Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sketch Posture

If you’re sketching without an easel or a drawing table, you have to hold your work at the most convenient angle.

This fellow artist at a sketch group shows an excellent posture for observational sketching from a seated position. She’s comfortably holding the book with her left hand while resting it on her crossed leg.

By holding the book at about 60 degrees, the book remains perpendicular to her viewing angle. This eliminates any danger of distortion caused by looking at the work foreshortened.

By holding the work as high as possible, close to her line of sight, she doesn’t have to tax her memory any more than necessary as she transfers her observation to her drawing.

In fact she doesn’t have to bob her head at all, an advantage when you’re drawing candid poses in public and you don’t want to draw attention to yourself.

Artists who hunch over a work laying flat in their laps make the job unnecessarily more difficult than it needs to be.¬

14 comments:

茂恒 said...

Well done!........................................

Bob Mrotek said...

Yeah James,
But what if you are one of those star crossed junk food addicts like some of are who don't have laps and are too chubby to cross our legs. Is there an alternate plan? :)

Carolyn Ann Pappas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolyn Ann Pappas said...

I had this same thing happen to me here, and I didn't even notice the problem until I stood up. Lately I have been sketching at an angle by resting my sketchbook on my lap when my knees are up a little bit (resting on a footrest or rock or something). I have been trying to not cross my legs (it causes varicose veins).

Zeke said...

this is definitely the most comfortable position, but I still find that my foot falls asleep

wish I had some sort of telescoping pole with a board/clamp at the top. That way you could have a small metal cylinder in your pocket that at the push of a button would extend downward in a telescoping method and flip open at the top and you'd be able to stand comfortable with one hand balancing the stick as your sketchpad sits sturdy and convenient at mid level in front of you.

Images-SF said...

watch out for leg cramps !!!

imagesSF.blogspot.com

Julia Kelly said...

I do a double chair thing, usually there is an unused chair in the studio- and sit behind it and prop my sketch pad on the back of it, makes me sit up straighter too. Need a pad the length between your lap and the back of the chair though.

Steve said...

My chiropractor told me crossing the legs this way contributes to the occasional sciatica I experience, so I no longer do it. I've used my rolled-up jacket (or even backpack) to get a little support behind the sketchbook while sitting upright, feet flat on the ground.

But crossing the leg must be the best because your sketches look way better than mine...

Daniel.Z said...

Great sketch and great posture!

怡如 said...

Thx ur share........................................

Jussi Tarvainen said...

Cheers for the post Jim. My friend recommended me to use a cook book holder which is way more comfortable than having my knee twisted the normal way. Here's an example of a good one:

http://www.cogneodesigns.com/images/bookstand/bookstand_front.jpg

Charles Vess said...

I remember sketching the standing stone ring at Callanish out on the outer Heberdian island of Lewis. The wind was whipping off the nearest loch that opened out into the North Sea. I was determined to draw the ring since I'd traveled far and far to get there just so I could do so. I stood in the grass and the heather, legs braced, with my sketchbook held out from my waist with my left hand. Don't know how long I was there but when I finally did try to move my legs had gone to sleep! I still love that drawing and when I do come across it I am instantly transported back to the spot and can almost smell that landscape.

eric said...

i'm glad christopher columbus could stop by your class and teach you some sketching techniques, haha!

Juan said...

quote:
"This eliminates any danger of distortion caused by looking at the work foreshortened."
"Artists who hunch over a work laying flat in their laps make the job unnecessarily more difficult than it needs to be.¬ "

very true. i made the experience few weeks ago when i tried an easel to draw a model instead of hanging over the tabel. most notably when sketching in large paper sizes. i ask myself why my drawings are all foreshortened, and this is the answer :)