Thursday, November 3, 2011

One Things Leads to Another: A New Drawing Skill

Not my usual drawing style? Read on……
I’ve been reading an interesting book, “Wild Harmony: Animals of the North” by William O. Pruitt © 1960. I’d never heard of the author so I went online to check out his credentials. It turns out he was a professor well known for his studies on Arctic ecology, and well known for his ability to draw bilaterally symmetrical structures on the blackboard. That second feat was noteworthy enough to find space in his obituary!
I’ve known for years that I can write backwards with my left hand (generally speaking I’m right-handed, but there is sometimes a confusion about that). The odd thing is my style of writing backwards with my left hand resembles my forward style with my right hand …. And my forward style with my left hand resembles my backward style with my right hand. Are you keeping that straight? When I’m writing backwards with my left hand it is even easier to do it while writing forwards with my right hand.

After reading Pruitt’s obituary I couldn’t resist seeing if I could draw a picture with both hands. The tree is my very first attempt. I made the mistake of starting out with a western hemlock which has a tipped over top (not symmetrical) and found I just went over to the left with both hands. But then I continued on down the tree drawing very quickly and even including a little owl sitting out on a high branch. The whole drawing took about 2 minutes.

So if you ever need entertainment at a cocktail party, just invite me. A drink just warms me up … doesn’t interfere at all. I have a feeling my brain scan would have some anomalies but I’ll try not to think about that.

P.S. There is a little history behind all this. When I first took my driver’s test as a teenager the guy testing me just sat and shook his head at the end. Then he said, “You obviously don’t know left from right, but you did stay on the right side of the road, so I’m going to pass you”!

I do know my left from my right! but you have to give me a little time to think about it. And the first time my mother-in-law saw me ironing she was just flummoxed as to why I ironed the way I did … and I couldn’t figure out why she did it the way she did.
Have a good day!

Can any of you do this???


  1. LOL, This is certainly interesting! Going to try it as I am somewhat ambidextrous. Still giggling.

  2. What an interesting skill. I don't do much with my left hand. I can write backward with my right hand. I used to do that to write notes to my friends in school. We thought the teachers couldn't read them. Ha...

  3. No wonder you are so talented at drawing. Your brain isnt normal. LOL. Actually I have heard that left handled people have an easier time drawing because the left works the right side of the brain already.. the creative side, and you sound like you can do both sides with your least backwards.. At least it sounds good. :))

  4. There is something visually easy about this tree and it must be the symmetry. I thought it might make a good Christmas card after having a few additions.

  5. how very interesting...I used to write backwards as a kid. Of course I can't make the experiment, since I was born with one hand, but I could try to write backwards all the same.
    Mirror brain!

  6. Just tried it, and I can do the same, however my left hand is a little more 'wild', well, quite a bit more 'wild' than the right, but still legible. Fun. I think I'll try to write the same direction with each and see what happens. Ha!

  7. Thanks all for commenting!

    Concetta ... Your art is wonderful ... one hand seems to do just find for you!

    Katie ... if you look carefully I get a little sloppy with the left too. Its a funny skill to have!

  8. My sister is ambidextrous and when she was a kid she used to draw half a picture with her left hand and then switch and draw the other half with her right.

  9. Hi Kristin ... I tried drawing with first one hand and then the other. I can do it easily, but it is easier to do both at once.

  10. Interesting post and I'm going to have to give this a go. I sometimes find a paintbrush in my left hand but I'm not usually aware of when or how it got there. Like you, I have to think my way through to which is left and which is right.

    Loved the tree art and can see this skill having a "place" in your journal pages!