Drawing of a banana using both hands by Nakaia Macomber-Millman.

Sketching with Both Hands

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Art Toolkit Team

Inspiration | September 14, 2022

We’re inviting you to step outside of what’s familiar and try drawing with both hands… simultaneously!

Drawing of a banana using both hands by Nakaia Macomber-Millman.

Most of us are accustomed to creating with our dominant hand, so practicing with the non-dominant hand is an excellent way to pull away from what comes naturally and see what flows out!

Nakaia Macomber-Millman’s banana.

Start by choosing a subject.

We recommend picking something simple, like a fruit, a plant, or a piece of furniture. This exercise is all about loosening up, working freely, and encouraging your brain to work in an unpracticed way. Finding some scratch paper to start is a perfect alternative to diving straight into your sketchbook if you want to get the hang of the exercise first.

Next, select two sketching tools. Your tools can match, like the Rosemary & Co limited edition size 4 brushes in this video, or you can make things a little more interesting and pick two different tools, like a fountain pen and a large brush! We suggest choosing two distinct colors so that you can see which hand did what when your sketch is finished.

Take a moment to study your subject, noticing the main shapes and the lines that define its edges. If you’re opting for paint, load up your brush(es) and begin!

There are many ways to go about sketching your subject, so here are a few to get you started:

  1. Start at the top with one hand and the bottom with the other. Trace the contour and then go in for the details.
  2. Position your hands side by side in the center of the page and work from the middle out to the edges of our subject, always staying in motion.
  3. For symmetrical subjects, draw the contour with simultaneous motions from both hands, but mirrored!
  4. If the constant movement of both hands is giving you a headache, alternate between sketching some of your subject with your dominant hand and some with your non-dominant hand, keeping the resting hand poised and ready to take over.
  5. Set a 30-second timer and do a quick sketch, then draw the same subject again, taking as much time as you want.

What are you inspired to draw with both hands? What other variations of this exercise can you dream up?