A circle, a cylinder, and ellipses all come into play in this work.

drawing by student margaret r. adams

You've been looking at the world as compared with straight lines, whether horizontal (in levels) or vertical (in plumblines). You've done this to collect information and reference points, so that you can draw with greater accuracy. Use these methods to see the overall direction of a curving line or an angle to help you draw, for example, a tabletop. When you project many lines, you create your own graph paper through which to see the world with greater accuracy.

Our aim is not to make engineering or drafting renderings, even when your sketching results in more accurate depictions. Drawing doesn't require that level of precision. Instead, a convincing representation that isn't jarring is the goal. Observe with sighting as an aid; draw,

Measuring Tools And Drawing

evaluate, then use the measurement tools at your disposal to fix what needs fixing. If you tie yourself up in endless testing and retesting each time, you may squeeze the fun out of sketching.

You've used your sketching line to search for shape and solution rather than declaring an absolute final line. Sketching has its own soft, fluid quality that reflects the time spent in discovering shapes. While it's a tool for increasing your accuracy in drawing symmetrical and assymetrical objects, it's a joy to do and behold on its own.

Your active use of constructive evaluation is a key element in developing accuracy in your work. It gives you a structured approach to ensure ongoing progress. Continue to evaluate to improve, and you'll accelerate your drawing success. When you can identify a problem and apply a solution, it allows you to storehouse more effective tools to apply to your next drawing.

loose lines, loose body

Sketching to find accuracy actually lets your body relax far more than when you do contour drawing. The lines are loose; your body gets to move more with the sketching line as you flow along with the line. Put on some music that you enjoy to nudge your rhythm along and loosen up your body.

opposite: "My daughter Louise had her appendix out. Since I can't sit still and do nothing, I took my sketchpad and pencils to the hospital and worked on this drawing for about four hours while she slept The fur ball next to her is her favorite stuffed toy—a gorilla she'd had since birth. In a few days, she was fine and back in school. When her classmates saw my drawing, they said all the medical equipment around Louise made her seem small and vulnerable. I hadn't thought about that. I just framed it the way I would a photo." —student jim hohorst


Keep your small drawing pad with you and do some sketches during waiting time in a restaurant, in the car when you're picking someone up, and other found-time situations. Try for two to three sketches a week. They don't have to be complete. Sketches can be partially developed impressions and still have charm.

Sketch what interests you, and try to let your line loosen. Incorporate some accuracy techniques along the way. Imagine plumblines and levels even when you aren't drawing. Get into the practice of projecting those lines on the world around you. In effect, draw with your eyes and imagination as you go about your week. It will exercise your ability to discover crucial reference points, which in turn, will increase your ability to observe and create art.

"My pencil ruler' helped me to sketch in the underdrawing first, and then draw using the proper proportions."

-student rita walker copping

Drawing With PlumblinesJoshua Chapter Summary

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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