Before-and-After Drawings from an Artist in Costa Rica

One of the special pleasures of this blog is the chance to communicate with people around the world.  Janid Alfaro from Costa Rica wrote to me recently, and sent some impressive before-and-after drawings.  With her permission, I reproduce them here, and our correspondence.  ~ Betty

Date: Friday, May 19, 2017
Subject: Before and After, Janid Alfaro

Hello!  My name is Janid Alfaro and I live in Costa Rica (Central America). Many years ago (in the 1990s), I improved my skills in drawing using the Betty Edwards method “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” when I took my classes at college.  I studied graphic design. 20 years later, I am an experienced graphic designer, but never practiced my drawing again and I really missed it.  So a year ago, I bought the 4th Edition of the book and decided that I will learn to draw again.  I followed the method, step-by-step, and it took me some time, but I finished it a few days ago; so, I would like to share the result with you … 

I am really thankful to Mrs. Edwards, because I think she is a really smart and committed person and her method helped me to find myself again in one of the most beautiful and gratifying activities of my life since I have memory, because I used to draw and use coloring books all the time since I was a little girl.

As you can see in the attachments, I need to practice more (obviously), but I think the improvement is evident.

Best regards from Costa Rica and God bless you all!

P.S. My English writing is limited, so I hope you forgive me for any mistakes!

El 20 may. 2017, Betty Edwards  escribió:

Dear Janid,

Thank you so much for sending me your email and your “before and after” drawings.  It makes me so happy to see how much your drawing skills improved from working through the exercises in my book.  Drawings 2 and 3 show such an ease in drawing your perceptions, especially in fine details of eyes, nose and mouth, but, moreover, excellent understanding of the relationships in size and placement of these features.  Furthermore, it is clear that you have really worked on your perceptions of lights and shadows—they are quite beautiful.

Being able to learn (or in your case, to improve) drawing skills by following instructions in a book is often regarded as difficult: many people really need a teacher to guide them through the exercises.  But every once in a while, I hear from someone like you, Janid, who manages to learn directly from my book, and I am just charmed by that.

I would love to post your letter and your drawings on our blog,, if that would be OK with you.  I feel sure others would be encouraged by your experience, and also, it is such fun to receive a letter from Costa Rica.  I have seen many photos of Costa Rica, but have never visited your beautiful country.

With every best wish,

Betty Edwards


Sent: Saturday, May 20, 2017

Dear Mrs. Edwards: 

I am SO HAPPY that you answer me, and so soon!  I admire you SO MUCH!!!!  You´re not seeing me right now, but I have a big smile in my face and my heart is beating sooo fast.  I would feel really honored if you post my letter and drawings on your blog, of course, because I would love to share my experience with others.

I hope you can visit Costa Rica some time, because you have at least a fan here (me!), so, if you like, I would be happy to meet you and take you to know some places (like a volcano) and/or share a cup of our coffee, of course ;) You´ll be always welcome here and I promise you´ll have a lot of fun, because we are a really friendly country.

Now I´m working with your book “Color”, it will take me some time, because I just started to read two days ago, but when I finish it I´ll share my results with you, too.

Thank you so much for take your time and respond my email, I can´t tell you how much I appreciate it and means to me. 

God bless you always.  Janid Alfaro 


Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dear Janid,

Your email gives me such pleasure—I, too, have a big smile on my face.  Thank you for letting us put your letter and drawings on our blog.  Yours is my first communication from Costa Rica.  I would so love to visit, but I’m afraid my traveling days are over.  Thank you for your hospitable invitation.  Next time I fix myself a cup of coffee, I’ll think of you.

Do let me know if any questions come up about color.  It’s pretty complicated, but I have tried to be clear in my book.  Taking it step-by-step is the best way.

With cordial regards,

Betty Edwards