Q&A with Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Dominant Eye

10 November 2020

From the author of the world’s most popular drawing instruction manual Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, this new book helps you discover a new way of drawing and problem solving.

Betty Edwards reveals the role our dominant eye plays in how we perceive, create, and are seen by those around us. Research shows that much like being right-handed or left-handed, each of us has a dominant eye, corresponding to the dominant side of our brain – either verbal or perceptual. Once you learn the difference and try your hand at the simple drawing exercises, you’ll gain fresh insights into how you perceive, think, and create. You’ll learn how to not just look but truly see.

Generously illustrated throughout, Drawing on the Dominant Eye offers a remarkable guided tour through art history, psychology, and the creative process; a must-read for anyone looking for a richer understanding of our art, our minds, and ourselves.

Buy your copy from your local independent bookshop or at Bookshop.org, Waterstones, or Amazon

 Betty Edwards


What has changed the most for you in terms of your approach to creativity over the years?

There are so many things that I have learned over all these decades, but a key was Roger Sperry’s Nobel Prize-winning discoveries about the brain’s dual functions – visual and verbal – and how that impacts creative thinking.

Who is your/has been your biggest creative inspiration?

There are many who have inspired me:  George Orwell, for writing.  Roger Sperry, for science.  In terms of art, the list of inspirational artists over centuries is far too long to list here.  But perhaps my greatest creative inspiration has been seeing how our students who participate in the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workshops learn to draw in only 5 days. 

 You have had an amazing career – what have been your personal highlights?

– Seeing Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, first published in 1979, become a surprise best-seller.
– Lecturing and speaking in so many parts of the world about a subject for which I have such passion.

– Knowing that my books have helped or inspired so many people over 40 years.

– Having a chance to publish this new book, Drawing on the Dominant Eye, which focuses on a different aspect of creativity.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Say things as plainly as possible.

What is your advice for people struggling with their creativity during the Pandemic?

Actually, one of the few positive things about the COVID pandemic may be that many people who must remain sheltered have found new creative interests and outlets, including drawing.

Do you have a go-to exercise in the workbook, or one that has received the most feedback?

The exercise that has clearly made the most impact is the “Upside Down Drawing,” particularly the Picasso drawing of Igor Stravinsky, which is featured in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  When students complete this exercise and turn their drawing right side up, they are always amazed at what they have been able to draw!