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Thread: "Remember to squint!"

  1. #1
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    "Remember to squint!"

    I keep reading almost anywhere that values are discussed that squinting is almost a necessity. I'm afraid I simply don't notice a substantial difference between what I see when I squint and when I don't. Perhaps I'm not squinting correctly. I really hardly see any simplification when I squint. It usually feels a bit darker. Does squinting still work when wearing glasses/contacts? What is supposed to happen when I squint?
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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamArt View Post
    I really hardly see any simplification when I squint.
    Squint more. You should be looking through your eyelashes with your eyes almost closed.

    Tristan Elwell
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    If you're nearsighted and wearing glasses, taking off your glasses works pretty good... Well, depending on how bad your vision is. The worse it is, the better it is for this sort of thing.
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  7. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamArt View Post
    What is supposed to happen when I squint?
    You should see the composition, minus details.
    If you work on an easel, step a few meters back, which is really a normal way to work, since squinting reduces the amount of light that gets in your eyes.
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    I really can't stress enough how much of an epiphany squinting was for me, expecially when following reference, from life or otherwise. For everyone who hasn't tried it yet, you'd be doing yourself a great disfavour not to give it a shot.
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  10. #6
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    I don't really squint (at least not the "looking through your eyelashes" way), I prefer just turning my vision blurry so I just see big blocks of colour...

    But I don't really know how to describe how you do that. You just do. And I'm not sure if it's actually better than squinting, but I don't like squinting 'cause it's straining and it makes everything darker than it really is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamArt View Post
    What is supposed to happen when I squint?
    Values that are close together mass into larger blocks, so you should be able to identify and isolate the chunks of light and dark more easily. That being said, there are two kinds of light and dark: 1) based on local value/color (i.e. a black object looks dark because it is black and thus not reflecting much light back to you), and 2) an object looks dark because it is in harsh shadow with not very much ambient light.

    Look up Harold Speed's The Practice and Science of Drawing, it's a free book I believe. It will explain this further. But the purpose of squinting is for you to isolate and understand what parts are light and what parts are dark, for compositional purposes and for accuracy as well. Because most beginner drawings look like beginner drawings due to poor value control.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medelo View Post
    Look up Harold Speed's The Practice and Science of Drawing, it's a free book I believe.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14264
    Or, for a print version,
    http://store.doverpublications.com/0486228703.html

    Tristan Elwell
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    Thanks. I was looking through books and saw The Practice and Science of Drawing and wondered if it was worth getting.
    Thank you.
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    This may be a bit impractical at times, but you can also look at the scene through a filter of the opposite color to the main or dominant color of the scene. So if you are in a mostly blue outdoor scene, look through an orange colored lens at it. If you are in an orange room, look through a blue colored lens. You'd be surprised how well this works. If you use a piece of plastic that is strongly saturated as your lens (from an old pair of 3d glasses, say), the midtones will be slightly darker and murkier than in reality, but the light pattern will really pop out nicely.

    Something to play around with, anyway.

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    Using bincoculars and defocusing so you get blurred vision also works.
    Plus, you look like the ultimate geek with a pair of binoculars in a life drawing session
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  18. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebi View Post
    I don't really squint (at least not the "looking through your eyelashes" way), I prefer just turning my vision blurry so I just see big blocks of colour...

    But I don't really know how to describe how you do that. You just do. And I'm not sure if it's actually better than squinting, but I don't like squinting 'cause it's straining and it makes everything darker than it really is.
    perhaps what you're talking about is crossing the eyes ever so slightly. if done very slightly, not going too far as to see double, it can produce a useful blurry effect, without any strain or restricting how much light comes into the eyes.

    for anyone trying this, if its hard, try closing one eye, and then trying to make your vision go blurry, doing the same eye-movement you would as if you were crossing your eyes, without straining.
    having one eye closed might also make it easier to lay out the blocks of shapes onto a 2d plane, since you're no longer looking at a 3d-mashup of two eye-images, just one single definite view. (sort of like transforming the view infront of you into a temporary photo).
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    Makes me wonder how many people just take off their glasses and paint to block in major points.
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