See Like an Artist 1

6 minutes
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How to see like an artist. You know, most of us are enthralled with the idea of being able to draw. It's such a powerful skill to have. But so many get frustrated with drawing because they don't like what they see on the page. And in large part, it's not because people lack motor skills to make drawings. I believe everyone who's listening to me can do that.

Rather, the problem occurs at the level of interpreting what you see. Let me say that again. The problem with drawing occurs at the level of interpreting what you see. Let me show you what I mean. To gain some insight into this. We're going to have to write some code and do a backdoor hack into the brain.

Most people have no idea about how seeing actually works. Most people believe that what they see and what they think is the truth. Most people when they see something like a car, they think that's a car. It's made out of metal and plastic and rubber. It's red in color. It's real, it's solid.

And that's a fact. And there's no question about it. That's how most of us think. But this is how it actually works. You don't actually see with your eyes, all your eyes do is receive the photons, the sensory data, and your brain is the thing that creates the image. All our eyes do is receive the information and then the brain interprets that information and gives its best guess at what it is, when it thinks it knows what it is that it projects up an image that we can see.

You actually don't see with your eyes or hear with your ears. You actually see in here with your brain, what we're seeing is not really what we can see then it's more of our brains best guess. Isn't that amazing? So what do you believe to be true? affects your perception of reality. Don't believe me?

Well, let's take a look at this checkerboard. What if I was to tell you that square A and square b? same value. Well, let's take a look. If I paint the value from B up to a, you can see, these are actually the same exact value. But there's a trick going on here because square b is casting shadow from the cylinder.

So it's darker than the light squares in the light, but it's reading still as a light square compared to the dark squares. So, our brains having trouble interpreting this if I show you the reason why is that value is relative. So b is surrounded by dark squares, whereas a is surrounded by light value squares. So if I put the same value behind both, you can see that these are the exact same value. So under certain conditions, the brain can be fooled particularly with respect to value. So our biggest problem to overcome Seeing like an artist is the brain.

And it's sometimes faulty interpretation of what is in front of us that factors into producing a bad drawing. The brain has a left and a right hemisphere. The left brain is responsible for things like calculations, logic, math, letters, words, it's reductionistic. It breaks things into its smallest parts. Whereas the right brain is responsible for creativity, music, intuition, it's more holistic in its approach, and it thinks in terms of pictures and patterns. So the right brain is primarily concerned with the whole or the Gestalt.

We got to overcome the powerful left brain and its ability to assign meaning to everything we see. It's a survival skill evolved over eons. To help keep us alive in the face of saber toothed tigers. But with respect to drawing, it's death and we need to break from it and find help almost solely from our right brain when we're trying to draw. Alright, so how do we overcome it? Well, the answer might seem a little strange, but it's a ridiculously simple secret.

It's surprising. It's so simple. It's not really a secret at all, but it's squint and compare. Now, what is that? Well, let me back up a little bit. Basically, we can use this strategy to our advantage to simplify detail and values.

And that's huge. All the great masters used the squint and compare technique from Velasquez to DICOM to sergeant to create their master works. Why? Because the job of the eyes is to take in sensory data. And that data comes in the form of contrast. Let me say Again, the job of our eyes is to take in sensory data.

And that data comes in the form of contrast, remember that primarily contrast the value. In fact, if there were no contrast, we wouldn't see much of anything except flat nothingness. But when you start to turn the lights on, watch this now. Out of the Void comes a face. And we recognize we register that face in terms of light and dark contrast. And light and dark contrast is the name of the game.

It's how we register form change. It's why things look 3d. It's because of changes in value. And changes in value signal form changes to our brain. So the big takeaway for here is that the biggest problems to solve for the beginning jar are related to value. Let me outline them here and then we'll take a look at them in detail.

The first is muddy looking drawings, mixing up the value so that the lights are too dark in the dark or too light. Number two is sacrificing the hole for the parts. That is noticing and drawing too many value contrasts and emphasizing too many details. The third one is symbolic drawing, but we'll just stick with the first two and we'll take a look at those in detail next.

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