Drawing upside down? Sounds crazy right? and no I don’t mean standing on your head to draw.
As a child I grew up watching a TV show called “Mr Squiggle” where a puppet character that had a pencil for a nose would draw a picture in a couple of minutes or less and you had to try and work out what he was drawing. It would always look like a jumble of shapes and lines that didn’t resemble anything until the end. The reason is because his drawings were created upside down and he would reveal the drawing at the end by turning it around the right way and suddenly it all made sense. While this was of course TV trickery, the concept of upside down drawing is actually a fantastic way of training your mind to draw.
As discussed in previous posts, the biggest reason that we struggle to draw is because our mind confuses us with information about what we should be drawing. Our thoughts are often contrary to what we are seeing and we end up trying to draw some sort of combination of the shapes that we see and what our brain tells us the shape should look like. One way to retrain our mind to follow the real shapes that we are seeing is to turn a photo (or drawing) upside down to copy the shapes.
I know it sounds weird, but it forces us to look at the shapes rather than our brain telling us what the object in the photo should look like. If we are copying a picture of a person, normally our brain will tell us how big the head should be and how big the features of the face should be etc, etc. But if we turn the photo upside down, it confuses the brain enough that it doesn’t know what to tell you anymore. Therefore your only option is to follow the shapes and try and recreate them as best you can. Now you aren’t being led and confused by your thoughts anymore, you are being led by your interpretation of what you are seeing. Perfect!
Of course, it will still take practice to be able to be good at it, but by using this technique, I am certain that your drawing skills will improve! Try it and let me know how you go by leaving a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.