So you have reached that point with your drawing or your painting where you seem to be stuck. You could be missing something really simple. I have a checklist of questions to ask yourself if you just can’t work out why your work doesn’t look how you want it to look. This checklist may seem simple to some people but it is amazing how many learners do not ask themselves these questions:
Where is the Light Source?
If you are having problems with shading, working out tones then ask yourself this. Take a look at the room or environment, where are the light sources? What is happening to the light, think it through in a logical way. Have a think about once the light hits the subject, what happens, is it casting shadows? Is it bouncing off another object next to the subject?
Have a think where your eyes are, are you looking down onto the subject, above or at eye-level? A common mistake is to draw a subject thinking it is at eye-level when often our eyes are higher than the subject. This understanding of where your eyes are in relation to the subject will change everything.
Have I Studied the Negative Space?
When we are drawing we focus so much on the subject that we often forget the space around the subject (known as negative space). This negative space is very important for drawing accurately. I find it really helpful with still life where the space between the objects becomes so important.
Have I Made Comparisons?
When you are drawing a still life for example compare the size of one object to the next and the next etc. If you are drawing a landscape, ask how much sky can I see compared to trees on the horizon. This comparing is a really useful tool for accuracy.
Am I Making Assumptions?
When we are drawing we have to be open to really looking. The problem is our mind already knows what a teapot looks like so it will tell us instead of our eyes. Always check by looking and looking again. You can check the angles by lining up your pencil to the side of an object.
Also see When I get Stuck What Can I Do?