You've heard me talk about left hand drawing in the past but my latest experiment was so exciting, I just had to show you what steps I took and the ensuing results. My hope is that you follow this procedure to make your own discoveries and the creation of awesome artwork is just an added benefit.
To begin, have a pencil or pen in each hand for this dual exercise. As usual, I grabbed some pens that were close by (I really must stop being so lazy!).
You will probably fidget with the pen or pencil, trying to find a comfortable grip in your non-dominant left hand, but don't spend too much time with this.
Instead, place the pen onto the surface of the paper and get ready to draw the first stroke, ignoring the awkward grip.
Make a firm decision with yourself that you are going to use your left hand and you won't accept any objections or tantrums because this is going to happen now.
At this point, you should kind of feel a calming shift in your mind, as though a switch is flicked.
The 'flick' sensation happens when the demanding left brain can't do what you want so it stands aside to let the right, creative brain complete the given task.
For some reason, I always go for the biggest challenge so that's why I use both hands to draw shapes such as triangles, squares, circles and stars.
I'm confident the same results can be achieved using your non-dominant hand on its own -- I just can't promise the adventure will be as intriguing.
All of the images below were drawn simultaneously - please excuse the mess, not at any time did it occur to me that I would be sharing these with you.
When I was finished a page full of shapes, I could tell by the lovely feeling of 'oneness' that the left (thinking) side of my brain had given up work. Ok, there was no way I was putting my pencils down right now. I enjoyed that, so next I wondered how I'd go trying to print my name.
Hmmm, not bad, so now I wonder if I can do a rough sketch in pen, using only my left hand? I had already decided it was going to be awful and unrecognizable so I put in absolutely no effort.
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As I observed the result, it gave me food for thought. Gee, if I can create that with my left hand and I wasn't even trying, what would happen if I had good intentions? Charged with excited energy, I got my pencils as well as a sketch book and got to work creating a similar landscape.
So I don't have to repeat myself, every single illustration on this page is a left-hand drawing.
I'll be the first to say the image blew my mind. I drew that with my left hand and most of the time I doubt I could draw it reasonably well with my right!
I didn't think to time how long it took me to complete the landscape but it wasn't very long, it would have been way less than half an hour.
I still implemented basic study of things like:
I made a mental note to revisit the landscape sketch before I put the pencils down so I could view it with a fresh perspective and maybe make some alterations. I wanted this artwork to be purely left-handed and any thoughtlessness on my behalf could ruin the whole experience (and results) so it was important to make changes while I was in the zone.
In the landscape image below, I decided to try using only the side of the lead of a 2B wooden pencil.
NOW I'm convinced that left hand drawing is fun and wonderfully creative entertainment. This type of artwork will keep me enthralled for many years to come!
By this time, my spirit was released and mental chains fell away as image after image miraculously appeared. The fear of failure to produce was a dim memory of the past.
I smiled at my attempt to create smooth, flowing lines for the stems (above) and it was just as hard to go over good lines but I persisted -- I felt bullet-proof. (I am telling you my experiences so that you can compare them with yours. Hopefully, your session will be just as enlightening.)
With each triumph, I was further encouraged to try something more complex. As you know, I normally feel hesitant to draw animals so that was my next selected subject (no one can accuse me of not trying!).
I am proud of the dog drawing, it is a lesson of what is possible when effort and intention is applied.
I didn't erase any wayward lines, I like them, they show me the path I took to create an image. They also show something else... I know my mind had no say in these creations, so is that my style I see in pure form? It must be!
I had a blast, I lost 2 - 3 hours just drawing with the left hand and in that time, there was no stress, no feeling of life out of control, just utter peace and wellbeing.
I really hope I can inspire you to do this exercise at least once in your life, I can't bear the thought of you missing out.
It is tempting to fix obvious errors with your dominant hand but please refrain from doing so. Your aim is to have authentic left-handed drawings so some inner-strength is needed in this instance. You'll always admire those marvellous creations just as they are.
Make notes in your sketchbook about the experiment and add a reminder that all alterations must be done with the weaker hand. I have decided to keep a sketchbook specifically for left hand drawings so I can easily monitor progress and improvement.
It's interesting to note that you become oblivious to how you eventually end up holding the pencil. It just doesn't matter anymore, you're in a wonderland where time and space don't exist. If you've ever wondered what meditation feels like, you are experiencing it when you do this exercise.
My husband was suitably impressed with my left hand drawings and commented that he can't do anything with his left hand. I replied that neither can I usually, but isn't it amazing what you can do when you try?
Our mind is so powerful, it tells us what we can and can't do and we believe it without question. This exercise proves that our very own thoughts are not always right or even true.
I hope you can see the door that opens in front of you, step through and you will discover a whole new world of unlimited potential.
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