Sketching with both hands

A predominantly right handed person, who just would eat with his left hand, I never thought that my left hand would one day write/draw too. It was a 'What If' thought that bubbled one evening when I saw 2 markers and a white board in our studio. A colleague Stuti stared at me, as I picked them both and started drawing a symmetric illustration on the board, the left one red, and the right one blue. She took to Instagram and went Live with a story mentioning how 'cool' it was that I could do it so effortlessly. It was a moment of Eureka, where I was half astonished & half proud for what I witnessed happen through my new found ambidexterity. Alas, I had to sit that evening to logically understand, how without ever practising to draw with my left hand, here in less than a minute, I was doing it much the same like my right hand.

Don’t teach me what I already know.

A background - Many years ago, Sandy, a professor at my design school, NID, had told us to sit & immerse ourselves in the creative joy (and sometimes painful endeavours) of sketching forms on newsprints for 16 hours a day. Yes, this would have to mean that our food would come as we sketch, and we weren't supposed to take breaks. Of course we all cheated, I mean, 16 hours was ridiculous. He would watch us from Skype, to ensure we disciplined ourselves even in his absence. I've a feeling he never watched, and just kept his smiling creepy display picture look at us with such a pitiable face, that we finally gave in to this forced act of passion.

Cut to - A few days later, I found my right hand dancing effortlessly in the sketching session. The lines were flowing and lighter. I felt like I belonged to the sketch. That was it. Bingo! My hand was learning to be in the flow. But hey, was it the hand learning? As I were to realise much later, it was in fact the brain. My mind was tuning to the fact that hands can dance as the sub conscious neurons fired.

Back to five years later, as Stuthi looked at me sketch so effortlessly in wonder, my mind was calmly telling me, that I shouldn't be so awestruck with the idea of my left hand drawing. It takes 2 to tango, and my mind had just mirrored the flow it learnt during my practice in the design school, for my left hand.

The left hand picked up from the mind, the idea of the flow. Almost saying, "Don't teach me what I already know." The left hand had picked up objects before. Cups, newspapers, books, knives, plates, cartons etc, along with the right hand. They had tangoed together, plenty. And here I was, wrongly expecting that my left hand wouldn't have picked sketching.

I picked up a piece of paper, and 2 pencils. I started drawing a face with both hands. My left hand jittered. Why? Why was it fine on the board, but not so much on this little canvas? I wondered. I went back to the white board, and lo, it worked like magic again. It took me a bit of reading on ergonomics to realise that it was because the 2 grips were different! Precision versus power. The flow came on the white board, because my arms moved, versus on paper, where my wrists & fingers tried & failed. Bingo! I realised, the left hand wasn't the secret chef. Poor chap had never practised. The real hero was the left arm! Reminded me of the first sketching lesson at NID where they asked us to use the arm to sketch. Adapting the same technique, with conscious movements this time, I went back to the smaller sheet now. And hey, there was the magic trickling slowly again!

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