Drawing with Your Non-Dominant Hand

Try drawing with your non-dominant hand for a fun creative exercise.

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I am really strongly dominantly right handed. I can eat using my left hand, and button buttons, but when it comes to writing, crafting and other hand work my right hand is the boss. Even though I know how to knit holding the yarn in my left hand, and people who work that way say its faster, I always hold the yarn in my right hand. (It’s partly how I learned and partly just instinct, I think.)

The girl is left handed and has always shown strong leftie tendencies. (She cuts paper right handed but I think it’s just because she learned that way at school.) So I’m curious about how handedness develops and whether it’s possible to train your non-dominant hand to take up more of the slack.Try drawing with your non-dominant hand for a fun creative exercise.

Drawing with Your Non-Dominant Hand

Today’s challenge tests your non-dominant hand by doing some writing and drawing using that hand instead of your usual.

You can do whatever you like, though I would suggest trying to write and sign your name, drawing some basic shapes and whatever else you feel like.

I like this exercise (PDF) from the University of Florida’s International Center. It’s actually about how people acclimate to living in a different culture through the experience of adjusting to using your non-dominant hand. Dwell on that after you do the exercise if you like, but the suggestions for what to write and draw are good ones if you need a place to start. basic doodles left handed

I started with some pretty standard doodles and found that I had to think really hard about what I wanted the pen to do and still couldn’t always control it the way I wanted. writing left handed

I tried some writing, which looks a little bit like my right hand signing a credit card reader screen. drawing left handed

I found drawing a square pretty easy, though my lines aren’t confident. My tree looks more like a cat.

Doing this made me think this might be what people with brain damage feel like as they try to relearn how to do things that used to come easily. It’s an interesting challenge, to be sure.

What’s Happening in Your Brain

It turns out it actually is a great exercise for the brain to try drawing with your non-dominant hand. Using the “other” hand awakens more of the brain than writing or drawing with your usual hand, and it may allow you to work more creatively, because if your brain has to focus on just making the right movements, there’s nowhere for your internal censor to be.

Using your non-dominant hand can be a way to get closer to your inner feelings, to really pay attention if you’re drawing something you’re observing, and to just have fun because drawing with the “wrong” hand isn’t supposed to be good, right?

Further Reading

Create Mixed Media has a free PDF download from the book The Artist Unique from artist Lynne Hoppe, who talks about using her non-dominant hand when she draws in her art journal. Author Carmen Torbus shares an exercise she did with her non-dominant hand. I haven’t read the book yet but it’s on my list; it has lots of great techniques for exploring your artistic side.

I really like this exercise as a way to warm up creatively and to play with materials in a different way. If you try it, I’d love to see your creations on social media tagged with #ourdailycraft.

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