Learn how to draw what you see without errors

We will teach you how to draw what you see, with clear and precise guidelines, make yourself comfortable and read carefully every explanation, every rule and every observation.

Continue reading the step by step to be able to master this wonderful technique.

How do you learn to draw what you see?

Observational drawing is that experience in which we draw in front of a model, a landscape, or certain objects, and we get to work to translate with the pencil that piece of reality to our paper.

It is a type of drawing different from imagination, in which the lines sprout free and we are given to invention. Here we have a commitment to what we see and that implies a different effort.

This type of drawing, in artistic teachings, is called “from nature”, and refers to the fact that our matter in the drawing is in nature and in reality, it is not an image or a photograph, nor is it a product of our invention. It is there physically palpable.

In doing so, we have to take into account a series of necessary guidelines, which will help us when training in this way of drawing.

The importance of making focus and how to achieve it

We must specify what we are going to draw, when it is a single figure it will be simple, there is not much more, but when we are in front of a landscape or a complex scenario we have enough visual information.

More than one figure and several objects compete for our attention, in this situation we need to focus to distinguish what is important to us, and thus be able to establish approximately the limits of what our drawing will contain.

At the same time, at the moment of focusing, we will be choosing where to place these figures on the sheet. For all this, there is a simple little trick, which can accompany us wherever we are among our materials and tools.

A “frame” of any material such as cardboard, paper or wood. This frame or window will serve us to rehearse possible framing, and thus observe more carefully what we are going to take for our drawing. It is a matter of extending our arm and putting it in front of our vision, to choose a precise cutout of what we are seeing.

This element is easy to make at home and you will do it with very little. We only have to take into account that its dimensions are in relation to the proportion of our sheet, and, in addition, that it has a thick enough frame, to visually isolate the elements outside the margins.

Be comfortable and in the right posture

At the moment of working you must have a comfortable and adequate posture for this type of drawing. The chest and the view, facing our model, and with a certain distance that allows us to cover with agility all the figure or the area we are drawing.

What would that distance be?

In the case of drawing an object, a person or an animal, we must observe its height, its size and estimate its dimension. Based on that, place ourselves at a distance more or less equivalent to its measurements, this will allow us to observe it completely and have a good overview of its entire volume.

In short, this will allow our focus to concentrate on the whole of the target and not get lost in details.

We must take into account that, many times, the possibility of taking distance is not a variable that we can handle, in certain cases we do not have the opportunity to choose the distance at which we will be standing in front of our model.

Perhaps we are in the task of drawing a space or a landscape in which we observe many figures as important references, it is true that here we will not be so attentive to keep measured distances.

It is very important to say that, whenever possible, choosing the right distance, angle, and focus is a task that deserves time and attention before starting.

Move from the general to the particular

This is almost an inescapable rule, we must distinguish and outline the larger shapes and directions of our target, once the general is established, we give way to the details.

This procedure is the most orderly way to advance in our drawing, always from the general to the particular.

The large volumes, the most forceful forms, the directions that order the composition, and the skeleton of our drawings, are part of the first task. We will leave for the last the small forms and textures, which are usually the details that are saved for the end.

Many times we are given to start with the details, this makes sense, since it is the most common way to enjoy drawing.

When we are not working with models, the short lines and the game of textures, is usually something comfortable and pleasant at the moment of drawing, since they are strokes of great beauty.

In order to be able to draw what we see and to reach our objective, advancing in relation to what we have in front of us, it is a matter of implementing this process.

Having the view, more on the model than on the sheet, is vital to learn to draw what you see.

In the practice of observational drawing, we should aim to draw with the eye mainly attending to our objective, 75% on our model, and 25% on the drawing we are tracing on the sheet.

The sight concentrates on deciphering and synthesizing the directions, and with the forms we have in front of us, the hand does the mechanical work.

In this type of drawing, it is like when we learn to drive, or when we simply use the keyboard in front of the computer.

We have to keep most of our attention on what we have in front of us, and only for short moments, alternate our gaze on the controls. In this way, we let the hand act blindly for moments, trusting its movements, and thus, we concentrate on following the shapes of what we are seeing.


Learning to draw what you see seems easy. You just have to follow to the letter the guidelines mentioned during the article. In this way, we will be able to focus, take the right distance, adopt the right posture, and get comfortable to start our longed drawing.

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