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    Comparative Measurement?

    hi guys ive heard about the comparative method of measurement but i dont really get how it works, could nebody teach it to me or at least explain a little? much appreciated thanks

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    I posted this the other day for people but got no responses. But maybe it will help you. This is just dealing with the figure not sure if that is what you want or something more generalized

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=178522

    Last edited by dpaint; January 11th, 2010 at 06:03 PM. Reason: spelling
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    I can try then some one who will know more can correct me or add to it

    The comparative method of measurement:

    Lets say you are drawing a bottle.

    You mark the base of the bottle as a certain width.

    You then use that base width as your unit of measurement and notice that your wine bottle is about 3 and 1/2 base widths high.

    So in your drawing you mark off these measurements and draw the height of the bottle.

    Your bottle is now in correct proportion regardless of what size you draw it at.

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    The technique is called "sight measuring" which is not to be confused with sight-size measuring (which basically takes sight measuring to the Nth degree). Zazerzs has the right idea but maybe I can add a bit to it (pretty much what Zazerzs said but adding how to do the sighting).

    Study your scene and determine what will be your unit of measurement - it should be something you can easily see and judge. Close one eye and hold your pencil (or ideally, a thin stick like a shish-ke-bob skewer) out at arm's length with elbow locked - measure the width of the bottom of the bottle and place the very tip of your thumb there - now keep that, rotate the stick to vertical and measure the bottle vertically - how many widths is it tall? Establish the bottom of the bottle in your drawing - now make the height of the bottle 3 1/2 (or whatever) times higher than the base width. Do this with everything in your drawing - all comparing to how many bottle bottom widths.

    Other things to look for:
    Horizon - where does the horizon/table edge hit the object?
    Landmarks - these are reference points within an object - where does the bottle start to curve? How far up?
    Axis lines - these are imaginary lines running through the center of an object - look to see if they are tilted, foreshortened, etc.
    Horizontal/Vertical alignments - look to see if landmarks and objects line up along imaginary vertical or horizontal lines - if not how far off are they?
    Angles - what angle is that line/edge at? Hold your sighting stick up right in line with the edge (but keep it flat to the picture plane) - now just swing over to your drawing - do you have that angle laid in correctly? people have a natural tendency to flatten angles toward the horizon.
    Negative space - what is the shape of the negative space between objects?
    Shadow shapes - what shapes are the cast shadows - where do they fall and intersect objects?

    Once you get the hang of it you'll be amazed at how simple it is - yet few people talk about it and I've only seen it well presented in one book. Sight measuring works for any observational drawing of course - figure, landscape, architecture, still life.
    Dpaint's rules of thumb for size relationships are great for the figure too.

    Hope that makes it a little more clear!

    Last edited by JeffX99; January 12th, 2010 at 04:22 AM. Reason: Forgot something important and typos...
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  10. #5
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    I concur Thanks Jeff!

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    thanks loads guys, ive been kinda just doing that on my own without actually knowing what its called but thanks lots for clarifying! and ill definitely be checking out taht thread dpaint when i get the time, fresh out of it right now! thanks again!

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    i already see a lot of people have the wrong idea about sight measuring, this does NOT require holding out your pencil, etc. That is completely inaccurate. I am in training with MindCandyMan who uses sight measuring. All this requires is using your eye to compare shapes, angles, horizontals/verticals to one another which can be done without a pencil. Basic example. If you look at a box straight on and try to draw it bigger, smaller, same size, etc, its still going to look exactly the same as long as you get your lengths right which is easy since all 4 sides are the same length. The size doesn't matter, its all about relationships. The only way to learn this method is lots of hard work, time, and practice. Holding your pencil up to measure is a pretty big joke to me, your eye is so much more accurate than any measuring device ever could be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LumoGraphite View Post
    i already see a lot of people have the wrong idea about sight measuring, this does NOT require holding out your pencil, etc. That is completely inaccurate. I am in training with MindCandyMan who uses sight measuring. All this requires is using your eye to compare shapes, angles, horizontals/verticals to one another which can be done without a pencil. Basic example. If you look at a box straight on and try to draw it bigger, smaller, same size, etc, its still going to look exactly the same as long as you get your lengths right which is easy since all 4 sides are the same length. The size doesn't matter, its all about relationships. The only way to learn this method is lots of hard work, time, and practice. Holding your pencil up to measure is a pretty big joke to me, your eye is so much more accurate than any measuring device ever could be.
    Mr. Bridgman? Any thoughts?

    "All measurements of the human figure are divisions of the body into parts of given measurements. There are many conceptions of measuring, scientific and ideal, and they all differ."

    "You have to measure, first of all, with your eye; and by studying the model judge the comparative measurements of its several masses. Then measure mechanically. When measuring mechanically, hold your charcoal or pencil between the thumb and fingers and use the first finger and the tip of your charcoal to mark the extremities of the measurement you are taking."

    He goes on from there. I don't care who you are studying with, please try to refrain from offering your uninformed, amateur and inexperienced advice which only only adds to the confusion.

    Last edited by JeffX99; February 11th, 2010 at 03:55 PM. Reason: Added clarification
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  18. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LumoGraphite View Post
    i already see a lot of people have the wrong idea about sight measuring, this does NOT require holding out your pencil, etc. That is completely inaccurate. I am in training with MindCandyMan who uses sight measuring. All this requires is using your eye to compare shapes, angles, horizontals/verticals to one another which can be done without a pencil. Basic example. If you look at a box straight on and try to draw it bigger, smaller, same size, etc, its still going to look exactly the same as long as you get your lengths right which is easy since all 4 sides are the same length. The size doesn't matter, its all about relationships. The only way to learn this method is lots of hard work, time, and practice. Holding your pencil up to measure is a pretty big joke to me, your eye is so much more accurate than any measuring device ever could be.
    Sargent used a plumb line to measure. I wouldnt call him a big joke, right?
    I dont think MindyCandyMan thinks the same way as you, ask him about it.

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  20. #10
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    Gerome used one as well and also used a pencil to measure according to his students. You know Jean Leon Gerome, the guy whos teachings the Bargue book is based on.

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    Regarding LumonGraphite's comments on measuring... as a guy who usually measures by sight alone with no aides (pencil, Shish kebab stick, or whatever) and has been doing so for many years, I can say there is a huge difference in accuracy between using some sort of measuring stick and going by eye alone.

    You can often do what I call "good enough" with eye alone, but to say using a measuring instrument is inferior to using nothing is ludicrous. That's why we have rulers, what an inch really is can be quite different from what you think an inch is. Similarly using a pencil to measure out the base of a bottle and using that base as the units of measurement all throughout is far more accurate than looking at the base and then comparing everything else to how wide you thought the base was.

    A measuring stick is an objective reference point that does not change, and for precision work it is invaluable. Memory however, tends to be subjective and without an objective aide one will tend to waver from the actual measurements.

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  24. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Gerome used one as well and also used a pencil to measure according to his students. You know Jean Leon Gerome, the guy whos teachings the Bargue book is based on.
    And the guy who taught Bridgman, who taught Loomis...

    I believe the point has been well made so no need to be-labor it further. If you prefer not to use a measuring device more power to you. Eventually one requires its use less and less but when learning it is certainly a valuable tool.

    I would recommend Deborah Rockman's book "Drawing Essentials" for an excellent chapter on sight measuring techniques.

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  26. #13
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    sweet thanks much for all the great info guys i appreciate you taking the time!

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