(permalink) I can see the world map in my head, but when I try to draw it the result looks horrible. Where in the brain→hand→paper process does it go wrong?

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Betty Edwards, an experienced drawing teacher, suggests in her book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain that our inability to draw actually comes from our inability to see. When you draw Africa, for example, your mind has a clear-cut idea of what Africa is (most likely developed at a younger age, from the first few times you saw a world map). From that point on, any time you try to draw Africa, this preconceived image dominates your drawings. This is why it is difficult for you to draw things you see, even multiple times.To test this theory which I have done, many times, pick a painting that you like. You can also do it with the world map, if you would like. Try to copy it onto a new sheet of paper dont trace, just put the sheet down next to the painting and copy. Because of your preconceived notions of what a human face, or a car, or anything else looks like, it will probably look nothing like the original unless you are an artist.

Now, try it again, but this time turn the painting upside down when you copy it. By doing so, your brain no longer recognizes things as “a face”, or “a car”, but rather as a collection of lines. This means you copy exactly what you see, rather than what you think you see. The results are astounding!

By ElanRosenfeld