My First Art Instruction Book & Landscape Drawing Struggles

Published in 1972, Keys to Sketching is, if I recall correctly, the first drawing instruction book that I ever bought or was given. I know I must’ve been young when I got it because I circled the breasts, butt and crotch of the naked woman sketch and noted that they were “bad!” Ha! Years later, during high school, I was drawing naked people in a weekend class without issue so I guess my thinking evolved. Here’s a look at the book:

I recently pulled this book from my art book shelf because I’m struggling to do the Noah’s Art Camp value/composition exercise. In his demo video, Noah effortlessly and accurately places the values in the frame but when I do it, everything is off. So I’ve been trying to place things in pencil first before applying the tones. But my placement is ALWAYS off. Very frustrating. 

I was hoping that this book had some insight into placing a landscape into a frame but no such luck. The only instruction I’ve found on this topic was a comment somewhere online that one should start drawing the landscape from the center out. I’ve been doing that but I’m still ending up with out of proportion drawings. I’m thinking this is just another skill at which I have to keep working in order to do it well.

The artist Paul Madonna clearly excels at this type of thing:

I sent him an email requesting advice on placing a landscape in the frame. I’m hoping he responds because I have no guidance on how to approach this problem and no idea as to the solution. If he responds, I’ll share his knowledge with you!

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