Measuring and proportions

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    Measuring and proportions

    Hey guys,

    As we all known measuring is important in drawing - to help get things looking pretty realisitc and accurate - this is directed towards Life Drawing, but even drawing from reference - how do you guys measure with your eyes to get something write - I've always been bad with measuring (ruler and tape etc).

    Thanks =)

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    Years and years of practice. The ol' "compare it with your pencil" trick works well too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Falchion View Post
    Years and years of practice. The ol' "compare it with your pencil" trick works well too.
    Great! But how do you "compare it with your pencil"

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    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=152626

    among that list will be the info on measuring and propotions. There's also Loomis' pdf books linked somewhere around here (search around) that deals with your question.

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    I don't know if there are any tutorials or anything available so I'll try to explain, if I don't get it right I'm sure someone else here will correct me. Here goes.

    Take a box, put it on a table, take a drawing pad and pencil. To measure what you do is you hold your pencil at a right angle to your arm, now you extend your arm and you raise it in front of you and your subject, the box. Align the pencil with the box so that the tip of the pencil is aligned with the upper part of the box and then slide your thumb along the pencil until your fingernail is aligned with the base of the box. Now you have the top and base of the box 'marked' on your pencil. Then rotate your hand sideways and compare this to the width of the box. Is it the same? Is it larger or smaller? By knowing this you can now go to your pad and mark the hight of your box. To find the width, you will need to compare it with the hight.

    One way to do this is to mark the difference of the two measures and see how many times this 'fits' into each measure. For example, let's say the hight is bigger than the width of the box. When you rotate your arm and align your fingernail (that is at the place that marks the height of the box) to one side of the box, you see the tip of the pencil extend beyond the other side of the box. Slide your fingernail along the pencil until it is aligned with the other side of the box.

    What you have marked on the pencil is the difference of the height in comparison to the width. Now, see how many times this measure fits in both with and height. It may fit 3 times in the width and 4 times in the height. This means that the width is equal to 3/4 of the height.

    Now, this isn't how you go on measuring everything of course. It's a useful way to begin seeing proportions and getting used to measuring, at least, that's what I was taught. Later on you'll be able to generally measure various parts with the pencil faster and with more accuracy and later on, you won't need it too much.

    If anyone has more on the subject, or a different approach, I'd be interested in reading about it, learn some more stuff than the stiff things the teachers cling to over hear.

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    Angles are also an important thing to keep in mind. When starting out it's easy to slip into the habit of overlooking an angle of an arm or a leg and draw them too vertically.

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    I find observing and maintaining negative space the easiest way. Of course that's if you're working from reference. Also it's a good way of seeing what might be a little off in a drawing after you finished it, compare the negative spaces.

    Last edited by Ryan K; December 9th, 2009 at 07:51 PM.
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    Unhappy Measuring and Proportion problems

    In my Drawing I class at college, we were taught how to use a basic little wooden stick (like a kebab stick) and measure objects in the still life we were going to draw. We'd have to mark off the measurements on the stick. I never got the hang of this, and tried to use a ruler. That didn't work so well either. I'm still struggling with proportion and measurement. I've done about 4 still lifes so far, and it takes me about 15 hours to start the basic line drawing! It takes my art teacher about 15 minutes, and it takes most 'normal' students about 20-60 minutes to start. My last still life, I went through 3 large sheets of paper and 15 hours of drawing a small line once, erasing it about 10 times, drawing another line, erasing it again. My eyes see something, but my brain tells it to draw something very different.

    I cannot do my drawing in the classroom setting either. I have to photograph the still life, then load it onto my computer, sit in front of the monitor for hours, and make about 100 attempts at starting it until it looks "right". I find the classroom setting to be too distracting and find it difficult to draw in a standing position at the easel. Does anyone else have this problem?

    Keep in mind, I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder. On the other hand, my art teacher says I've made a HUGE improvement since the beginning of the semester and has displayed my work on the "Hall of Fame" wall outside of Drawing Class, which is an honor only bestowed upon the best works in class. My art teacher asked me if Art was going to be my major. I told her it was originally going to be, but since it takes me so freaking long to do a drawing, I decided on Photography instead. She was not happy about that decision. I don't know of any other way of speeding up my drawing process though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay B View Post
    In my Drawing I class at college, we were taught how to use a basic little wooden stick (like a kebab stick) and measure objects in the still life we were going to draw. We'd have to mark off the measurements on the stick. I never got the hang of this, and tried to use a ruler. That didn't work so well either. I'm still struggling with proportion and measurement. I've done about 4 still lifes so far, and it takes me about 15 hours to start the basic line drawing! It takes my art teacher about 15 minutes, and it takes most 'normal' students about 20-60 minutes to start. My last still life, I went through 3 large sheets of paper and 15 hours of drawing a small line once, erasing it about 10 times, drawing another line, erasing it again. My eyes see something, but my brain tells it to draw something very different.

    I cannot do my drawing in the classroom setting either. I have to photograph the still life, then load it onto my computer, sit in front of the monitor for hours, and make about 100 attempts at starting it until it looks "right". I find the classroom setting to be too distracting and find it difficult to draw in a standing position at the easel. Does anyone else have this problem?

    Keep in mind, I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder. On the other hand, my art teacher says I've made a HUGE improvement since the beginning of the semester and has displayed my work on the "Hall of Fame" wall outside of Drawing Class, which is an honor only bestowed upon the best works in class. My art teacher asked me if Art was going to be my major. I told her it was originally going to be, but since it takes me so freaking long to do a drawing, I decided on Photography instead. She was not happy about that decision. I don't know of any other way of speeding up my drawing process though.
    Measuring on a wooden stick and make marks?! That's gotta be one of the most mechanical and stiffest way of drawing I ever know. Just draw freely and use proportions and measurements as guidelines. I'm no expert, but taking 15 - 20 mins to even start a drawing is crazy. Just find the midpoint of the subject, then dive into the drawing and make your first mark, then go from there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay B View Post
    In my Drawing I class at college, we were taught how to use a basic little wooden stick (like a kebab stick) and measure objects in the still life we were going to draw. We'd have to mark off the measurements on the stick. I never got the hang of this, and tried to use a ruler. That didn't work so well either. I'm still struggling with proportion and measurement. I've done about 4 still lifes so far, and it takes me about 15 hours to start the basic line drawing! It takes my art teacher about 15 minutes, and it takes most 'normal' students about 20-60 minutes to start. My last still life, I went through 3 large sheets of paper and 15 hours of drawing a small line once, erasing it about 10 times, drawing another line, erasing it again. My eyes see something, but my brain tells it to draw something very different.

    I cannot do my drawing in the classroom setting either. I have to photograph the still life, then load it onto my computer, sit in front of the monitor for hours, and make about 100 attempts at starting it until it looks "right". I find the classroom setting to be too distracting and find it difficult to draw in a standing position at the easel. Does anyone else have this problem?

    Keep in mind, I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder. On the other hand, my art teacher says I've made a HUGE improvement since the beginning of the semester and has displayed my work on the "Hall of Fame" wall outside of Drawing Class, which is an honor only bestowed upon the best works in class. My art teacher asked me if Art was going to be my major. I told her it was originally going to be, but since it takes me so freaking long to do a drawing, I decided on Photography instead. She was not happy about that decision. I don't know of any other way of speeding up my drawing process though.
    Is it possible that you're limiting yourself by worrying too much? You gotta kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince, and you need to make a lot of mistakes to find the right path for you. Discuss it with your teacher. Sounds like she might have faith in you. i have a friend who is so quick and slick I have a sublimated desire to poke his eyes out. He's a good friend, though, so I probably won't...

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    Follow what Line said those are helpful tips

    here's something called marking off the notional space of an object. Which is basically putting a box around your subject matter marking its outer most boarders.

    with this box its now easier to find were things should be in relationship to each other.

    below notional space of entire still life with objects

    all extremely rough but i hope it may help

    also watch this



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    It takes practice. I use the comparative method, not sight-size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay B View Post
    In my Drawing I class at college, we were taught how to use a basic little wooden stick (like a kebab stick) and measure objects in the still life we were going to draw. We'd have to mark off the measurements on the stick. I never got the hang of this, and tried to use a ruler. That didn't work so well either. I'm still struggling with proportion and measurement. I've done about 4 still lifes so far, and it takes me about 15 hours to start the basic line drawing! It takes my art teacher about 15 minutes, and it takes most 'normal' students about 20-60 minutes to start. My last still life, I went through 3 large sheets of paper and 15 hours of drawing a small line once, erasing it about 10 times, drawing another line, erasing it again. My eyes see something, but my brain tells it to draw something very different.

    I cannot do my drawing in the classroom setting either. I have to photograph the still life, then load it onto my computer, sit in front of the monitor for hours, and make about 100 attempts at starting it until it looks "right". I find the classroom setting to be too distracting and find it difficult to draw in a standing position at the easel. Does anyone else have this problem?

    Keep in mind, I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder. On the other hand, my art teacher says I've made a HUGE improvement since the beginning of the semester and has displayed my work on the "Hall of Fame" wall outside of Drawing Class, which is an honor only bestowed upon the best works in class. My art teacher asked me if Art was going to be my major. I told her it was originally going to be, but since it takes me so freaking long to do a drawing, I decided on Photography instead. She was not happy about that decision. I don't know of any other way of speeding up my drawing process though.
    Try practicing at home on your own by drawing simple things. For instance, take a piece of paper and draw a thick 'S' curve on it, stick it to the wall and then proceed to draw it using you kebab stick. Try to simplify it first. Think of boundaries, like the video Zazerzs linked to. Then think in terms of a simplified curve, then slowly build the curve up by subdividing the larger lines into smaller ones, checking the angle of each part of the curve with your stick, then transferring the angle to your paper.

    Always remember to look at your objects as big shapes first, leasure their relative height and width, the distances between them and then, after you have abstract boxes and triangles on the paper, go ahead and begin subdividing and shaping them. Pretty soon you will be able to measure faster and mostly with your eye.

    Keep at it.

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    Red face Thank You, ALL! :-)

    Measuring and proportions
    Measuring and proportions

    I want to thank everyone who replied with great advice, examples, and videos. It's nice to find this kind of support system. I appreciate it immensely. I've included (not so great) pics of two of my still lifes that I did a few weeks ago and took me just way too long to draw! My Art teacher sprayed both drawings with hair spray because she isn't allowed to use Fixative due to health hazards and the expense.

    Kay

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay B View Post
    Measuring and proportions
    Measuring and proportions
    HOLY FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Line's advice/process is right neovirtu (and Kay). It is called "sight-measuring" and is the key to drawing what you see accurately (not to be confused with the "sight-size" drawing approach which is similar but somewhat more technical").

    I won't bother describing the technique again but would like to recommend the best book I've seen on the topic: "Drawing Essentials" by Deborah Rockman. She covers sight-measuring very thoroughly. Probably the best book out there on drawing right now.

    Good luck!

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