I sat there looking at the illustration I had been working on for some time… upside down. My wife didn’t question me as many of my family members have learned not to. It was a “Dad or Gary thing” or maybe just what artists do. As the saying goes, “The left-handed are in their right minds.” Meaning of course, we use the creative side of our brains (the right side) more often than that of the typical right-handed person.
Why was I looking at my illustration upside down? One family member did dare to ask me once, fearing some eccentric answer. But it was anything but that, at least I think so. I had spent some time working on this piece and still couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it. I had been looking at it for so long I became comfortable with what I was doing. Much like writing. You write it and proof it and proof it again. You can’t find any errors but give it to someone else and they find things that you overlooked because they are a fresh set of eyes seeing it for the first time.
What does the artist do to resolve his problem? First, he turns it upside down. By looking at it in a different way he is seeing it like another person seeing it for the first time. It now becomes a different piece of work and errors are easier to find. Another way to see it differently is to hold it up in a mirror. Looking at the reverse image of what you’ve been staring at for so long, “magnifies” any possible adjustments needed.
So, if you walk into a room of an artist looking at his work upside down, he’s not crazy. He’s just trying to improve his work and if he is sitting and staring at someone else’s work (like I often do) he’s just admiring the talent.