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SLIDESHOW : Pencil Measuring

SLIDESHOW : Pencil Measuring
Slideshows and videos are in many of our lessons, but we also publish each one separately so you can find them without wandering through old posts aimlessly. Just enter text into the “search the site” field over to the right, for something you remember. It can be something that was in the photos or written in the text.

Slideshows are presented as a vertical stack of photos with captions, which are easy to zoom in on using your fingers to pinch on a touch screen or touchpad. Just scroll down to advance.


Here’s a great set of graphics that shows how to do a classic art technique. You can measure and transfer proportions when drawing a live subject. Artists have been using this one-eye-closed method for years, to find two measurements that correspond in some way. First, you find one measurement. Then, while holding a pencil up at arm’s length for consistency, you find another that is either the same length, or a multiple of it. Once you get a proportion, you can it on at any size on your work for better accuracy.

 S L I D E S H O W

Pencil Measuring • Tap to open - Scroll to view - Pinch to zoom



Hold your hand all the way out to arm’s length for all measurements, and close one eye. You can mark a spot on a pencil with your thumbnail.


The end of the pencil and the thumbnail measure the width of the house front when perfectly horizontal (It’s easier to transfer to your paper than an angle).


Trying several other places, I finally found one that matched the same measurement.


Look closely at how the tip and thumbnail correspond to the inside of the door trim.

About The Author

Dennas Davis

Dennas is the founder of Firstlight Arts Academy in Nashville, and also of The Art Instructor (formerly ArtSquish). He has been designing, painting, illustrating and teaching in various combinations since he learned how to hold a crayon. He is the illustrator of 24 children’s books with over 5 million in print worldwide.
See his paintings at

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