Monday, February 24, 2014

Notes on Bargue drawing by Mindcandyman

Original drawing is included below by itself

One of the things I really want to improve on this year is accuracy of seeing and analyzing what I see. This is essential for any artist in training - this kind of exercise really shows you where you're going wrong and makes you realize that you can get far far more accurate than you currently believe is possible. Once you've pushed yourself farther than you thought remotely possible (this is like going through boot camp for artists) everything you used to think was so hard suddenly seems easy by comparison. This is the way you really level up those skills.

With that in mind, here's some excellent notes from a very old thread @ ConceptArt started by Mindcandyman:

Materials Needed: 2H pencil (trust me you will need it this will do a LOT of correcting)...kneaded eraser...staedtler plastic eraser...thread...drawing paper...drawing board...ruler.

1.) Find a good that is simple and one that you can print out fairly the one I have shown below. Now the drawing needs to be really really the one below...the goal here is ultimate precision and ultimate perfection. You will spend weeks on this trust me.
2.) Print out the drawing (make sure the print out is of exceptional quality so you can see all the details exactly as they are) ...then tape the print out to your drawing board...make sure to tape it down good so it won't move. Then put your paper right up against it to the right or the left (If you are lefthanded) and tape your paper there as well.
3.) Next is a very important step...take a piece of black thread and place it like a plumb line over the printed out should place it vertically not horizontally. Be really particular about this...measure the distance to the thread from the top leftmost part of the paper...and make sure at the bottom leftmost part of the paper the thread is the same distance...this will ensure that it is going STRAIGHT down. Make sure to tape the thread down on both sides as you go because you don't want the plumb line to move at all once you place it there. Next...measure the same way with your drawing paper only this time don't use a thread...actually draw a plumb line very very lightly with pencil down the paper...make sure it is perfectly straight down...just as your thread is. (Look at my drawing so far to see what I mean)

4.)Now you can start the drawing...start by taking another piece of thread to use as your measuring tool (use the ruler for all the thread laying measurements...etc...but use the thread when you are drawing it trains your eye better...using a ruler while you are doing the drawing will hurt you in the end...only use it if you are totally stuck or if you really need to check your measurement). Ok so once you have your piece of thread...lay it horizontally on the paper and find the top most part of the drawing...measure horizontally over and mark the same spot on your drawing the same for the bottom most point of the drawing and then do that eventually for the whole drawing...
5.) The object is do the whole drawing in this way but I will emphasize that it needs to be PERFECT...every angle perfectly right...every line exactly the same...when the shading sets in it has to be the exact value...EXACT...feel free to post in the middle class and I will help critique as best I can to point out the flaws.
Read more:

.. And a bit of equally excellent followup advice by Shehaub:

Something I would just like to add to help with this is a mirror. Its very hard to explain how to use the mirror to compare your drawing to the Bargue, but I will give it a stab.
Hold a small mirror (we use locker mirrors in class) up to one eye and aim it at the bargue so that you see it with your periphial vision. Look at your drawing. Move the mirror back and forth as if it is hinged to your nose/forehead and see if you can "move the bargue" next to your own drawing. In the case of the back drawing MCM is doing, it would appear that the left shoulder of the drawing is touching the left shoulder of the Bargue. The mirror reverses the image you are pointing it at so that the two come together like this: >< I encourage you to play with this a little. The mirror is used for a lot more than just bargues and IF you get it, and understand how to use it, it can really be a great tool to figure out what is wrong. For some reason the eye seems to compare them much better back to back, so to speak than it does trying to bring an angle over.

The other thing we do in class is a lot easier to understand. Unveiling. Take a piece of paper that is large enough to cover both drawings side by side and little by little bring it down to show just a little bit of the drawing at a time. Compare and fix. Repeat. If you are getting toward the bottom and your eye just isnt catching the mistakes, take another paper and block out the top, or turn the whole drawing board upsidedown and start from the drawings bottom.

I T/A at the museaum and a lot of folks there believe I am telling them to cheat, but the one of the real points of doing the bargue drawings is to begin to train the eye to see what is really there and not what is believed to be there. If using a mirror or a large piece of paper is what it takes to convince your brain that its putting too much into what you see, then use it.

Other tips:
Draw lightly at first until you are sure that the line you have drawn is correct. You will be erasing a lot. Thats expected.
Before you begin shading, locate your lightest light area and your darkest dark. Get those at least set in your mind, if not on your paper. That way, as you shade, you can compare and figure out just how far you have to go down (dark) or come up (light)
Shadows have their own distinct shapes. Some have more crisp edges. Try to think of the shadow areas as flat shapes at first and then go in and darken the areas to push down the deepest darks.

It took me several weeks each to finish both of my bargue drawings. I was fortunate enough to have an instructor behind my back watching and guiding me through it.

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