eol - ex oriente lux!  Tutorial: drawing and sketching basics

The "angle of view", perspective

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Difficulties arising when drawing often result from the "angle of view", the draughtsman has on his motif. That is the angle, in which motives must lie, if the draughtsman wants to seize them "on one view". "On one view" means fixing and seeing without moving eyes or head.

To get an idea, how large this angle is, look through a camera with a "normal objective". That, what you will see is lying in this angle. This angle is surprisingly small, much smaller than most people think.

We are not conscious about that, because we always move our eyes and head, when looking at a scene. Our eyes are always in motion, flitting from one part of the motive to the next and back again. If you want to draw or sketch a motive, which is so close that you cannot seize it "with a view", you get difficulties.

Or you have enough experience to correct the arising "optical" errors. In this case you have to move head or eyes. You get difficulties specially with geometric objects, because the position changes and with that the vanishing points in the picture. If the angle is to large, the foreshortening becomes very large and you get extreme perspectives.

You are in the same position like a photographer, who doesn't get the motif with a normal lens and therefore has to take a wide angle lens with accordingly arising distortions. The larger the "wide angle", the large the distortions.

This means for a draughtsman, that he has to construct distortions, he doesn't see. An other method of handling the problem is to take virtually an other position towards the motif and to sketch, "as if" the motif would be far away. This method is often used unconsciously by experienced draughtsmen.

A beginner will have difficulties to get the motif without knowing why. In nude painting courses the distance to the model is often much to small, in particular when sketching or painting standing models. A standing figure of approx.. 1.80 m height with a minimum of place around would require a distance of at least 7 meters. This place is usually not available.

The result are torsos and heads which don't fit to the rest of the body ore figures which tilt. In most cases the draughtsmen don't know, where the problem is and why they can't work out a task being so simple, and unfortunately very often the course leaders don't know either.

Because of the two reasons described above again the recommendation:


Abstand vom MotivFig.:

The distance of the viewer should be the fivefold of the largest expansion of the motive (here 5 times the green diagonal). Often you cannot keep this distance (usually not when drawing e.g. standing persons). The more this value is fallen below, the more difficult is it to seize the motive.


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