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Sketching Using a Viewfinder

Sketching using a viewfinder is one of the easiest things to do.

A view-finder is a mechanical aid for the painter.

It is simply a piece of cardboard with a rectangular opening in it that corresponds roughly to the proportions of your canvas.

Assuming that you are working on a 12-x-16-inch panel, the opening would be 3 x 4 inches. A margin of a few inches around the opening will suffice for blocking-out purposes.

By focusing the finder on the subject before you, moving it up and down or from left to right, you can select what you think is the most pleasing arrangement.

The margin of the finder blocks off enough of the scene to allow you to concentrate on what you see through the opening.

You will have use for the viewfinder only during the planning of the composition.

Once this has been arrived at the finder can be put back in your paint box, thumb-tacked to the inside of the lid for safe-keeping.

Some painters paint their viewfinders black to give them a definitely concentrated contrast in their selection of the arrangement.

You will have to squint or close one eye when focusing and vary the distance when holding the finder, depending on the amount of subject matter you wish to include.

Check out how sketching with a viewfinder makes a difference:

Sketching with a viewfinder

This is a scene in its entirety, before using the view-finder.

Sketching with a Viewfinder

Notice how cropping the mountains with the viewfinder makes the foreground important.

Sketching Viewfinder

A vertical arrangement of the viewfinder emphasizes the figure.

Sketching Viewfinder

Interest is concentrated on the middle and foreground by cropping the sky.

Sketching Viewfinder

Centering the viewfinder gives all the elements equal importance.

Done with Sketching Using a Viewfinder? Go back to the Sketching main page.

Rokeby Venus, by Velazquez


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