Breadth Assignment 4

Visual Dissection of a Natural Object

 Study one object in its minute details to find what makes it different from all other things in the world.


1.  Find an interesting natural object, larger than a golf ball and smaller than a basketball. It should have intriguing shape made of several parts and lend itself to being studied.

  • You may want to gather two of these items so you can take one apart and leave one whole.
  • Examples of objects you could choose are: pine cones, fruit that can be studied from the inside and outside, crab shells, a skull, large seed pods, or an ear of corn with its husk.

2.  Begin by making sketches.

  • Make several sketches of the whole object.
  • Make several sketches of intricate details of the object.
  • Do these until you start to understand the unique characteristics of the object; 10-15 sketches should do the trick.
  • Change the lighting on your object so you can see the shadows falling and highlighting different textures and shapes in the object.
  • Dissect your object in a systematic and deliberate way. At each stage of dissection make a drawing that records the new visual information you have gained by making changes to your object, Keep a visual log of what you are doing to the object,
  • Only once you have fully gained a complete understanding of the “anatomy” of your object should you begin your final drawing.

3.  For your final drawing, compose your page in an interesting way by showing several different views of your object.

  • Make detailed observations of the smallest parts in larger scale.
  • Diagram the object from different angles and points of view so that you fully describe the construction of the object.
  • Create a visual flow through the entire page by analyzing shapes and building natural connections from one part of the object to another.
  • Try to visually represent the dissection and discovery of the object as if you were critically describing it to someone from another planet.  


  • Your composition must include one precise image of the entire object, and may include others from different angles.
  • It must also include five or six detail images of various parts of the object. To add interest, vary the size of the images – the image of the smallest detail could be the largest image on the page.
  • Do not make all your images that same size or scale.
  • All of your images should be placed so that they fill the space of your entire page in a dynamic and interesting way.
  • There should be no text on your page. The images themselves will tell the viewer everything they need to know.

 From: 100 Creative Drawing Ideas by Anna Held Audette


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