Do you know how to draw with binoculars? Are you a birder, nature journaler, or urban sketcher? If so, you can see more, draw better, and learn faster with this technique.
For a long time I would carry binoculars on my neck but didn’t really know how to use them effectively. My binos were more ornamental then functional. They made me feel like a naturalist and they showed others that I was serious. Finally, I got a different pair of binoculars and I started using them more while nature journaling. Little by little I developed a system that helped me use them while drawing. Now, they have become an essential drawing tool for me just like a pencil or eraser.
How to Draw With Binoculars: Two Ways
Method One-The Shifting Eyes Method
- This method is good for nature journal beginners
- Use a chair
- Don’t use very heavy binoculars
- Support your drawing surface on your lap
- Because your surface is supported you should be able to draw with one hand
- Hold your binoculars against your brow bone (above your eye).
- Get your subject in view and brace your bino-holding arm.
- Angle your head so you can also peer out the bottom of your binoculars at your drawing and get your hand ready to draw.
- Alternate between looking at your subject and looking at your drawing.
- Keep your binoculars in position.
Method Two-The Visual Memory Method
- This method is more difficult but is good practice for developing your visual memory as an artist.
- You can use a chair or stand up. (See “How to Draw Standing Up“)
- Don’t use heavy binoculars
- Support your drawing surface in your arm or however you want.
- This method works for a scope as well
- Look at your subject through binoculars.
- While you are looking at subject try to remember details (watch the video for one good trick)
- Look at your drawing and add to it using your visual memory.
If you need basic ideas for how to do a nature journaling session check out this video: How to Nature Journal in 10 Steps