Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Leaning On My Favorite Drawing Aids

     Today’s post will be strictly informative and to the point.  I want to cover three of my favorite drawing aids.  They encompass and are tailored to specific, yet different situations.  They are the 1/10ths clear sewing ruler, the proportional divider and the 10” knitting needle.
     As you know, I am a fan of measuring my drawing as I go.  I suggest adopting an Atelier-style drawing program as a good starting point, and then tailoring it to your specific needs.

     Let’s start with my favorite tool:  the clear 1/10th sewing ruler.  The portrait artist Chris Saper turned me on to this little gem about 5 years ago, while we were both exhibiting at a show.  The strength of the 1/10th ruler is its’ use for drawing “from the flat”, as the atelier school would call it.  The 1/10th ruler is also valuable when working from photos.  Size your photo to the size of your painting and start your drawing like my early post titled Cowboy Demo Day 1.   The drawing is dated Wednesday, July 21, 2010.  This post gives detailed information on using the ruler.

     My second favorite drawing aid is best used in a life-drawing atmosphere, utilizing either the cast or the live model.  I have used it on both and find it a necessary friend when measuring from life.  If you have ever used the sight size method, you probably have used your pencil or brush handle for this purpose.  I like having a tool designated for the job at hand.

     A Canadian artist named Juan Martinez gives a great demo in one of the back issues of International Artist.  (Issue #42-47, “The Academy Way).  You can call them to order previous issues.  Please consider adding the sight size method to your drawing arsenal.
     My final drawing aid is a great tool when working from life and you wish to enlarge or reduce the size of your subject in relation to your canvas.  The device is called a proportional divider.  By measuring off the small end and using the opposite larger end, you can enlarge your drawing proportionally.  This tool is somewhat difficult to describe in print, and requires some tinkering to get familiar with, but it is a great drawing resource.  You can get one from Mark Carder, who has demonstrated a great drawing and painting method that I feel is worth viewing.  Check out Mark’s great DVD series and you can purchase his divider at
     I’ve just lightly touched on these drawing aids, but you will find them all a welcome friend around your studio.  No doubt, if you are reading this blog, you are a self-starter, so take the initiative and start teaching yourself to use these drawing aids.  They will increase the accuracy and quality of your drawings.  Good luck!

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