Drawing Techniques: How to Measure and Draw Anything Accurately

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Drawing Techniques: How to Measure and Draw Anything Accurately

“Being able to draw what you see is the ultimate skill. Each Evolve student learns to paint from photographs and real life.” 

-Kevin Murphy

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In this video Piper explains how to measure and draw three objects of varying complexity using the proportional drawing method.

What is Proportional Drawing?

Do your drawings look out of whack? Proportional drawing is a technique that will help you create accurate drawings. This technique (which is broken down in detail in the Evolve curriculum) uses a standard unit of measure to compare various objects within a scene. Check out 0:56 seconds into the video above to see Piper finding a standard unit of measure for a simple drawing. 

How long does it take to learn to draw proportionally?

All Evolve students spend time measuring before actually tackling drawing proportionally. It's important to practice measuring and make sure your physical positioning is right before actually drawing. If you take a step forward, and draw before you can measure accurately, and that foundation isn't absolutely solid, it's not going to support what you put on top of it. 

A Note On Posture: When you sit down to work from direct observation you should sit straight up in your chair with your back firm against the backrest of the chair. A stool with no backrest is not going to be sufficient because little movements in your positioning will change the measurements from where you sit.

Our students spend an average of 5 hours only measuring before they begin to actually attempt a first drawing. Mastery of measuring and drawing basic objects is then gained over the course of about five days of practice. This is a skill that is honed over the course of an artist's lifetime.

Tip: It's best to start practicing measuring with a few different sets of three identical objects. You can set up the identical objects in various positions and know for certain that the measurements for each height and width should be the same. It might get boring if you are working with the same objects over and over again, so a little variety will help keep things fresh.

Why You Shouldn't Only Draw From Photos

Being able to render what’s in front of you without leaning on photographs is an invaluable skill. While completing drawings from photographs is an essential skill for artists, they also need to be able to draw from real life. Cameras can't capture the complete range of light and color that the human eye sees and photos replicated on computer screens are backlit. Trying to match oil paint colors with a backlit image won't work well as the colors will come out looking different.  

That's all for now. Have fun drawing and don't be shy; if you have a question please feel free to email [email protected]

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(2) comments

Cathy Doorten

I think this works beter an a computer screen then on paper. Because there you have tools that you can flip to make it easy. You can double it ect.

Reply

    You are correct Cathy! Using the computer gives many shortcuts but it’s always great to possess the skills in case you need to perform them in the wild 🙂

    Reply
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