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Pastels Sighting sticks and viewfinders

The two main tools you use for sighting and measuring are a sighting stick to help find relative sizes and proportions and a viewfinder to help you focus on your composition and analyze the arrangement of the elements of the work. Sighting is used to find correct placement of items in a scene and to find correct angles of some features. Measuring is used to gauge the relative scale and proportion of items in a scene.

Sighting sticks are tools used for visually measuring heights, widths, and angles of objects and sighting the relationships of objects or parts to each other. You can use a kabob skewer, pencil, chopstick, or any thin, straight stick about eight inches long. A sighting stick is easy to find around the house, and this section shows you how to make a couple of kinds of viewfinders.

A viewfinder allows you to find the best view and decide whether you want a vertical or horizontal format for the image, just like a viewfinder on a camera does. Viewfinders come in a couple of different varieties:

Window: A window viewfinder is the simplest type; it’s just a piece of cardstock with a rectangular opening. The opening corresponds to the standard proportions of a piece of pastel paper. To quickly make your own, just cut a rectangular window in an index card or similar piece of cardboard. You can modify the window with threads taped in place to create crosshairs that help you visualize your image and transfer the forms to your drawing.
Adjustable: This type of viewfinder, as the name implies, has an opening that can be adjusted for when you want to make a square image or a long rectangular image. If you want to make your own adjustable viewfinder, just follow these steps
Cut two L shapes out of a piece of 81 ⁄2-x-11-inch or so sheet of cardstock, cardboard, or mat board.
On the interior edges of each L, copy the marks of a ruler, starting in the innermost corner with zero.
Clip the two L shapes together with large paper clips or butterfly clips to form a square or rectangle the same proportions as the height and width of your drawing paper. You can also use masking tape to temporarily fix the two L’s together.

The main advantage to using an adjustable viewfinder is that you can adjust the opening to fit the proportions of your paper so that you have a square opening for a square piece of paper or have a long, rectangular opening for a long, rectangular piece of paper. Having a viewfinder that has the same proportions as your paper makes reproducing the image you see easier.

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