Using the Viewfinder Frame

Now that you've done all that and made a viewfinder of your own, let's try to use the viewfinder frame to make a drawing.

1. Decide on an object; a wooden chair would be a good choice for this exercise.

2. Position yourself, your drawing materials in front of you and the chair out in front of you at an angle (45 degrees) so that you can see the whole chair.

3. Pick a viewfinder frame that surrounds the chair quite closely on all sides.

4. Draw a proportionally equal rectangle on your paper.

5. Reposition the viewfinder frame until the chair is nicely framed within the window and spend some time really seeing the chair through it.

6. Close one eye and do the following:

Observe the diagonals and center marks on the viewfinder frame.

See where the chair fits against the sides of the frame. See where each of the legs touch the floor relative to the marks on the frame. Where is the top of the chair?

Look at the angle of the top of the chair compared to the top edge of the frame.

7. Begin to draw the chair on your paper in the same place as you see it in the frame. Use the frame to know where a particular piece of the chair belongs. Draw what you can see in the frame—that's all.

Try Your Hand

By retaining the proportion, a drawing can be much larger than the image in the viewfinder frame—in fact, any size you would like it to be.

Artist's Sketchbook

Square is 90 degrees, at right angles, as in the sides of a rectangle. Measuring carefully off the center lines helps keep your rectangle square.

Back to the Drawing Board

Work carefully. Each line is dependent on the accurate seeing and drawing of the line before it. If you need to correct something, do it—don't leave it to haunt you later. Try to see each part in relation to the frame and all the other parts.

8. Draw imaginary lines between the feet of the chair and measure those angles against the sides of the frame. Look at the legs of the chair and make sure they are vertical.

9. Carefully note the following:

Where is the seat?

How far from the center horizontal line is it?

And the back of the seat? Draw the angle of the sides relative to the marks on the frame.

10. Add each part of the chair relative to the frame and the rest of the drawing itself.

11. Add details, like the rungs across the legs, as you can really see them and relate them to what you have drawn. Take your time.

When you've finished, you should have a more accurate drawing of that chair than you expected. It should be sitting on the floor convincingly with the legs vertical and the seat looking comfortably level.

Here are some chairs and a ladder drawn by students using viewfinder frames for the first time.

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