Closing one eye
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    Thumbs up Closing one eye

    Recently, while doing drawings of life subjects, I close one eye 95% of the time while drawing so as to simplify the contours of the subject and draw it more accurately.

    So, for e.g, if I do a drawing for 90 mins, my left eye would be closed for around 80 mins or so. I open it everytime I look at the paper, but when I look up and study the subject again, I would close it.

    The problem is that after too much closing of the left eye for 80+ mins or so, my left eye feels strained and weird. Things, when seen with the left eye, is blurrish. It's feeling better now, though.

    Anyone has encountered this before? Or do most people here, when they're beginning to do accurate contour drawing of the subject's lines, they don't need to close one eye?

    Thanks for any advice,
    Xeon

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    It's typically a bad idea to close one eye while you're observing your scene. It's very hard to get a feel for the 3-dimensionality of the objects and the space between them--those qualities which you want to capture in your piece. If you're having trouble seeing the masses correctly, try squinting your eyes.

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    I never close an eye when I'm drawing from life... I can imagine it's better to look with both eyes, since it will give you a better sense of depth for what you're looking at.

    In fact, a person is generaly either right eyed or left eyed. You actually only see the object with one eye, the other just meassures depth. If you hold your hand up formed like a spying glass and look through it at something, the thing you're looking at will shift position if you close the eye you see with

    Last edited by tobbA; September 24th, 2009 at 11:22 AM.
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    Yep. Closing one eye could actually be a major hindrance to your ability to capture the form of an object, because you lose most of your depth perception. If you're having trouble understanding the form with both eyes, the trick is to just keep practicing. You'll only get better and better.

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    Wow, thanks a lot, guys!

    The problem with using 2 eyes to see, I noticed, is that when you're drawing subjects that are curving towards / away from you in space, or foreshortened to a very challenging perspective, it can be very confusing to detect where the contour / line is actually curving cos' the eyes / mind can play tricks on you. Like you know, you thought that contour is going away, but actually it's coming down.

    Anyway, I'll try squinting both eyes tomorrow.
    Shit, my left eye really has overworked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tobbA View Post
    In fact, a person is generaly either right eyed or left eyed. You actually only see the object with one eye, the other just meassures depth. If you hold your hand up formed like a spying glass and look through it at something, the thing you're looking at will shift position if you close the eye you see with
    Oh yeah, lol, I tried that before some time ago and it freaked me out and I can't believe what was happening.

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    From Harold Speed's brilliant "Practice and Science of Drawing":

    What chiefly concerns us here is the fact that the pictures on our retinas are flat, of two dimensions, the same as the canvas on which we paint. If you examine these visual pictures without any prejudice, as one may with a camera obscura, you will see that they are composed of masses of colour in infinite variety and complexity, of different shapes and gradations, and with many varieties of edges; giving to the eye the illusion of nature with actual depths and distances, although one knows all the time that it is a flat table on which one is looking.

    Seeing then that our eyes have only flat pictures containing two-dimension information about the 40objective world, from whence is this knowledge of distance and the solidity of things? How do we see the third dimension, the depth and thickness, by means of flat pictures of two dimensions?

    The power to judge distance is due principally to our possessing two eyes situated in slightly different positions, from which we get two views of objects, and also to the power possessed by the eyes of focussing at different distances, others being out of focus for the time being.


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    Since Speed has been mentioned, here's the obligatory pimp for the whole book.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/14264

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    To echo what's been said, keep both eyes open or you'll lose your perception of depth and might as well draw from a photo.

    In addition, closing one eye will subtly alter the colour perception of the open eye. The brain still receives information from the closed eye but instead of it being a slightly shifted view of the scene it will be the dark reds and purples of the inside of your eyelid. Your brain will still try to integrate this into your "3D picture" and although the "priority" of the information from the closed eye is reduced because of the lack of detail, it still influences your view of the scene.

    Also, it makes you look weird.

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    Unfortunately my message got lost..... so here again:


    I have to contradict.

    You MUST lose percepion of depth.

    In his book "Cast Drawing - using the sight size approach" Darren Rousar recomments viewing the object with one eye and so do I. Using both eyes will lead to confusion. Which line is the true line on the object? Is it the line percieved from the left eye or that from the right eye. You alread have noticed this phenomenon. Since you have two versions you have to decide, which version you will put on paper since the paper is not able to display a 3D version - it HAS TO BE 2D.

    The perception of depth is of no use if you work in 2D. Just look at the object with one eye and draw the line with both eyes to get the pencil at the point you want it to be

    EDIT: Dali made some interesting stereo paintings wich only can percieved by using both eyes. Both paintings are slightly different - representing the view of each eye. You can not put two paintings in one - except in your brain.

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    When i want to get a feel for general shape and contours and i feel the details are impeding me, i squint for a little while. I find that helps alot .

    - When you cannot win a large victory, learn to settle for a small one.
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    Just to add a little tip: while drawing, you can use your pencil as a 'measuring tool' by holding it up to the subject you're drawing, and using your thumb to 'measure' it, and then use that to draw a more proportionally correct picture. It helps a lot if you struggle with getting proportions of several items correct in the same drawing, I find. (Although saying that, I did it in my art class today while drawing a still life, and got laughed at by the girl next to me who said it was the "strangest thing she has ever seen". I don't see why it was so strange though!)

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    The perception of depth is of no use if you work in 2D.
    No, no, no, no, no, no.

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    Ok, so I think you do have some points on it but just had no time for making it clear in this thread, instead of only saying "no" for six times?

    If you close your left eye and draw what you see, you will end up with a vision of what the eye has seen - assumed you are able to draw accurately.

    If you close your right eye and draw what you see you will end up with a vision of what this particular eye has seen.

    If you take both eyes you will have perception of depth but what are you gonna put on the paper? So this is what I mean with that it is of no use to have both eyes open since you only draw one drawing.

    A one-eyed guy can draw to the same accuracy as a two eyed guy - assumed he is able to put the pencil on the right point of the paper - which he will since he is used to work with only one eye or drink coffee with one eye or put the thread into the needle....

    As mentioned before, Dali shows us what each eye is percieving - but with two different painting. How will you be able to put dimension on to a 2D surface? It´s about creating the illusion of dimension what a realist painter/drawer is goint at.

    I hope I made my point clear - and I hope you will do too

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    You're assuming that drawing is simply copying what's in front of you. That is what has been lovingly referred to as being a "meat-camera." Drawing is looking at what's in front of you, interpreting it, then portraying that interpretation on the page. When you eliminate the second eye, you eliminate the third dimension, thus failing to have any hope of achieving believable form.

    Hope that's a little clearer.

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    I believe that it's a real waste to flatten out the image before you even draw it just for the sake of accuracy. It doesn't seem to be a problem in purely academic drawings - but especially when painting from life you want that extra depth information to help control your edges and brushwork. Those extreme academic drawings can sometimes give a nice illusion of form without seeming to understand it - i.e. the shading lines follow the shapes instead of the forms. Not only does it feel like being a 'meat camera' but you don't learn as much in the process - trying to use the skills of accurately replicating 2d shapes to create figures from the imagination is an exercise in futility. The best bet for study is to use both approaches (2d Bargue and 3d Vilppu), one or the other and then simultaneously - more tools rules!

    To Xeon_OND - The only 'eye trick' I think is worth using is squinting to simplify the shapes, and it's not to be used 100% of the time; it's just a tool to check as you go. Another useful thing is to try and look at the "whole subject" with your eyes wide; Much as when you're driving, you shouldn't be looking at just the road in front of the car, you're eyes should take in the entire scene so you can see what's ahead. In drawing, don’t just look at the particular line you are currently on – as you actually draw it, look over the entire form to make sure it fits and only watch the line being created in your peripheral vision.

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    I find that when I'm drawing the big stuff (proportions, main lines, construction lines) I like to have both eyes open, but for the small, precise stuff (faces, fingers, folds) I like to close one eye.

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    Like Qitsune, I find it useful to close one eye at some times, and keep both open at others. Why not do both? They're both useful...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    Since Speed has been mentioned, here's the obligatory pimp for the whole book.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/14264
    The best shit ever! Btw, if someone has PDF copies of other art books, pls post them here. This way, we can all save money and no need to buy from bookstores.

    Anyway, thanks for all the deep insight here, especially to bjoern3000 and Puck and Noah.

    I first learned of this closing one eye trick in Betty Edwards' book where she emphasizes this quite a bit and it got stuck in my mind. Bert Dodson in his Keys to Drawing book also mentions once or twice about closing one eye, although he emphasizes more on squinting.

    And yeah, closing one eye allows you make quite accurate copies of 2D images but as Puck and Noah says, it has it's disadvantages and you may lose out on form etc.

    And closing one eye 90% of the time while drawing is a very unhealthy activity (e.g: work 2 hours and keep the left eye closed for 1 hr 50 mins.....I might as well wear a pirate eye-patch) :p

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    Xeon, I should mention that Speed is kinda ye olde English.*

    It's heavy art concepts explained in slightly dated language and it can be heavy going.

    It was heavy going for me and I'm from an English speaking generation where you would get beaten with belts for being stupid or not writing neatly.

    It's still just about the best book ever though, worth persevering with.

    *Yeah, I know everyone in Singapore speaks English, this is flouncy English.

    You'd like his oil painting book too, "Oil Painting Techniques and Materials", he hates most of the artists you will and spends the first few chapters explaining in great depth why they are in fact simple minded bitches and noobs.

    It's one of the more vicious works of art criticism I've seen, all the more effective because the guy demonstrably knows his stuff, well that and subtlety wasn't big back then..

    He then slips into general picture making theory that could help most, once he's got his wee rant out..

    Well worth a look whether you agree with him or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    Xeon, I should mention that Speed is kinda ye olde English.*
    Ok, that's all I need. I'm not even gonna bother downloading that. :p

    It was heavy going for me and I'm from an English speaking generation where you would get beaten with belts for being stupid or not writing neatly.
    I dunno if that book is as shakespearish as Hogarth's writing style, but if your English standard is amazing + good foundation of art and it's STILL heavy-going for you, then obviously it's not for me.

    Even Bridgeman's writing style is WAY too much for me, considering that I've been a bookworm and I love to read any kind of book / newspaper / novel / dictionary / thesaurus since I was a kid.

    Thanks for the book, though. It's good to print out these oldies cos' you never know how much they're worth 50 yrs down the road. It's like old coins and old stamps.

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    I'd say, it's free so see how far you get with it.

    If you can get through that, most English books will be less challenging than Airport novels. You'll have been in at the deep end, everything else would be fairly easy.

    And you'd love the bits where he tears into modern art..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    And you'd love the bits where he tears into modern art..
    Nuff said. I'm gonna download it now and read it during my time on the train. I gotta say I'm starting to admire him now.

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    Woah, didn't say I agree, based on your posts here you will love it though, that's why I suggested him.

    He does make some fairly convincing arguments for most of modern art being pish though...

    Edit: and he's quite cheeky about it..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    Woah, didn't say I agree, based on your posts here you will love it though, that's why I suggested him.

    He does make some fairly convincing arguments for most of modern art being pish though...

    Edit: and he's quite cheeky about it..
    Ok, while this thread is still active, I might as well dump one more question in here.

    When drawing complicated subjects from life, such as, say, a bicycle or some car's engine, do you guys draw out all the details, each and every single one of them, including the even the tiniest screws and nuts and bolts and those super intricate details?

    Or do you guys just draw the main stuff and roughly fill in the rest, even to the point of deliberately leaving out some details?

    EDIT: I just browsed through his book online and gotta say the writing style is just weird to me, as expected. It's like, how do I say it....but, to understand the sentences, you need to re-read it again and again to analyze it to see what he means, unlike modern books where you just read and understand at the same time. It's still a bit better than Hogarth's books, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    .but, to understand the sentences, you need to re-read it again and again to analyze it to see what he mean,
    Yup, it reads exactly the same in English.

    Reading it at least 3 times would not be a bad idea.

    Edit: seriously, it's kinda old skool language in my language..most English speaking art students would miss the subtleties..It's still pretty heavy.

    Last edited by Flake; September 25th, 2009 at 01:01 AM.
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    I just did that and Im feeling wooooooozy now. -.-

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  48. #28
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    You guy all come from a different time zone than I - so while I sleep you already talk about a different subject

    I typed in Google "closing one eye drawing"

    This is the first hit: http://www.teachnet.com/lesson/art/oneeyeddraw.html
    The second is this thread
    the third: long link made shorter

    and so on....

    I am still not convinced by observating the subject by two eyes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bjoern3000 View Post
    You guy all come from a different time zone than I - so while I sleep you already talk about a different subject
    LOL, as far as I know, Germany is like 6 - 7 hours behind us. Apparently, you came to CA right after you woke up? CA should reward your loyalty with a CA-exclusive t-shirt!

    I typed in Google "closing one eye drawing"
    This is the first hit: http://www.teachnet.com/lesson/art/oneeyeddraw.html
    The second is this thread
    the third: long link made shorter
    and so on....
    I am still not convinced by observating the subject by two eyes.
    Drawing with one eye closed makes a lot of things very easy to draw, but well, as Puck and the rest says, the disadvantages are more than the advantages.

    Besides, closing your left eye too much = unhealthy for the eye (in extreme cases, may even leave you with the left eye becoming smaller than the right eye )

    How about yourself? Do you close your left eye most of the time while drawing? Or only occasionally? (when you're stuck or overwhelmed by details).

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    I have read through the book and I have to agree that the english is really old school. Not very entertaining but certainly very informative. I probably have to reread it more times to really digest the stuff inside. It is like a magical book which provide u with more insight everytimes u read it.

    The book is incidentially very cheap and i suggest u just buy it, at least for me i prefer reading physical books than a pdf on the computer. I dont think it is available in any bookstore in singapore though. I got mine through amazon.

    Personally i dont close any eyes because i feel the difference between us and cameras is because we have two eyes and the reality we perceive is actually different. It is kinda like a 3d/2d thing where we see more with two eyes open than one eyes. I would train my eye judgment with using both eyes open.

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