- Lesson details
This lesson is the next step of Charles Bargue course. Using the Sight-Size Method, Leo will demonstrate drawing the intermediate Bargue plate.
Academies and ateliers around the world are increasingly teaching an American realist approach to drawing and painting known as sight-size or classical realism.
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.
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.
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I thought this would be a nice choice because the idealization of the cast and the
classical forms relate directly to the cast drawings
that we've been doing and it has really nice simplification,
which we're going to talk a lot about with the model throughout. One of the
things that's so wonderful that the Charles Bargue course is the Idealization of the forms and
the simplification of what's there unifies everything into a couple simple shapes.
We have the shadow shape that goes all the way from North to South and we
can clearly see his plan of attack here for this very kind of a S curvy, almost
the continent of Africa shape on the cheek.
So just like the other ones, we're going to start on our horizontal axis
just like we do for everything in sight-size.
We want to make sure that we sort of line up our drawing right here next to
it. And we’re going to practice flicking our eye back and forth between the two.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these Bargues were not just designed for teaching
people how to draw, which they certainly were, the additional aspect that they offer is that
they're sort of a way of developing taste. A way of seeing
what parts of the face will be important. If you were to attack a portrait,
you can see that there isn't the same attention paid to the back of the head
or the hair or even the neck as there is just to the features and I think that's
maybe not talked about enough with this course, that it is a taste grooming exercise as
much as it is a drawing course. Because there's many drawing courses before this but this
is especially effective in its unity and simplification and it makes it so obvious what
were priorities to Charles Bargue when he was working on this with Gerome.
So I’m gonna use pretty simple materials.
This is Stonehenge paper. I have a variety of different pencils,
but I'm gonna mostly HB and 2H for most of the drawing.
I have my mirror. The mirror is invaluable for these projects. And I have a plumb line.
So the first thing that I want to do before I do anything really is I'm
just going to step and I'm going to center myself right in between so that right
in between my eyes, right of my nose, is this paper right here.
So my eyes have an equal amount of distance back and forth between the two I
don't have to dance my head back and forth.
I'm just really really fixated.
Worth mentioning is that Leonardo said that you need to be two and a half times
the greatest distance away from a subject in order to reproduce it faithfully and many people
think about that as the height of an object, which sometimes is true.
But in this case if we end up reproducing it across this way, this may be end
up being our biggest distance. Now
it's not much we can step back just a little bit but as these projects get
bigger and more elaborate, I sometimes need 15 feet 20 feet to walk back and forth
between my subject, my easel which my subject maybe next to me,
it may not. So it becomes more and more important to think about where you stand
depending on this project that you're doing in sight-size.
So the very first thing that I want to do is I want to stand
really clearly and I just want to feel where horizontal is. Now
I hope you see that line very clearly.
All I'm doing is I'm finding that bottom point, right, the very most southern tip,
and I'm carrying it across there to get a sense of where it is on the
page. And then I think about its most northern tip,
right? Certainly this is the tallest thing on the cast.
And also importantly I'm going to think about a plumb line, right, something that is moving from
north to south in a way that will help us connect what's going on here, how
far the nose is from the plumb line, how close to this intersects and then all
of our intermediate bits of information here,
here, and here at the eye.
So I hope that makes sense.
I'm going to start with a HB pencil and I like using sort of harder pencils
rather than softer for two reasons.
Number one, when I was learning to draw I had a very very heavy hand and
I think that's really common when people come to this technique.
They just try to get the damn thing right and are working working working and they're
almost embossing with their pencil into the paper.
So for many people, myself included,
one of the first difficult lessons is just how to have a more gentle, respectful touch.
So sharpening your pencil like we have been a little long is helpful.
Because if you press down on a too hard,
it’ll snap and for the additional reason that it keeps you from holding up here and starting
to press at the point.
We really don't want to do that.
The other big reason is that these pencils that are harder are a little less waxy.
So one of the complaints I had as an art student about graphite was that as I
would work with them, they would get sort of shiny and shimmery and the paper would
almost start to distort with a bit of wax.
You can get really really dark with 2Hs and HBs, as dark as you could
would be pencils and 2Bs and 6Bs but it just takes longer, you do
a few more layers throughout and I think that's Important to remember that we're not going
to try to knock out the values right away.
We're going to try to build them up in sort of three layers.
So for starters off in the first thing I will do is take a bit at
tape and I will tape
my plumb line in place. Now this lines up really nicely for me.
From here It intersects my highest point
and it goes all the way down to here, almost touches here, almost touches the lips. So
I can see that, yeah,
it's not in the halfway point,
but it's crossing many important landmarks.
This is a better thing to pick then save this, which has so much of the
cast on this side of it.
This would be less useful to me.
But picking an appropriate plumb line is a really helpful thing in learning to do this . Personally.
I don't love where this plumb line is placed.
It has the corner of the mouth but the corner of the mouth is a bit
difficult to see. I am always searching out
what is visually dominant. What is most obvious to us when we look at the drawing
itself. So our first order of business is to look at where that plumb line is,
figure out where the top and bottom would be and I start to think about where that
plumb line will go when. The reason why I like this so much as it always prevents
me from placing it too far off the page one way or another compositionally.
It's a really good way to start because you will,
you know, we don't want close enough that we can compare it.
So I think that the first thing that's important to do is start to find a
few general angles from our plumb line,
which is really really helpful.
And sometimes I'll go and I'll get a nice
clean straight edge but often times for blocking in it's a good enough to keep in
mind where vertical is and it's really helpful for me also to try eyeballing it
and then check it again,
you'll notice again. And again,
I say just like throw something down at the eye can see and then check it.
So this is about our highest point,
comes across to here. I'm using that block in potato shape method of trying to see.
I am bypassing all these little bits of information and starting just trying to instead find
a line that encompasses from here to here without every crag and nook and cranny.
This isn't as important to me as just a distance from here to here and then
the distance from here to here and then here to here and then from here to
here. In fact, I will try to do this in a few bits of information possible,
almost like a cookie cutter shapes that we can pick up and plop right on top
of there. I would say
that's the main goal of starting one of these projects.
So this angle changes. Actually just off from horizontal to vertical.
And noticed some sort of using the side of my pencil.
This is a really nice block in technique to not use the point but to have a
kind of softer overall approach. That way it looks very flexible easy to change.
Okay. As I said, I'm trying to get it this in just a few lines.
Right and we have one two,
three, four, five six, seven, eight, nine,
ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen.
It's not much and yet this encompasses the entire cast from top to bottom. Now when
I flick my eyes back and forth,
there's a few things that really stick out at me and I'd like to point them
out to you also. When I flick my eyes back and forth
I can see the first thing that jumps. And when I say jump
I mean as I look between the two,
my impression changes, literally I get a flash and the first thing that flashes at
me is missing negative shape right here.
As you can see, this is a really acute angle.
I've made almost like a number seven right, very acute angle.
And when I look here this angle it’s much more relaxed, a little closer to vertical.
The chin isn't so low, also now I'm going to use the plumb line and make more
measurements. But I always want to get a guess down to just try to see the
goal of this and I want to emphasize this I do not think the goal of
the Bargue is just to start point-by-point measuring. You can do that and you will eventually
get an accurate Bargue. But I do think that the goal of this project is training
your eye to see as clearly as possible what the aberrations and sort of proportional difficulties
are without always relying on measuring with your fingers.
So the first thing I want to change is this. As I was saying, flicking my
eyes back and forth this angle jumps out at me,
this angle jumps out at me, and it's making the neck feel really wide from here
to here at the base.
I hope that's clear to see but for a first pass this is sort of sufficient.
I'm going to bring this down,
right, this is going to come closer to the plumb line.
I have it a little too far away.
That already changes this angle a little but I'm going to change it even more.
I'm going to bring up ever-so-slightly the chin.
And I remember - when I was a student,
I remember the point that somebody pointed at a chin like that and said it's probably
a millimeter or two too low and I thought to myself who cares and then as I
started getting further and further into it
I realize that a millimeter in a portrait is the difference between it looking just like
someone and looking like their cousin and it's the difference between somebody looking very intelligent and
less than intelligent. So millimeters all of a sudden really started to matter to me and
through doing this project it starts to matter to you also.
Let's place a little bit of a shadow line as well.
It's a little far away here.
Little bit of the shadow line here.
correctly perceive widths. An example,
and this is a very simple example I've done to students for as long as I
can remember, as long as I've been teaching, someone explained to me once if you want
to just copy two lines floating in space, after an afternoon of Bargue drawing you would
start to realize how difficult that project can be, right. Is one a little bit angle
compared to the other how, far apart are they. And what I’ve always told people is through
the introduction of a third bit of information,
it gives us context. We have not just this line and now we have the distance
between these two and the distance between these two.
So as soon as I start putting in the light shape on the cheek,
I immediately start to notice something else as I'm flicking my eye back and forth.
It's a little too wide through here.
It's a little bit too big. And because sight-size everything happens on this horizontal axis,
I've always found that it is the widths that you need to be most cautious with.
We haven't even moved our plumb line yet.
When we do we're going to check each of these points and I'm going to go
okay, that works, that works, that works and that works.
It's that simple. But carrying the widths across you actually need to start taking measurements.
And I prefer to tell students to do it visually as much as they can before
jumping in with the plumb line to measure each point.
Measuring is really really helpful.
But we need to be cautious that we’re not just training ourselves to measure nature and
we are instead using measuring to double-check the accuracy with which we see naturally.
We're trying to raise our degree everyday for doing projects of increasing difficulty to try to
see better, to try to see with more proportional accuracy, and hopefully also a lot of
rhythm and grace to the way the form moves.
So I immediately see that this was a little bit wide through there.
And I'm starting to like that better already.
Go through. I'm just starting to give a little bit of internal information where I can
where I see something. It doesn't make sense for me to go and draw this whole
lightning bolt of the shape, this kind of letter number three on the side here.
Do you see that? But instead I'm just going to put a line across to try to
relate that shape to the exterior form.
And as you can see, I'm coming up with a pretty similar characterization to what's here.
It's not at the exact same though.
I'm trying to find where that point is pretty early on so I can start working
on this kind of - the continent of Africa that’s here. Again
and again we’ll try to characterize and anthropomorphize the shape
so it looks like something. It gives us a bit of character that we can hold
onto. It's not easy to do that.
I see letters in things, I see numbers.
I sort of point of us out a number 3 sort of backwards,
but you might start to see other shapes throughout.
I will start to see those pop-up as we're we're doing this. And that's a helpful
one because it's such a particular shape. As I'm looking and I'm flicking my eye back and forth between
the two, I can see I have it too skinny down here, possibly coming down too far.
So I'm going to say that's more like that than I previously had it.
And I'm still really trying to use the side of my pencil more than the tip.
I want us to be as malleable and flexible as possible.
There we go. That's better.
I can tell you from experience that something like this is going to be very difficult
to draw and in this linear stage even his wonderful example here doesn't really look right.
Part of the reason is that there's a big difference with how we perceive a line
drawing and a tonal drawing and we won't start seeing the precision of a shape like
that until we start seeing it in tone.
The reason being sure there's a line here,
but there's also another line of lighter tone and then there's another smaller bit of darker tone.
It's just too complex to feel like you've nailed it all in one go. And that's
why I will tell you again and again start with the points that are really visually
dominant. This is something really obvious,
even though we haven't gone and put the whole lightning bolt in,
this is a very clear angle.
This is a very clear angle. And certainly the nose even though it's complicated,
we need to put that in.
As I'm looking at the nose,
I'm starting to see sort of its maybe an apen profile. Look at this, here's a mouth.
Here's a bridge. And then the eyes here.
The neck and it sort of comes down here.
Other people can tell you this looks like a cat, look at the little cat ear that's
here. Now I don't have anything like that.
But what I can do is start to look at the shape and go
oh, I don't have enough room for that cat ear there. That's got to get a
little wider. And that's what this is
so helpful for. I mean these Bargue plates are because they are already solutions that
are in two dimensions. You can get to a greater degree of accuracy all on your
own. Remember, this course was designed not just to be done with an instructor but also
as something that you could critique yourself doing it. It’s said that Van Gogh did every plate
in the book twice. And I still wouldn't call him the greatest draftsmen but he got
great use out of the characterization and certainly the aesthetics. I mean again,
this is part of it is that is the aesthetics of this are very beautiful.
Not just the technical quality of the drone.
I'm starting to feel a little bit more confident
in what I have here,
so what I'm going to do and this is risky to do too early on.
I want to remove my plumb line now so I can start to check my drawing
all the way across. I just want to clean it up for a moment so I
can see it clearly. I have another characterization for you to. If you look this is like the
the cockpit of an airplane.
And you see that mine is really tiny sort of like a - it's a the thinness of a, I
don't know a very thin bird beak,
but here it's more like a jet.
Here’s the a cock pit, here’s a bit of it and going back
you get a sense of wing,
which is probably what gave me the idea.
The thing is you have to remember nature moves.
I mean everything in nature moves, whether you're painting a landscape and the clouds are moving
or the shadows are moving on the ground or you're trying to paint someone's portrait and
they're moving. You're trying to even draw,
I don't know something like a sculpture at the museum and even that you don't really
have a clear vantage point.
These drawings are a unique opportunity to do it in a really clean, clear set up
to test and train your eye,
perhaps more than any other project you'll do. In a sense.
it's a privilege to be able to flick your eye back and forth and see this
little plane shape. It would just be too hard to perceive on someone's clavicle
as they’re breathing and moving around.
Okay, I think I'm comfortable taking my plumb line away now.
Before I do, take sort of mental note of what it's passing through.
I'll be looking at that again.
I'm sure. Part of this is just triangulating different positions. But now I’m
gonna go back into sight-size
like I initially did and just check all of my points and we'll see where I
messed up and where I got it kind of close.
I've been working with the side of the pencil for a while.
So I've been sort of working this edge and I just want to make sure periodically
to put a tip back on it.
So I'm not creating a really blunt line.
I want it to look flexible like these lines do but still specific and not I guess
not unnecessarily soft and wispy.
I do not want my drawing to look wispy. Now
for those of you at home,
I am working at a very very fast speed here.
Keep in mind that I've spent my student years doing these projects many years ago, I’ve taught
all these projects for many years.
I've talked about them for countless hours and
I know where some of the pitfalls are.
So if it was to take you an entire day's worth of drawing to get to
this level, I really think that would be a responsible way to work.
Don't feel like you need to rush and certainly don't try to match my pace.
I am trying to go as fast as I can for your benefit.
This still may look slow to some people but this is really as much of a
breakneck pace as I can manage so that you'll see every step in this process,
but I want to make sure that you don't feel constrained to try to match this
same timing. Whatever time it takes to do this project is okay.
What's most important is that it's accurate,
you will never get another opportunity to get that degree of accuracy on a project like
this for the first time.
So the first times you do it, it should be done as well as you possibly
can. And we all have different levels of accuracy and skill and we can all better
them through doing projects like these.
So before I took a break,
I wanted to sort of remove my plumb line and although parts of this are starting
to look very good to me,
I'm pretty sure there's some significant errors.
So I thought it might be good to work through that.
So I’m gonna get my plumb line back.
And by the way, a plumb line is the simplest thing in the world.
All you need is a steel washer and a piece of string.
This is a very nice fancy carpenter's plumb line
but if you have a couple washers and some string you’d have a plumb line here and then
you could have a second one you'd be working with this way across your drawing as you're working.
The nice thing is even though I just removed that plumb line,
I can always put it back if I need to. It’s not like that's gone forever.
So I’m gonna put the plumb line down for a second, just stand in the center with
my eye in between the two and just flick my eyes back and forth again and
we'll see what what I come up with as discrepancies.
And again I'm doing this before I'm even going to grab the plumb line and check
everything on a horizontal basis.
I want to just get myself another chance took to find them on my own.
Give yourself a lot of time flicking your eyes back and forth, slowly try to come
up with these decisions, don't jump to what is first noticeable to you. Learning to see -
learning to auto critic your own work is like developing a sixth sense.
It is not to just grab the first thing that pops out at you.
Okay. So the first thing I'm noticing is there's a big discrepancy here.
This angle and the width from here to here just seemed too big to me.
This light shape seems really large in my drawing and the shadow shape from here to
here doesn't seem big enough.
This is more trapezoidal, right?
It has a little bit more character. Here
it looks almost triangular and soft.
This is a much more defined shape.
So there's there's a problem here.
I'm sure of it. This in mine is too thin.
I don't know if whether it needs to come out to the left here or the
right here, but something has to happen.
Undoubtedly there's something wrong there.
The bridge of the nose is sort of a Y shape.
It's like a sort of a Y shape I guess.
And mine it’s like a chubbier Y.
But here's the good news is I think the bridge of the nose
is it a little too wide?
So it already makes sense to bring that out that way.
I hope it's clear why I made that decision.
It takes a long time to see these things on your own. It is certainly a
learned skill and your mind will often jump to telling you wow that looks great.
Why don't you move on to the next thing? And without exception
I'm often telling students if they feel like moving on to spend a little bit
more time double-checking to do the sort of dance, push forward a little bit then
move back a little further than you think you should to. That way
we're working responsibly and not unnecessarily darkening our paper and making changes.
It's pretty common with the first Bargues that people do that they'll place something really in
the wrong place, say this,
which I was just about to talk about.
And then they’re redraw it and end up a little ghost image because they’ve already shaded
it really dark and then they’ll try to move it.
That's not the best way of working.
What we're going to do is we're in a fix the few things
we see and then we’re gonna start to slowly darken it with a pass so that
we can then catch ourself before before moving further forward.
When I'm drawing in graphite, when I'm drawing in charcoal,
when I am painting, you'll often hear me use the term pass. And the way to
think of a pass is to work all over the whole image,
but not try to darken it as much as what's there, almost like a glazed or
a partially transparent version of what you see so that you get the proper hierarchy of
what's dark and what's not but you don't try to darken this to its full level
all-in-one go. When I say to do it in maybe three passes,
it might be a good idea to think of that almost as three layers,
right? You have your provisional first layer.
The same is true of painting.
I will often do a very reduced value version of a painting.
Then in the second layer, I'll catch discrepancies and further develop it, and then I might have
a finishing pass on top.
Okay now it's time for me to start being a little bit more accurate. So I’m gonna place this
across Oh, wow, I'm just a hair low -
I'm a hair too high
there. Not low enough. Then see my plumb line across the angles
here and here are not quite acute enough.
And I have a mark of the bottom in the right spot,
but it's not dark enough. So I’m gonna pick the outside of that line there.
When I say pick the outside of a line,
I hope that makes sense,
right, if I'm using a side of my pencil if I'm sort of drawing like this,
that makes a wider line and then if I start using the tip I can
pick the inside or the other side of that line and either could be true.
The first pass is ballpark.
The second pass is more specific.
Okay, so there was something there we did it. Next.
I'm a little low there.
That makes sense because I was saying that there was a problem here.
If you remember I was saying it looked too wide and here's a great opportunity to study something.
If something looks to wide it can only be that something's wrong in the height or
the width. There's only two axes that it could be wrong in.
So I really try to slow down and do sort of a multiple-choice thing.
I say, okay is this in the right spot, is this in the right spot?
If those are in the right spot then it's too wide.
Otherwise the jury's out still on whether or not it is actually too wide. It’s definitely not
tall enough. Yeah so I’m gonna bring that up.
And I’m gonna take my eraser, which you know it’s not even an eraser, it's like I'm pushing things around almost like
smudging sometimes. I don't want to erase.
I don't want to damage my paper.
I just want to lightly remove the excess there.
That brings that up and that's pretty interesting because that gives me an opportunity then to
manipulate like this shape. That definitely makes this feels taller and then I can
bring this out there and that entire character of shape just changed.
Next. The top is here.
I'm a little too high.
I'm too high in two places.
I'm too high just slightly
at my tallest point but look at the next point down.
Also this feels just a little bit
too high, and that makes sense.
So we're going to take the other off of that and we're going to take this
down too. Now I wouldn't be surprised if that makes this shape feel
too wide. Again, if there's only two axes, if I was drawing this and I
did have it too tall for some reason,
I’ve started to compensate in that area.
So I'm trying to make it look visually
correct. So now we can take a measurement, we can start to look.
I'll bet that also is starting to seem too wide.
Yeah this can come in just a little bit.
And I would say that that was coming out just a little bit too much.
And I can start to break this into smaller angles now too. Remember I put this down in sort
of three clean clear - maybe one here, one here just like it was here.
But now I can say to break it down now that I've a little bit more
confidence in my shape,
I can start to break it down into smaller bits and elements.
This makes sense too if I had the brow a touch high.
Well, remember what I was saying here that this felt a little bit too skinny and
I did widen it, but if this comes down just a touch
Okay, so I've been working my way through and trying to get a little closer and
some of these changes that I'm making.
I'm quite sure that they're almost imperceivable to you. Like I said when I started doing
this course of study, I didn't see the point in moving something by millimeter.
It just didn't seem like a significant enough margin to make any difference.
However, there is a tool which I think is particularly useful besides measuring and certainly
besides using our eyes, I think the next most valuable tool we have is the hand
mirror. And when I'm using a hand mirror my goal is to see just a reflection
of both my subject and my drawing together at the same time so that I get
a flash of what it's like to see it with a fresh eye.
Frankly at this point my brain is starting to tell me, oh Leo you did a
pretty good job, you should move on. And because I know myself and I've gone through
this process a couple times,
I know that I should double-check before I go any further.
So there's a few different ways to move the mirror and to use the mirror.
The first one is pretty obvious.
You would look close one eye and then look at your reflection.
I'm looking at you in the mirror right here. If it's more comfortable for you to
use the other eye I can do the same thing.
I see your reflection right in here in the mirror,
but I'm not looking here what I see,
I'm just looking at both together. And then some people prefer to use it above their
eye like this or like this. And all that really means is I'm not looking at my
drawing as it is in nature,
I'm looking at a mirror image that just gives me again a little flash of oh,
it's too big or too small because like I said,
these changes are really hard to see. And just like the plumb line should be an
integral part of your drawing kit,
you should have a mirror that just sort of fits in your back pocket.
So when you pull it out,
you can really perceive these differences.
So I'll step back and look at the reflection.
Actually, this is starting to look pretty good.
I still have a big discrepancy at the top.
It looks to me like these two points aren’t coming together quite enough. Feels a little
bit too rounded of the top of the head but looked a little better than I'd
expected, which is good news.
It's okay if the mirror tells you it looks good too. Another trick that you can
do - and we don't need to do this right now,
but I'm sure you can imagine it - you take your drawing board, flip it upside down,
look at it in the mirror, see it as it is but flipped around the other way,
and also that just gives me the huge flash of oh,
why didn’t I see that?
So what I was just saying I saw in the mirror, was it felt to me
like this angle here and this angle here almost its horns at the top of the
head, they just aren't coming together enough.
It feels too wide from this point to this point to me and I frankly I
didn't see that with my own eyes.
I only saw that when I looked in the reflection in the mirror.
So it's a valuable tool
I think throughout all of art history painters, draftsman have written about how invaluable the
mirror, is starting with Albrecht Dürer and I would say that it should be an integral
part of your kit also.
So I'm going to guesstimate
that it is on this side and this side because it feels to me like both
angles aren't really coming close together enough.
Okay. I want to get a little bit more definition. Notice
I’ve actually avoided the most tempting parts of the drawing.
Of course, what's most beautiful about this drawing are the really full lips, the neoclassical nose,
and the eye. I mean,
it's the most interesting intricate shapes and it's not a coincidence that I've really avoided going
into them until now. I’ve tried to place them but I don't want to have more
information in one area of my drawing than the rest. I am trying to develop the
whole thing at an even pace.
So when I look at it, I get a really clean full impression of how
nature looks rather than committing to one individual part of the drawing. There are some artists
out there that start with the eye and work their way out and many of them
are amazing artists and that's never been my way of working most responsibly. When I've worked
like that I can get the eye really nice but by the time I get somewhere
else I get really weird distortions,
I think this is a drawing technique that works for most people to try to develop
it as a whole and slowly pull your drawing across the finish line rather than committing
to one smaller piece at a time.
That said I think it's time to get a little bit more
information into the features. This is an interesting little point. I have
the shadow, I have light, I have shadow, I have light. And I can already see my
pattern isn't fitting through there.
So that's an obvious little smaller area that I avoided for good reason. Because all
that stuff is contingent on how I organize the chin and how I organize this part
and how I organize frankly even the back of the neck.
So that's why I’ve waited to go in there
because I haven't really felt ready to commit.
But notice as I'm becoming more confident,
I'm starting to use the tip of my pencil rather than the side. I switch from
the more soft and loose look to something that’s going to be a little bit
more defined. Okay. Although they're still always more little jobs to do,
I could go through and pick apart every little part of this drawing and I can
certainly go in and start picking apart lots of little bits of information in here
also. What I want to do now is I just want to get a little bit
of tone on, just enough that I can start to separate it. Because like the same
example I've done here in the corner,
imagine if I just had a little bit of tone here
how much easier it is to perceive this area.
It starts to look almost like a cylinder.
We start to see really clear separation between the two and I want to use the
space in between tonal drawing and line drawing to help me see even more accurately. Because I'm
getting close to the point where I can see little discrepancies here and there but I
know I'm actually starting to add abstract the drawing. Because this isn't light and dark
I'm not working in shade,
I know that some of these changes I'm making, like in here, in this area,
I know it's just going to look different because it isn't light, dark, light, dark, light
like I described. So I'm going to switch to a slightly harder pencil.
I've been using an HB up until now.
I'm going to switch to a 2H.
Part of the reason is a harder pencil, like I was saying, less waxy,
but I also have less risk of making a really really dark mark by accident.
The trick is I want to switch back to a sort of touch that's more on
the side and not really push it into the paper yet.
But just sort of ride the natural wave of it.
And in order to get a nice flat tone equal across the whole form, I often will
go in a couple different directions. And in fact you can even see here, although this was done much larger in lithograph and it looks completely different you
can see there is directional hatching in here also
So I don't mind letting a little bit of line show.
Let's start filling in and then see what other discrepancies show up because it's inevitable that
there's something else here that we don't even perceive yet.
So whatever value I start putting in here,
whatever tone, whatever color of pencil I start putting there, I want to sort of continue
that all the way up.
I don't want to start going darker accidentally in another area.
But if I overlap two parts and I got a slight slight overlap of tone,
I'm not going to worry about it because I am going to patch other directions also.
I think it's often helpful to hatch along side
the origin of whatever line you have.
So if this is like this, I'll just go across the whole way this way.
And if this is like this,
I'll just go the whole way across that way.
One of the things that's hardest to do as you're starting to put down tone is
to accept that there's going to be some little scratches here and there. I think the
easiest way to deal with that is to find an angle and then just commit to
that angle. As you move across rather than trying to move in little circles or try
to go this way or that I let the drawing itself dictate which way
I move my hand. And everybody has a different way of doing this by the
way, it's not like my way is the best way, my way is the way that
works for me. And what is most important after this first pass, not during the first
pass, but after it, this tone sort of reads flat. Drawing and painting is like
calligraphy. We all have different handwriting, we all have different ways of moving our brush, our pen,
our pencil, and our fingers.
So it's inevitable that as you're working
you start to develop some sense of character of how you would do this,
but it's only through the act of doing it again and again and again that you
start to develop a way of feeling comfortable with your own handwriting.
Also personally I like the slightly overlapping look.
I think it looks good.
It looks like there's a little bit of human hand there
and I know that I can control it. Other people are far more careful than I
am in that regard and that's okay.
It's what works for them.
We have different tastes in food.
Some people like spicy food, some people like sweeter food. In the same sense
there's different taste and technique what I always like It's just have something that has a
bit of character, but it's still soft enough that I can perceive.
One thing that I would say
it's very important, don't go darker in your shadow than you have in your outline.
At least not in this first pass.
We want to still be able to see all these edges because we've treated every edge
exactly the same. But as we look at this, some edges are far softer, still specific,
but very soft. And some are almost graphic and cut out.
We haven't dealt with that yet.
But we need the clarity of edge that we developed everywhere here in order to then revisit
and start to make the form by modeling all those edges.
I'm just sort of switching to whatever direction is comfortable for me.
I'm right handed. I hold my pencil back very far here.
So I have comfort moving my hand sort of in 45s
but also straight across if need be. Through the action of doing this you will find
what positions are more comfortable for you.
light and shade across our Bargue.
I don't want to go really really dark yet.
Like I was saying, it's better for me to just have something very malleable, something
I can quickly change if I need to, and certainly something that I can erase if
I need to. Because like I was saying, it's inevitable the sort of project you just
end up with something on the wrong axis.
So let me finish sort of flattening out
the shapes a bit. I can cut out with my Eraser where I've gone a little
bit too far. And I'm being conscious to not
go and pick out a shape in one area without also revisiting its neighbors.
In other words, I don't want to just start finishing this piece.
I'm working here and then I'm looking what else I might introduce here.
And if I work here, I'm looking at what else I might be able to do
over here. I’ve probably gone too far out and I can erase back into that area
ever so lightly. And because I kept a light tone with my 2H pencil,
I have really still very flexible,
very erasable kind of approach. Okay, at this stage
I haven't even begun to talk about modeling form,
I haven't begun to talk about gradations and edges, and I certainly haven't begun to consider
all of the different myriad tones that exist within an area. The central concept at this
point in time is just to have two things. Number one, a very clear and slightly
simplified but accurate contour. The contour means that first big shape, right, when I had this sort
of overall approach. Well, the contour is perhaps the most important initial thing. The contour also
exists in shadow edge, right?
I've gone over all of these little shapes trying to find as much intricacy as I
can, flipping my eye back and forth between positive and negative shape.
Remember the discrepancy that I found here in the light shape or the one that I
found here in the shadow shape.
Either of those I sort of observe like the optical illusion of the two vases and
then when you look at the negative shape between them it’s people kissing and you can
flip your eye back and forth between the two.
That concept is very helpful up until now and because of that
I've really kept every contour just basically all the same. Now
ook a little closer and you'll notice that yes,
this is much sharper than this is and this is sharper than this is and this
is sharper than this is. Each of these have almost a progression of going from more
graphic and outlined to almost totally wispy and atmospheric.
And I wanted to wait until now to even think about that issue.
It is only after having a unified shadow edge that I will start to then model
the edge ever so slightly.
So rather than doing all these differences,
which I know is tempting.
Like if one is working on this, you want to start off just trying to make
it exactly what it looks like. Instead
I would ask you to just keep sharp and soft edges because as you start making
them particularly atmospheric and particularly wispy,
you will start to also lose the intricacy of shape that we work so hard to
achieve up until this point.
So what is a sharper edge? Well that nice neoclassical bridge of the nose, sort of
sharp all the way down.
What is a softer edge? Well,
we're talking about this as sort of the continent of Africa right? But
that gets a lot softer down there.
So I'll do that up here.
Sharp, very sharp, sharp, and then here's getting softer.
Sharper edge, softer edge,. So as I'm going over the stone again
Sure. It's getting a little darker
but it's also getting a little bit more unified.
I'm less worried about all the criss-crossing hash marks that I made initially. As you
can see it’s starting to flatten out on its own without me having to worry about it.
And drawing and painting is hard enough,
right? It's best to do things in a way
that's kind of stress free and you don't commit too much too early on.
Our internal sort of odometer goes from thinking wow
this looks amazing to, oh my gosh,
this is so terrible and there's not always sort of a lot of space in between those
two. That's why I - like I'm really trying to force the issue of simplification and then
trying to break everything into just a couple different versions, right? Soft and sharp without worrying
about the myriad degrees of softness that I might have.
Or sharpness that I might have.
Erase this, I have that too soft. Now
that's nice and sharp. Bring that up,
Cleaning up this outside edge, trying to now at this point commit, right?
I said keep it flexible up until now.
I'm starting to commit to this outside edge.
I'm using more and more the tip of my pencil and less and less
that side. That’s starting to look much better. To be perfectly honest about a half an hour ago
my brain started telling me that it looks pretty good.
And I started really wanting to start shading.
I'm glad I held off until now because we found all the little stuff in here,
the little changes here. This will only make my drawing look more effortless at the end
because I will have struggled with these little issues along the way a little bit less.
And the beauty is about drawing and painting frankly
nobody can tell how long anything takes. These days
everybody wants to ride in the corner. Oh
this is a 30-minute sketch,
this is a 20-minute. This is two days.
This is a plein air this.
In fact, the only thing that people can see is quality. People see if something is
good or not good and things can look effortless that in fact take a long time
to do. So I'm happy that I waited until this point to start to commit a
little bit more because it's starting to look much better to me
than it did last pass.
Although I really wanted to do this before I try to help myself back a little
bit. Okay, little stuff that I'm starting to see now that we're working in shade. Her
upper lip is just a little bit too tall, little bit too full and I’m gonna wager
it comes up because that lower lip is so full, the bottom left.
This is nice and sharp here.
Let's start there. Comes up.
This moves over. This comes up.
This marks over. This is a little bit sharper.
And this is a little bit softer.
Remember I was saying I was avoiding this portion of the drawing because I was not working
in tone. It is only at this point that
I start to feel comfortable giving a first crack at that.
Softer. Sharper. Okay, I have sort of worked from north to south. The question
I will always ask myself is what is falling furthest behind?
What is the farthest back straggler in this whole pack of information that I'm trying to
bring forward slowly and evenly. I don't want to, like I said, put more information in
the eye than I have in the lips or vice a versa.
There's a couple places I think my drawing’s falling short. One
is this corner right here?
Okay. I'm missing the pit of the neck and I'm missing the connection that these two
shapes have, which is also not giving me a sense of the front plane of the
plinth. The other thing that I haven't really dealt with is up here.
it's just smaller bits of information.
I wouldn't want to have more information in here than I do in the eye.
And now that I have something in the eye it's time to really deal with that.
Let's start here because it just you know,
it's closer to what I was just doing. And I often work by adjacency.
If I'm working on something
I'll look to its neighbor and then ask myself
is there anything going on there that I should deal with?
I am observing an imaginary plumb line
now. I took my plumb line away,
but I saw the sense of where it was by looking at this, by looking at
this, and by looking up here. So I know that's kind of close to that.
And now that I'm putting this in, I'm looking at my airplane shape that I talked about.
I am trying to make sure that I don't overstate the size of this and miss
out on the gesture that the light shape has as well.
Okay I’m gonna look at the headband. I'm still looking at that bridge of the nose, making sure I
don't have it too wide.
Let me ease that nice light line.
There you go. Each of these little bits of information.
I'm looking at - I’m trying to track with my eye where they would match up with
if they were to continue and I'm looking at how this would intersect almost perfectly the
edge of the brow there and all the way down to here.
So I'm trying to look at how that would connect through there.
Erase again. Persuade that back to white. And start to break this up into all it's little
relative angles because I feel more confident about the rest
of the drawing. At this stage would be a really good time for you to take
your mirror, double check, triple check everything, but I'm just going to keep going. I'm starting
to feel kind of confident.
There's not a lot of halftone on here. Things that aren't light or shade but there's
a few. This is halftone.
It is neither shadow nor light.
This is halftone. Along this edge it's not just soft, that is half tone.
This is almost more a dark half tone than
it is a shadow. So I'm going to start to isolate the lights by introducing just
a little bit of half tone.
Have to bring that eye down just a little bit.
So I hope you can see that very clear separation between you know half tone, it’s not as dark as the shadow,
it's not even close. It's not in the same family.
But we are referencing specifically family of light and shade.
It is inevitable that we start to regard the half tones that are in between them.
They’re hard to perceive. Many students
have trouble differentiating between half-tones and shadows.
They just look so similar.
So I would always recommend finding an area
that’s a little bit more obvious like this.
This is the sort of spot that can sort of help you figure out what half tone
really is in any given case.
Okay. All right. I want to take a quick break for just a moment to let
my eye rest. I've made such a jump forward and terms of both having a bit
of edges and starting to consider have tons just a little bit.
I want to let my I rest for a second, 5 minutes not looking at it
is usually enough to get a little flash of a fresh eye.
I'm going to grab a little bit of a softer pencil and I'm just going to
get slightly more contrast I think into the drawing.
first wack at doing something, letting yourself walk away from it,
coming back and seeing it with a fresh eye is perhaps your most effective tool in
correcting things on your own. And if there's one major goal,
I would say in studying this program and studying this type of drawing and painting it’s
to develop a very honest means of auto criticism, a way of looking at your own
work honestly and being able to judge what ever you see without commitment, to be able
to be detached from it enough to erase something if you need to.
And if something needs to be more contrasty or less contrasty,
whatever it is, being able to make that change is often the difference between a good
drawing and a great drawing.
And one of the really fantastic things about doing this particular project
is this is already in two dimensions.
This is a finished image. Every sort of change has already been made.
It's been interpreted by another artist.
And all you have to do is copy the solutions that have already been made.
For me as a student,
which was now a long time ago,
but I remember the experiences like it was yesterday.
It was so immensely frustrating and for many of you when you do this project,
you will end up in a state of really extreme highs and very very extreme lows,
where you think wow this is going amazing
and then oh, maybe this isn't quite as good as I thought it was. And part
of that is when you judge things with a fresh eye,
it's so different than your own interpretation of what you're seeing in nature
at a different time. I think back
like to my first experiences drawing before I have done this course before I went
to the Florence Academy, I took a lot of different drawing classes, different places and I
had some really good teachers, people that the drew really well,
but often in these classes not everybody was really drawing at the same level and not
everybody was able to achieve really high results.
And certainly it was great to watch the teacher draw,
but he couldn't always explain how or why they were doing what they were doing.
What I like about this is it sort of evens the playing field for everybody. As
a finish solution, you can just cop make this like this and It's a little bit
more fair of a way of learning accuracy, tone, edge and technique.
So a couple more words on the fresh eye before we talk about this particular drawing.
My most intense experience in this, I was maybe around 16, 17 years old,
I got my first ever assignment to draw a self-portrait and I thought wow that's like
really really difficult, a self-portrait. That sounds daunting and I went home and I got a mirror
and a sketchbook and I sort of laid the mirror on a chair next to me and
I sat on the couch and you know,
I'm sort of a drawing and looking over here at my face and drawing.
And I remember as I was drawing I started with my eye and I was like,
wow that looks just like my eye, that looks exactly that's my eye, that’s my eye there. I started drawing my nose
and I was like, this self portrait project is a lot easier than I thought it was going to
be. I'm just like yup looks exactly like my nose,
let's keep going. And I was so confident
I was so overwhelmingly pleased, patting myself on the back.
I decided it was a good idea to go downstairs get a drink of water,
say hi to my mom, see what was going on and it's going really good.
And I still remember the initial jolt when I came back in the room
and I sat down in the same spot on the couch and picked up you know
rearrange where my mirror was, picked up my drawing pad not only did the
person on the page not look like me,
it didn't even really look human.
I mean the proportions were so horrible.
It was such a rude awakening. And it was my first real experience with a fresh
eye concept, that your brain wants to tell you that everything is going great.
Meanwhile, when you see it without that initial sense of attachment that you're working on it,
you look at it and go oh, that's not as good as I thought it was. And although I’m far
beyond that, I always tell students that story because it's a great example of like a
somebody going from being very cocky and confident and overwhelmingly pleased with themself to just absolutely
cut down to the lowest possible point.
So these high and lows that come with an accuracy project huge. And I remember yesterday
when I was working on this I was starting to get that feeling, I was thinking oh wow,
it’s actually, yup starting to get it.
I was finding little discrepancies.
And as soon as I walked up today,
I think the people here even heard me,
I go oh no, who drew that?
So there's little things that we always got when you see a fresh eye.
And for this reason I would say the Bargue project should be done in at least
two separate sessions, don't try to finish one all in one go.
So I've spent a day in between yesterday's work and today's and I want to point
out to a few of the really - some are subtle, some are bigger,
but there's things that popped out of me immediately when I saw this and we'll try
to do this in a way that you can see them
too. So the first thing that I did when I came in is I just sort
of stand in between the two just like I did and I just start flicking my eye
back and forth again. As I do so there's some things as I flick my between
here and here and here and here, a few things start to jump out at me.
The first thing that really sticks out of me,
is this negative shape right here.
In my drawing this is almost like a letter c.
Okay, it's got a sort of curve to it overall.
And here is almost like a profile, here is somebody's hair, and that goes down to
a nose, and that's the furthest point out, and then here's a chin
and here’s a neck and here's maybe the shirt that they're wearing.
It's a very very different than what I have.
What I have here is ballpark correct,
but it's not really the same.
So yes this to this is kind of close but there's definitely something off here
in this negative shape from here to here and down to here.
The next negative shape that I looked at was this one.
And I said, wow, that doesn't look remotely the same. First of all this point
is in the wrong spot.
Mine is up too high.
Also, similarly to the other one, the other side here,
I have some extra lumpiness to it. You see, this sort of feels like a big
corner and this feels like a big corner and if you flick your eye back and
forth between the two you can sort of see it jump.
This is one of the reasons why I push all students to do these projects in their
figure drawings in a series of straight clean lines, to not try to copy a curve,
because we have a tendency to exaggerate them. Instead
we are trying to really give the sense of all this intricacy with just a few
lines. I'll tell you another thing that immediately pointed out to me is my chin seems
small. If you look at my chin here
between here and here the light shape here is larger. And
even from here to hear, this distance, in mine feels slightly too big.
The lips aren't jumping out to me as much, the lips were bothering me yesterday,
But today they're looking better.
I see instead there's this problem in the big shape and I always want students to
look first at the big shape. Working our way up,
the next thing that I notice is this feels wide, particularly from here to here.
It feels overall wide particularly through this area.
So I'm going to want to take a measurement and just really double and triple check that
because this feels wide, this feels also just slightly wide.
But there's an overall sense at the top half when I flick my eye back and
forth between here and here
that it's just a bit wide.
This looks taller and more elegant of an overall shape.
This looks a little wider.
So let's take a couple measurements real quick.
The first one I'd like to do is from here to here;
the widest point overall on the cast. Look how much wider that is.
It’s a huge width error. And I was feeling pretty confident yesterday. In order to get the
correct width from here to here, I’m gonna have to cut it down a good bit.
So that's the first thing.
I’m gonna make a mark of. And if that's there that'll affect more of it.
This is why one shouldn't go as far in one day as they possibly can. Because in
my first Bargues I got those things wrong.
And then I ended up with a ghost image there on the outside of the page.
That's one of the reasons why I'm trying to use a really light touch as I'm
working to not overstate. Let's take another width measurement.
I wanna measure now between this point and this point, from right here to here. Again wide.
The angle here's a bit different too. That's certainly affecting the with the issue, it’s coming out
a bit too far. Note for this job, where I'm doing just a couple of erasing
of spots here and there and I really want it to be as erased as possible.
I'm trying to get back to pure paper.
I'm using one of the Staedtler white erasers.
The kneaded eraser is really useful because it's delicate on the page and sort of pushes
things around. This is an eraser in the true sense if I want to take something
completely off it does a great job,
but it leaves little dust everywhere.
So we need to be a little bit cautious that we're not always using this because
it'll beat up the paper. Okay I want to take a width measurement
from here to here because this coming way in from here to here makes a big
difference in that negative shape, but I want to make sure we're doing okay in the other
areas. So here's one, I'm going to go from this point to this point here.
That's almost perfect. It’s just off from being
dead on. And because I have a little discrepancy here
anyway, I'm okay with that. Let’s measure from this point,
this point to this point. Do an overall width measurement of base. I'm a little wide there.
So when I noticed something is too wide,
but I'm not entirely sure about where it is
I'll ask myself, is it more likely that it's too wide on this side,
Is it more likely that it's too wide on this side, or is it some combination
of the two? There’s only three things to answer, right, a, b, or both. That makes
it sometimes a bit less
daunting to make make a change.
I'm going to bring it in slightly on both sides,
here. This needs to drop down again
remember. And I’m gonna drop it just a touch here too.
I think you can probably see that little dust that it leaves on the page.
It's not going to be using this all over the place,
just when you need it.
And the chin. Let’s bring that out. Notice I've gotten kind of quiet and I'm just sort of working my
way along. These are minute changes that I'm making but I hope that as
I'm just adjusting the shape of the chin or adding a slight bit of information in
the lip or the hair that you can start to see kind of clearly the changes
that I'm trying to make are adding up to something that's starting to lock in a
little bit more. When I say lock in, this is a specific phrase we would use
in sight-size to describe this from here to here just fitting, that we could almost like
a cookie cutter pick this up and just drop it right on top.
It is slow work. I think the first Bargue project I did as a student,
I - similarly to my self portrait -
I thought I did a great job and I knocked it out in a couple hours.
And the instructor came over and said not only was there a width problem like I just
found there but there was also an angle problem. The whole thing was angled the wrong
way. Which meant that my perfect day of work that I was so pleased with, I
went back to zero and started over from scratch because I couldn't even possibly erase enough
to change those really large structural issues. The second Bargue plate that I did
I think I had the good sense to try to do over three or four days
at the school. So one of the things, besides the concept of trying to learn a
visual vocabulary - shadow, form, character, line, rhythm, and gesture - you're also trying to learn pacing.
If there was one thing that I tell students to come to classes in my studio most
often it's if they need to slow down.
No one can tell how long something takes you, they can only see the quality in
it. So there really isn't any reason
to rush throughout this process. And pretty soon
I'm going to need to take a break
Because again my brain starting to tell me
this is looking quite good.
And I wanna give it one last - excuse me -
I want to give myself one last opportunity
to catch any glaring errors
before darkening the shadow any further and making a final commitment in the last past to
this drawing. I’d like to show you another character of shape thing. Look at this perfect letter N
right here. Do you see that? N. Right through there.
This is like an E actually,
isn't it? And mine is sort of an E but my E is little too chubby overall.
One of the most common critiques I give to students on Bargues like these is they
neglect to really think carefully about the base and that if we get this
way off it will compound issues further up in the cast.
This is also true in cast drawing
but in Bargue drawing, I think it's particularly dangerous because if you only focus on the
part of the drawing that's interesting to you, it's not going to be particularly helpful
when something else is off and then that adds
to structural issues in other pieces of the cast. Okay,
I think this is a good place for me to take a break for a moment
just to rest my eye and make sure I'm pleased with the work I've been doing
before giving this a last pass and finishing it.
sort of rest for a minute so I can come back and start to put
some more finish really on this drawing.
All of my structures are kind of set up.
And what I'm doing now in some sort of organizing in my hand for a moment
the different pencils that I've been working with.
So almost all of this I’ve done with an HB and a 2H and I'm going
to switch to a B and an HB to start to darken some of these lines
a little bit. Essentially, I want to make my drawing look like this and possibly
even nicer than this looks. I would say a goal is to try to to represent this
as elegantly as you can, to not just start filling in
haphazardly and let the pencil build up and get all waxy because graphite really does have
that tendency. Instead I’ll use sort of harder pencils and do a few different layers of
tone on top. So I’m gonna switch to a to a B pencil and the B pencil
is often, not always, the softest I'll go. So that's sharpened to a point, I’m gonna
hold it all the way back here and I'm going to start by using probably the
the side of my pencil a little. I don't just want to start reaching with a
tip and filling in, I instead want to sort of hold it more like when I'm
drawing with a pencil and start to just lightly
darken and push around what's there now. If I start picking up any surface texture,
like I just did here,
that's not great. But I can always work that back out with the harder pencil.
As you'll see me deal with charcoal,
I will often use a softer pencil or softer piece of charcoal cut down some tone
And I’ll use a harder pencil
or harder piece of charcoal to manipulate
what’s there. Flatten it, make it bolder,
and really start to commit to what we see.
You'll hear me use those two terms,
possibly often throughout this course, at times I want to be flexible and at times I
want to commit. I know we all have
tendencies in drawing, because sight-size happens on the horizontal axis,
I know that I have a tendency to sometimes miss the
widths, right, to get things too wide.
I know other people get things a little bit too skinny.
For that reason, I’ve stayed very flexible up until now,
but now I'm starting to commit.
In an area like this that is such a soft edge,
I'm going to just push my darkness not all the way up to the edge,
but close to it to make it even softer.
And somewhere here that’s a much sharper one has almost an outline on it.
I’ll just move right from there in. Throughout my time here in New Masters Academy you'll
see me step back from my work often stepping back further than you might think I
need to. I really just want to be able to take in this whole piece of
the drawing board at once, to be able to see everything all in one take of
the eye. An area like here that I’ve sort of lost the clarity of that angle and
re-establish it as I darken it.
I'm noticing the island that I have is a little small.
So I bring up out way. incremental changes are the most valuable kind in
a project like this. I'm now going to switch
from my B to a 2H pencil, still sharpened
really like a point. I like to use such a sharp pencil,
it's right at the edge of being dangerous.
And that means I just won't need to sharpen it as often.
This 2H, I'm just not used to
smooth out the work I just did.
Moving around and manipulating some of the graphite that's already on the page.
in other words, I'm not just trying to make it darker with this pencil,
I'm trying to smooth out some of the
lumps and bumps and hills and valleys in my technique. Even though I'm being pretty diligent
about trying to stay within my lines I’m
undoubtedly softening some things more than I should and the next job
what I'm going to do is grab my HB again.
I’m gonna use that to
sharpen some edges, make some darker marks here and there,
continue to make this a little more specific.
I’m still just smoothing out my last pass. In this area where had I had gone vertical
I’m now going to go across it horizontally.
Okay, so at this point I have sort of a couple of passes that I put
over this drawing. And although this is really starting to look like one another
and I'm starting to be pretty pleased with the accuracy that's there.
I'm sure that they're still errors here that we can flip over and find
but I want to start
getting us a little bit crisper.
Okay, there's a lot of soft edges throughout and not many hard edges and certainly no
dark accents. I tried to keep just one simple value pattern throughout. So I’ll grab my
HB pencil, sharpen, nice, nice point. If at any point throughout I start to feel
like it's getting blunt I'll just again like I did before, give it a quick pass
on the sandpaper and just bring the tip back really needle-sharp.
This is this is important for detail work.
You know, if you want to do a little accent here and there you need almost a
surgical tool. The first thing I’m gonna do is I think over the contour, strengthening any lines
that were starting to get lost in the hatching
and shading that I was doing.
Back looking again at my airplane shape,
notice has gotten a little thin from here to here as I've been working. And
nudge this up ever so slightly. I think you can tell the times that I'm sort
of going quiet, I’m almost holding my breath
trying to make sure I don't pull one of the lines a little bit in the
wrong direction. if nothing else when these first few Bargue studies that you would do, I
would really hope to convince a student of the importance of just a millimeter or two
and how that changes our impression
of the subject of the drawing. I have this cast shadow coming out too far.
One of the real advantages of working with this stonehenge paper for this project is that
it's durable. You can work on top of it for a long time.
I can do a layer this way, then a layer this way,
I can use the point and I can erase, I can build up some really nice
clean tones. That's said really any
of your favorite smoother drawing papers even illustration board or anything that you're used to drawing
with, as long as it's on the smoother side would be appropriate for doing this.
As I've been working on the eye,
on the mouth, trying to do a few smaller details, accents, sharpen up little marks here
and there, I hope that you can also tell that these small tiny incremental changes
make me realize what other mistakes I might have made in that area. As I was
working on the eyelid or on the actual
eye itself, I start to move things left to right ever-so-slightly and that's part of why
we stay so flexible and draw with a side of the pencil early on.
Only now after working for hours on this Bargue,
am I now starting to make differences between the shadows. going
okay, here's a reflected light.
Many times a reflected light or a dark accent or sharp edge, a student might try to
attempt to do those things
by lightening here. Instead I've waited all this time to see what value we end up
out here, here, and instead I am darkening what is next to it to create
the effect of this reflected light.
Because often it's difficult to get a sense of how light or dark reflected light is
I think art students often will exaggerate that affect, making it look almost metallic, wiping this
back to nearly paper, whereas this has to be at least that dark.
I'm now trying to create the myriad
variety of edges that exist.=
in this Bargue. I have sharper, crisper edge, I have slightly softer edges, like in here.
I have slightly softer still.
I have much more atmospheric ones
I've been trying to create. I'm now going through and putting a hierarchy on my edges
from sharpest to softest. The good news is as I step back,
I am starting to be more pleased with this.
Just trying to clean up my drawing a little bit as I go. Anywhere
I see a small ghost stain of a previous layer, start to clean it up.
Create this really light passage through here too. Okay.
Now when I just stepped back for the first time I'm starting to not just be
satisfied with the contour and shadow pattern,
but I'm also starting to see the correct hierarchy of edge, so how sharp and defined an
area is and how soft and atmospheric and how much of a gradation radiation another edge seems to
have on it. I'm starting to have lighter and darker accents when I need them.
And this is starting to become very close to the finish line. Normally a student in
this situation when sort of go get an instructor to say,
okay, what else do I do at the stage?
I want to take a last real good look back and forth and there's something I
haven't mentioned. Because you've seen me working away at this, sort of drawing quickly, drawing slowly,
using the side of the pencil, the tip of the pencil,
but the one thing I haven't mentioned is I am meticulously washing my hands every time
I take a break. I don't want to smudge anything.
It's not irreparable if we end up doing that,
but it's really nice just to get as clean of a look as possible.
So I’m gonna take a look. I'm much happier with the eye shape now.
The lips have some good fullness to them,
but it feels like this isn't clear enough to me.
but more than anything, I think at this point,
I just want to start finishing it. A little darker, a little crisper,
so I'm going to go back to my pencils. Oh and allow me to remind you
the super important thing that I'm off and doing when I'm on break and you don't
always see me when I'm on camera because I'm using a mirror to look at the
reverse image of these two together so I can flick my eye back and forth between
the two and see if anything's jumping out at me.
This is really an important tool for this project.
So I’m gonna pull out that B pencil again. And something I’ll often do tell myself stay organized because if you
can see all of my pencils have looked the same up until now.
I'm going to just put on this B pencil a little bit of tape so I
can find it again. And again so that makes it really obvious that this it's not
the same as this. So
that's a nice way to sort of
stay organized is where trying to quickly
move from one pencil to another. And if I notice any pattern in the drawing, like there I
can see a lot of lines going this way,
I'm trying to go in the opposite direction to
really push the graphite into the paper.
Get rid of any dark spots, get rid of any light spots.
So, I had these sort of crosshatch marks to it, I’m now going the other way and starting
really flatten out. If I go a little bit too dark in one area or another,
it's a great trick to take your kneaded eraser and just very lightly pass over and
just trying to remove any super dark spot
and reapply the graphite a little bit more carefully.
This takes time. There is no two ways about it.
You need to work slowly and patiently.
In fact, there are Bargues and there are approaches to doing them
that a single Bargue can take weeks
or even months and for you guys, anyone watching this, I'm trying to go as quickly
and dynamically as I can.
This is still a lot to cover with a tiny point.
Let’s step back. I nearly have it dark enough now.
I tried to find a paper
that assimilates the same value, right, to do this with a white piece of paper
it would look so different.
So this is really helpful at this stage to help me figure out how dark I
need to push this because I could go really dark.
Which might be darker in fact than this has and I want to reserve that for these
darker accents anywhere in here that I need to go slightly darker.
All I'm trying to do is create with a few hatch marks along the edge that nice
diffused edge. One thing I haven’t addressed at all is up here in the hair.
Clean up the forehead a little.
That looks nice. I really need a sharp point to get into all of these
sharper, smaller areas up in here.
So I'm going to sharpen my pencil again.
Very nice. Okay. Now it's starting to feel like we're getting somewhere.
I want to sharpen up a couple -
now that is sharpened up these marks,
I also want to sharpen up in the eye
and nose just a little bit.
Yeah that’s sharp. I find this stage, when I'm working with students in my studio, doing the
same project, this stage is often one of the hardest for the students when you make
a final commitment and really etch that edge into the paper after they spend so much
time really trying to be flexible and leave things loose and open now.
We are trying to close all of these structures and make really final decisions about where
everything will go. I lost my corner there.
I like keeping my finishing pencil marks.
I just lost that little bit of tape.
But if I was to switch from this to say a two B as my darkest pencil,
I might mark that. Just when I put it down
I can find it again easily.
I’m picking up my 2H again.
I just want to go over some of these soft edges,
make them a little softer. Excellent.
I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel here.
Darken this whole lower portion. And again, rather than erasing out that reflected light,
I just went right over it darkening next to it.
It’s going to look like a reflected light based on
what is next to a not just how I draw it.
For the first time I'm going to pick up a 2B pencil.
I’m gonna go over my previous lines just making them slightly bolder.
I can use this 2B to sharpen up an edge here and there
too. That's looking nice and crisp now.
Strengthening each of these lines that I've committed to or I can strengthen them and sharpen
them up a little bit more to appreciate some of my softer edges. Rather than making this
even softer, I'm just sharpening this and as you can see now the relationship between this
and this making this look very atmospheric
compared to these crisper. As I said when I was beginning this drawing,
when I was an art student at a very very heavy hand.
One of the ways that I remedied this was by using harder and harder pencils to
draw with, 2H, 4H, and HB is my darkest because I don't trust myself for the
2B or 4B or certainly not anything more than that because I would just get
to built up too quick.
What I tried to do during those years, and this a long time ago, was just
develop a sensitivity with my hand.
I hope it's obvious that I'm drawing that sometimes with a 2B
I'm doing darker accent work like I did in here, but sometimes with the 2B, I
can go and just pull a little bit
of information along an edge like that. And it has to do only with how hard I'm pressing
and whether I'm using the very very tip
or the sort of side of the pencil. Left off that little mark
I just made, I don’t like that one.
Go back and reestablish
that line now. Being very gentle, just trying to massage this tone slightly darker than
what's currently there. Okay, now although this is the sort of project you could keep tinkering
with for a very very long time, and many students do,
I'm just starting to be
comfortable with calling this one
done. And I want to talk to you for a couple minutes of why that is,
what I think is achieved here.
Okay. So at this stage we have a Bargue copy
that is at approximately the same level of contrast as the Bargue plate
with approximately the same quantity of soft and sharp edges the way that we see this and this
to start to almost become confusing as we flicker our eye back and forth.
And although some students really want to push this to pure black right in there,
I prefer usually asking people to keep it at about the same tonal range as whatever
they're copying, because this is one of our first lessons in trying to be true
to nature. When I stand between these two and flick my eye back and forth
I want to become confused for just a moment about which is which. So I'm cautious to
not go waxy with the pencil and I always want for the ending stage of the
Bargue to have really nice variety of edge and a commitment to this outline here,
which is so important and frankly so complex.
One of the things that throughout the course of this Bargue that I worked on the
most was of course in the face
and here in the hair.
However, even though this is sort of a focal area,
the thing that I probably found the most challenging was this light shape here in the
back of the neck. I feel like I changed that about 15 times.
And there's a lesson there, which is as you'll see when I'm working with the figure
or when I'm working with the cast,
I'm going to ask you to not work on your favorite part of the drawing, to not
just work on the face in the figure. Instead to try to really work slowly developing
it as a whole and of this sort of pace slowly putting more detail within
it until it starts to become crisp, clear,
and that level of finish.
So I hope that's helpful and we're going to apply the same concepts just like this to
drawing of the cast and also to the live model in a couple different techniques.
intermediate level of difficulty. Remember,
I am trying to simplify all these forms as much as possible
and I'm also doing this as a video demonstration for educational purposes.
What I want for you to do is now try to find something around the same
level of difficulty. Whatever your comfort level is when you look at it and see the
shapes, try to take even a little bit lower than that. Something that you feel super
confident in. And remember you don't need to try to match my pace.
I am going as quickly as I can for your educational benefit.
These are projects in which the time you spend on them does not count or matter
only the accuracy of the final product of your drawing versus the Bargue.
That's all that counts. So for your next project what I'd like you to work on
is something more advanced, something at this sort of skill level or the lower two here
behind me. These are a way of capping off your understanding of the Bargue project.
These are meant to take a long time.
There is no speed that you should go at, please work at whatever pace is comfortable
for you. The lower two behind me could take a student at the Florence Academy weeks
or a month to finish and that's fine.
What's most important is to achieve the same degree of finish as the finished Bargue plate
itself. After achieving this really difficult task of trying to finish something far more advanced,
even then examples that you saw me work through in my demonstrations,
what a student might do is choose a slightly simpler Baruge plate, print it at a larger
scale like the size behind me and copy it in charcoal as a way to prepare
yourself for the complexities of working in charcoal at large scale in 3D in the cast
project. This is meant not just as a final more advanced take at how to work
at the Bargue technique but also how to step back and forth in sight-size and
how to develop a charcoal technique the same way that you've been working on your technique
Free to try
1. Intermediate Bargue Plate Project Overview, Blocking In the Drawing16m 9sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Blocking in Shadow and Light Shapes13m 21s
3. Checking the Widths and the Angles with the Plumb Line31m 18s
4. Positive and Negative Shapes, Soft and Hard Edges19m 43s
5. Criticizing Your Own Work, Working with Eraser and Making Adjustments28m 55s
6. Darkening the Drawing12m 37s
7. Detailing the Drawing22m 38s
8. Finishing the Drawing38m 13s
9. Intermediate Bargue Plate Assignment Instructions2m 38s