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  1. #1
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    Bargue Drawing (Old Middle-Class Thread)

    Okay guys...here is a short demo on how to do a Bargue Drawing...I will relay the info as it was relayed to me...I will break it down into steps.

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



    1.) Find a good drawing...one that is simple and one that you can print out fairly large...like the one I have shown below. Now the drawing needs to be really really clean...like 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 drawing...you 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 paper...do the same for the bottom most point of the drawing and then do that eventually for the whole drawing...

    5.) The object is PERFECTION...you 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.

    Now here is my drawing so far...I will post the finished version as soon as I can!

    Bargue Drawing (Old Middle-Class Thread)

    Last edited by Form; December 13th, 2003 at 03:01 AM.
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  4. #2
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    Glad you guys are interested in doing it! It is very very helpful...especially for those starting out. Just make sure not to press too hard and post it up here next to the original so we can all help critique...I've been working on mine at the studio for about 9-10 days or so and I am about a week away from being finished...a week or so...so it takes a lot of work and a LOT of correction...but it really trains your eye to draw from life and it also really really teaches you to control your lines...I can't wait to see your drawings...I will do what I can to help you along in the process...be ready to keep correcting till your brain splits....it has to be PERFECT!

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    Shehaub - Great drawings! Yeah this is definitely really really hard. I really like the first one..excellent work!

    Cashmere - That is a great bargue drawing!!! Definitely use that one. If it's big enough to be able to use...definitely use that one it is great!


    Ok everybody here is a little more explanation of what I meant concerning the bargue drawings...

    Bargue Drawing (Old Middle-Class Thread)

    Ok the important things you want to keep in mind are that you ONLY want to use a ruler to check your own measurements...use a ruler to check and see if your measurements with the thread are correct...they will be incorrect alot don't worry about it.


    Also leave more space between your own drawing and the real drawing...you don't want them running into each other like the set of durer drawings I have above...leave enough space for the whole thing to fit on both sides.
    As you can see there is a plumb line down the center of each drawing...the one on the left will be a taped down piece of thread...and the one on the right (your drawing) will be a line that you draw.

    You use your thread to measure various distances...you use your thread to measure how far the end of the nose is from the plumb line to the left...etc...you also make sure that the chins are at the same place horizontally...etc.... Take a look at this example and imagine the colored lines to be a thread and that is exactly what you do. One more tip when you measure with the thread wrap it around your fingers first so that it is nice and tight...you don't want the distance changing when you go from the real drawing to yours....be very careful and very exact when doing that...I can't wait to see your drawings!

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    Post it up Cashmere...chances are you aren't done the outline hehe...I just finished my first one today...I will post tomorrow!...it took me 3 weeks. Actually if you want send me a high rez version by email (with the original as a reference) or post it up here if you feel comfortable. I am so happy to see that you are doing this...it will help beyond what you even think!



    For everyone that is looking for a bargue drawing here is one that I think would be really good...remember when shading in values that on your bargue drawings go for perceived value don't go for the exact type of stroke that the original artist made...for instance...don't be real sketchy like in this sargent if you use it...but make the values consistent.

    http://www.artrenewal.org/images/art..._Aphrodite.jpg
    (Copy and paste the link.)

    This drawing will print out very large so you can set it up on your drawingboard easily like mine was set up...try it out guys let's see some bargues! After you do 3 bargue drawings I will teach everyone how to do cast drawings step by step!

    Last edited by emily g; January 22nd, 2007 at 01:06 AM.
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  7. #5
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    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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  9. #6
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    excellent excellent advice!! Everything shehaub typed is exactly right...thanks shehaub!

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    Here is my finished drawing...it definitely isn't perfect but I will do better next time...there are some measuring errors in this that I didn't catch till the very end..Hans won't be so lenient next time hehe.

    Bargue Drawing (Old Middle-Class Thread)


    Bargue Drawing (Old Middle-Class Thread)

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    MindCandyMan, that is a great work!!
    Bargue drawing is REALLY difficult to do...but I can see that yours is perfect!
    How many hours a day did you spend working on it?

    Ok, this is my work in progress:
    I hope to stay alive after 3 Bargue drawings

    Original and my outline (the line is very soft)
    Definitely I'm using the eraser more than the pencil...


    Shehaub, thanks for the advice !


    "Mistakes are the portals of Discovery" (James Joyce)
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    Just came back to check on this thread. Cashmere, hows that bargue comming along? Would love to see it side by side if possible. Your outline looks ok alone, but hard to compare accuracy all alone. The one suggestion I do have is to keep that pencil as sharp as possible.

    MCM - Beautiful work! Your handling of the pencil really stands out in those tones. I wish I could see this in real life. Graphite is truly its best as an "eyes on" experience, much like oil paintings. Is your measuring error on the base? Just guessing. I don't ask so much to crit as I do to fine tune my own skills.

    We have that Bargue at school. Not sure if I am going to do that one next, or one of the babies. I could really benefit from a back study. There are two baby heads that would work for Christmas gifts for relatives. Bonus! I am required to do 3 to complete the bargue studies portion of my course.

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    Cashmere - Yeah where's your bargue drawing!!!!! I wanna see it!

    Shehaub - Thanks for the comments. One of the errors is in the base definitely...it's actually that right buttcheek and down into the base...that corner is off by about 1.5 millimeters...annoying...but it was too much to go back and change. That's very perceptive of you I'm impressed! I can't wait to see your bargue!



    I forgot to post the progress on my second bargue! Here it is:

    Bargue Drawing (Old Middle-Class Thread)

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    Shehaub, I keep the pencil as sharp as possible but my question is: can I do a really black tone using only a 2H pencil?

    MindCandyMan, check the chin, it has a strange angle.
    I noticed that you start drawing the middle tones and then the dark areas. Is that the right way to work? For instance: in my bargue, can I put some dark areas at the top of the body and then to finish the rest?

    Signature, I become mad drawing and erasing, specially erasing...and measuring and drawing... and erasing... But after this, I see the objects around me in another way... they look more definite.
    Your bargue (as mine) need of more measurements. You choose an hard copy! eheh

    Work in progress:

    Bargue Drawing (Old Middle-Class Thread)
    click image for large version

    Last edited by Cashmere; November 1st, 2003 at 05:59 PM.

    "Mistakes are the portals of Discovery" (James Joyce)
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  15. #12
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    We use hb's at the atelier. A true 2H is really not going to give you the dark that you are going to want to get with this bargue in particular, IMHO. HB's are not that hard to locate. You usually don't even have to go to an art supply store. I bought my last one at Walmart. Papermate American. Cheap as can be! It says 2 on it, but there is a small HB on it that shows the actual hardness. I have just switched to a mechanical with HB lead. Will let you know how that works out.

    The way that MindCandyMan is working is exactly how I was instructed to do these. Get your basic shadow shapes put in. Squint down and locate your distinct shadow shapes. After you have your big shapes put in, you can push a little deeper and make the cast shadows nice and dark.

    As you are shading, there are some tricks I want to pass on. You can use a kneaded ereaser as a hatching tool to bring up the values of a particular area. You can also glaze. Glazing is really just using a uniform pressure in multiple directions to get a uniform tone.

    From what I see, you have a great start going on. Try to think in terms of "I know this area is at least this dark" and then work darker as you need to. Compare values as you work. Is the upper neck and chest area as light as that light on the right hip? Is the shadow in that armpit area on the right as dark as the shadow area on that right leg? Those kinds of comparing keep your values in check. They also get you to start really seeing what you are looking at. The first real dark I would put in would be what I decided was my absolute darkest. That is almost always going to be a cast shadow. Once you have your lightest light and your darkest dark, the rest is all going to be in between.

    Signature, are you working on this with the image printed out and directly beside your drawing? I am horrible about having to see them side by side in order to really see where it might need help. With that disclaimer, I am going to take a stab at this and just tell you that you might want to double check the angles or width of the nose area on the right side. There is something about that area that I cannot exactly pinpoint. The next thing that I noticed is that perhaps the ear on your drawing is not in the same place as the ear on the original? I think yours might be a little low. Is the distance between the lower lip and the end of the crease in his neck on your drawing the same as the distance in the image? Again, this is just guesswork. I really like that you have your general shadow shapes in before you actually started shading. That is going to save a lot of time and frustration in the long run. There are some really nice shadow shapes to work with on the image you have chosen.

    Its pretty exciting to see so many people tackle this challenge. MCM are you in an atelier program? Or are you just taking on this challenge for the sake of learning?

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    Signature, if you don't make a mistake, your kind of missing the whole point of doing this excercise, so maybe you are more on track than you are giving yourself credit. By correcting the mistakes you make, you are training your eyes to really see. Please continue to work on this.

    When measuring angles, the easiest way to do this is to start at the top and measure from your vertical plumbline. Then measure from the horizontal line. Make a dot. Do the same for the end of the line you want to make. Now you have a dot for the start and end of your line. Draw.. tada! The dot to dot method also works on tough curves that you might struggle with.

    If it were me, I would toss a temporary horizontal line right under the edge of those glasses. Draw it right across both images in one nonstop, but very light line. Then I would use that to measure all my vertical distances. (From the line to the bottom edge of the eye, the eye lid, the chin, the top of the lip the bottom of the nose, the wrinkle in the neck tope edge of the ear, bottom edge of the ear etc.) Your plumbline is in a great place, but you could also put another vertical line using the dot to dot method above on the left edge of his face to help see and measure those leftmost angles. Look at the negative space on that side. You might want to do that on the right hand side as well. Remember there is no such thing as cheating on these things unless you actually trace it. Three little lines to measure from might really help to correct a lot.

    Above all, do not let yourself get discouraged. I am not convinced that this should end up in the sketchbook thread. Finding where you went wrong in this one drawing could be the breakthrough you need to stop bad habits. Are you habitually too wide/narrow/short/long? It really shows when doing these bargues and it is so easily corrected when you force yourself to see those distances and angles for what they really are. Please continue. The struggle IS the assignment. Your are doing a lot better than you are giving yourself credit. I have seen many starts that looked much worse than this. I believe my name was on one of them.

    When I did my first bargue, nearly everything I tried to draw was too wide. I had no idea how often I tended to make everything so much wider than they really were. To some extent, I still do that but I have learned that about myself and I am able to keep that in check much better today than in Feb when I first tried a bargue drawing. That discovery has made a world of difference on todays life drawings! Its not something that someone can tell you because its retraining the eye to see and only you can do that.

    I hope this helps and I will be checking to see how its going for you. Get that battery charged!

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