Observational Drawing

What is Observational Drawing?

Observational drawing is drawing what you see. It doesn’t matter if your subject is a flower, a person, a still life, or a landscape. The key is to draw what you see in front of you as realistically and true to life as possible.

Changing the way you see.

When you look at something with the purpose of drawing it, you tend to look more carefully than usual. You look closely in order to truly see the size, shape, patterns, perspective, colors, shadows, positive and negative space, and how all of these details interact.

Improving your drawing skills.

When converting 3D objects into 2D drawings on paper, it takes practice to get the shapes and proportions right. Observational drawing helps you learn how to show depth using shading, and to try different techniques to create texture and detail.

Some artists only use observational drawing for their work. Others use it as a drawing exercise to improve their skills, then draw from their imagination or make abstract art. 

How to begin:

Start by sketching your subject matter lightly and as large as possible, on the paper. Then go back and edit it by defining the contours (outlines) and shapes. Look back and forth from the object to your paper, and keep making adjustments until you are happy with the results. 

Once you have the correct proportions in the outlines of your drawing, you can begin to add details, shading, patterns, and colors.

Good luck and happy drawing!

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