Sample Video Frame

Created by Zed A. Shaw Updated 2024-02-17 04:54:36

05: Sight Sized Basics

WARNING This is the first lesson with 2 videos. Look at the tabs above the video and you'll see the titles "Lecture" and "Demo."

In this exercise you learn how to do simple Sight Sized drawing using a photo next to a piece of paper. In the first video I give a lecture on the process and then I do a demo using charcoal and paper. As I mention in the video, I'm only using charcoal so you can see the drawing on the camera. You can use pencil if you like.


In this video I'll either use a knitting needle or a string to do measurements. I prefer a knitting middle in the videos because I have to juggle holding the needle with holding my charcoal (pencil). The string though is more accurate so go ahead and use some string if you can't find/buy a knitting needle.

Key Ideas

Key points from this video:

  1. Just like with sketching and blockin style drawing, your first step with sight sized is to find the top and bottom of the object.
  2. Once you have the top and bottom you then find the left and right, but with Sight Sized this is far easier. You only have to measure both points from the same point on the photo (subject) and the paper. That means, if you measure one side from the right edge of the photo, then measure the other side from that same edge.
  3. When using a photo and paper, you don't have to worry about locking your elbow to keep your measurement consistent. Just put your knitting needle/string right on the surface and keep it there.
  4. In the video I talk about how you can accept or reject mistakes. Remember, nobody knows if you got it right unless you show them the original photo. If you have a few little differences here and there then go with it and just show your drawing.


For this week you should be doing copies of photos using this technique and what you know so far. As with the blockin week, you'll want to use Sight Sized to get a general outline of the subject, and then just use sketching like normal to finish the drawing. This will help make your sketch more accurate, but still keep it looking like a sketch.

Previous Lesson Back to Module

Register for Learn Painting the Hard Way

Register today for the course and get the all currently available videos and lessons, plus all future modules for no extra charge.