double fisted sketching

serafina1charcoal pencil on paper

Our model last night seemed to prefer pretzel type poses – they were probably thinly disguised yogic postures and stretches – fun to sketch for the most part, though one would not likely find most humans in these positions.

serafina2watercolor wash, conte crayon, charcoal pencil

I liked the simplicity of this one, though I kept changing my mind about what media i wanted to use.  And I’d hoped for something a little more. . .unique?. . .expressive?. . . in my drawing.  At break I went around the room wishing I could draw/paint like some of the others and one fellow described how he draws with one hand and adds color with the other.  Hmmm.  Not only that, but he’d discovered that since doing this practice – of drawing with his non-dominant hand, he can now throw a ball with both hands.  Always looking for ways to improve my coordination and brain power, I decided to try it!

serafina3In the next pose Serafina did what could best be described as a prone pretzel, which, from my angle showed elbows and hands coming out of all the wrong places.  So I picked up the charcoal in my non-dominant (that would be right) hand and started sketching the sketchers.  I had some difficulty figuring out where the end of my charcoal stick was and it didn’t feel like it was sitting comfortably in my hand, and it seemed like my hand was in the way of where I was drawing so I couldn’t see where the line was headed.  But nevertheless I liked the drawing better than the previous ones.  So I tried another.

serafina4And I was hooked!  Here the inacuracy in line neverthless reveals something about the personality of the model – pluckiness?  I loved being able to draw with one hand and smudge with the other simultaneously.  And I’m really looking forward to being able to throw a ball with both hands and hoping that my right and left hemispheres are having new conversations with each other.  Bob’s comment was “well if it gets too easy drawing with your right hand, you’ll have to switch to putting the pencil in your toes.”  Actually. . .maybe I’ll start a new trend in the group. . .

Next weekend is the Bay Area Models Guild Marathon in Oakland and I’m planning to go.  It’s really the premier figure drawing event in the Bay Area.  Come over and say hi if you come.  I’ll be the one with the pencil in my toes.

I finally figured out a way that you can get notified in your email when I’ve put a new post on my blog.  There’s a link near the top of the column on the right.



  1. kudoes, susan, for trying your off-hand! i love the results that you got – and that i get when i draw left-handed (which i do fairly often). you said you were delighted to see that the inaccuracy of your off-hand drawing of serafina revealed her independent spirit (or something like that; you used a better word). i think that’s key: the line is not enslaved to literal accuracy and therefore is freer to be expressive. at least that’s what i love about it. man, drawing the line with one hand and smudging with the other: that sounds cool, i haven’t tried that! as to holding the charcoal in your toes: i’ve watched wheeler draw holding the brush in his toes. i’m a fan, but haven’t quite got there myself! anything to break the spell of the literal!


  2. I didn’t get the name of the fellow who told me his story about switching hands, but he did you it was YOU who told him to try it. So, it comes around full circle now.
    Hope you’re enjoying your time in New Zealand!


    1. laura, that’s so cool! i never thought of it, yet .. sure! with pen or pencil, i write right-handed. on the keyboard, i use both. what are you doing when you write with your non-dominant hand?


    2. Obviously you’ve tried writing with your non-dominant hand Laura. What was your experience? I suppose it also has the advantage of making one feel prepared for some eventual break of a finger or wrist as well.


  3. Holding a brush with your toes! ;-D you’re so funny, but this ideé of painting with both hands really seems appealing!!!!!! I must try it one day!! Although I never throw balls – it might add something to my sketches I’m sure!


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