I was happy with the composition, so I ordered my canvas and can start on the drawing!

After locating the major points in the drawing using my view-finder and knitting needle, I located where my vanishing point would be, so that I could get the perspective correct from the start. The v.p. is the point right in front of my eyes, to which all lines parallel to the picture plane seem to converge. It’s easily found by holding up two straight-edges at arm’s length and lining them up with two lines perpendicular to the picture plane in the set-up, (such as the sides of the box). Where they meet is the v.p. I mark this point with a piece of tape above my set-up. (If you look at the last photo in this post, you can see the tape on one of the books on the bookshelf.) I then locate where the equivalent spot would be on my drawing. Sometime, it’s above my drawing, so I mark the spot on my easel, above the drawing. It’s then simple to draw these receding lines, such as the spines of the books, by using a straight-edge and begining each line at the v.p. Of course, objects that aren’t parallel to these lines will have their own vanishing points far off to the side (such as the crystal on the left). I don’t usually bother to find these vanishing points, since they would be too far away to mark on my paper. I just eye-ball them.

I thought that I had calculated the size of this painting to have everything life-sized. As I was drawing, I could actually go to the set-up and measure the thickness of the walls of the box, for instance, and use that measurement in my drawing. I discovered as I went along, though, that things weren’t measuring up. It was very frustrating to have so many discrepancies between what I was seeing and my measurements. After a lot of erasing, I figured out that my drawing was actually a bit less than life-sized. After I adjusted the thickness of the box walls, the heights of the books and the glass to be a bit smaller, everything clicked into place. Always trust your eyes! For more on calculating painting size and drawing, and measuring, see Getting Ready to Draw and Drawing Again.

Above, I’ve roughed in the glass. I drew the ellipse by eye, but I’ll check it with the pin-and-string method before I finalize the drawing.

The ribbon was fairly easy to position after everything else was in the proper place. The drawing is far enough along that I can do my value study. I don’t want to complete the drawing until I know that all is well with the composition and that I won’t want to be moving anything around.