Drawing tiny objects with the naked eye is challenging, especially for those of us with poor eyesight. Fortunately, there are optical aids to help tip the balance in our favour. Here are the 3 tools that I keep around the studio.
For objects like this Blue Jay skull, which is a bit larger than a Twoonie, I’ll use a standard magnifying glass. If you have shaky hands, here’s an inexpensive D.I.Y tip for keeping your image steady.....click here: cheap magnifying stand
With tiny items like a Dragonfly leg, a magnifying glass won’t get you close enough. In such cases, I’ll put it under a Loupe. These devices are designed for examining film negatives, contact sheets and slides. All you need to do is place your object underneath and look down through the lens. It’s simple and effective, but limited to objects no larger than the opening at the bottom.
For this frog skeleton which is a bit too long to fit under a Loupe, I’ll use a 50mm lens. My lens is an old Nikon from the mid 1980's, but there are dozens of other brands that work just as well. Chances are, you’ve got a friend or family member with a 50mm gathering dust on a shelf. If not, a used lens can be picked up from between $20 - $75. Just make sure it has a mechanical aperture ring so you can select the widest opening.
From there, hold the lens in reverse with the mount facing towards the object and peer through the front of the glass. Pretty amazing, eh? You can literally count the hairs on the legs of a fly.
While I’m sure there are magnifying Apps to replace all the devices I suggest, I can't vouch for them since I don’t have a cell phone. Personally, I prefer a low tech approach, so if you’re like me, choose the optics most suited to your subject and you’re all set to go.
Have fun drawing small things.