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Drawing from Life – with my Left Hand

December 16, 2010

I’ve been distracted while doing life drawing lately, which has had a negative effect on both the quality of my drawing and my enjoyment of the time spent doing it.  On Tuesday evening I could feel it happening again, so I decided to draw with my left (non-dominant) hand, to see if I could at least learn something.  Surprisingly, the experience became much more pleasant – I could feel myself instantly concentrating on what I was doing, and taking much more pleasure in it. We never do warm-ups in either of my drawing groups any more.  In one, we only do 5 to 7 minute poses, and the in other one we only do a couple of 3 minute poses, and not even in the beginning.  I’m happy to say that drawing with my left hand really seems to take the place of fast drawings for me.

Here they are – a little rough, but I find them a bit less boring than the more polished that ones I had been doing, they feel more authentic somehow. None of them are ‘finished’ as I draw very slowly with my left hand.  These are mostly 5-minute poses with one lasting 7 minutes.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2010 3:37 pm

    Nice! I’m gonna try drawing whit my left sometime! 🙂

  2. December 16, 2010 4:28 pm

    These feel so fresh. Marvelous.

  3. December 16, 2010 7:36 pm

    Wow ,tu t’en sors aussi bien de la main gauche ,tes croquis sont tres beaux!!

  4. December 16, 2010 7:48 pm

    As always with you, these are beautifully observed. And the left handedness gives them a freshness and boldness somehow. The marks seem more determined. I love drawing with my non-dominant hand because it does relax me. I have fewer expectations of myself.

  5. annie permalink
    December 16, 2010 9:05 pm

    I agree with Jean and Carole, they feel so fresh. Seems an exercise that has really worked for you.

  6. December 16, 2010 10:27 pm

    Hi Casey, I think these drawings are WONDERFUL! I like the quality and expressiveness of your line. I liked looking at your landscapes too. Gorgeous!

  7. Veronica permalink
    December 17, 2010 1:44 am

    Amazing. I’d like to try that.
    I brought my materials with me.
    Ambitious huh?
    Beezzz Veronica

  8. December 17, 2010 2:44 am

    Spot on and fresh! I have never tried to draw with my left hand — what a lesson!

  9. December 19, 2010 3:41 am

    That really is amazing that switching to the left hand had that beneficial effect. I think the sketches are great! And they seem finished to me – they are engaging, interesting, full of life! Maybe someone moved the pencil from your left to your right in grade school. 🙂

  10. caseytoussaint permalink*
    December 19, 2010 8:19 am

    It’s an exercise I recommentd to everyone. It’s not easier – it’s much more difficult to control your hand, which forces you to concentrate intensely – a very refreshing experience. I first did this in a life drawing class at the beaux-arts in Le Havre. The teacher went on a rant at people doing “pretty” drawings and told us all to switch hands – terrifying! I remember his comment – “If only you could draw as well with your right hands as you do with your left hands….” I couldn’t really see it at the time – he was a very scary person and I couldn’t concentrate in any case – but a few years ago I started doing stil lifes with my left hand and it was a revelation.

  11. December 20, 2010 3:40 am

    Super! Love the quality of the lines and how spontaneous these feel, even though they took longer to draw!


  1. Making Progress in Life Drawing (or at least trying to) « rue Manuel bis

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