See the View and the Distance

Once you've made your arrangement, take a look at it through the viewfinder frame. Decide on the exact area you will draw. How you hold the viewfinder frame will determine what you draw and from what vantage point and distance you draw it. This will affect the space in your work and around your objects, or the range.

Try Your Hand

In more complicated arrangements, you may want to exclude some of the elements or some of the detail. You can "filter out," or choose to eliminate what you don't want, in order to emphasize what you do want. The choice is up to you.

Artist's Sketchbook

Range is the distance between you and your objects: close-up (objects), mid-range (still life), or far away (landscape).

Some of the ranges you may consider are:

Close-up Range: Objects that fill the frame will look close to you, almost in your face.

Objects in close-up will fill the frame.

Still Life or Mid-Range: Objects drawn smaller in the same frame will look somewhat farther back, as if on a table.

Objects at mid-range will be set farther back.

Deep or Landscape Space: Objects drawn smaller, still in the same frame, and placed toward the top of the frame will seem far away, as if in a landscape space.

Objects in deep space will be seen in the distance.

The Art of Drawing

Most arrangements and still lifes are seen and drawn looking across and slightly down at the objects, but more radical views can be more interesting. They are also more challenging. Eventually, you should try drawing at all the different vantage points that you can; you may find you are particularly fond of an unusual way of seeing things.

These different senses of space are fun to play with, but for now, let's keep to a range somewhere between close-up and still life space and leave the long views for later. Understanding, seeing, and drawing from a particular view and vantage point is a big step and can seem complicated, but it really isn't.

Whether you look across at your objects or down on them, and at what angle, will greatly affect what you see. This makes the difference between looking at the side of a box or vase or mug and looking into them.

On the Page

First, just see your arrangement from where you are, considering the following:

Can you tell where eye level is?

Can you tell if you are looking across at it or down at it? Can you see the tops of things? Or into things?

Probably, you can see somewhat into or over things in your arrangement. We tend to see across and down at objects on a table, for example, because we are sitting higher than the table. If we sat on a higher chair or stool we would be looking down onto the objects even more.

If you look straight across at your objects, you are looking at eye level. You will see just the sides or things, but not the tops or bottoms.

And if the objects were on a high shelf and you looked up at them, your view point would be lower than the middle. If the shelf were glass, you would see the bottoms of things as well.

Try Your Hand

To "see" means looking on the right side, without letting Old Lefty help out, to see only what is thereā€”no thinking in ideas, only in visual, relational terms.

Artist's Sketchbook

Eye level is straight out from where you are, neither above nor below the level of your view. As you move up or down, your eye level and view change.

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