How to Achieve Accurate Proportions in Your Artwork

Other Methods – Blog Extras


Another great and simple method for drawing accurately is to print out an exact replica size photo to your paper size. This way, you can try and draw the composition out freehand, holding the photo next to your paper to see where things should go.

This method won’t achieve an absolute accuracy, but it is great for practicing your freehand skills. You are able to easily compare side by side the sizes and shapes and all you have to do is try and make them as similar as possible.

Different types of drawings will work better with this method, for example I do not think a full portrait would work well with this method, but an eye on it’s own will most likely work well. pieces that aren’t very complicated and busy tend to work well.

This method may also work very well for scenery drawings. It’s also a great way for colour matching as you are able to hold an exact replica of what colours you need next to the paper, this makes it easy to compare and make changes where they are needed.


Using tracing paper, you can copy the outlines from either a photograph or a monitor screen. Using transfer paper, you can transfer the composition to your desired drawing or painting surface.This is a great method to use if you do not have the time or patience to attempt drawing out the composition.

I would also like to point out that I notice more artists than not using this exact method, even if they deny it, its highly obvious. I always die a little inside when I see a beginner artist on social media ask an establish artist how they achieved their highly accurate drawing, for the established artist to say “I just drew it out”. This is clearly not the case, the amount of detail, lack of sketch marks + certainty in their line work is evidence that the composition was very likely atraced. I think its a shame, I don’t think that tracing should be seen as cheating or not allowed, I think it is a genuine way to produce art that people can be proud of. As I have previously mentioned, it’s also great for those who simply want to spend time practicing artistic techniques other than accurate drawing proportions. For those who say it’s cheating, I think they’re probably slightly insecure in their own abilities or they’re secretly using this method and passing it off as “just drawing it out” to those who ask. It is a real time-saver for many, plus many successful artists definitely use this method, so if you’re a beginner and want to use this method, I say do it and do it guilt free. You can practice free-hand accurate drawing anytime you like, you do not have to do it all the time.

You can challenge yourself by not making it too easy and avoid filling in some of the outlines, this way you can aim to draw accurately for a portion of the drawing. Using a limited number of stencilled parts as guides, aim to fill in other parts directly from eye. I do this 90% of the time to make sure I try and practice drawing accurately from eye to keep the skill level high, without needing to spend a whole lot of time and to avoid a lot of potential stress.


Although this is probably the quickest method to get your image outlines drawn out, this method will only work with light and usually thin paper, so if you use thick paper, canvas or a panel for example, this method won’t work for you for obvious reasons.

You’re going to want to use a low tack tape so you don’t damage your screen when peeling the paper off and you’re going to want to press lightly with your pencil so that you don’t damage the screen that way either.

Most of the time if I’m drawing an illustrative portrait just like this, I will tweak the lines / shapes to how I would like them so that it isn’t an exact copy.


Great for landscapes and images that reach to the sides of the paper, not advisable for artworks that don’t touch all 4 corners of the page. this method involves accurately pin pointing where certain lines start from the edges of your paper by measuring them from your photo reference.

This method still gives you the freedom to place the lines where you like on your paper, but also gives you a helping hand from the start to avoid unnecessary guessing.


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