I want to tell you my story and I hope I´m able to elate you for my enthusiasm in what I am doing now and want to do in the future.
When I was a kid I collected Spider Man comics. And I not only read them, I copied the figures by drawing them - the comic book set
to my left and the paper to my right - since I´m a righty. I drew them in pencil and then inked them. Unfortunately I threw them all
away since my father thought this was a waste of time and "I should put that much effort in my maths homework!"
I did not know that at that time I had put the grounds for the things I am doing now as a grown up and selfconfident person - namely
learning to see - seeing distances, angles, lengths.
In my job as a lab technician I wasn´t happy. During apprenticeship we had to make drawings of the objects we saw through the
microscope. We also were dissecting mice and rats and had to draw the organs, which I did in McFarlane style The people
told me "Hey, why aren´t you doing arts?"
My mouth had a reasonably sounding reason for it - but my heart said something else.
After 7 years in the laboratory I got fired
During unemployment I grabbed my oil paints I had gotten few years before - I wanted to paint like the old masters ´cause their work
was fascinating me - not that abstract crap. "So where to start?" I thought - I did not even know the term Old Masters to look for it. "Ok, lets take a look into the
internet!" and I found a german forum under all these Bob-Ross forums. This forum only had a few members. I showed them the
website of someone I considered to be that type of artist I admired (Scott Bartner).
I said "I want to paint like he does - can you guys show me?". And they could. Some of these members had contact to William
Whitaker and Bill occasionally left some words of motivation and information in that forum (did you know he speaks some german? ).
I found out that information on the Old Master techniques is rare in germany and I had to look for it at US websites and english books
- while parallely practising painting. I improved very fast although I did not practise as much as many others. When I did a new painting
I first had internalized the information read and then painted with a big step forward. So my output was not that big but quality is what
And then (now I come to the part where the reason for this thread is) I found out that there are schools/ateliers where one can study
the classical atelier way for three years. But there was none in germany and since I already started studying Media Design with focus
on illustration at a private school with high fees, I could not afford any more money for going there. But I learned how things are taught
at those ateliers and since I moved to my girlfriend´s home I now have space for setting up my own studio in the basement.
So here it is - my little pride :
And I am not lazy. I made two Bargue drawings.
But Bargues are just the beginning in classical atelier training as you propably know. I made some plaster casts on my own (one of them an ear) and started cast drawing.
And here are two version of the ear (color adjusted):
And my next goal is this (still have to put up a satisfying light situation):
I want to say thank you to all of you. I´m glad I found this forum with so many people that are interested in this. And I want to thank MindCandyMan for his "Journey of an absolute rookie" which is inspiring me concerning self motivation and I want to thank Dorian Iten for showing the classical atelier training in detail.
Last edited by bjoern3000; April 8th, 2014 at 02:25 PM.
very nice work, its awesome that you were able to start pursuing classical training on your own. I always loved the work of the masters when i was young but had no clue how or even that i could possibly reach that level. now I know better and i am getting help from Jon (hardesty). At least i know if i need some more critiques i can come here!
Hey that second drawing of the ear isn't half bad! Now as you continue with such a large cast as your next, remember to take your time! Your oil self portrait is good too, the perspective works good on the eyes, maybe not so good on the lips. Keep working man!
LumoGraphiteThank you. I Wish you big success working with Jon! I´m not sure if I am the right one to critique - if you meant that - but I love to see the progress of others.
SerpianThere are several things I learned from the ear cast:
- use right paper and charcoal - no charcoal pencil
- on the first version the light was much more dramatic and interesting, the second one lacks it.
- The light was too bright because due to my low ceiling it was too close to the cast. So there are big areas that are too bright - no smooth transitions, too less midtone area.
- I did not work with a sponge or brush (as explanied here by Dorian. I will do that on the bust to get rid of the grainy surface of the paper and make the drawing look more finished.
- take more time - the first one was the quickest, then the second ear took more time.
- there´s definetly more I learned from it but It doesn´t come to my mind right now.
Will go downstairs now to see if I can make a good lighting.....
Last edited by bjoern3000; October 4th, 2009 at 01:53 PM.
I think it was necessary for me to first work something different so I could learn what I really wanted. Took some years of my live but it was worth it. While I was studying Media Design there where a lot of young people, coming right from school, and they did not take it as seriously as I did. Some of them did not even know what to study after school. And some others were sponsored by their parents.
Now I do Layout and Graphic Design for the marketing department of an IT Company halftime and the rest of the day will be dedicated to that what I´m showing here.
I´ve set up the bust and the lighting. Since the easel can not stand even with the ground
I´ve mounted a board with the paper on the wall.
There was also a problem with the light source. If I would use the easel, a second light source
would be necessary and this would cause problems on the bust since I dont want a second
light source on the shadow side. So now I can use one light source for the bust and the paper.
This is the second day that I´m working on the bust.
I thought I had quality charcoal - at least the artist shop claim this - but when I draw,
the charcoal suddenly does not make a line anymore, it only scratches on the paper.
When I twist it a bit it makes a line again for some more strokes but then it happens
again until I twist the stick again
The usual recommendation is Fusains Nitram charcoal but the shop did not have this and
I did not know how it looks like until few days back when I saw a photo by Dorian Iten in this thread of that particular charcoal:
hi bjoern...good going....i liked ur story and efforts.....yeah charles bargue method seems good to learn....actually i was seeking something for foundation studies. Thanks a lot for examples and inspiration.
This one was done in two sittings of two hours or so each, and is obviously not finished.
Unfortunately she did not come for further sittings, so this one will remain unfinished. But
this is actually no problem since the composition is crap - see how she is sitting? She
is that type of person that sits this way but you can not paint someone like this - IMO. Attachment 800140
This one is unfinished too. I wanted to make her look more friendly in the next sitting but
then I moved to my basement without a window. She had a hard time sitting for long - this
was no fun: mixing colors, let her sit down, start to paint and after 5 minutes hearing that she
could not hold the pose Attachment 800141
Awesome that you have been working your way through Bargue's and cast drawings. They are difficult exercises but all the hard work will build you a very solid foundation. Cool that you found MindCandyMan inspirational, I'm actually studying under him currently, at his online school. Keep up the studies! Your second cast drawing is off to a solid start.
I see another mindCandyMan in the making.... Your story is inspiring and your progress is evident. I think u have a pretty good foundation, judging from your own painting. I think what u need now is really get your proportion to a solid level. Do more head studies, not necessary using paint. You can just use charcoal to do it. Jeff watts said in his video that students should do tons of charcoal drawing, cos they are like practicing painting, in the cheapest possible way. Anyway, keep it coming !
"Choose only one master.. Nature. " Rembrandt
"The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting." Van Gogh
MydrakoThanks dude! Yeah, more practise is always better than less mc2mc2Thank you very much!
I´ve been busy with some illustration commisions so I did not have much time to work on the bust. But today I continued. Attachment 814921
The photo was taken from a different angle than my actual point of view so one can not see how PERFECTLY EXACT I did the drawing - LOL!!
Hi Jonas - I work sight size. My drawing board is hanging on the wall so the end result will be slightly larger than the actual bust. As you might know, the closer the drawing is to my point of view, the smaller the drawing will be and in reverse the closer the bust is to me the drawing will be bigger than the bust.
For the measuring I used a plumb line. After the measuring process I now use the eye.
Thank you very very much for posting this. You are setting a fantastic example. This is a key area of study for the atelier and you are showing that it can in fact be done at home. A worthy path. Keep going!!!
Jason I can´t give back to the forum as much as the forum gives to me - but I´ll do my best. Kristal Lee Thank you very much!
It´s hard to keep on track when you don´t see much change. Shading in the background
is a bit boring but it has to be done. As you can see there´s not much difference from the
last photo but I´ve spent 3 hours on it yesterday. I don´t know how much time I´ve already
spent on this. Attachment 817356
Here´s my contribution of todays Self Portrait Day. It was fun to work in oils again after
spending so much time on Bargues with pencils and cast drawings with charcoal.
Nice work and thanks for sharing. Maybe I will do the same as well, God knows we can all use the experience.
I have to agree with you that the abstract arts have never really done anything for me. I have always preferred the Masters and the beauty of their painting and the techniques they used to create them. Keep it up!
Bookmarked this page, you should be very proud of yourself what you are doing takes quite a bit of dedication and passion. Makes me feel a little inadequate ofcourse but thats what I need to keep going.
silvestri99 Thank you! Yeah, abstract art is expensive wall decoration If you compare a painting with a music composition and the colors represent the tones. What would a Jackson Pollock sound like? Definetly nothing, that the world would listen to.
ThabisoMlaba Thank you. Come here from time to time and see what has been done. And don´t forget to give me feedback
Inspiring stuff. There's a lot of hype about having to study this stuff at an atelier, but some of us just can't spend up to £60,000 a year for it. You're clearly showing it can be done at ones own place with enough determination.
I've also had a room built in my garden so I can follow the same path you are, so it's fantastic to know someone else is doing the same. Right now I've just been doing odd commissions in there and such, but I think I should settle down and modify it for Bargue and cast drawings very soon (actually, I will start today). Can I ask, what light are you using? I could really use something like the one you have in your setup. And where did you buy your casts?
I'll look forward for your updates. Hopefully I'll be joining you soon with it.
Last edited by B u r l; November 3rd, 2009 at 02:14 PM.
dumpling This is an ordinary flourescent light bulb in a socket. Then I cut out a piece of tetrapak (is it the same name as in german?) - and with an elastic band I mounted it on the socket. Nothing special - necessity is the mother of invention
I made the ear cast by myself as well as a mouth and a nose cast which I did not draw. I made silicone molds of it so if you are interested I can sell you one of these. Shipping to England should not be too expensive. The bust is from ebay.