Measuring techniques?

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  1. #1
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    Measuring techniques?

    I've been doodling here and there since I was a little kid, but I don't think I've ever really picked up the necessary basics to grow as an artist.

    If I look at a 2D picture, or even 3D objects; I CAN hammer out a likeness of the object(s) (sorta...), if I wear an eraser down to the nub and keep course-correcting my lines until things fall right on the page. But this doesn't seem efficient, and it makes the activity more frustrating than it should be, I imagine.



    But basically: I've only been taking in to consideration the measurements of objects fairly recently. I've tried the pencil method, which is doesn't work for the way I do things. I tend to laze about a lot when drawing, and I can't really sit straight in a chair for very long or else my back starts to ache like a bitch.

    I'm never really in a position where extending my arm to it's full extent is the best way to do it; and even when I am, I'm never at the distance I'd like to be from an object to fit the scale of my pencil. Whether I want to draw the object larger or smaller, it's just a hassle. Maybe I'm doing it wrong?


    I've been experimenting with laying down a single object (only works if I'm drawing multiple things), and basing everything off that. (E.G. This bureau is 4 vases wide and 5 vases tall)


    I don't know, I need to find something that works for me and the way I draw and easy enough to understand without causing my brain to blow a circuit. Any ideas?

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  3. #2
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    Really interesting topic, something I'd like explained by some of those mentors and instructors that lurk throughout the forums. I'm neither, but I've had some interesting discussions about this sort of thing, so here's a few thoughts of mine...

    The school of thought that I lean towards is that we all identify distance in certain ways. Basically, (as I understood it) some of us look at a scene and relate objects to a major point within that scene. For instance, an intersection... we see the big yellow bus, and equate all other information based on how it relates to that bus. So in a split second, you see lady walking away from, bicycle opposite of, building behind, street under, etc. So when we try to recreate these scenes on paper or canvas, we are best served by starting with the bus and relating the rest to that focal point.

    Another type involves those who see a scene and relate objects as they work together. The relational minded. The lady and the bus. The building and the street. Usually there is something between these items that 'make sense' and allow us to group them together. We then relate those groups to each other. Parsing out individuals is difficult.

    Last, those lucky few that view the scene and can relate all items to each other. These are the types that draw a brick in the building, a cobble on the street and the lady's purse and then continue building and it all fits somehow. These types are rare.

    Now, that's the theory, and likely based on little more than the hunches of my drinkin buddies and me... of course we all span the gamut and do a little of each, some more than others, etc. My thought is that if you pick a small scene, something you can outline in a few minutes, then try each method, you'll get an idea of what comes easiest to you. What feels natural and produces the best end result.

    Draw your entertainment center (you lounge lizard you). Start with the tv and build out from there, doing your best to keep everything spatially accurate. Next, pick a different small scene, the coffee table or something, and draw everything that is horizontal first, or group similar things based solely on your gut instinct. See how it feels and produces. Last, try working all over the page, moving to different subjects and back again. Best guess the distance.

    Try each method a few times. See what's comfortable. This should help you define the loose, drafting method that best suits you.

    After you get that down, when you're ready to move on to details and realism... grid it out or thumb your pencil. At that point, perfection is as difficult or easy as you want it to be.

    Hope it helps... sorry for the ramble. Also hope some of the more 'studied' artists chime in. I'm really just tossing some thoughts your way... lol. Best of luck.

    //JB

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  5. #3
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    i have a problem similar to this. i can draw things but putting it all together it gets lost.for example the human anatomy..ill draw the head and it will be to small for the body or one arm will be to long compared to the other.basically i can draw individual parts but when it comes to putting them together as one it gets messy.

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