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Space _In the Studio chapter3

As you draw, you can become very involved in minute and unimportant details, particularly in the early stages of a drawing. Make sure that you have plenty of space to stand back from your drawing and walk around your subject. When you do so, you can judge your drawing objectively.


It is very important that you are able to work with space around you. We cannot stress this point enough: You need room to back away from your drawing to review your work from a distance. It will give you a fresh "eye" on your work and also reveal how the drawing is coming together as a whole structure. Good observation is learning to see how everything fits together, not simply how a few parts fit together.

Impossible Room Drawing

WALK AROUND YOUR SETUP It is also valuable to have space around your subject matter. It may happen that you do not fully understand, visually or mentally, what is happening with the objects you have set up. If this happens, you need to be able to approach your setup to study it. It is actually impossible to draw something well that you do not understand. This situation probably happens more often when drawing from a model, but it can also occur in other settings.

Never be afraid to really examine your subject as closely as possible. A lack of understanding of your subject cannot be hidden in your drawing, and it will become apparent no matter how you try to hide it. Working from photographs will not allow you this freedom of investigation.

An easel can make your life a lot easier. It is important to have a good support for your work. A table, while providing support, does not give you the chance to stand back and look at your work. It is best to have your work parallel to your eyes, supported on an easel.


The French easel is one of the most versatile easels, and the one that we recommend. The photo on the left shows an easel with its legs fully extended so that you can stand while you draw. Notice that its legs can be shortened so that you can sit down and draw. The photo on the right shows the easel folded. You can see how compact it is and how easy it is to carry.


Metal and wooden easels are the cheapest easels to buy. Both have exactly the same design. The legs telescope down to adjust to your height, and a ledge supports your drawing board. You can adjust the angle at which you view your drawing by moving the back leg of the easel closer or farther away from you. These easels are not recommended for outdoor drawing or painting; they collapse easily in windy conditions.


A table easel is exactly the same as a French easel, but it simply comes without legs. It also has a drawer to hold materials. Consequently, it is not as versatile and cannot be used outdoors unless you can find a flat surface to place it on.

Look at your work in as many different ways as possible. One method is to detach yourself from the drawing so that you can judge it more effectively. Using a mirror will turn your drawing "inside out," and any mistakes, or elements, that you do not want in your drawing will become glaringly obvious. The mirror is useful for checking symmetry, proportion, and measurement. It is also helpful in simply looking at your drawing in a new way.

A Different Angle

This is a complicated drawing. Looking at the drawing through a mirror can offer the artist a fresh look at the work. If there are any glaring mistakes in the drawing, they will become obvious in the mirror image. In this example, the artist wants to check the symmetry of the buildings. It is important to her that the vertical lines are vertical and not slightly angled. It can be difficult to see this when you have been looking at the drawing for a long time. You can also see the drawing's composition (the way you have create your drawing) more objectively because this image in the mirror is unknown to you.

Note: Another way to see your work in a different light is to turn your drawing upside down. It is up to you to decide which method is better.

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