Normative Guidance

In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 3-34 (2006)
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I’ve been told that there are two principal approaches to drawing figures from life. One begins by tracing an outline of the figure to be drawn, locating its edges and key features on an imagined grid, and then using perspective to fill in depth. The other approach proceeds from the ‘center of mass’ of the subject, seeking to build up the image by supplying contour lines, the intersections of which convey depth—as if the representation were being created in relief. The second approach need not adopt a unified perspective, and is more concerned with evoking the volume and ‘presence’ of the subject than with accurate placement of edges and features. Call this second approach drawing ‘from the inside out’, meant to capture the living force of the subject rather than freeze it in a coordinate frame.



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Peter Railton
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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