Observational skills?
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    Red face Observational skills?

    Any techniques on improving observational skills and making them stronger? I know its properly a case of just drawing all the time, but I have to admit I do find drawing in class, on the train etc. quite difficult, my drawings are always very simple and quite bad in comparison to when I use images for reference and spend more time on something. I tend to rely on tweaking the image till it looks presentable. My life drawings have been quite bad lately aswell @___@ I have been told my observational skills need improving.

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    Well there's proportion, which can be simplified to comparing the length and width of objects, ratios, etc. But more in depth http://browse.deviantart.com/?q=Shad...et=24#/d1uoqws
    And Jeff made a useful post on observational drawings here http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...wing-from-Life
    http://www.artistdaily.com/blogs/ste...ccurately.aspx This as well is good

    If you want to do life drawing, as in drawing people passing by or people in general, you're going to want to simplify what you see. Just try to capture the essence/pose of the person before they move, with a sense of urgency. The urgency is important. The more you do that the better you will be at recording the important lines of a drawing. It's a bit different than drawing from the model.

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    dpaint is offline Registered User Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
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    Observation needs some sort of system for translating the world into two dimensions. I think the best systems rely on the use of a basic ideal form coupled with the ideas of line of action and growth which are used as the starting point to establish the general motif you are observing. Then using both the ideal template and proportional observation you can arrive at a likeness of the things observed if you have the hand eye coordination to draw what you are seeing.
    Some systems deal with the human figure and ignore environment but systems for a more general approach can be learned just as easily with practice. This is where the use of the basic forms come into play. One must learn to see these basic forms and their combinations in everything observed. The forms are cube, cone, cylinder, sphere; these and the idea of geometric planes can help you reduce complex observations into (relatively) easily drawn symbols.

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    Drawing a lot of still life or environment subjects from life is good practice for honing general observational skills, too. Taking time to try and draw still subjects as accurately as you can helps you learn how to see and measure and gauge angles and proportions and so forth. It also helps you understand basic forms and how they work in space (perspective/foreshortening.) The practice you get from all of this helps when you're tackling faster sketches of not-so-still subjects as well.

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    Coupled with what dpaint mentioned about breaking down what you see into the basic geometric forms that govern the subject/object, you will also need a basic working understanding of linear perspective. Without a basic knowledge of perspective youíll always have some problem describing forms like cubes and cylinders in a convincing real world 3d space, on a 2d surface. Beginners who lack a general understanding of perspective tend to draw, by default, subjects that look composed of many different views of the subject--a kind of naÔve-cubism.

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