How To Set Up A Still Life



In my last post, I talked about how important it is to draw from life and it’s a lot easier to do that if you know how to set up a simple still life. Here are some pointers:

  • Use an odd number of objects. (An odd number is more interesting to the eye than an even number.
  • If all your objects are the same, like my hazelnuts, pose each of them in a different way to add interest.
  • As you arrange your subjects, overlap them a bit. One object that stands alone will usually draw the eye and have more “weight” than it should. The overlap should be solid. If two objects don’t overlap but just “kiss” each other instead, the “kiss” point can be very distracting.
  • Good lighting is essential! For beginners, it’s best to work with one main light source. A bright adjustable light works best. Place the light to the side and slightly above your still life for lighting that creates solid shadows that are easiest to render.
  • The objects in your still life can be any size. As a matter of fact, small still lives are easier to set up and can be drawn in relatively shorter amount of time.

About Carol

I'm an artist, author, and teaching artist. I've been writing about drawing on this website since 1999 and drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I love teaching others how to draw too.
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2 Responses to How To Set Up A Still Life

  1. Roger Caron says:

    I have no website.I’m just getting into sketching so Ineed a lot help,I’m going to try the 30 day sketch program you mentione. If you can help me in any way that would be nice.Thank You Roger.

    • Carol says:

      There are quite a few lessons to browse through here, but the most important thing you can do is to draw regularly. Try to draw everyday if you can. Practice is the foundation that supports your talent, so make that foundation solid.

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