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How do we measure with a pencil?

How do we measure with a pencil?

Question from Richard Tsai, Drawing Academy student

“How do we measure with a pencil the objects that we see in Drawing Academy videos?”

I want to know how to copy the Victorian urn from video lesson 4.

Many thanks,
Richard

Answer from Vladimir London, Drawing Academy Tutor

Hi Richard,

Your challenge comes from the fact that you are copying a drawing, not drawing from life.

Your question is valid: you can’t measure an object if you don’t have it in front of you.

In the Academy, we promote drawing from life, nature, memory, and imagination, not copying others’ drawings or photos. The best way to learn is not to copy the drawings you see in the video lessons, but to absorb the information they provide and use it to help you draw original works of art.

I would suggest the following steps to practice taking measurements with a pencil:

1. Watch the Drawing Academy video lesson (without copying) and try to understand the main principles of the constructive drawing, which are:
– Drawing objects as if they were transparent. You should start by expressing every aspect of whatever you are drawing, even edges on the opposite side and other objects that it hides.
– Using linear perspective – in many lessons we are using the one- and two-point perspective.
– Using rules of foreshortening to create realistically looking objects in perspective.
– Measuring proportions.
– Identifying and sketching the axes of symmetry for given objects.
– Using these virtual helping lines to connect various points on an object and measure their positions and angles.

2. Find a geometrical, man-made object that you want to draw. It can be anything: a household object, a vase, some architectural detail, a fountain, etc. Preferably, it should have a vertical central axis of symmetry, so that the drawing principles will be similar to those you will see in video lesson 4.

3. Apply what you’ve learned in the video to your drawing.

4. Measure the locations and proportions of the object with a pencil as follows:
Place your drawing board in the vertical position, so you can see both the drawing and the model at the same time.

Extend your hand while holding the pencil and align it with the object. Move your thumb to assess the size you are trying to measure. Compare this measurement with another part of the object; for example, you may measure the total width of a vase and then see how many times the width fits into the vase’s height.

How-do-we-measure-with-a-pencil

Using a pencil, measure out the same ratio on your drawing.

When measuring angles, rotate your pencil to align with the angle in question on the model. Now, move your hand towards the drawing while keeping the angle, and check if it is identical to the angle you have sketched on paper.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Vladimir

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