Art Before Breakfast: Measuring!

If you’ve ever wondered how to figure out the proportions of something you want to draw, you’re in luck today. It’s Friday and time for the next in my series of simple videos on how to see and draw, based on my latest book, Art Before Breakfast.

If you’re new to drawing or are struggling with the basics, I hope this series will be helpful. (Here’re the past episodes, in case you missed any.)

Every Friday I work through an idea from Art Before Breakfast. It would be lovely if I could imagine you out there drawing along with me. This particular exercise comes from pages 28-9. If you decide to do it too, please share with me how it turned out! (Share the results on your own blog or on Facebook and post a link in my comments section. Use #artb4bkfst on Twitter or FB).

9 thoughts on “Art Before Breakfast: Measuring!”

  1. Thanks for this! Always had problems translating measurements to the page. Clarified a lot for this visual learner! Love this series!


  2. I am working on this for my Saturday morning, rainy outside, cold in my head day. My drawings have always been extra wonky, and now I know why. I suppose for some people this might seem like an obvious approach, but for me it’s brand new. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.


  3. I just wanted to say something about measuring and the “beginners” mistake I still fall into, especially with lines that are moving away from me in perspective. When I hold up my pen or finger to measure, the logical part of my brain tells me that the front is closer and the back is further away so I start to tilt the top of my my measuring tool back in space. My brain just cannot believe that a perspective line can be so foreshortened or something in the background can be so small. Of course, if you tip your measuring tool back, instead of holding it at a perfect vertical, the measuring goes haywire. I have to keep reminding myself that my paper is flattening out the view and I must keep that pen or finger vertical. I know this seems so basic but it is an impulse I have to battle.

    Looking through a plastic grid is a bit torturous in terms of carefully constructing a drawing but a quick look through one sometimes helps me “believe” that things in a drawing are actually as short or as long as they are. My logical brain knows the coffee cup in the foreground is smaller than the chair in the background even though in a drawing the close up coffee cup can loom so huge. And Danny, you are right. If you take a bit of time to set up the basic measurements, the whole drawing is so much more fun for me because I’m not battling size and perspective gaffs the whole time.

    Sorry to blab on. This short video was just an excellent reminder of a few visual tools I’d forgotten about.


  4. I was in the art section of my local bookstore the other day, and a lady who was shopping for a Christmas gift for someone in her life who is interested in learning to draw asked me if I could recommend a book. As a matter of fact, YES, I could!

    I have been thoroughly enjoying Art Before Breakfast. It is so joyful and freeing, especially for a timorous perfectionist like me. And these videos are a lovely accompaniment. Thank you.

    (Oh, and I’m pleased to say that the lady flipped through the book, pronounced it better than anything else she had looked at, tucked it under her arm, and headed for the cash register. I felt like a superhero.)


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