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How To Draw What You See

How To Draw What You See

How many times have you said, “I wish I could draw”. Well if you do not practice and learn basic skills, you may find yourself saying that all too often. A key essential in accurately drawing something is to draw what you see, not what you know is there. Let me explain. When you look at the figure of a face in a dimly lit room, your mind fills in the details of the form even though you can not see it. Learn to train your mind to see what it actually sees, and not what it knows is there.

1. Use a Grid
The grid method is a great way to get a small or dark picture onto a larger area such as a canvas or drawing paper. The grid method is done using a ruler and creating a grid of equal squares that is placed over a reference picture or photo. The squares in the grid can be any size such as one half inch or one inch. Now draw another grid on your drawing surface. The grid on the drawing surface can be the same size as on the reference photo or it can be larger or even smaller. It just depends on how large or small you want the drawing to be. The grid is actually a way to break a picture down into a dozen or smaller more manageable pictures.

2. Don’t ignore the Negative Space
Negative space in a drawing is just as important as the actual drawing. Negative space is the space between the arm and the body, or the area where the hair flows away from the face. It is the space where nothing is. Try drawing a tree that is completely filled with leaves and you will understand the importance of leaving those empty spaces.

3. Accurate Sizes and Proportions
When drawing objects, be sure to make the size accurate. Let’s use the tree example again. Trees in the background will appear smaller most of the time. If you were to place a tree in the foreground the same size as those in the rear, they would look like saplings or baby trees. Fence posts are another good example. As you recede into the drawing the posts would become smaller and smaller. In fact, they might disappear from sight altogether.

4. Practice
A fun way to practice some of the techniques mentioned is of course to draw over and over. But, if you practice holding your photo sideways or upside down, while drawing on the paper sideways or upside down, you will know if you are truly drawing what you actually see. Keep a sketchpad handy and doodle or draw everyday.

Drawing what you see does take time and practice. Do not struggle with complex subjects; break them down into manageable sections by incorporating the grid method. Understand the concepts of negative space, size and proportions. Most importantly practice, practice and practice.