Observational Drawing

Learning how to "look" when drawing from observation


Observational Drawing is an exercise in "looking." This helps the artist to draw from what they see, and not from what they remember.

Essential Question:

Why is it important to really "look" at the object that you are drawing, rather than draw from memory?

Artist Spotlight: Tjalf Sparnaay

"By using trivial and everyday objects, I enable this near-forgotten reality to flow from my brush once more." - Tjalf Sparnaay

Tjalf Sparnaay has been working on an innovative oeuvre since 1987, constantly seeking new images that had never been painted before. His Megarealism is part of the contemporary international movement now known as Hyperrealism; he is now seen as one of the most important and trend-setting painters internationally in that style.

Fried eggs, French fries, sandwiches, ketchup bottles, marbles and lobster: Sparnaay visualizes these trivial subjects and inflates them to enormous formats, an assault on the senses. His paintings hit the retina like bolts of lightning in a clear blue sky. He not only documents reality, but intensifies it by blowing up everyday objects to mega-proportions. This gives him the opportunity to explore every detail very closely and to dissect it layer by layer in order to arrive at the core of the theme.

Talking Points

  1. What is contrast, and what does it do to your drawing?

  2. What do you think the benefits of observational drawings are?

  3. How do observational drawings help us to "look?"

  4. What do you think is most difficult when drawing from observation?