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dmp how to draw in proportion video

Mark's videos are awesome, but I cannot figure out how to use the string that hangs down from the still life box.  If there was a shot directly behind Mark showing what it is lined up with it would make sense to me.  I just see a string and don't know how to use it.  For example, does it hang directly in the middle of the object you are drawing because it looks to me like it is off to the side. IDK I can't figure it out and want to learn this great way of drawing.  If anyone can explain I would be soooo grateful


  • dencaldencal -
    edited January 2017

    A vertical plumb line, usually centrally positioned, is the equivalent of a centrally drawn line on the canvas.
    The plumb line is then a secure reference line to which every distance on the still life can be measured and reproduced with confidence on the canvas.

    The plumb line is also useful for measuring angles using an adjustable protractor. In essence the plumb line is a single grid line.

    Additionally if you line up a white dot on the back wall with a black dot on the plumb line you can take up the same head and eye position, giving you consistently accurate measurements.


  • Thank you dencal!  I want to live in your head rent free-you have a wealth of info.  I understand what you are saying I guess but I'm just not sure where to hang my string.  If I have a still life I want to draw and it will be 20" x 20" do I hang my string directly in the middle of that measurement or does it matter at all where I hang it?  Is it just used as a vertical reference for the proportional divider? I know I sound like a dummy.  I am a visual learner but I'm not connecting the visual with the concept since I am a relative beginner.  I have to add i'm so grateful for all the kindness and willingness to share the wisdom that you do! 
  • nancyjean

    Better to drop the vertical to the side of the still life, The distances are more accurately measured, being slightly longer than those measured from a central line. Additionally the central zone can be quite a busy place in your still life.


  • Great, I get that, very good advice.  I am so excited to start my painting journey, but I'm taking it slow and making sure I have the best information and the right tools.  I always thought I had to go to school for years to learn to paint and it amazes me how much one can learn from Marks videos and this awesome forum.  I'm glad I decided to research and discover the possibilities!  A big thanks for sharing!!
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