• look at it carefully, instead of just assuming that you know
what it looks like; pay attention to the angle you are drawing
• dramatic colors make it more vibrant
• using your space - trying not to have a blank white
background - ﬁnish drawings!
• using shading to capture the texture of the objects
• neatness and organization, including of your drawing process
• good use of details
• contrast and shading
• using measurements to get the proportions right - “sighting”
• realism instead of simpliﬁcation or stylization - stay away
from outlines or dark lines!
• use your materials well! erasing instead of smudging!
(compiled from our in class discussions)
Observational Drawing Criteria
• Wide range of values (from very very dark to very very
light...and all those in between!) DON’T SMUDGE - create value with
your mark-making. Some materials (such as charcoal) make sense with
smudging, but pencil is not one of them. Be proud of your marks! Don’t hide
• COMPOSITION!!! (create visual movement and really think about
where you are drawing your objects on the page - try to have a balance
between positive and negative space!)
• Fully developed foreground AND background (create a sense of
space or depth by paying attention to your background, too)
• STAY AWAY FROM outlining! (this makes your drawing look 2D, or
ﬂat, instead of realistic. Rely on the values within objects to create
• Be selective in what you choose to draw! (You do not have to draw
EVERYTHING in a still life. Instead, choose an area that seems interesting to
you, and consists of anywhere between 3 and 6 objects or parts of objects.
Remember, everything you choose to draw should be FULLY developed.)