Exposed – Simple trick to get your proportions right!

I knew from the beginning that I was not getting my proportions right. What I did not know was WHY I was getting them all wrong!

My art teachers finally shared a simple trick that will help me get drawings done to scale on paper. When I asked them why they had not used earlier opportunities to let me in on the trick they justified saying that they let the 'artist try evolving ways of their own and letting them know any earlier would cramp their style'. Well, they finally gave in, and usually do, when proportions-challenged people like me sign up to learn art!

Its pretty simple, if you come to think of it.

What I did  till date -  I would scrutinize the object to be captured and start at any point that I deemed fancy. The picture would almost always be out of proportion and never perfectly aligned to the center of the page. Then after a lot of corrections ( which involved erasing and re drawing parts), I would almost get it right- only almost.

The trick – You identify the center of the object that needs to be captured and the center of the page on which it is to be drawn. Then begin from the center and draw an overall outline of the object before getting into finer details. Once you capture the outline of the object, filling in the finer details is all you have to do.

What I will begin doing from now -  Follow the trick! Here are some outlines that I randomly captured of a few veggies that were 'arranged' for a 'composition'.

The new trick used to draw thisCaptured using 'The trick'

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More perspectives and proportions in Art

August and Vic had asked me to pick a table lamp to act as a spot light on the objects I drew in art class. The one I picked had to be returned. It did not suit the requirement. I am yet to pick an alternate. Meanwhile, more art classes have happened and I work in diffused natural light. The sun is usually at its setting phase when my art class is on plus the weather lately has been cloudy and wet- so you can imagine the challenges!

When I start the project of the day, I identify the highlights and the shadows and the dark and light shades of the project but by the time I get done, the perspectives have changed, the shadows have disappeared or newer ones have appeared and the highlights are not prominent or gone totally!

But August and Vic have been really patient with me – they make good art teachers!  The concepts I am learning still revolves around perspectives and proportions  and I am never going to get done with proportions at the rate I am going!

One of my classes this week we played around with a drawing of a cross section of a room with a window on one wall, a picture on the opposite wall. We also added a table on one end, a bench on the other, a carpet on the tiled floor. If you notice, we were drawing geometrical shapes that involved lines. The idea was to understand the 'one point perspective' better. It was amazing to see how the same room looked different in the view of a toddler and that of a tall adult.

One point viewOne point view 02

Yesterday, for want of a new subject to explore( other than vegetables) we chose an unopened olive oil bottle – for its shades of green and whatever else my teachers artistic eyes perceived, and my favorite coffee mug. I had to capture the two in proportion. Capture is easy- but hey they aren't interested in how your lines look!  The bottle had to be in exact proportion to the actual size of it- and not the actual size of the bottle.

I had to measure, so to speak, using a pencil (with one eye closed) the size of the bottle so that I could replicate the proportion on paper. I measured one length of the bottles cap to 4.5 times the length of the body of the bottle – or was it five? (I know it was important to be good at math at school. If you were not then it reflected in the art- like it did in mine)

By the time I got the proportions of the bottle and the coffee mug(in relation to the bottle) right the sun had further set. There was no chance of making it the oil pastel project of the day. I chose the coffee mug (alone) instead and that worked better,primarily because it was a single mug and I didn't have to draw it in proportion to anything else with or around it.


The lessons you learn in art. Innumerable. At least now I know that I am right when I tell our daughter the importance of being proficient in math even though she wants to be a rock star.

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