Although learning how to create art is a physical process which requires a lot of practice, it’s important to remember that it’s also a mental process too.
Yes, it isn’t enough to just practice the physical motions of drawing or painting, you have to have a lot of knowledge in order to know how to use it properly. Both of these things are equally important.
Whilst a lot of drawing guides on the internet will teach you the physical motions you need to use to produce something, they don’t always teach you the thought processes that go into creating good art (eg: how to create art without copying guides made by other people etc….). Yes, you’ll pick a lot of this knowledge up by accident if you practice regularly, but you can’t become an artist without it.
So, how can you measure what you do and don’t know in a quick and relatively easy way?
Simple. Draw something using the wrong hand.
Yes, you heard me correctly. If you’re right-handed, then try making a drawing with your left hand. If you’re awesome enough to be left-handed (like me), then try making a drawing with your right hand.
This is a surprisingly good way to measure your level of artistic knowledge because it means that you won’t be able to rely on almost-automatic physical skill alone. You’ll essentially by going back a few years in your physical artistic training and you’ll have to – effectively- draw everything backwards too.
As such, you’ll have to think a lot more carefully about every line of your picture and this will give you a fairly rough idea about what you do and don’t know. It’s weird as hell and it feels kind of strange, but it works. Go on, try it. You might end up with something like this:
As you can see from this picture, my right-handed picture looks like a slightly more simplistic version of my left-handed art. But it’s given me the knowledge that most of the basic skills I use are part of my memories and basic knowledge.
Of course, I have a slight advantage here because – being left-handed – I’ve had to use a computer mouse right-handed for most of my life (I went through a brief phase of using a mouse left-handed when I was seventeen, but it just felt kind of weird and made playing anything other than old keyboard-only FPS games next to impossible) , which means that I have at least a few fine motor skills in this hand.
Also, weirdly, I can only draw well using pencils when I draw right-handed. The reason for this is that, whilst I usually use a normal “writing grip” with my pens and pencils when I’m drawing left-handed, I use a “traditional” pencil drawing grip when I’m drawing right-handed.
Don’t ask me why this works, but I guess that it feels fairly similar to using a mouse (although the downside is that you can’t really use this grip with pens). But, of course, I can’t really use this grip when I draw left-handed. So, yeah, that’s kind of weird.
Anyway, give it a try. It’s one of the quickest ways to see what you do and don’t know.
Sorry that this article was so short, but I hope it was useful 🙂