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About the Author

Dr. Betty Edwards is professor emeritus of art at California State University in Long Beach. She received her doctorate from UCLA in art, education, and the psychology of perception.

Works by Betty Edwards


(19) art (1,327) art - drawing (14) art instruction (135) art technique (77) arts (24) Betty Edwards (14) brain (36) cerebral dominance (27) color (70) color theory (16) crafts (37) creativity (258) currently-reading (21) design (53) drawing (957) Drawing Technique (37) education (44) homeschool (14) how-to (121) instruction (71) instructional (25) non-fiction (363) own (41) painting (39) paperback (26) perception (26) psychology (63) read (27) reference (104) self-help (28) sketching (22) teaching (17) technique (76) textbook (27) to-read (177) unread (26) visual perception (47) wishlist (17) workbook (17)

Common Knowledge



I can't write anything about this book that doesn't sound like an exaggeration. It literally changed my life and the way I think.

Like many others, I thought 'being artistic' was a personality trait. Either you had it, or you didn't. 'Artistic' people could quickly draw some lines on a paper and make it into something beautiful. Or they could take a few objects and arrange them in a way that would make you say 'yes, this is really nice'. Or do a slew of other amazing things that I couldn't. Clearly I wasn't artsy and I understood that from early childhood and accepted it.

The author noticed many people feel the same way and she was able to (accurately) trace it back to some time around the age of 10. Prior to that, everyone basically draws the same way: stick figures and circles etc. Everyone also loves art. But then, suddenly, some children are able to accurately draw what their eyes see, and some aren't. That is, if asked to draw an apple, some 10-year-olds will draw a circle with a line sticking out, and others will draw a complex object that anyone would recognize as an apple. Those of us who weren't able to draw the complex object deemed ourselves to be un-artistic and still draw a circle with a line in it, assuming that is as far as that skill will ever grow.

Simply, this book gives you that missing art lesson you should have gotten right when you felt that way. How do you go from the circle with a line in it to an actual apple? As an analytical-minded person, what should you do? She teaches you that specific skill in a really straightforward way.

Now, the part that changed my life: after this book, I started drawing and kept it up for several months. I drew some amazing things that I was actually really proud of (still am). I didn't go on to become a professional artist or anything, but I understood that the art world isn't something inaccessible to me. It turns out you can have an analytical mind and use it for art. You can learn art. You can improve on it. You can understand it. You can explore it. This book took art from "something I can never do, and, at best, admire from afar" to "something I absolutely can do, and something I can be really good at if I want to put in the practice"

5 stars :)
… (more)
nimishg | 15 other reviews | Apr 12, 2023 |
Most art books give you instruction to improve your technique, building on what you already know. This book taught me how to draw. Literally. This is the book to read if you don't know the first thing about drawing but would really like to learn.
seamus_j | 24 other reviews | Jun 30, 2022 |


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