Monday, 18 April 2011

Art tip of the week - measuring accurately

No Video Jug material today, just a straight forward tip for you! Last time I discussed how to try and understand colour a little more with two unusual still life exercises, but before you can even get to colour you’ve got to learn to draw what’s in front of you accurately. When you are first learning to measure with your eye, it is a good idea to use the tool in your hand - the pen or safer option - pencil you are using. Use the top of the pencil as the end of your ruler. With your arm out straight in front of you, line the pencil up with your eye line (I close my left eye and line it up with my right) and ‘place’ the top of the pencil against the object you want to measure and with your thumb run down the pencil to the second point you want to measure, then transfer that length on the pencil to your paper by making a mark for the top and then a second mark for where you thumb tip is, remembering if you can to keep account of the angle of the measurement too!
You can also use the pencil to measure angles, which if you are doing life drawing (figure drawing) is another way to get lengths correct - comparing one angle against another, giving you the length of something else. It sounds very longwinded and complicated, but it is not at all. It is a very ancient method of measuring and with time you learn to do the same with your eyes. Although, even now I will occasionally use my pencil to double-check a measurement or angle, if I am drawing from life. Give it a go! If you want visual instructions, let me know and I’ll add them to tomorrow’s post!