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Ive been reading up on the sight size method a lot lately.. in order to prepare myself to begin my first cast studies. I was wondering if these sight size techniques should be used in all life drawing. Like for instance if I was going to draw a bowl of fruit.. should I make a vantage point a few feet back from my drawing.. then measure from there and try to recreate the still life in the same dimensions as its seen from that vantage point? What about when doing bargues or master copies, should I also use a vantage point or just do mechanical measurments directly on the paper, with the original directly next to my drawing. It seems like there are various ways to reproduce a real life object or a drawing(master work or any other 2d piece) im curious as to what methods are used in each situation. Im also very confused about sight size drawing. I know you do your measureing from a distance.. but then when you actually walk up to the drawing.. do you no longer look at the object? It seems that if you try to draw the object while at the easel.. you will no longer be in the same position as when you measured.. which will in turn move all of the shadows and everything else. So do you need to figure out what marks you need to make when your at a distance.. then walk up..make the marks.. and go back to your vantage point again to look at the object? Can anyone clear this up ?? thanks
sorry this got posted twice.. the website wasnt working right.. kept freezing up
That is correct.I know you do your measureing from a distance.. but then when you actually walk up to the drawing.. do you no longer look at the object? ...
...So do you need to figure out what marks you need to make when your at a distance.. then walk up..make the marks.. and go back to your vantage point again to look at the object?
The idea of the approach is that you are training your eye. Observe from the station point, then move to the easel and make marks, go back to the station point and compare with the scene. Then measure, and correct if necessary (at first, it almost always will be).
Ahh ok that makes sense.. Now what about measuring when copying a 2d piece.. Such as a masterwork or a bargue? I'm guessing you would place the original and your paper directly side by side. But then how do you measure? I've been doing it by actually measuring line length with my pencil, then moving the length over to my paper and making the marks exactly the same length. Basically using my pencil as a ruler. I can't imagine this helping your eye training though. That's why I have a feeling its wrong
there are varius methods of measuring still life or models or whatever.
i am not sure what you mean by sight size method.
for sure if you use your pencil this way errors will occure.
Another thing you should consider is the distortion it occures when you are drawing on a canvas from a short distance and you are not sitting especially if you are standing and lets say you draw a standing model on a big canvas,because you are close you will think that the legs are long enough, but when you step away they will be short.
you should always check your drawings from a distance even if you draw a photo because this helps with the values also.
one measuring method is to draw what is outside your theme,i dont know if that suits you and you have to be carefull about it.the result will be something like if with a scissor you have cutten your model and you are left with what surrounds it.
you could also block your theme using not points but basic shapes like square ,triangle cubes etc. and gradually becoming more analytic.(like 3d or some studies Durer had made,i dont have any photos though)
copying photos can be done the easy way by drawing on the photo parallel horizontal and perpendicular lines of the same distance between them lets say 1 cm,you do the same on your white papaer and you have a reference system.
you dont have to measure far away from your easel,but you should always step away from time to time to check what you have done.
Last edited by chris bass; July 6th, 2008 at 07:48 PM.
ok so basically.. the sight size method is used to create a drawing that is exactly the same size as the subject when viewed from a specific place ( the vantage point) When you are at that spot.. your drawing and the subject should be identical. Now Im not sure if I could do this in my life drawing class because I usually sit down.. and when I use an easel theres rarely room to walk many feet backward. It definetely makes sense for drawing casts or any other still life in my house. Now about copying masters or Bargues.. Im really having trouble measuring. Im usually starting by creating a basic box around the drawing with the same width and height of the original.. measuring with a pencil or whatever im using. Then I begin drawing the outline of the piece.. measuring every mark and comparing it to the original. If I really try hard to make it perfect I usually achieve it.. but If I get even a tad bit lazy.. I wind up going way out of my borders. Is this a perferred way to do this? Im just trying to figure out how to measure various types of drawings.. casts, random still life, live nudes, master works, bargues, etc
Sight-size drawing is a great learning tool, and like you said works great with things that don't move, like a cast or still life. If your just getting started, ideally your drawing board should be right next to your setup, and straight vertical. Check out this diagram to see what I mean.
very interesting site. Now I guess the position of the subject compared to your easel would depend on how large you want to draw. Having it right beside the easel would create the largest drawing of the subject.. while having it further behind would make the drawing smaller.. since it would be further from you when viewing it. I guess ill start by positioning the subject so that it takes up a reasonable amount of my paper, whatever distance that may be. Im probably going to do a few bargues first though... Im not sure how you could sight size a bargue though.. Im guessing its just comparitive measurments and eyeing it until its correct.. since there side by side theres really no reason for backing up and looking from a distance.. at least it seems that way to me.
I'm currently doing a copy from a dover book I have. Its a study for Daniel in the Lions Den by Rubens. I have the original and my paper taped to a board right next to each other.. Lined up. Now I'm not sure how to approach my early measuring. My first move was to draw the box that the drawing is in (the drawing doesn't take up the entire page) I have the same size box.. Now I'm not sure how to go about further measuring.. Any recomendations?
Oo ya I also need help with 1 more thing. It seems that all the drawings in this book were done on toned paper or something.. Because there is no white anywhere in any of the drawings. Should I begin by matching the background color somehow? I'm using white paper so I was thinking maybe rubbing around graphite powder or something until I match the lightest tone of the drawing? I'm having trouble because I want to achieve a really close to perfect copy
Last edited by JParrilla; July 8th, 2008 at 06:18 PM.
I watched a few.. Ive seen his before. Im not sure how they pertain to my issue though. He draws portraits with odd mediums and of people who send their pics to him. Hes very good indeed. My problem is with measuring and trying to match a specific work.. Maybe im missing something here?
If you check out all the videos made by ElectricAsylum, there are a bunch where he shows how he makes measurements, but they pretty much pertains to how to draw a portrait but I'm sure it can be used for other stuff too.
dcorc.. your post in that sketchbook was very helpful.. the whole measuring with thumb and pencil thing is what I was worried about. My approach was to eyeball it first.. then check by using my pencil to measure.. then bringing the measurement over to my drawing and comparing the length.. until it was exact. I thought this method was supposed to be used just for drawing from life and not when doing a copy of a work.. but I couldnt figure out any other ways to measure I guess it is the correct way then. I just felt like I was sort of cheating in a way.. but I guess a master copy after all isnt about eyeballing and training your eye.. but instead about learning the artists technique and such. And LeeW.. I see where he talks about measuring.. thanks a lot for the link im gonna watch them.
I read MCM's thread and that really explained the bargue thing well. Now Im curious about measuring still lifes other than casts. Lets say I was drawing a bowl of fruit or a shoe or whatever. Would I use the cast sight size method.. or just draw it with my eye and basic sight measurements with the pencil. I cant see myself using the sight size all the time because Im rarely at an easel. Sometimes Ill be sitting on a chair or something and I cant create a vantage point to view the subject from