see the improvement.  Notably, she is trying to draw what she sees, and not relying on the default symbolic drawing that gets you slugs and rabbits.  But she's not entirely free of the symbolic: the legs and arms are still spaghetti tubes that bend unnaturally; Jim's left hand is not bad but his right hand is still a childish heuristic.  This happened not because arms are harder to draw than faces, but because arms are less important to her than faces and so she fell back on the symbolic. 

Back to the exercises.  Finally:

junie b attempt 3.jpgattempt 2


I realize this looks like the final, polished result, but it is actually only the third time the girl ever drew this picture; there were no other attempts.  Note that it is all free hand pencil outline, with no mistakes (except one, behind Meanie Jim's head.)  It's an amazing improvement.  She is drawing what she sees.

I'd consider this experiment a success, but there is one more thing that makes it all the more significant and the real point of the experiment.  If the problems of drawing are not technical skill but cognitive-- if it is truly a problem of perception and not manual dexterity or talent-- then the real work has to be done by the mind, not the hand.  In other words, in order to become a better drawer, she shouldn't need to practice drawing, she needs to practice seeing.

So I made her practice the three Edwards exercises in her head.  She never drew her hand using a glass pane; she stared at her posed fingers, and imagined how her pencil would move across an imaginary glass pane.

So what you are seeing is not her third attempt at drawing Junie B Jones and Meanie Jim; it is the third time she touched the pencil.

I will point out a tremendous secondary benefit to self-esteem, and now that she knows how to draw, she wants to draw, reinforcing the maxim that the best way to get a child to like doing something is to make sure they are good at doing it.

I wonder how well someone might learn any skill if they imagine practicing the skill.  It might not be as good as actual practice, but how not as good is it?



1. A common misunderstanding about Freudian dream interpretation is that the dream images are explained using words, i.e. "I dreamt of a cigar, and a cigar is a symbol for penis."  Dream images may be metaphors and rebuses for unconscious thoughts, but the descriptions of dreams are themselves metaphors and placeholders.  Example:

"In my dream I saw Tom go over to Sally who was wearing a really bright white shirt." 
What comes to mind when you think about the shirt?
"Just that it was so bright." 
What comes to mind when you think of the word, "bright"?
Bright?  'Smart', I guess.... 









Comments

This is great. I've played ... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 12:48 PM | Posted by Brett Crudgington: | Reply

This is great. I've played piano for years under the assumption that one has to "practice the instrument" and get comfortable with the manual dexterity of fingers and "muscle memory" required of learning pieces. Through better and deeper training I have rejected this approach as it is artificial and blocks the real creative insights one can have in a musical realm. My practicing has since been way focused on getting my fingers and hands to respond to my imagination, and the work becomes not a matter of rote practice, but of getting my body to cooperate with the material that is already within my imagination. An HUGE emphasis on rhythm is necessary, as that is the seat of musical intuition - the notes themselves will make themselves apparent once the body can reverberate with the rhythms in your imagination.

To link with this post: its not about the fingers, its about perception. What are you perceiving? Everything should come from there.

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It's a cliche for musicians... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 1:18 PM | Posted by Karen Myers: | Reply

It's a cliche for musicians that imaginary practice really does work for improving muscle "motor memory". The biggest weakness is lack of aural feedback to verify that the finger motions are not in error.

Similar to your example, one wonders how much better her mental practice would have been if she should have touched the pencil for visual feedback.

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A great article about this ... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 2:15 PM | Posted by Kenny: | Reply

A great article about this same trick, but for thinking or debating (with words) more generally: http://lesswrong.com/lw/nu/taboo_your_words/

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I wonder how, or if, these ... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 2:17 PM | Posted by TheUnderwearBandit: | Reply

I wonder how, or if, these techniques could be applied to help a child improve their math skills?

Thoughts anyone?

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What a fantastic experiment... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 3:04 PM | Posted by Mae: | Reply

What a fantastic experiment. I have the book, never used it, but am fascinated by how her technique improved, mostly through visualization. (Sheesh...what are we, going toward New Ageyness now? Maybe....)

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@ TheUnderwearBandit... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 3:45 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

@ TheUnderwearBandit

I wonder the same thing for adults. Most people in general have horrendous math skills.

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I took the class-of-the-boo... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 5:09 PM | Posted by Mark Atwood: | Reply

I took the class-of-the-book from the author's son a few years ago. It's four intensive days of "practice". Said "practice" is just having each concept shown to us, and then spending some time actually doing it. It's an awesome experience, four days later, and less than dozen sheets of paper later, being able to draw a professional-level portrait of yourself and two of your classmates, which at the start of the class, most all of us drew about as well as the #1 picture in this blog post.

In a world full of people and orgs who over-promise and under-deliver, Brian Bomeisler and he DotRSotB class is a shining exception.

I'm sorry that this comment sounds like it's written by a paid shill. Maybe it's my over-exposure to paid shills and corporate marketing-speak that it's actually hard to strongly recommend something awesome without using their language.

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Here is my own personal "be... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 5:14 PM | Posted by Mark Atwood: | Reply

Here is my own personal "before and after" skills demo from the class-of-the-book:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fallenpegasus/3410697916

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I think that you guys are w... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 5:26 PM | Posted by noob: | Reply

I think that you guys are way over-estimating the importance of the manifest content of this post (which is still great, btw).

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Was going to post exactly t... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 5:34 PM | Posted, in reply to Kenny's comment, by sdenheyer: | Reply

Was going to post exactly this. Just to reinforce - this is the way you make "someone else's" words your own.

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Re: MathAnecdotall... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 5:52 PM | Posted, in reply to TheUnderwearBandit's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Re: Math

Anecdotally, I've been trying to brush up my math for a few months now, and I find it definitely helps to tether the numbers to reality. Example: in probability, I start by drawing a rectangle and distributing probabilities by partitioning the space inside. It definitely helps with keeping priors and conditionals straight (and so on), and my performance on practise problems did actually go up, even with a significant time lapse between learning the concept and applying it.

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I have been playing the vio... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 6:07 PM | Posted, in reply to Brett Crudgington's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I have been playing the violin for a few years now. I started on a whim, and I still suck. My uncle, a bassist, has given similar advice to you about the importance of rhythm, but for some reason I can't seem to get with it fully. I feel like there's something blocking my soul from doing what it wants, or that I don't approve of what comes to mind. As an experiment I tried thinking up a rhythm to go along with inside my head but everything I thought of was rejected as being not good enough.

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Maybe not related that much... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 7:59 PM | Posted by gatekeeper: | Reply

Maybe not related that much to the post, but while reading the material ("Taboo Your Words", specifically) I detected and interesting bias within my thinking. Remember the scene from "Thank you for smoking" where the kid is writing an essay about "Why USA has the best government in the country?"(1) ? So, obviously, the question is invalid, so let's try to brew a valid one. How about this one: "Which country in the world has the best govt and why?"(2). Seems valid enough to you? If so, read on.
Let's examine the property in question ("best govt"). I say: "This property is fundamentally impossible to prove". Do you agree? If so, read on.
Back to questions: the only difference between questions 1. and 2. is that the second one allows you to choose the subject, while the first doesn't. Seriously, that's the only difference - after all we all agreed that the property is not provable. Both questions are equally invalid. *)
Finally, the bias is this: "If something gives more freedom, it seems to make more sense."
Just a semi-random thought. Or maybe not... after all the post isn't about drawing at all... See things how they are not how you want them to be, I guess.

*) Of course arguments used in the essay may be useful, but the answers will be fundamentally useless. If you want the arguments, you should simply ask the kid: "What traits do you think a good government should have?". Now... he really needs to have an opinion.

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absolutely fascinating....b... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 9:31 PM | Posted by liz: | Reply

absolutely fascinating....blocks to creative energy come at us from all angles...

http://pocketshrink.blogspot.com

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As someone who naturally dr... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 10:29 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

As someone who naturally draws very well, and has also spent time wondering why I can do this and everyone else is terrible, I both agree and disagree with the notion that you can improve drawing with altering perceptions. Certainly a lack of perception / an inattentiveness is a reason people draw as poorly as they do... but I tend to think this is effect rather than cause. People default to gross symbols BECAUSE they lack the mental ability to art. Think about it: if you, by brain development, fail at the ability to create t hings visually, how might you approach a task of drawing? Well, you'll take shortcuts precisely because your brain is a big void.

This is sort of how people with alzheimers will confabulate memories when they are asked to tell us what they did this morning. If there is a big hole in your head where your memories should be, but you are being asked to complete a memory based task, don't be surprise when your brain is like "throw any old shit in there, whatever, I have no idea, it's all the same as I have lost the ability to recall recent events; maybe its true".

So it is with genetically artistically untalented people and drawing.
Task: "Draw this face"
*Brain defaults to regions responsible for artistic creation*
*Comes back wholely inadequately due to mental artistic deficiency*
*Hand takes pencil, plots down circle, two dots, horozontal line, vertical line, symbolic representations of a face, as there is no ability to actually create one*


If you then remove the ability to reference symbols (draw this upside down face of nonsensical lines), the drawing ability will improve and be maximized, because you shortcut your symbols. The person is forced to pay attention to the lines and relationships between them, vs just saying "I can't do this, I'll just draw a square or something".


However, the reason these exercises really don't work is because you are NOT creating artistic talent, you are merely maximizing your lack of talent. By eliminating the various things people do to cope with not being artistically talented, you maximize your potential... but you will never be a good artist.

This is sort of how, if I stand on my tip toes, I maximize my height potential, but I will never be as tall as a 6'5 basketball star.

I have never heard of a case where a person was grossly untalented, and via "effort" gained the ability to see and perceive and trick themselves into being able to produce highly accurate charcoal drawings, or rich watercolor and pastel drawings, or sculptures, or any of the things naturally artistic people can easily do without any special training or effort, other than practicing what they were born with talent to do.

It's a very stupid and capitalist/american idea to faith like believe that the difference between talented people and average/untalented people, is mere perspective + practice.

It's training to get us to accept our slavery to corporate masters and the disproportionate #s of billionaires who live here, leech off our labor.
Because, one day, you can fly to the moon if you blink and think and practice and wish for it.

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Or, the shorter version...<... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 10:35 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Or, the shorter version...

In america, and western culture in general, it has become out of style to admit some people are talented/ingelligent, whereas others are untalented/stupid. Books / ideas like this are the result. It is very much related to narcissism, as it answers the common irrational desire so many people have to be special/stars, grandiosely faith like believing they can do anything they set their mind to do, no matter how ridiculous.

If you suck at violin, its because you suck at violin; practicing will make you suck less, but you'll never be talented, no one will ever want to hear you play.

I have no problem accepting the things I am terrible at, I fail to see why others have this problem, I can only imagine it is related to the grotesque egocentricity of most people today.

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This is awesome.I ... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 10:55 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

This is awesome.

I think the idea of this post really fits with the Last Psychiatrist posts on how you can change your performance by pretending that you are someone else, an expert: what would the expert do?

Like DOTRSOTB, a simple exercise, but for some reason not obvious, and powerful at changing outcomes.

What does the pharmaceutical company want to be real?

In 2007, Qaseem et al put out a review of antidepressants. This was duly covered in the media:

"New Antidepressant Guidelines: All Work the Same, But Some Pricier Than Others"

Typical coveage here:
http://news.health.com/2008/11/17/antidepressant-guidelines-efficacy-price/

At least the Qaseem article gives a brief mention of talk therapy, which is 1. equally effective, 2. what people want, and 3. does not notably have "suicide" and "depression" listed as side effects.

I might have blogged abt it. If I did, I was the only person to note, "Why are they talking abt drugs at all?"

There is a fair amt of depression-treatment preference literature out there. We educated, white, middle-class ppl prefer medication more than low income, or R/E minorities.

The mainstream media speaks to us. We share this view of the world, and so we believe in the endless variety of cleaning products in the grocery store, and in the endless variety of pill bottles.

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"It's a very stupid and cap... (Below threshold)

October 17, 2011 11:51 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Snow: | Reply

"It's a very stupid and capitalist/american idea to faith like believe that the difference between talented people and average/untalented people, is mere perspective + practice.

It's training to get us to accept our slavery to corporate masters and the disproportionate #s of billionaires who live here, leech off our labor."

Isn't the opposite true? Fostering the belief that most people can get much better (at most things) with practice and effort discourages one's acceptance of corporate slavery, and propels one to reach for more. However, if we are just what we are, and there isn't real possibility of becoming much better, wouldn't it mean that we deserve to be corporate slaves? If, as you suggest, I am innately unable to do the things that I currently can't do well, wouldn't it mean that all I'm good for IS labor?

I'm not suggesting that it's true, just pointing out that this is where your line of thinking leads. In fact, I have no idea what are the sources of ability and in what part each of them contributes. However, I once read a book that's pretty interesting. It's called Talent is Overrated, and it claims that mastery comes from 10,000 hours of practice.

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Drawing "from life" is a sk... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 1:09 AM | Posted by Karen Myers: | Reply

Drawing "from life" is a skill that can be developed, which is commonly short-circuited by symbolic substitution, as described above. Success in this task is defined as reasonably accurate representation. That has nothing to do with art. Architects and engineers commonly must master this skill, but many are not artists even in an amateur sense.

I do photography, not drawing/representation, and while I can "see artistically" within a photographic composition, I can not draw artistically -- it's a creative vision I lack.

On the other hand, I have plenty of native musical talent and am a natural at several forms, though not technically proficient enough to be a serious musician. I "understand" and consequently produce music in a way that I do not produce visual representation. My husband, who enjoys music but can not produce it, has over time learned how to render ("sing" would be too charitable) a tune sufficiently well that I can identify it for him. This is a skill he has learned which has nothing to do with musical talent.

I understand the method of acquiring technical skill at life drawing (lacking the direct perception), but I have too much innate musical sense to understand how my husband has acquired what technical skill he has to produce a recognizable tune -- some variant of applied prosody, perhaps. It matches my experience to believe that innate perception in one of these areas blocks understanding of how to imitate it technically only.

As a young math whiz I did a lot of math tutoring to my peers in grade school/high school and became convinced that it was very hard to teach esp. geometric proof concepts to folks who could not come at the problems with innate perception. It was always perception first, for direction, then applied methods for proof, for me. Trying to approach it without the perception was very difficult for them to learn. I could show my students how and why the proofs worked, but not how to come up with them in the first place -- you had to just "see" it.

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As fascinating as some of y... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 4:17 AM | Posted by The Devastator: | Reply

As fascinating as some of your best posts, yet it didn't make me want to kill everyone. I didn't know that was possible. This is like the end of Monster's Inc where they discover they can just make everyone laugh.

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In defence of 'the tyranny ... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 8:08 AM | Posted by Guy Fox: | Reply

In defence of 'the tyranny of the symbol system': that we see things symbolically and not as they are is exactly why humans can solve captchas. We don't see the individual pixels, which are in a messy jumble that stumps computers looking for known patterns, we abstract from the pixels to see the overall image and compare it to other symbols we think we know.

Relating this back to the point that we apprehend political discourse only through symbols, we might also be (a teensy bit) thankful that we can't apprehend it as it actually is. The symbols might be the only things that keep us from despairing.

Good post, though.

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By the way, notice how the ... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 8:21 AM | Posted by gatekeeper: | Reply

By the way, notice how the girl completely missed the third person in the picture? The black one. Might be irrelevant, the girl is just a kid after all, but if *you* only see it now because of my comment...

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That could also be just how... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 9:54 AM | Posted, in reply to gatekeeper's comment, by Guy Fox: | Reply

That could also be just how the picture has been clipped. In the first drawing, you get only the two kids on the right (I think), and in the second, you only get the two kids on the left (pretty sure). It could just be that the images were clipped that way.

The text in the first image and the chair back in the second make it clear that they have, in fact, been clipped.

Why they were clipped as they were is something you'd have to ask the clipper.

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It's beyond sad that someon... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 3:05 PM | Posted by Doug Merritt: | Reply

It's beyond sad that someone ranted about elitist reasons why Edward's technique doesn't work, when it *does* work, as evidenced by examples in the article and in the comments.

She first published over 30 years ago, and her book's methods have been tested many thousands of times, and it's widely known that they work.

Although she developed these ideas independently, something similar happened in the sports community. A Stanford research project with a control group in the early 1970s found that sharply superior results cam from, instead of the traditional keep-practicing (including practicing mistakes) beginners watching film clips of perfectly executed sports exercises (originally springboard diving, later gol and others) did best when tested after some months.

This was commercialized for a while, but my understanding is that the techniques simply started to pervade professional sports training (not sure about whether they managed to make in-roads in things like high schools).

Betty Edward's methods similarly have revolutionized art instruction; it's not like she's some lone crackpot.

I am not aware of anything similar being applied to math and other abstract subjects, nor what the closest analogy there would be, for that matter.

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"Think about it: if you, by... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 3:28 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Sfon: | Reply

"Think about it: if you, by brain development, fail at the ability to create t hings visually, how might you approach a task of drawing? Well, you'll take shortcuts precisely because your brain is a big void."

Or you could spin it like so: if you, by brain development, fail at the ability to create things abstractly, how might you approach a task of drawing? Well, you'll copy the literal image precisely because your brain is a big void.

This is seen in the thinking of men vs women, conservative vs liberal, favorite color A vs favorite color B, et cetera. It can be spun either way, just start with the assumption that the difference is due to inferiority on their part and go.

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duh/yes/finally/thanks... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 4:03 PM | Posted by mmgutz: | Reply

duh/yes/finally/thanks

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What a deliciously good art... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 7:11 PM | Posted by Christian: | Reply

What a deliciously good article. I've always been ashamed of drawing, but it's a skill I'd love to have. This may have been the blog post to finally push me to try/practice.

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"If you suck at violin, its... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 9:05 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by MusicalNoise: | Reply

"If you suck at violin, its because you suck at violin; practicing will make you suck less, but you'll never be talented, no one will ever want to hear you play.

I have no problem accepting the things I am terrible at, I fail to see why others have this problem, I can only imagine it is related to the grotesque egocentricity of most people today."

Absolute, 100% nonsense. I'm a professional musician, and teacher, and I can assure you that the difference between the "talented" students and the "untalented" students is that the talent of the "talented" is an ability to magically, effortlessly assimilate and play music - the "talent" is a taste for diligent, focused, year-in, year-out practice. This is probably why "prodigies" generally don't have careers - things come easily at first, and when things get difficult, as they inevitably do, they realize their passion is not for the hard work, it is for the reward.

I have no doubt you are satisfied with your shortcomings, and that you don't understand people who are not like you. This is actually the very definition of egocentricity.

Whoever is playing music out there: do not stop, under any circumstances. Music - performance and participation - is something that is part of everyone, no matter how hard the music industry insists otherwise. It is far, far too important to be left to left to professionals, and I am one.

Do not listen to mediocrities who insist you "suck". Sing, play the triangle, do anything. Music will tie you to others and teach you things about yourself in a way that nothing else will. If I had to choose between the relationships and meaning music has given me and my ability to make a living at it I would give up the living without even thinking about it.

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...that should have read "i... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 9:07 PM | Posted, in reply to MusicalNoise's comment, by MuscicalNoise: | Reply

...that should have read "is NOT an ability to magically..." etc.

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"I realize this looks like ... (Below threshold)

October 18, 2011 11:23 PM | Posted by someone: | Reply

"I realize this looks like the final, polished result, but it is actually only the third time the girl ever drew this picture; there were no other attempts."

Bullshit.

"So I made her practice the three Edwards exercises in her head. She never drew her hand using a glass pane; she stared at her posed fingers, and imagined how her pencil would move across an imaginary glass pane.

So what you are seeing is not her third attempt at drawing Junie B Jones and Meanie Jim; it is the third time she touched the pencil."

Even more bullshit. What are you trying to do here? Are you trying to determine how gullible people are? If so, how does that relate to whatever point you're trying to make? Did you post this while drunk? I don't get it.

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That would be a correct ass... (Below threshold)

October 19, 2011 2:07 AM | Posted, in reply to Sfon's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

That would be a correct assessment, you dummie. Why would you assume I would disagree with you? People who lack the ability to draw symbolic representations of things/ideas are socially retarded and suffer with abstraction. This is obvious. This is why some autistic children are BRILLIANT artists, but only when they rote copy what they see. The reason autistic children are frequently savants in replicating visual images, is because autism features an extreme deficiency in symbolic/emotional/social thinking, and there may be abnormal mental development on the right side of the brain (aiding in visual / artistic ability). End result: the ability to perfectly copy a picture, but lack of ability to understand double meanings of words or intonation of voice, or anything for that matter which is not extremely direct and literal, IF verbal ability even exists.

See, the difference between myself (a non-egocentric non-child) and the lot of you (grandiose children who never realized the kindergarten "i love me I am great" speech was bullshit), is that I have NO problem accepting my shortcomings and pointing out the things I am horrible at.

Most artistic people can fluctuate between life-like study drawings as well as creative abstraction. This is because artistic talent is not as simple as a few tricks that can be taught in a book, it is innate ability + practice/opportunity.

I don't know why the idea of innate talent went out of style. Sorry, you are not the best/capable of/everything. If you draw stick figures, you'll never be a good artist no matter how much you try.


I love how some of these idiots are trying to posit practice against talent, as if these were dichotomous. This is a red herring, you fools, and only a moron would argue that talent means practice doesn't matter. What I AM arguing, is that talent is a necessary prerequisite to be ... talented! All the effort, books, tricks and trying in the world will NOT un-do your stick figure ways. You'll never draw anywhere near as good as I can, or my parents could, or my grandparents, because you lack the genetics that shaped our brains giving us this ability. You will improve your lack of talent, but you will still lack talent.

I will NEVER be a good mathematician, no matter how much I study and try to learn, I lack the intrinsic brain structure required to excel in math. My mind is incapable of this, just like I cannot easily utilize my left hand for fine motor behavior, compared to my right. It's about brain wiring, which is genetically controlled, and only modified by environment/ training.

I also agree with someone: I call BIG BULLSHIT that a small child was able to so rapidly improve her drawing ability after just 3 attempts. Maybe an older person with a better attention span, but children by definition lack the ability to easily absorb and call on teaching, which is what you are asking us to believe when you say a child can remember and consciously use the tricks she was taught after just 3 attempts.

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@the music teacher.<p... (Below threshold)

October 19, 2011 2:17 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

@the music teacher.

See my response above. No one is arguing practice is less important than talent, any more than I would argue that having a drivers liscence is less important than having legs/arms to operate a car. I am merely saying that having LIMBS is required if one ever hopes to drive effectively, much in the way having the brain structures IN PLACE to really benefit from practicing is required of "talent". No, we are not all equal, no, not everyone has the ability to be a good artist. After you finish crying, dry your eyes and move on. News flash: life isn't fair equality is a myth.
We can see some people are objectively prettier - a dumpy big nosed girl is never going to be as pretty as the head cheerleader no matter how stylishly she dresses and how positive her personality is and how much she cares for herself, she genetically lacks the physical structures required to be beautiful.

Why, then, do we make ridiculous arguments when it comes to mental abilities, such as "talent is all practice"? You dummie, this is obviously untrue. Here's a clue: the brain is a physical structure, constellation of organs, development of which is overwhelmingly controlled by genes. Some brains are better at certain things than others. Hint hint, this is sort of how some faces are beautiful and some are less so. All the effort in the world cannot equalize a beautiful face to an ugly one.

I would love to hear just one anecdote of a woefully untalented artist, becoming a talented one, merely by "practice".


Note: the third drawing still sucks, it just sucks less. Her ability went from "comically bad", to "averagely bad".

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>I suppose ... (Below threshold)

October 19, 2011 2:20 AM | Posted, in reply to Doug Merritt's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

>

I suppose the reason you do not see this as often in math, is because people who enjoy math tend to be logical, rational, and do not as easily fall for bullshit.

The reason these scams are so often seen in art/music is because people interested in such things are often less logical and therefore believe in silly things like, religion, god, and the magic ability to override the genetic development of your brain via practice/wishful thinking.

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It's amusing how some folks... (Below threshold)

October 19, 2011 8:50 AM | Posted by Karen Myers: | Reply

It's amusing how some folks who are proud of non-autistic behaviors, who therefore by contrast present themselves as socially aware "non-children", require trollish taunts, personal insults, and the cloak of anonymity to argue their case.

Technique without talent is accessible in some artistic fields (e.g., drawing, if not music production or math). Talent has strengths which may be inaccessible to technicians-alone. Talent without technique is often limited in its production, but talent when exercised typically includes a great deal of technique. Technique makes all talent better.

None of this is controversial, surely.

I am not convinced that savant skills shed much light on this. Yes, there are drawing and music and (some forms of) math savants who feature the autistic-spectrum social disorders. I'm not sure, though, that all of them necessarily lack artistic talent. Even to execute a savant-style drawing requires selection and choice (which lines to include, which are superfluous) and the output from some of these folks seems to me to include artistic talent sensibilities.

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To Doug Merritt -- You were... (Below threshold)

October 19, 2011 9:14 AM | Posted by Karen Myers: | Reply

To Doug Merritt -- You were wondering about applying similar technical assists for learning music...

I have been in fiddle classes taught by ear where some of the less talented (those with less innate talent) had difficulty apprehending the musical phrase being taught, that is, they needed to internalize the tune before trying to produce it and found that hard. I've found it helps them to sing the phrases (no matter how poorly they sang), with words if necessary -- that makes the phrase much more concrete for them and allows them to attend to its details so that they can then play it. Somehow singing entrains the tune in the mind.

So, yes, there are ways to help less innately talented musicians acquire better technique.

It's also the case that for ethnic folk music (e.g., Irish) there is a musical grammar and regional set of standard phrase and phrase fragments present, and learning these simply by much exposure and practice (technique) go a long way toward making up for less innate talent, just like learning a language well may not make you a poet but enables your ability to produce "verse" after a fashion.

I agree with MusicalNoise -- the ability to improve at musical production is a pleasure in its own right, with or without a great talent, just as is the ability to improve at drawing. The notion that no "art" is worth practicing if you can't be number one in the field is a vicious soul-destroying lie, fostered by the rise of mass entertainment by specialists. Three generations ago, families and communities entertained themselves and there was a continuity to musical performance that began with the very young and supported talents at all levels.

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This is not an article abou... (Below threshold)

October 19, 2011 11:02 AM | Posted by Rookie: | Reply

This is not an article about drawing...

Dawing... iit's a way to see the real world and interpret it. The article is about perceptions of reality. Instead of using heuristics and symbolic shortcuts, alone is arguing for seeing what really exists without reducing he world to simple interppretations and black and white views. A president. to use one of his examples, is not 'good' or 'bad,' they are a mix of actions, speech, limitations upon their ability to influence the world, succeses, failures and a whole bunch of difficult to simply interpret features and facts. Draw the world through your own interpretations, alone says, but draw it realstically and in a complex way. If yoou draw broad and simple conclusions with your mind on what you want to be true, then yoou're doing the equivalent of drawing the world in stick figures, and judging the world through the eyes of a child...

And even a child can get better in just 3 attempts.

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True, our discussions about... (Below threshold)

October 19, 2011 12:51 PM | Posted, in reply to Rookie's comment, by Karen Myers: | Reply

True, our discussions about technique and talent are a bit off topic.

But the article sets up a dichotomy between representation by symbol and representation by perceived reality and then does a riff on it. I would contend that much of the comment trail has been a testing and validation of that setup.

It's fine as a metaphor, as far as it goes, but it is also artificial and incomplete, as almost all categorization-for-clarification is. Most fundamentally, it assumes that there is a "perceived reality" to set up against symbolic representation, and that's a very problematic concept.

For one thing, most perception doesn't get as far as the conscious mind. Good luck NOT seeing 4 suitably placed unrelated lines on the visual plane as a single rectangle. Your optical mechanisms do quite a bit of preprocessing to make these (sometimes mistaken) shapes stand out. A nice trip down LSD lane will show you how easy it is to impose a certain amount of mental control over these filters and reinterpret the visual field.

There are some other hidden assumptions in the setup. Instructions to "draw the lines you see, not the shapes they represent" presupposes that we will all agree about what constitutes the lines. If you try to draw your hand from life, you must choose which lines are important, and we will not all make identical choices, whatever the underlying reality.

So if you don't buy the severe dichotomy of the example, then this becomes a discussion of relative degrees: more or less symbolic vs more or less neutral perception, not nearly as dramatic or striking. And yet, there's enough there to spark a discussion on technique vs talent, something which humans always find fascinating.

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Karen Myers - Excellent com... (Below threshold)

October 19, 2011 12:57 PM | Posted, in reply to Karen Myers's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Karen Myers - Excellent comment.

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I hope this one makes it to... (Below threshold)

October 20, 2011 12:21 AM | Posted by Eric J: | Reply

I hope this one makes it to your book.

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Outstanding work, TLP. I'm ... (Below threshold)

October 20, 2011 2:34 AM | Posted by LongtimeReader: | Reply

Outstanding work, TLP. I'm a professional cartoonist, and mostly self-taught (my "art lessons" ended in high school). Naturally I have done a lot of thinking about matters of perspective, and negative space, etc, and how artistic techniques apply to other aspects of life. But this analysis is still mind-blowing, to be perfectly honest, and I thank you sincerely for sharing it with all of us.

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How does all of this "seein... (Below threshold)

October 20, 2011 11:34 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

How does all of this "seeing" fit with that post where we had to look at the stereogram, out of focus, until the bottle of rum emerged?

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"Here's a clue: the brain i... (Below threshold)

October 20, 2011 4:45 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by antidrugrep: | Reply

"Here's a clue: the brain is a physical structure, constellation of organs, development of which is overwhelmingly controlled by genes."

Prove it.

And I don't mean rehashing your previous comments in a new and captivating manner. I mean provide objective PROOF: a well-designed observational study involving longitudinal tracking and detailed brain imaging correlates, for example. I'll save you the putative effort: no such evidence exists. And I doubt it ever will. So until (and if) it does, all of your arguments boil down to "I know it in my heart."

Good luck with that.

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Excellent. And yes, so not ... (Below threshold)

October 20, 2011 8:42 PM | Posted by Marcus: | Reply

Excellent. And yes, so not about drawing despite the comments above (sheesh people!)

.... This is about what the fuck are we doing still allowing hazy inexact political, economic, social terms of language, and the over-generalizingly false dichotomies that plague us, ie left v right (I certainly haven't come across purely one nor the other), capitalist and socialist (even banks need bailouts)... and blah blah. And the Theatre that is politics, and the competition that is policy setting, and the sport that is election nights. The symbols abound. Nice nice nice, love this article.

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Alone has iterated this sev... (Below threshold)

October 21, 2011 9:53 AM | Posted by Vidar: | Reply

Alone has iterated this several times: It's about you.

We all know it: It's a long distance between explaining something and it's being understood. First yourself, also because of the loved ones. Then, given honesty and willingness to work, you'll learn what can't be taught.

It's common knowledge: Wisdom isn't collected by means of simple explicit communication. It arise from applying knowledge, being perceptive about the consequences of actions. Experience, being able to recognize and acknowledge others wisdom.

We all agree: actions speaks louder than words. Actions reveal valuable information about you because you're investing. According to what goals are you investing? Who influence your decision-making?

Do you think you truly know?

.........."Looking at the bottom picture, try drawing Indy as the product of negative space only. Did you consequently notice the guy behind the idol?"

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derrida: teh logos is nothi... (Below threshold)

October 21, 2011 1:50 PM | Posted by noob: | Reply

derrida: teh logos is nothing guyz, lol

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"I wonder how well someone ... (Below threshold)

October 21, 2011 10:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"I wonder how well someone might learn any skill if they imagine practicing the skill. It might not be as good as actual practice, but how not as good is it?"

I swear I have seen a article citing an study that tested just this idea. They found that thinking about playing piano is more beneficial than not thinking and not practicing by a significant degree, but not as much as practicing (although this would probably includes thinking about playing the piano, how are you to practice for the purpose of improvement without thinking about it?).

I found the link to the article on Tucker Max's old message board several years ago, and he took it down, so I don't know where this article or study is. Anyone ever seen this and knows where it is?

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It's "than", not "then". <... (Below threshold)

October 22, 2011 1:51 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It's "than", not "then".

No, but seriously I enjoyed this article. It put into words ideas which I did not think could be put into words. Posts like these are why I come here.

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The first thing I thought o... (Below threshold)

October 22, 2011 6:13 PM | Posted, in reply to Brett Crudgington's comment, by Sam: | Reply

The first thing I thought of , reading this, was piano-playing as well. When I used to take lessons and practice more I realized what is sort of being said here: that the essential part of musicianship is the ability to LISTEN, just like the ability to see here. I played for at least a decade without ever really learning to listen, and the sounds I was making were symbolic, sort of, and were only a poor representation of what I imagined. No different from trying to explain an idea in words and only sort-of representing it.
The second thing I thought of was quantum mechanics. Anyone who's studied it might know I mean (regarding the, uh, "rotation" from ideas to words. It's not quite linear, or at least unitary, or invertible. Figuratively. Well, something like that).

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Many of us want to study “h... (Below threshold)

October 22, 2011 10:55 PM | Posted by Maria Adkins: | Reply

Many of us want to study “how to draw”, it’s much more significant to study what to attract. In other phrases, to view and attract what we actually see, rather than what we think we see. When it comes to pulling the people number, therefore allowing go of discovered thoughts and requirement of what the number should look like. This signifies properly following the interplay of variety and lighting, appearance and series, that incorporate to develop the real look of people variety.

how to draw

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There is one thing that bug... (Below threshold)

October 23, 2011 10:28 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

There is one thing that bugs me: this is about _teaching children_ to see reality.

Are we children to you? To you, we obviously are, and you must be dad, then.

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So how does this apply to w... (Below threshold)

October 25, 2011 6:24 AM | Posted by E.K.: | Reply

So how does this apply to writing? Words ARE symbols, the challenge is to, in a sense, use language against itself to dissolve the purely sombolic meaning and make it concrete. Shklovsky was on to it: http://www.vahidnab.com/defam.htm

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Yes, this really is an inte... (Below threshold)

October 25, 2011 7:57 PM | Posted by Madeleine: | Reply

Yes, this really is an interesting post!
Thank you.

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Doc, can you write a post o... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2011 11:35 AM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

Doc, can you write a post on how to motivate yourself?

I just know it won't be like any of those useless "how to motivate yourself" articles that float around the net.

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I must take issue with anon... (Below threshold)

October 29, 2011 8:05 PM | Posted by happylittlemaniac: | Reply

I must take issue with anonymous over your comments about innate talent and the inherent limitations imposed upon the individual by lack thereof.

I've taught music for almost 30,000 hours over 12 years, I am a professional musician (live performance and studio session player) - i've taught blind students, students with physical disabilities of the hands (cerebral palsy etc), autistic and aspergic students. I have come to believe that anyone can develop the appearance of talent, through acquisition of technical skills, the ability to listen, and being empowered to play and enjoy themselves. Based on careful study of my results over the years I cannot admit the existence of "innate talent".
I'm very interested to know why anonymous would wish to argue for his/her limitations. Students with whom i have worked usually engage in this behaviour only if overcoming said limitations would conflict with a deeply held belief in their own inferiority. Discuss.

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Wonderful. Unfortunately I ... (Below threshold)

October 30, 2011 9:39 AM | Posted by Audrey Ingram : | Reply

Wonderful. Unfortunately I have a warped sense of humor and thought of some titles that made me smile, perhaps you did too.

figure drawing

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I think this might be relat... (Below threshold)

October 31, 2011 5:07 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I think this might be related. When remembering numbers, if I try to remember them in sequence, like a phone number, I have trouble remembering without some sort of repetitive practice or writing it out.

However, if I see a number, then later try to remember it by visualizing where I saw it, or by placing it where it needs to go (if I saw it on paper then need to type it into a computer) the visual form of the numbers come back much easier.

Trying to remember the exact sequence or verbally "sounding out" the numbers in my mind usually leaves me with a few numbers changed or transposed.

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Code? Did anyone notice in ... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2011 3:14 PM | Posted by Chuck O: | Reply

Code? Did anyone notice in the drawing of the boy and the cave, above the text are dots over some of the letters. The letters with the dots above them spell out

-R-E-A-T-E-S-T E-V-I-

Anyone who's read this blog for longer than me know if he's ever posted any other pages from this book?

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Very happy to see your arti... (Below threshold)

November 14, 2011 2:08 AM | Posted by hermes bags: | Reply

Very happy to see your article, I am very much to like and agree with your point of view. Thank you for sharing. linmei/comment201111

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I certainly believe this im... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2011 12:14 PM | Posted by ForensicArtist: | Reply

I certainly believe this improvement can come quickly...drawing is about seeing. When I was in high school my art teacher used these techniques, but didn't tell us what he was doing. My drawing improved quickly. The thing is, at some point, some people will plateau. it all depends on mow much they want to work at improving.

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Plato’s “Allegory of the Ca... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2011 6:50 PM | Posted by Bubba Bubbalicious: | Reply

Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” describes a world in which people held in a cave can only extrapolate reality through shadows cast upon a wall. It speaks to the concept of “forms” or ideas that we deduce from the shadows of reality.

In my opinion, this is one of the greatest elucidations of the nature of reality ever written. It’s ideas now come in many forms, none of which are as succinctly clear. We now speak of people’s internal narratives, we speak of mental symbolism or formed judgments clouding the mind, but we are still saying the same thing; the nature of our reality is created within our mind. Our mind does this despite what our senses might actually be showing us.

Because of our brain’s need for abstraction and symbolist reductionism, we all tend to not see things for what they are. This is a necessity for higher thought, memory, recall, abstract projection and logic. In the end, though, it is also a short cut that can make us trapped. It would seem that counselor’s biggest job is talking someone’s mind out of the symbolic story it has created for itself – the one that has caused the actual human to no longer effectively function in the material world we collectively call reality. Even that foundation is debatable since collective reality can be a delusion in itself.

Buddhism places a large emphasis on perceiving things as what they are. One can say that one is in the moment when the senses are directly connected to the spirit and have bypassed the “thinking” mind. Sure this can sound like “new age” drivel, but most have experienced a day as a child just existing in the park or with friends as a total corporeal experience devoid of judgment, symbolism or ambivalent emotion. Like the first time we feel our mother’s skin or when we bike or ski so intensely that all perception and reaction bypass all other thinking.

It would do us all well to step back from reality every once and a while and see things as they are. The scorpion is neither evil nor good. It is just a creature that I shouldn’t let ride on my back – another allegory. The weather is neither good nor bad, but a state of transient equilibrium in which we exist for a time. It should not create your mental state. The people or politicians I hate are simply humans and mortal. They are not in my mind, symbols of them are and those symbolic morality plays drive many Americans insane.

Unfortunately, to obtain this state of seeing without analyzing takes years of practice. Ironically, infants start losing that ability from birth as the analytical mind rules most of our lives until death. The rational mind writes the story, it creates the symbols our pictures and, often, it takes us to our graves without ever showing us the reality of anything. It gives us meaning at the cost of reality. Many psychological issues can be traced to the disconnect between what the senses tell the soul and what the mind tells us is reality.

So simply drawing what you see is something we have to learn now, but we once had that ability before we learned to think too much.

And so I post this on a web site that draws people who like to think :-)

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This is what helps me when ... (Below threshold)

February 9, 2012 3:52 PM | Posted by alyssa: | Reply

This is what helps me when I draw people http://howtofixstuff.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-draw-people.html good fundamentals are very important

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I found a great number of f... (Below threshold)

March 20, 2012 4:51 AM | Posted by cheap jeans: | Reply

I found a great number of fascinating things inside your weblog, specially their discussion. From your a lot of comments in your content, I suppose I am not alone having all of the entertainment below! Keep up the wonderful perform. liulipingcomment201203blog

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Funny how that tunnel looks... (Below threshold)

March 28, 2012 8:39 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Funny how that tunnel looks like a giant vag.

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In terms of film. I worked ... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2012 1:39 PM | Posted by Fitness fanatics: | Reply

In terms of film. I worked in the industry, have studied it for years, and when I go to a theater..I'm seeing the lighting the textures, etc. I don't see the same film that others see -- I'm on the set in my mind. So I guess I'm trying to say that it doesn't ruin it for everyone to see the whole picture..it can empower you and bring about a new type of joy and excitement.

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Very useful info.<a href="h... (Below threshold)

June 13, 2012 4:15 PM | Posted by Seotop-Odessa: | Reply

Very useful info... Keep on posting good news here!

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Oyun Gemisi Oyunlar. En yen... (Below threshold)

July 19, 2012 10:24 AM | Posted by Oyunlar: | Reply

Oyun Gemisi Oyunlar. En yeni ve en güzel oyunlar. Türkiye nin en iyi oyun sitesi.

Oyunlar

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şarkı sözleri, yerli ve yab... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2012 6:38 AM | Posted by şarkı sözleri: | Reply

şarkı sözleri, yerli ve yabancı şarkı sözleri

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şarkı sözleri, yerli ve yab... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2012 6:39 AM | Posted by şarkı sözleri: | Reply

şarkı sözleri, yerli ve yabancı şarkı sözleri...Şarkı Sözleri

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You're right. It becomes co... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2012 5:34 PM | Posted by Rajan: | Reply

You're right. It becomes complicated, but it shouldn't.

What do you see and who do you believe?

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Great comment bubba. ... (Below threshold)

March 4, 2013 9:01 AM | Posted, in reply to Bubba Bubbalicious's comment, by Tajan: | Reply

Great comment bubba.

Alone, for how long did you stock this one? This article is as good as an article gets and I figure you saved it for a special occasion. In any case, thank you for sharing this information.

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Thank you for the very usef... (Below threshold)

March 7, 2013 12:37 PM | Posted by ajinkya: | Reply

Thank you for the very useful insights. I had earlier grappled with the thought of the act of photography - what i include, what i exclude and how it transforms the experience itself.
Here's my blog entry about it. let me know what you think.
http://thejinxedone.blogspot.in/2012/09/beauty-wholly-lies-outside-of-lens.html

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This was made by an 11-year... (Below threshold)

March 31, 2013 7:44 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This was made by an 11-year-old, and is probably one of the best works of outsider art there is:

http://www.hillridge.net/SA/Bio%20Apocalypse.pdf

I have absolutely no problem believing an 8-year-old could easily learn how to redraw in only three attempts.

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How did you find this? I wa... (Below threshold)

March 31, 2013 9:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

How did you find this? I want to see what this kid does as he grows up.

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A guy posted it on somethin... (Below threshold)

March 31, 2013 10:40 PM | Posted by weston cline: | Reply

A guy posted it on something awful years ago and the jury is out on whether he was actually 11 when he did it

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Some people who knew the ar... (Below threshold)

April 1, 2013 6:00 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Some people who knew the artist at the time actually remember it being shown to them back in middle school, and the artist himself has a history of drawing things like that as far back as grade school. The guy was freakishly advanced, but very strange.

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In regards to talent vs. sk... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2013 9:23 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

In regards to talent vs. skill: Innate talent will only get you so far. Claiming that a person with innate talent will always end up superior to the person who didn't initially have it is complete BS.

It only serves to foster resentment in the former category of people when the hard workers who apply themselves somehow magically get better at drawing (or writing, or music, etc.) than they are.

Usually, I find that the people who started out as "untalented" and then became good at what they do through diligence and perseverance tend to be more successful in the art world than those who started out "talented", because that second group tends to get a lot of praise early on when criticism is what they really need most. They rest on their laurels and don't improve as a result.

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Kral oyun sitesi Türkiye'ni... (Below threshold)

May 9, 2013 1:08 PM | Posted by kral oyun: | Reply

Kral oyun sitesi Türkiye'nin en büyük kral oyun sitesi.

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En iyi Profiterol Tarifi bu... (Below threshold)

May 9, 2013 6:15 PM | Posted by Profiterol Tarifi: | Reply

En iyi Profiterol Tarifi buradadır.

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related: The Natural Way to... (Below threshold)

May 17, 2013 6:01 AM | Posted by the: | Reply

related: The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides is a highly intensive, time consuming version of this book that doesn't stop at just learning to see (which it specifically sets out as its mission) - but goes so far as to suggest learning to actually be able to feel the pencil moving along the surface of what you're drawing. Consequently, you get a feeling of depth and of not drawing 2d lines but 3d objects with depth and texture. And yes, your perception improves with every exercise.

Easy to find the book online, but be warned: it's the sort of book that demands 15 hours of drawing before you can even read the next *chapter* (and to add to that: that's a necessary restriction).

i dunno how kids would take to it, they might get bored or misunderstand some of the instructions (after all even adults are prone to that)

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Türkiye ve Dünya'nın en güz... (Below threshold)

June 1, 2013 9:49 AM | Posted by oyunlar: | Reply

Türkiye ve Dünya'nın en güzel oyun oyna ma sitesi

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<a href="http://www.kraloyu... (Below threshold)

June 28, 2013 9:48 AM | Posted by kral oyun: | Reply

kral oyun sitesi size teşekkür ediyoru.

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<a href="http://www.oyunbes... (Below threshold)

July 20, 2013 7:05 PM | Posted by oyunbes: | Reply

http://www.oyunbes.net olarak teşekkür

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Hi.Because of pers... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2013 7:31 AM | Posted by Dust: | Reply

Hi.

Because of personal confusion I would appreciate it if you could confirm to me that that brief comment is aimed at me.

I'm confused as in that I believe certain comments was made with me as recipient. But - is it a trick of mind or am I really communicating with another being of flesh and blood. Or, am I communicating to myself?

Are you reading this. With you I mean someone who know who I am.

I'm thinking it would be very little costly to put my question to rest. But perhaps I'm wrong, that you feel even a minor exposure as a treat.

That comment I'm now responding to, is it... aimed at me?
Thank you in advance.

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The post above was aimed at... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2013 7:33 AM | Posted, in reply to mmgutz's comment, by Dust : | Reply

The post above was aimed at this one I'm responding to now.

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Sometime after reading this... (Below threshold)

November 21, 2013 2:34 AM | Posted by the executive monkey: | Reply

Sometime after reading this, I had to give a short presentation teaching a task to a group as part of a workshop leader orientation. I used a really simplified take on these methods -- there was less drawing practice, more discussion about reductionism and forcing drawing to be a communication tool by using symbols anyone can recognize. So, they were told to stop trying to communicate/fearing creating something that does not communicate, and instead look at the shapes of things, and they really did improve. This happened in 15 minutes.

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A guy posted it on somethin... (Below threshold)

May 27, 2014 11:48 AM | Posted by güzel sözler: | Reply

A guy posted it on something awful years ago and the jury is out on whether he was actually 11 when he did it

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I know I should be coding b... (Below threshold)

August 26, 2014 1:23 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I know I should be coding but your blog keeps making it worthwhile for putting it off for a few hours.

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A guy posted it on somethin... (Below threshold)

September 27, 2014 4:59 AM | Posted by Jenny Bolton: | Reply

A guy posted it on something awful years ago and the jury is out on whether he was actually 11 when he did it

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Sometime after reading this... (Below threshold)

October 24, 2014 12:22 PM | Posted by sevgi sözleri: | Reply

Sometime after reading this, I had to give a short presentation teaching

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I great post. thanks again.... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2014 12:36 PM | Posted by kiralık sunucu: | Reply

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