Drawing Size
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    Drawing Size

    I find that I do “observational drawing” best when I draw things the size I see them.

    What I mean by “the size I seem them” is this:

    Imagine that the drawing surface is see-through plastic say about 16 inches from the eyeball.

    I find that I draw things most effectively when I draw them the size they would be if I were tracing them on this (theoretical) piece of plastic held at that distance from my eye.

    Yet, I see people at life drawing drawing things like heads nearly life-size, and doing a pretty good job of it, from the same distance where I perceive the model’s head to be about the size of a quarter (25 cent coin) in relation to my drawing surface.

    From what I understand, I would say these people have a good grasp of measurement and construction. And, I would suppose I could work the same but just never really thought to do so.

    The above is just an observation, no real question. But, does anyone else out there have any thoughts or observations on effective working size, particularly for life drawing?

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    I remember reading an article once concerning drawing life size portraits and how drawing images from life slightly smaller (if you're going for life size) will make them look more realistic/believable, as it will make it appear like they are placed back within the plain of the surface.

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    what you're describing is usually called the picture plane.

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    What you are doing Kamber, is a loose versoin of sight size as opposed to comparative drawing. Usually comparative drawing is made by marking the long axis for the given object in this case a head, and comparing all your following measurements to that initial mark. This type of drawing frees you from trying to copy at a one to one ratio.
    Sight size has become rigid in just the last century where the object and drawing surface is setup next to each other and you orserve from a fixed point and (copy) everything exactly as you see it. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and both can be taken to a high degree of expertise depending on the individual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cro-magnon View Post
    what you're describing is usually called the picture plane.
    That's exactly what I'm describing!

    To restate: I find that I draw most effectively when drawing at the size objects appear in relation to the picture plane.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    What you are doing Kamber, is a loose versoin of sight size as opposed to comparative drawing. Usually comparative drawing is made by marking the long axis for the given object in this case a head, and comparing all your following measurements to that initial mark. This type of drawing frees you from trying to copy at a one to one ratio.
    Sight size has become rigid in just the last century where the object and drawing surface is setup next to each other and you orserve from a fixed point and (copy) everything exactly as you see it. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and both can be taken to a high degree of expertise depending on the individual.
    Hey dpaint, I actually want to call it "sight sizing," but know that would be an incorrect use of terminology. As I understand it "sight sizing" is also called "same sizing" and involves, like you say, placing the subject and the drawing surface side-by-side (on the same visual plane) and taking direct measurements using strings and plumb bobs and calipers and such.

    That would seem to be a good trick for a few drawings to help people learn to draw-- but, it would seem to be a rather bizarre way to actually work.

    I understand and can do comparative drawing. But, I find that when I do quick, intuitive "field sketching" this visual matching that I've described seems to be my "default mode" when drawing "from the hip."

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    You would be correct to call it sight size, as that is what it is. As I said this method has been in use for 500 years; its only in the last few years that the sight size Nazi's have made it into a narrower definition.

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    your pencil or something sticklike makes a good plumb. You can make some marks as to the general size you want. Often I find I draw sight size cause the page is blank-you can't see relative distances at all on a pure white page. Thats a big part of gesture, not only a general understanding of the pose but also to frame up the thing!

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