I’m trying out a composition aid on the iPod Touch called Digital ViewCatcher. It uses the iPod’s camera to explore different views and try different formats. It can also show a grayscale version of the photo and a sketch version and allows you to overlay various kinds of grids. I compared it to what I could also do in Sketch Club.
I like the ease of using Digital ViewCatcher to quickly test out different views and formats. However, the images it saves to the camera roll are too small. Sketch Club can save at higher resolutions and I can overlay rulers and angled guidelines.
Next I put it to the test outside. I sat in a chair in the backyard with my iPod Touch and sketchbook in hand. I took a picture, cropped it and added guidelines and rulers. I drew two 3 inch squares on my sketchbook. I sketched the scene in front of me by eye in the top square. Then, looking at the grayscale/guideline/ruler image on my iPod Touch, I used a six inch clear ruler to measure and draw the guidelines with red erasable ink in the bottom square. After sketching the scene, I thought it could use a figure as a point of interest. I did a screen capture of a recent video I shot of my grandson, cropped it and added the figure. I then sketched the figure into the scene.
Here’s what my sketches looked like with the red guidelines.
I came inside, scanned the sketches, and then used a hair drier to erase the red ink. (I like to use a Pilot FriXion erasable ink pen). I then added some shading and scanned the sketches again.
I was surprised by how different the two sketches are. The composition aid really did help. It’s probably not worth the effort for a simple sketch, but this shows that it would be worthwhile to use this technique on a plein air painting.