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3.4 Maintaining Proportions

Sketches are not usually made to a specific scale, although it can be handy to do so at times. The size of the sketch depends on its complexity and the size of the paper available. The most important rule in freehand sketching is to keep the sketch in proportion, which means to accurately represent the size and position of each part in relation to the whole. No matter how brilliant the technique or how well drawn the details, if the proportions are off, the sketch will not look right.

To maintain proportions, first determine the relative proportions of height to width and lightly block them in. You can mark a unit on the edge of a strip of paper or use your pencil (as in Figure 3.28) to gauge how many units wide and high the object is. Grid paper can help you maintain proportions by providing a ready-made scale (by counting squares). As you block in the medium-size areas, and later as you add small details, compare each new distance with those already established.

3.28

3.28 Estimating Dimensions

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