A Drawing Exercise to Stimulate Your Creativity
Stand on your head and draw your non-dominant hand (kidding!).
Last week I went to a workshop designed to 'Stimulate
Creative Thinking' (that was the workshop's title). Part of the presentation included
information from the book How to Think like Leonardo
da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day by Michael
I'm still in the absorption stages from this workshop, but
wanted to share this very cool opening exercise our group was
encouraged to do.
We were asked to take a piece of paper and a marker or crayon
and quickly sketch a self-portrait. Oh no, not the traditional
either. We had to draw ourselves upside down with our non-dominant
hand. And then sign it too.
The point of this exercise was to "free" our mind
from habitual patterns and engage our right brain in a creative
task. See, our left brain always wants to make things just
so, but it had little say so in this exercise where many of
us clumsily and uncomfortably tried to draw pretty pictures.
I was having a ball with mine. As someone who doesn't claim
any rights to fine art skills, I didn't care how "imperfect" mine
turned out. I enjoyed the teaching point of the exercise, and
listening to the reactions of others in the workshop was quite
amusing — especially since I had a seasoned fine artist
sitting next to me. Later on I got a glimpse at another participant's
drawing... as expected, we were all in the same boat and produced
pictures that looked like they were drawn by children!
I scanned my drawing to show you how my picture turned out
(see above). Of course it doesn't look anything like me...
for one, I'm not yellow. :)
Now that I'm seeing it right-side-up, I can tell how my drawing
perspective shifted during the exercise. It's almost like a
mirror image of what I'd properly draw right side up.
I wouldn't be surprised if this exercise is common in many
workshops on creativity (especially if Gelb's book is used).
In fact, I remember first learning about the technique in the
on the Right Side of the Brain by Dr. Betty Edwards.
If you're up to it, why not give this exercise a try? Free
your mind from habitual thinking patterns and see how easy
it is to engage your right brain into creative thinking. •