2 Techniques for more accurate drawing

When drawing from life or from a photo there are 2 simple tips to make it easier for you to get it right consistently.

They're both angle transfer methods.

Use your brush or pencil to measure the angle you're wanting to draw, then rotate your body without changing the angle you've measured and mark that same angle on your canvas.


1. It's fast and gives you a good basic idea of where the angle sits relative to vertical and horizontal.

2. It makes you look cool, like a real artist.


1. It's easy to shift the angle as you rotate, and your canvas needs to be in a good position relative to your scene, so it's not as accurate as it could be

Measure your angle against an imaginary clockface, remember the angle (eg. 10 o'clock) and then draw that 10 o'clock angle on your canvas.


1. It's more accurate than other methods, especially if you were to use a vertical plumbline, or horizon, to measure the angle against.

2. You can still hold your brush out and use it to measure, which again, makes you look cool, or like you're a brush inspector.

CONS: Kids these days won't be able to do it since most clocks don't have hands now. Oh well.

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Comment by Stuart J. Gourlay on September 8, 2017 at 2:57

Top notch advice, Richard.   I have used the first method extensively, but I had not seen the clock analogy before.  The second method looks quite useful, especially when the easel is set up at a significant angle to the scene to keep the painting and palette in the shade in side lit and front lit conditions!!!

Comment by Rose Berg on July 7, 2017 at 16:00

What a beautiful spot! I hope to visit New Zealand someday. :)  Thank you for all your great tips!


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