Learning to Observe

by Jon Saqarra
(Ft Hudson)

Framed Fish Drawing Pen and Ink

Framed Fish Drawing Pen and Ink

Your ability as an artist to observe anything fast and accurately is essential if your target is to be a professional. And so you must practice developing your powers of observation on a daily basis.

As a “self-demonstration” let’s see how good they are now. Okay? Draw a familiar object from your memory that you see nearly every day but not in front of you. It could be your car, bike, phone, computer or saucepan on the stove. Draw in all the details you can remember.

Now check it out; how many details have you left out and how many have you remembered?

What is one of the better ways to increase and develop your observation skills?

Okay, first select something quite simple and study its volume, perspective, the surrounding negative shapes and so on. Get something easy to start off with, something you are familiar with.

Examine it carefully. Then look at the space around it, the way the light falls on it and also note the reflected light on the object from other things around. Now change your viewpoint, move it around or you move to a different viewpoint. Only draw what you see.

Interestingly, some art colleges ask their prospective students to do a test purely to see if they have artistic talent or what their actual ability is--if they show promise or not. Personally, I do not think this is a good idea as talent may only arrive after having guidance from a professional.

If you are approaching this as a career you’d like, you will also have to develop skills in self-criticisms.

When you have completed your art, put it aside for a few days then do a full examination. Look at the composition, hold it up to a mirror and check everything, perspective, details etc.

Then be honest in what you think, should you change anything? Would you now draw it again differently? Would you use a different medium—say charcoal or colored pencils or what?

So, you’ve evaluated your artwork, now date it and write up something about your personal evaluation.

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