Tips For Correcting Proportions in Your Drawings and Paintings

This short lesson will show you some techniques for making better corrections in your artworks. Proportions can be really tricky, so it’s handy to have a few tricks up your sleeve when trying to figure out what’s going wrong. These principles apply to both drawing and painting – whenever you’re working realistically.

  • Start by plotting a few basic points on the paper.
  • You can use a vertical guideline (like the one above) to help get started.
  • Pay attention to where the subject crosses this line, as well as how far to the right or left of the line it is.
  • Use simple lines to approximately block in the main proportions of the form that you’re copying.
  • Don’t worry if it’s not accurate – you will just be using this as a starting point.
  • The image on the left is my first at the foot and the one on the right is my corrected version.
  • I primarily relied on ‘horizontal and vertical alignments’ to make the necessary adjustments.
  • To do this I chose a point and imagined a horizontal or vertical line travelling out from it. Then I used that line to tell whether other points matched it’s placement (were they too high or too low etc.).
  • This little trick will help you to problem solve when something is wrong with the proportions in your drawing or painting.