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    Unhappy Cast drawing using sight-size, HELP!!!?!

    Ok, so this year I got really excited about the whole idea of the atelier and the technical mastery you can learn from atelier schooling. I want to go to an atelier but I am not able to go for another year (I'm a senior in high school). I have been reading Juliette Aristedes's books and the cast drawing book by Darren Rousar. I have done a few master copies and sketch from life daily, paint with oils often etc....I even went the whole 9 yard and bought the Nitram Fusains charcoal...BUT the other day I tried cast drawing using the sight-size atelier method, and it was SO frustrating I felt like I had no idea how to do it.

    Any tips on this? do most ateliers even use the sight size method? I wasn't sure if the method that you use to draw the object counts as much as the result?
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  3. #2
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    Depends, if you go to American ateliers, then sight size is all the rage.
    If you go to Russian ones, then they teach real drawing.

    So put away the notion of sight size, practice getting accuracy and a sense of proportion for a few years through sight(it takes longer and is more difficult).

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    This is a laborious process - that is true.

    For doing Bargue drawings and cast drawings, most ateliers use the sight-size method. But when you´ve mastered it and it comes to figure drawing they use realtive measuring.

    I would recommend that too - first get an idea of how to eyeball and make exact measurements with your eye and then use this later without sight sizing. If you rely too much on it it will become a crutch.

    Show us your progress.
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    My website for learning traditional fine art on your own! --- Derived from THIS thread at CA.org
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    drawing casts (geometric shapes, anatomical casts, skull), tutorials on Bargue drawing and cast drawing, Willow Charcoal, free drawing exercises

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyskoa View Post
    Depends, if you go to American ateliers, then sight size is all the rage.
    If you go to Russian ones, then they teach real drawing.

    So put away the notion of sight size, practice getting accuracy and a sense of proportion for a few years through sight(it takes longer and is more difficult).
    I don't know man, I think more that they teach you how to go to an academy for 11+ years in Russia

    When it comes to the sight-size method, we could debate it for days here and it already has been done, I guess it's what you want to achieve. For me, it is a great tool for my instructors to judge the accuracy of my work.
    Also, it kind of is like cubes and perspective, it is impossible do draw a decent cube, let alone from imagination, when you don't know what a correct cube actually looks like. Sadly most perspective for artists books and courses are so narrowly dumbed down that a lot of artists will never have constructed or studied a single good cube in their lives and therefore all their cubes will look strange and distorted. I guess this is one of the reasons russians let their childrens draw those things first.
    What i want to say is, though, it is easy and very possible, to convey a good _impression_ of something and if that's what you want, go for it, you don't need any measurements or anything but practice. But if you want to achieve accuracy, you have to know what accuracy looks like, first. And I don't mean photocopy accuracy, but deeply studied and meticulously observed perfection. For that, you need help, I am reluctant to use sight-size as a self-study method though becuase as I said, I think it is maybe good for checking, but in the end it is your own eyes and problem-solving abilities that should do the trick.

    That said I advice you to use WHATEVER means neccessary to check on your work, Without an instructor I guess it would be fine to do tracing paper overlays and photo-overlays on fixed intervals in order to see your mistakes. Measuring in general is not a bad thing, Antonio Lopez Garcia said in an interview that he uses pretty elaborate tools to measure the proportions carefully and he came up with stuff like this: http://www.epdlp.com/fotos/lopez3.jpg . If the russian academy discards work like that, I discard the russian academy.


    But I personally think that using your eye and brain is indeed much better and thinking about relative sizes, structure, consecutively design, and values will make for a more complete and clear picture. Only thing is, have a Plan! Drawing is a creative process that requires a strategy and a lot of tactical decisions, it's complicated and a lot of people will never get it, even if they learn how to copy perfectly. Don't follow rules people set you, think WHY you are doing things and set goals.

    As for your specific question about casts in sight-size
    Here's a sight-size cast setup:
    Attachment 1239286

    Be sure to manange your darks and lights so that you can distinguish them and reduce reflections to a minimum in the shadow areas. You don't want some strange green light coming from an unknown lightsource messing up your sense of light. Down the road, when you are more apt and understand form and light better, you can compensate for that though. The reason that there is a black background is so that you can get familiar with the concept of unified values. That means you can never be as dark as the black you see and never be as light as the whites in nature since every medium will and hs only a limited range. By maximizing it you have to cope somehow. again, you can do midtone-only stilllifes and dark and light ones to trin your sensitivity. If vlues are your weakness that is.
    Also, if you work in charcoal, the paper is actually more important than the charcoal, look for _mildly_ textured and stable paper that can hold a lot of charcoal. You don't want your shit to fall off or limit your value range becuse the paper can't hold a lot. Arches wtercolor paper is what I use but it is possibly not available for you so I advice getting something thick and try it out. Since in the beginning the block-in is the important step anyway, I don't hink it hurts when you don't get to the value stage because the paper is not yet a good one.

    Hope that helps a bit.
    Last edited by ~Faust~; May 25th, 2011 at 03:23 AM.

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  7. #5
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    To get you started all you probably need is this book. It's got a good explanation in the back, along with lots of cast drawings to copy to get you warmed up.

    http://www.amazon.com/Charles-Bargue...6307882&sr=8-1
    I self-published a book on the fundamentals of drawing from life.

    http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-D...8951905&sr=8-1

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    Smile

    Thank you all so much for the helpful advice! I feel a lot better now b/c I've been focusing on relative measures using my pencil, etc. to measure. I'll check out all of the resources and post some work when I'm done

    @~Faust~, as to perspective/cubes I have this book not sure if it's the best or not. I definitely want to get the Charles Bargue book even though it's a bit pricey but it looks good...

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    There's several resources on this way of drawing. I wouldn't invest in all of them. It can get pretty costly. But I think it's possible to do a decent job of teaching yourself using a few of these. There's probably more to be found if you google, but these are the ones I collected when I first got interested in this method. I think the DVD that goes along with that book would probably help the most.

    http://www.sightsize.com/dvd.html
    http://www.amazon.com/Cast-Drawing-U...dp/0980045401/
    http://www.amazon.com/Charles-Bargue...dp/286770166X/
    http://www.amazon.com/Classical-Draw...dp/0823006573/
    http://www.arc-store.com/castdrawingdvd.html
    http://www.academyofrealistart.com/dvd.html
    http://www.classicalartonline.com/


    Some stuff to read:

    http://www.learning-to-see.co.uk/sea...sight-size#916
    http://www.480bc.com/news/sight_size/sightsize.htm
    http://www.johnpeck.com/Links.html
    http://www.artistdaily.com/blogs/tec...nstration.aspx

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=12104
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho....php?p=1719439
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=113729


    However, I'm not a fan of this way of drawing. Before you get hung up on Sight-Size you should read this article. It makes a strong case against it.
    http://www.atelierstockholm.se/index...ntid=64&lang=1
    Last edited by Norkagar; May 13th, 2012 at 03:07 PM.

  10. #8
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    Haha, nickydraws! That´s a lot to read

    To add another two links, just look into my signature. There you will find my CA-thread and also my website where I sell affordable plaster casts - actually only Europe wide - with additional links.
    www.ClassicalAtelier@HOME.com
    My website for learning traditional fine art on your own! --- Derived from THIS thread at CA.org
    ------------ ♦ ♦ ♦ ------------
    www.cast-drawing.com
    drawing casts (geometric shapes, anatomical casts, skull), tutorials on Bargue drawing and cast drawing, Willow Charcoal, free drawing exercises

  11. #9
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    Look, there's a ton of info out there. Don't get bogged down in this way or that way. Try to learn from one reliable source if you can and I am sure you'll get much more help once you do finally go to an atelier. The most important thing is to be doing a lot of drawing.

    I want to repeat this for emphasis: The most important thing is to do a lot of drawing.

    Don't get frozen by doing it this way or that way. Don't worry about the setup or the details of this or that. Do the best you can to get it right, and then hammer out a bunch of drawings. The nuances will be ironed out once you get into an atelier... in the meantime, WORK. Knowledge is good and helpful, but no substitute for experience.
    I self-published a book on the fundamentals of drawing from life.

    http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-D...8951905&sr=8-1

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  13. #10
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    On another note, I'm looking for a good online store to buy another cast. I'm looking for a bust. I like the Apollo bust. I'd also consider Michelangelos David if I could find a good one.. anyone know a good online resource for purchasing plaster busts at relatively cheap prices? 100$?
    I self-published a book on the fundamentals of drawing from life.

    http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-D...8951905&sr=8-1

  14. #11
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    You´d have to look at ebay and need luck.

    Buy clay and make your own from photo reference - you´ll save money and learn how to sculpt
    www.ClassicalAtelier@HOME.com
    My website for learning traditional fine art on your own! --- Derived from THIS thread at CA.org
    ------------ ♦ ♦ ♦ ------------
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    drawing casts (geometric shapes, anatomical casts, skull), tutorials on Bargue drawing and cast drawing, Willow Charcoal, free drawing exercises

  15. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Faust~ View Post
    I don't know man, I think
    more that they teach you how to go to an academy for 11+ years in Russia
    You look like a florence academy guy. The ones with crooked feet and all the sight based errors I keep seeing. No sight size is not a valid tool for learning oneself, learn form and only form. Learn to triangulate points and use logic and cannons of proportion to determine where everything goes. The moment you start copying shit from real life with sight size, that's when it all falls down. As humans change position every 4 seconds. And trying to millimeter landscapes and casts and everything stationary is illogical and unuseful if you want to actually go for large scale compositions with your work. Sight size is at best something people use to keep their students busy while they rake in 12k per year of said student.
    When it comes to the sight-size method, we could debate it for days here and it already has been done, I guess it's what you want to achieve. For me, it is a great tool for my instructors to judge the accuracy of my work.
    The basis of an education isn't to make the teacher's work easier, it's to help the student understand. If teacher's need a tool to see if something is correct, then they should not teach. If they cannot explain that an object has different proportions, then they shouldn't teach either.
    Also, it kind of is like cubes and perspective, it is impossible do draw a decent cube, let alone from imagination, when you don't know what a correct cube actually looks like.
    Hence why they have rules in perspective for determining the perfect cube. Again, not sight based.
    Sadly most perspective for artists books and courses are so narrowly dumbed down that a lot of artists will never have constructed or studied a single good cube in their lives and therefore all their cubes will look strange and distorted. I guess this is one of the reasons russians let their childrens draw those things first.
    Simple forms first to help the child see form and more and more complex forms later on. For them drawing a cube and a human being follows the same logical way of thinking. It's why their work has form.
    What i want to say is, though, it is easy and very possible, to convey a good _impression_ of something and if that's what you want, go for it, you don't need any measurements or anything but practice. But if you want to achieve accuracy, you have to know what accuracy looks like, first. And I don't mean photocopy accuracy, but deeply studied and meticulously observed perfection.
    Vision is flawed, especially after 3 hours. It's why any program based on sight will succumb to visual errors sooner or later.
    For that, you need help, I am reluctant to use sight-size as a self-study method though becuase as I said, I think it is maybe good for checking, but in the end it is your own eyes and problem-solving abilities that should do the trick.
    Hence no need for sight size.
    That said I advice you to use WHATEVER means neccessary to check on your work, Without an instructor I guess it would be fine to do tracing paper overlays and photo-overlays on fixed intervals in order to see your mistakes. Measuring in general is not a bad thing, Antonio Lopez Garcia said in an interview that he uses pretty elaborate tools to measure the proportions carefully and he came up with stuff like this: http://www.epdlp.com/fotos/lopez3.jpg . If the russian academy discards work like that, I discard the russian academy.
    Naturalism isn't their aim. For them everything is subject to the composition. That guy is good at doing that type of work, but it's no more impressive than someone who spends 5 months perfectly copying a barque. All it requires is patience and eyes. Not knowledge. So I can't call him a master. Then again, it does take a practised eye to see how flat something looks.

    But I personally think that using your eye and brain is indeed much better and thinking about relative sizes, structure, consecutively design, and values will make for a more complete and clear picture. Only thing is, have a Plan! Drawing is a creative process that requires a strategy and a lot of tactical decisions, it's complicated and a lot of people will never get it, even if they learn how to copy perfectly. Don't follow rules people set you, think WHY you are doing things and set goals.

    Now he has heard my part twice. If he has any intention of becoming an artist, instead of just another portrait or landscape painter, someone who tries and make art instead of trying to depict what they see before them, he will need to know form. And knowing form will dictate what he sees. And how he will put it on the screen.

    But alas, talking to the acolytes of sight size(I've found) is usually a waste of time. They seem to lack the common sense for self evaluation after spending 3-4 years at florence academy or Angel and spam out work which wouldn't even impress a 15 year old in Russia.


    Good luck to both of you on your art endeavors though.
    Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyskoa View Post
    You look like a florence academy guy. The ones with crooked feet and all the sight based errors I keep seeing.
    whoa, that's pretty rich coming from an Angel student, where you draw rubber people floating in the air. I keep seeing people leaving Angel for FAA, but not the other way around. Wonder why that is?

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  18. #14
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    I don't see any reasons for flaming here, Nor do I see any reasons to become an acolyte of one school or another. If you want to reduce people to the academy they are going to, that's your business I will not take part in it. I've seen horrible and uninteresting work being done by students of ALL academies, including the russian academy. Also, I don't see a reason to bash Angel or FAA. You get what you pay for and what people are doing there isn't exactly a secret, so you should decide for yourself wether you actually want to go there or not and learn what those schools have to offer.

    My post was to help the OP who is apparently not coming back and not to bash with my "skills" I know I still suck at drawing and my eyes aren't exactly very accurate, nor is my sense of form.

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  20. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by duztman View Post
    whoa, that's pretty rich coming from an Angel student, where you draw rubber people floating in the air. I keep seeing people leaving Angel for FAA, but not the other way around. Wonder why that is?
    I did leave Angel. And it is a shit school

    And truthfully wasn't trying to bash you Faust, but this part "If the russian academy discards work like that, I discard the russian academy." got my goat, hence why my post might be more aggressive than intended.

    I just have zero respect for sight size. If FAA replaced their sight size techniques with normal drawing, it'd be an awesome school.
    It just makes me angry why they would willfully make their program worse with such a horrible, horrible thing as sightsize.

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