Skip to main content

Watercolor 101

Lesson 20 of 28

Proportion and Perspective

Molly Murrah

Watercolor 101

Molly Murrah

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

20. Proportion and Perspective


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Duration:1:11:27
2 Q&A Duration:35:31
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Basic Introduction Duration:04:30
2 Paint and Paint Properties Duration:35:33
3 Understanding Color Duration:08:06
4 Hue: The Color Wheel Duration:14:16
5 Mixing Colors Duration:15:56
6 Other Color Terms Duration:17:07
7 Light and Shadows Duration:03:14
8 Layering and Glazing Duration:06:19
9 Homework Duration:07:47
10 Q&A Duration:08:15
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Watercolor Papers Duration:23:36
2 Paper Characteristics Duration:34:12
3 Watercolor Brushes Duration:19:15
4 Basic Brush Techniques Duration:32:32
5 Putting It All Together Duration:09:28
6 Q&A Duration:07:08
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Drawing for Painting Duration:1:03:45
2 Proportion and Perspective Duration:06:41
3 Good Composition Duration:29:16
4 Last Class Preparation Duration:05:40
5 Q&A Duration:09:10
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Introduction Duration:06:29
2 Creating Textures Duration:19:45
3 Other Fun Techniques Duration:33:13
4 Reserving Whites and Lifting Duration:53:13
5 Things to Remember Duration:21:54

Lesson Info

Proportion and Perspective

Now we're going to move on to proportion and perspective um again such a huge subject I'm just gonna touch on the bases so that you know what to go look for when you're out there doing your research online so this is that all famous vitruvian man that was paint drawn in fourteen eighty seven by leonardo da vinci and this was basically what they considered to be the ideal human form which is eight heads tall now nowadays but the average normal person is seven to seven and a half heads tall but this was what they considered to be ideal back in that time um one problem that beginners have when they draw a figure or a portrait is they make certain things too small like like I see it all the time heads will be too small hands will be too small and feet will be too small and you see it all the time your hand is is this tall is your face so if you've got a face that's eight hands eight a a body that's eight heads tall then your hand is going to take up one of those aides from top to bottom so...

it pay attention to that make sure that your hands your heads and your feet are big enough for the torso and for the for the legs that's oh I I see it all the time with beginners and it's ah not a hard thing to fix also date be sure intake for shortening into consideration for shortening is is very interesting and paintings and things like that you've seen pictures where it's like somebody's lying down on the ground and their their foot is just huge in the front and then they do this very short, important, foreshortened figure and it gets very small, the head's very small in the background that could create a very, very interesting drawing and painting and it's ah it's there are some rules of foreshortening, so you can look all of this stuff up online and figure it out. But obviously the closer the part that you're painting is to the painting, the bigger its go ahead, too big to the surface plane of the paper, the bigger that part is going to be and then when you're drawing, look att things like angles, shapes, figure landmarks, the curve of the neck where an armpit starts on the torso uh where the top of the legs meet the torso, those air what I call figure land marks and then negative spaces look at the space in between the edge of the arm and the edge of the body that's a negative space, the negative space here, those kinds of things you have to learn, how to see all of those things when you're drawing and painting because those are the things that are that it gives the definition and the characteristics that what it is that you're trying to get on paper, the face has its usual proportions also so from the top of the forehead where the where the hairline maids to the top of the protruding brow bone is one third of the face to the bottom of the nose is another third of the face and then to the bottom of the chin is another third. Now this is normal stuff, these air ideal there a lot of people out there that don't have this I mean think of jay leno in that big, huge chin of his his chin takes it probably half his face, so but these air the normal proportions that you look for, but when you're painting a portrait or something like that, you have to take into consideration who your painting and whether they fall into the normal or not. This is just a guideline it's not set in stone now let's move on to perspective a little bit um, this at one point perspective is when you are viewing an object coming straight at you and that's when the face of the object I'm going toe actually use my mouse here this face this plane is parallel to the picture plane, and the picture plane is the surface of your paper so this is one point perspective and we've all seen lots of shots done like this where things were coming straight at you and that's one point and what happens is thie plane that's right in front of you is the biggest and then things get smaller as they go back in perspective eye level also is very very important to be aware of your eye level is either eh it's coming in that like this is where I level is the horizon line even with the horizon line you can be standing on top of a building and looking down you could be looking down at the bottom looking up eye level is very important uh to pay attention to when you do perspective too and remember we're trying to show three d in a to deform it so thes the end's announced the subtleties of perspective or what help you do that the best and our help you be the most successful at it now this is two point perspective this is when your viewing objects from the side and none of these planes none of this plane this plane this plane this plane none of them are parallel to the picture plane the only thing that's parallel to the picture plane is thie upright corner of those things so that's two point perspective and that has a u draw your elisa horizon line and you actually create two points on either end and where those points meat is how you figure out your planes. The other one. The point was in the center, moving out this way. This is two points on the side moving in this way, so this one is a classic perfect example of one port perspective. Sort of the horizon line is sort of it I level it's coming straight at you, and you can see it almost exactly duplicates what I had on the previous slide. That painting no, no, no that's, a photograph, that's, a photograph and this is to point. You can see the each side of the image moves out and vanishes at a vanishing point off the paper. That's, the classic difference between one and two point perspective. So as an exercise between now and the next class or the last class. Uh, why don't you try doing or if nothing else, finding some photographs that illustrate one in two point perspective? Because if you could go out and find those photographs, then you have a clear understanding of what the differences between the two.

Class Description

Learn about color, papers, brushes, drawing and composition in this complete guide to watercolor. Molly Murrah teaches painting techniques that will help you create your own special works of art.



I would also recommend this class with some hesitation. This course is a broad and sweeping overview of watercolor painting. It is a good reference course and I will probably be treated like a reference book for watercolors. The skills we covered were valuable. It was beneficial to hear about the watercolor artists that Molly enjoyed and to have a list. The exercises were appropriate. I would recommend this course to someone who likes to know all the details of things before getting started. If you are someone that wants to jump right in this may be frustrating. Obviously, I am the latter. A few suggestions from my perspective....limit the product pushing. The references to Daniel Smith were off putting. I will try to avoid purchasing their products at all costs even if they are the best. It was very difficult to get access to the paint colors that she wanted us to have as some of the names are slightly different than what is available to me locally. I have already taken a beginner color watercolor course which I loved!! If I had not taken that course I probably would have been lost here. In that course(also online) we finished a project for every 10 minute lesson. I learned the basic technique's and it was FUN! I wish this class had more projects to practice that can be completed by a beginner and intermediate. Portraits seem like a large undertaking and it would be helpful to build confidence with smaller and simpler projects. I just felt a little discouraged. Molly is very talented and the work she shared was very thoughtful and showed incredible skill! I am very thankful that she took the time to teach the class and share her knowledge.

a Creativelive Student

This course was fabulous. Molly is a great artist/teacher. Her instruction has really unleashed my creativity and given me confidence to create.


Looks like a really fun class! I'll take it soon!