Another puzzle was that students, who had struggled, suddenly seemed to learn how to draw from one week to the next but could not explain why this was so.
Betty Edwards began to explore what happens when she was drawing. Her work with her students was illuminated by research published in 1968 by Roger Sperry and colleagues. Betty Edwards developed her theories into a doctoral thesis that later formed the basis of her book, The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, first published in 1979. You can read about the development of her theories in this book which is still in print and has been revised and updated several times since.
The Global Skill of Drawing
After the book was published, Dr Edwards had another 'aha' moment. She realised that drawing is made up of just five perceptual skills and that together, to form a global skill.
What does a global skill mean? Other global skills are reading, driving, learning to ride a bicycle etc. Can you remember how difficult it was learning these skills? But now, I bet you read a newspaper, ride a bike or drive your car without even thinking about it.
Learning to draw follows the same process. Just as once you had to learn the alphabet and how a sentence was constructed before you could learn to read… with drawing, if you learn the component perceptual skills of drawing you will be able to draw a perceived object ie. something you can see 'out there'.
What are the Perceptual Skills of Drawing?
- The perception of edges
- The perception of spaces
- The perception of relationships
- The perception of lights and shadows
- The perception of the whole, or gestalt