Composing Objects with Basic Forms

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dlesticks is vital to attaining their correct shape. Draw the center line through your object as the artist has done (see below). Next, draw the left contour of your object; then flop your drawing over. Register your center line and trace the contour of the right side from your left one onto another sheet of paper. Both sides of your object should now be perfectly alike—symmetrical. Then, taking still another sheet of paper, trace the entire object and refine your drawing by eliminating any incorrect lines.


You can draw anything. With the four basic geometric shapes, the possibilities open to you are endless. But you must be able to carefully discern the basic shapes that are underlying objects. Sometimes they'll be almost totally obscured by a wealth of detail; sometimes one object will be composed of so many individual basic forms that it will be difficult to distinguish each separate form.

Therefore, you must sharpen your visual powers. You must do more than see, you must observe. You must learn to think about what you're viewing and ask yourself basic questions concerning an object's relative proportions and dimensionsi Observation will play an important part in your drawing as you draw objects in relation to the horizon, that is, as you draw objects in perspective.

This pitcher is made up of only two basic forms: the sphere of its body, and the cylinder of its neck, base, and handle. With all its detail, this cruet seems more complicated than It actually is. It's composed of only three basic shapes: cone, sphere, and cylinder.

Now the real satisfaction and consequent enjoyment of drawing begins. Since you can draw all the basic forms, you can begin to put them together; now you'll be able to draw any object you wish. No matter how complex your subject may be, drawing it is only a matter of combining basic forms.


You must arrange your basic forms— whether complex and composed of many parts, or simple and made up of only two—so that they relate to each other in both size and position. The same questions you asked yourself when observing and drawing an object composed of a single basic form should also be asked when you draw a complex object. How high, how wide, and how deep is one basic shape in relation to another?

Search for the proportions of your basic forms with many lines; don't erase any of them. In this way you'll be able to compare and contrast proportions and establish correct shapes. Once you have the general proportions correct, you can place a fresh sheet of paper over your subject and clean up your drawing.


Establishing the symmetry of such objects as glasses, lamps, or can-

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