Upside Down Drawing

Familiar things do not look the same upside down. We automatically assign a top, bottom, and sides to the things we perceive, and we expect to see things oriented in the usual way - that is, the right side up. For, in upright orientation, we can recognise familiar things, name them, and categorise them by matching what we see with our stored memories and concepts.

When an image is upside down, the visual cues don't match. The message is strange, and the brain becomes confused. We see the shapes and the areas of light and shadow, We don't particularly object to looking at upside-down images unless we are called on to name the image. Then the task becomes exasperating.

The exercise of upside-down drawing is to take a line drawing, place it upside down and copy it. You will be copying an upside- down image and your drawing, therefore, will be done also upside down. In other words, you will copy the drawing just as you see it. Do not turn the original or your drawing around until you are finished. You will probably be pleasantly surprised at your results.

The benefit of this exercise is that it forces you to observe shapes, lines and their relationships rather than naming features.

View first image (New browser window will open).

View second image (New browser window will open).

To continue this practice, look for images in art books and copy them. Vincent van Gogh and Picasso drawings are great fun to copy.

Move on to the next exercise, Negative Space exercise