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Painting Composition Class: How to Make a Viewfinder


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What You Need to Make a Viewfinder
What You Need to Make a Viewfinder
Image: © Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

A viewfinder is a simple yet extremely useful painting tool which helps you to select and isolate particular elements in a scene to get the best composition.

What You Need to Make a Viewfinder

  • A piece of rigid card about A3 in size. (Ideally black and matt as this doesn't distract your eye from the composition nor reflect light into your eyes.)
  • A ruler and pencil or pen.
  • A pair of scissors or craft knife and cutting board.
  • A pair of clips.

How to Make a Viewfinder

  • Use the ruler and pencil to mark two L shapes on the card; they should be the same size.
  • Make the L's about five centimeters (about two inches) wide so they don't flop or bend when you use them.
  • The length of the arms of the L's depends on the size of your card. Around 20 centimeters (eight inches) works well. Rather cut them too longer and shorten them later.
  • Cut out the L's (don't stress if you don't cut exactly along the lines you've drawn; it's not crucial).
  • That's it – simple!

Tip: Use any leftover card to make a smaller viewfinder for using on photos.

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