Miira View Frame Review
I am drawn to gadgets and clever ideas. (Hence the blog.) I also love drawing and painting, so naturally I was intrigued when I stumbled across a nifty new drawing aid online, called the Miira View Frame. It seemed like a great idea, so I figured I’d order one and give it a try.
At first glance, the Miira View Frame looks like a picture frame surrounded by long metal skewers. What it is, is an innovative drawing aid that helps you better see and then sketch an object in front of you. You start by placing the “skewers” alongside the object you want to draw, enveloping it in an angular envelope of sorts, called the gesture. Then you sketch this shape onto your canvas or paper.
Next, the view frame can be used to check your proportions by holding it over your drawing. If the lines on the view frame line up with what you have on paper, you’re on the right track! If not, go back and correct them. Once you have your envelope drawn, you can subdivide your shape with other “skewers” to better define your drawing.
I intend to start doing Plein Air Painting (painting outdoors.) Due to the rapidly changing light, you have to paint quickly. I figured that the Miira View Frame might help me sketch complex shapes on my canvas quicker and act as a teaching tool; a way to double check my proportions before I start painting.
Here are two rather quick sketches I did (from the same seated position) of my running shoe: first unaided and then with the view frame. You can see that initially I didn’t accurately nail the proportions. When I used the view frame to assess my first drawing I was able to see that my shoe is actually narrower and shorter than what I had drawn. I would never have know that I wasn’t seeing it correctly, were it not for the Miira View Frame.
I tried drawing my shoe for the second time around using the view frame, carefully checking my proportion as I went along. Looking at the side by side example, it is clear that I was able to better capture what I was seeing with the view frame’s assistance.
The Miira View Frame is a fantastic teaching and learning tool, useful to both beginners and more experienced artists. It does not draw for you but is an excellent way to objectively assess your drawing as you go, helping you to quickly learn to render what you see more accurately. It’s like having an art teacher on standby 24/7 who can give you feedback.
The Miira View Frame will help to train your eyes and hand to work in harmony, and with frequent use you should start to notice your sketches becoming more accurate. The Miira View Frame will teach you to draw what you are actually seeing and not what you think something should look like.
I definitely give the Miira View Frame two thumbs up! It is much easier if you are drawing on a board held upright vs using something at an angle. It feels a little awkward to use it at first, but give it a few days and setting it up will become second nature.
The model I have is now currently on sale on their website for $24.95 (I think it was $35.95 beforehand).
The company is releasing a newer version of the Miira View Frame today, so if you’d like to try one, head on over to Kickstarter to view their fundraising campaign. The new model features stronger magnets, so they hold the metal guides in place better. It also now comes with two optional clip on plates to allow you to scale and place your drawing onto your canvas. Without them, the Miira View Frame II is $35.00 U.S., with the plates it is $45.00. Shipping is $25.00 U.S. which makes it quite expensive if you’re like me and in Canada. (It would be $83.35 for Canadians with the shitty exchange rate, plus duty.) It’s up to you if you think you need the upgraded model.
Full disclosure: I was given this view frame for free. I was having problems when trying to purchase it from the manufacturers website a month ago, as there was an issue with the shipping option for my country not appearing properly. After several unsuccessful attempts at solving the problem, they said that they’d like to send me a free view frame. I was really impressed by the generous offer so I then decided that if I liked their product I would do a review.