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Complete Sight-Size Drawing Course

Academies and ateliers around the world are increasingly teaching an American realist approach to drawing and painting known as sight-size. Taught today by the students of American artists R. H. Ives Gammell and Richard Lack, this popular approach has been exported throughout the world and is now taught in dozens of schools. In sight-size, the easel and the subject matter are positioned in such a way that the artist makes one-to-one horizontal comparisons for a high level of optical accuracy. Hosted by Florence Academy of Art founder Daniel Graves, this massive course is the most comprehensive breakdown of the sight-size approach ever produced online. Senior sight-size instructors, Leo Mancini-Hresko and Joe Altwer will teach you the materials, set-up, exercises, and process which are taught in top ateliers from the comfort and convenience of home. You can use course either as an alternative to attending an atelier or academic art school or as a preparation or even supplement to one. You will utilize the historical Charles Bargue plates, plaster casts and live models to develop your drawings from simple light-and-shade straight line patterns, to full beautifully rendered tonal works. By the end of this course, you’ll be an expert in the approach and be ready to take on Sight Size Painting Course, scheduled for a 2020 release.

9 Lessons 47h 26m 52s of videos

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Common Questions

Is sight-size a traditional approach used by the Old Masters?

While the historical origins of the modern-day application of sight-size, is the subject of debate, it was taught by American realist artists R. H. Ives Gammell and Richard Lack in the mid-twentieth century in Boston, Massachusetts. From there it spread from the United States to Florence, Italy in the late 20th century by American instructors who had learned the approach back home. Despite it’s current centering around Florence, Italy (Florence Academy of Art, Charles Cecil Atelier, Angel Academy of Art) the approach is not traditional Italian drawing as is sometimes assumed.

How is sight-size different than other academic drawing approaches?

While many other academic approaches stress optical accuracy and a high tonal finish, sight-size includes a specific set-up in which the subject matter and easel are placed in a special configuration wherein all observations are made in one-to-one scale.

Many academic realistic approaches use what is referred to as the comparative measurement approach (see our courses with Juliette Aristides and Hollis Dunlap) which differ from sight-size in set-up and process. The Russian academic approach taught in our course with Iliya Mirochnik does not include a sight size set-up and is more concerned with 3d planes and form than light and shadow patterns associated with this approach.

Can sight-size be combined with other approaches such as constructive drawing?

As is often the case, artists can combine different approaches. Sight-size deals mainly with making accurate 2D measurements from flat images or from life but it can be combined with other drawing approaches, especially at the rendering stage.

What are the best places to study this approach in person?

Top schools teaching this approach include the Florence Academy of Art, Angel Academy of Art, Charles C. Cecil atelier. There are also many smaller ateliers around the world especially in the United States now teaching this approach.

I can really do the sight-size approach at home without attending an atelier?

Yes! This course will give you all of the information you need to set up for sight-size in your home studio. Because the approach relies on self-correction, you can follow the course, doing each assignment and project, increasing your skill as you go.

Can I do this course digitally?

Yes. Even if you're working digitally you can still sight-size either using a second screen next to your primary screen or putting both your reference and drawing on the same screen, side by side.

What if I don't have access to models, casts, etc?

We provide everything you need with this course. You can use a computer screen as your display or print out our references and work the same as if you had the objects in life.