This question is not only about using both hands simultaneously, it's about being able to use either of your hands in general. By practical, I mean advantages and disadvantages in terms of drawing. In other words I'm not talking about cut of aggression level etc.

I've started learning to draw recently using Draw a Box lessons and wondering whether I should do the offered exercises with both hands or just focus on my dominant hand. I read somewhere that some professional painters use their non-dominant hand for less skill demanding tasks, so their dominant hand gets less worn out or tired. Others say that they learn to use their non-dominant hand so they can use it for work in case they injure their dominant one.

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    Side note: the results of such an effort may depend a lot on how big the difference between your hands is. Dexterity is not a black-white thing, but a greyscale: some people are (almost) ambidextrous, just favour one hand, others' non-dominant hand is nearly "useless" - and there is everything in between. Yes, training helps, but may mean a lot of practise and an unpredictable degree of success. OTOH, most neuroscientists would encourage you to try, because it's good training for your brain.
    – Stephie
    Oct 31, 2016 at 5:13

5 Answers 5


You've already identified the fact that being equally proficient with both hands gives you some redundancy in case of injury although there are plenty of other potential injuries or illnesses which could hamper you working so I'm not sure that is a very compelling reason.

Perhaps a better reason is that it potentially offers more versatility in your technique and there may well be circumstances where working right to left as opposed to left to right is an advantage.

Similarly trying to draw with both hands my free up your technique a bit and help you develop more of a personal and expressive style as well as forcing you to focus more on the subject and less on the mechanical process of reproducing an image.

  • What do mean by working from right to left and left to right? Nov 2, 2016 at 14:30
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    I think he is referring to where your hand/arm is relative to what you are drawing. Depending on which hand and which direction you are working you will be dragging your hand through what you just drew. Switching hands will fix this.
    – rebusB
    Nov 21, 2016 at 18:00

I meet with a small group once a month to "do art". Each month one of us is in charge of the lesson. We just did pencil sketches using our dominant and then non dominant hand. We were all amazed- everyone liked the non dominant drawings better. You are more detail oriented and try to draw to perfection w your dominant hand. The non dominant drawings were looser and more free. It is considered a good practice to do to increase your awareness to detail, your drawing skills and good for your brain.


Hand fatigue is usually a pretty minor thing. Being ambidextrous won't prevent it either. Often, just shifting your grip regularly is enough to prevent it.

Most things which would prevent you from using one hand will affect both, like arthritis. Practicing such a difficult skill to have a backup seems excessive.

An ambidextrous artist can use whichever hand will produce a desired mark best. No matter what, there will be differences between the marks produced by each hand. Even if they were perfectly physically symmetrical, (which they never are) the very fact that they are mirrors of each other means certain directional marks will be easier to make with one hand or another. Our hands move in natural ways easiest. Having an opposite hand which can do the "unnatural" direction for the other would be a good thing. Also, because the two hands will have subtle structural differences, it is likely they would have their own unique marks.

An ambidextrous artist can reach into their composition from any direction. Many mistakes come down to the artist's palm, wrist, or arm interfering with the work. Often, we cover our composition, partially blinding ourselves while we work. Sometimes, we smudge our work while we draw somewhere else on the page. An ambidextrous artist could always take the path which minimizes the negative effects of having arms.

An ambidextrous artist could, if the page is fixed in place, use both hands to create combined marks that nobody else can make.


I don't know if this can be considered an answer or not, but when I was a kid my friends and I spent a lot of time drawing horses. I always drew my horses with the head on the left side of the page and the tail on the right.

At some point, we decided to all try drawing with our non-dominant hand. I am right-handed, so I started drawing with my left hand. What was interesting at the time (and even more fascinating now that I think of it as an adult), is that I could only draw horses facing the opposite direction--i.e. with their heads on the right side of the page and their tails to the left.

The reason I find it so interesting thinking back on it, is that it offers some insight into how your brain works differently when you are using your different hands. I would guess if you made a practice of this, once you got past the phase where you were simply developing your ability to use your non-dominant hand, you might find that your style is very different depending on which hand you use, or that you can render certain things more effectively with one hand versus the other.


well it depends on what hands are you comfortable using. sometime it may be awkward to use left hand to draw.but it also has a advantage when it comes to draw curves. well main catch is if you are not used to drawing with left hand you cannot learn now and draw... well try it ...cheers

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