Sooner or later if you are serious about painting, drawing or sculpturing you will end up with wrong proportion and scale, and that is normal. Many artists especially those that are doing portraits, use grids for correct proportions. And that is ok, but it is very messy, and you can easily destroy your paper with an eraser. Because you must erase all of those grids from paper, and everybody knows that artist avoids using erasers. And it is same with me!
But the thing is that every portrait starts with good outlines, and this is foundations of every portrait. If you mess up on the beginning with face sketches or structure of the painting, then you will lose your time for nothing. So the best thing is to have some other method or tool, and there is one tool. Proportional Divider!
Some artist force them-self not to use proportion dividers because they say that is cheating. But for many artists especially for beginners, this can be a big problem. So big that can lead from giving up from art creations. So why not to help and improve observation skills, and then when you learn to observe you will do it with a free hand. Important is not to use it as main tool for proportions, it is a tool to training your eyes. If you use a proportional divider to many your observation skills will not improve, you will lose the power of observation. Use it wisely, and don’t make your eyes lazy.
What will you get with a proportional divider?
Well, this depends on what you wish to get, but first of all, you get confidence. Confidence that all your drawing proportions are correct, and that the scale between objects is right. To me, there is no worst thing when I realize that space between eyes in my drawing is wrong, and that is so frustrating! So I have decided not to make that mistake again, and for my outlines I use a divider to check them.
But I never transfer outlines with divider, I drew them with a free hand and checked them with divider later. With this, I’m trying to learn to see, so I can then use my free hand better.
The second thing you will get with proportional divider is speed; you will become faster. When you are confident in things you do, then usually you will advance faster. Faster and more precise, isn’t that great? But don’t rush in with your art, even when you have that skills. Enjoy!
Another great thing about proportional divider is the ability to scale, and you can make your drawing larger then is your reference photo. You will notice for example that Accurasee proportional divider has many holes, and that is the trick. With changing the holes, you are changing the scale of drawing or painting. Accurasee is one of the better proportional dividers, and with a very fair price to others on the market.