Here is another example of using this Pencil and Thumb Measurement technique. Take for example, drawing a house from a distance. In drawing this house (as shown above), the height of the chimney might be taken as a standard of measurement. Hold the pencil upright, the top on a line with the chimney top. Now move the thumb downwards until the end of your thumb comes between your eye and the bottom of the chimney. Then draw the chimney. Repeat this measuring operation, finding where the length of the chimney corresponds to other parts of the house. Your pencil can be moved between the house and your eye and by using the chimney length as your standard of measurement, the corresponding length and width of the house can be estimated.
HELPFUL TIP : HOW TO FIND ANGLE OF AN OBJECT WITH YOUR PENCIL : With the pencil and thumb measuring technique, you can even find the angle of an object, such as the house’s roof. Just hold your pencil parallel with the object (in this case the roof). Then, without changing the position or angle of your pencil, just bring it down to your paper and make a light stroke indicating the angle.
ANOTHER ILLUSTRATED TUTORIAL ON THE THUMB AND PENCIL MEASUREMENT METHOD
The only way that a beginning artist can develop the ability to see and then indicate correct proportions is to become acutely aware of proportions by observation and practice sketching. Unfortunately nobody can teach you this important phase of drawing. But you CAN estimate proportions and then check them with a fair degree of accuracy by employing what is called the thumb-and-pencil method of finding proportions.
This is done by simply placing your pencil or pen in your hand and then holding it at arms length between your eye and the object that you plan to draw.
Now, by sliding the pencil up or down so as to increase or decrease its length between the points ‘a’ and ‘b’, (shown above) you will be able to check the height of the object as shown below.
The further you are from the object, the shorter will be the distance between ‘a’ and ‘b’. This measurement is used to check the height of your drawing by simply holding your hand and pencil near the surface of the paper. The width is checked (as shown above).
HELPFUL TIP: How to Make Your Drawing Smaller: If you plan to make your drawing smaller than the object or model your are measuring (as you will in figure drawing), simply use the exact measurements between ‘a’ and ‘b’.
HELPFUL TIP # 2 : How to Make Your Drawing Bigger: If you plan to make your drawing larger (as in drawing a small object), simply double or triple the distance from ‘a’ to ‘b’.
HELPFUL TIP # 3 : Don’t Change Position Once You Already Start : This thumb-and-pencil method of checking is easy to understand once you experiment with it. Be sure, however, that you do not change your position or distance from the model once you have started to check, since distance and position change the appearance and size of any object under study.