Random Stew It seemed like a good idea at the time.


Leaning to the right

For the last 20+ years, I've made my living as a computer programmer primarily utilizing the logical left side of my brain. Oddly enough, I spent the first few years of my adult life working as an artist specializing in black and white illustrations. Although, in truth, I find a lot of similarities between developing software and creating a picture. In both professions, I've achieved the best results by "broad brushing" in a general layout and then working in progressively more detailed iterations over the entire project.

Despite the similarities, I'm finding myself chafing at the atrophy of the creative right side of my brain due to two decades of forced submission. I suddenly have a desire to re-awaken my creativity and break down those self-induced limitations. This desire is part of my motivation for keeping this blog; even though this blog is not creative writing, it is a form of personal expression that will hopefully evolve from a forced discipline into an easy and natural act.

25 year old doodle of an old fisherman.I've also picked up my sketchbook again. After two decades, my skills are naturally very rusty. By skills, I mean my ability to "see" what I'm drawing. I maintain that anyone who can write legibly has the technical competency to draw; in other words, they can manipulate a pencil to produce the line they want. After all, anyone can trace a picture right? Tracing lets you "see" your subject in a way that makes it easy for you to reproduce the image using your pencil manipulation skills. To draw from life, you merely need to learn to "see" objects in new ways.

This is the premise of the book Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain, a classic book on the subject of learning to draw. I've unearthed my 30 year old copy of the book and am working through the exercises in it. While I haven't felt the scale and rust falling away yet, I can definitely see some improvement already. Drawing exercisesSo, I'm pushing out of my comfort zone into areas that I used to habitate but are new again. I have a dim memory of this landscape but am having to learn how to navigate it again. Look at the difference between an idle doodling of a fisherman at rest that I did 25 years ago versus my earnest efforts with some of the exercises from the aforementioned book.

It's like trying to ride a bike again after 30 years; you can still do it, but you sure are wobbly. It will be a while before I can do a wheelie again.