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  • Fabiana Touhey

Observing what you draw

Updated: Mar 8

What do we mean when we speak of observational drawing? By way of example, let's look together at a flower. Are the petals long or curly? Try to notice the details, starting with how the light hits the flower -- where it is dark and where the tones are brighter.


Do not look at your paper while you are making these first observations. Try to see what is really present instead of what you might think is there. Back when I was in college, I remember showing a final drawing to my professor and being impressed with how she could point out the parts that I had observed well and which parts I had rushed in order to finish.


Observation drawing requires concentration, especially when the object is more complicated. It is important to take breaks to rest your eyes and mind. I find that, for me, it is always best to start simply -- when drawing a flower, for instance, I generally start at the center, moving outward to the petals, then on to the stems and leaves.


Most importantly, don't be scared to try. Practice observation drawing regularly and you will find that your work will grow stronger and have more personality. Each of your drawings will look unique, with a life of its own.