Drawing is as easy as cycling

One fine day anand came with idea of adding art to his Unix workshop and make it “Hackers and Painters” workshop. And I was the one who was supposed to teach basic drawing/painting. It has been really long time when I drew or painted, so obviously I went back to my basic drawing references. But this time I thought of going more scientific than practical. Guess what? I searched for scientific reasons why some people are able to draw and some not! Thanks to Betty Edwards, who explored this field with great details in her books.

To understand art scientifically, we will have to understand how brain functions. Brain’s architecture is basically like a very nicely designed software by a very fine architect NATURE! It is modular. It has got different modules which can handle different tasks. Well, not going in much details, to tell shortly, brain has module to handle analytics and a module to process visuals. For an artist where we are interested in these visual modules. We humans have tremendous visual processing power. In general we process huge visual information, but only limited of that is used. There are some kinds of filters in brain which removes irrelevant information and only keeps that part of it which it thinks is useful. This filter is the culprit, why people can not draw. The actual information about shape never reaches to their inner part. Brain filters it out! On the other hand for a matured artist, this information is not filtered. So drawing boils down to seeing. Seeing is drawing! Art teachers do various tricks to disable the filters in mind of their students. Mind you as soon as filter is disabled, student feels aaha and he is able to draw from them. It is exactly like cycling. Nobody can teach you in words, how to balance. Only guidance available is keep trying and one day you will understand how to balance! Same applies to drawing, keep trying one day you get a hang of it and you start seeing the world differently! The moment this paradigm shift happens you have done it!


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