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Why drawing what you see results in mistakes

Why drawing what you see results in mistakes

Question from Maegan

How can you draw exactly what you see?

It’s something that I struggle with and creates an obstacle when I want to draw from my imagination.

Feedback from Vladimir London, Drawing Academy Tutor

Drawing what you see results in inevitable mistakes.

Instead, you need to draw what you know.

The challenge is that you don’t see what you don’t know. I will explain.

For example, in a portrait drawing, if you don’t know the main proportions of a human head, you won’t be able to analyze them and depict a model accurately.

Why drawing what you see results in mistakes

  • If you don’t know that the eye-line divides the height of the head exactly in the middle, you are most likely will place it higher.
  • If you don’t know that the distance between the bottom of the chin and the base of the nose is the same as the height of the nose, you won’t see this proportion and will make the lower part of the head smaller.
  • If you don’t know that the distance between eyes is equal to the width of one eye, you will have difficulties drawing this proportion correctly, and so on.

The more you know about human head anatomy, proportions, planes, and tonal rendering techniques, the easier it becomes to draw portraits proficiently.

The same goes for all other objects around you whether you draw figurative artworks, still-life, landscapes, interiors and so on. You need to learn fundamental drawing principles that can be applied to all drawings.

Without the necessary knowledge, you might use copying techniques – drawing from photos, using projectors or transferring images square-by-square and then shading or coloring them. This is like painting by numbers (which is not a real art) when you could draw realistically whatever you want from your imagination.

Natalie-Richy-avatarKind regards,
Natalie Richy and Vladimir London
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