# Thread: How many bargues did you draw and how long it took

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Blackbridge, I thought more about your original question, and I think you are supposed to do bargue copies until you feel comfortable applying the skills you were practicing with the bargues, to "harder" situations. Let me explain:
Let's say you are practicing the bargues to improve your ability to judge distances between points, or angles between lines (let me leave out value from the argument for a sec). So you practice these skills copying a 2D image, where everything is already flat, and you can focus on the skill you wanna practice without adding to it.
When you switch to cast drawing you'll basically train the same skills (distances between points, angles, tilts, and so on), but it's gonna be harder, because you don't have a 2D picture in front of you, you have a 3D object. You won't have actual lines to copy, you'll have hard (and not-so hard) edges, you won't have points, you'll have to memorize landmarks on the cast, and so on. As you can imagine, it's gonna be harder, but you'll basically train the same skills, only on a harder level. So I don't think you'll have to do more Bargues once you switch to casts; it's like going to the gym: the very first day you go, maybe you're too weak to do bench presses, so they have you do push ups, that work the same muscles, but are easier. When you get stronger, you do bench presses, with heavier weight as you get stronger. Once you get to be able to bench press 220 lbs, you won't even think about doing push ups.
Regarding the sight size argument, I think that copying the plates the same size is easier for your brain, because you just have to judge the actual distance between 2 points and reproduce that. If you want to enlarge the plate, your brain not only has to judge distances, but it has to "convert" the judge distance to the scale you wanna draw, so it's a more complicated process.Besides, copying the plate the same size makes the correction process so much easier.
I would say, when you switch to cast drawing, you'll probably start copying the cast the same size as the original. So if you want keep doing bargues while you are practicing on casts, you could copy the plates not using the same scale, so you could practice proportional sighting as well, while the cast drawing practice is taking care of improving the skills you already got with the first bargues (distance, angles,and so on).
Last edited by boraz; May 14th, 2012 at 12:16 PM.

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boraz: Thank you for the insight. It totally makes sense. Whenever one learns something, it's best to isolate the more complicated parts and practice them over and over. In this case, we are isolating the procedure of judging and reproducing angles and distances.

I definitely like your idea of drawing scaled bargues. I haven't heard of anyone doing that; it sounds like a good exercise.

What I meant by saying that I was not drawing the bargues sight-size, was that the original plate and my drawing were not perfectly side by side; although, the final output was still an exact copy of the original (to the best of my abilities): same size, same values, same everything. It's just that the placement was not according to the sight-size procedure.

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"isolating the difficulties" is a learning method used in music practice all the time.. let's say you want to learn a very difficult guitar solo, there will be parts you already know how to play, and some passages that are still too fast or too difficult. Guitarists just "isolate" the 3-4 note passage that's difficult for them and practice it over and over, until it becomes easy. Repeating the whole solo every time would be a "waste of time", because they would have spend time repeating stuff they already know.
I think it's a good idea to isolate difficulties in drawing too: if your problem is gauging angles or judging distances, you wanna focus on those, without being overwhelmed by value, color, scaling the distances, or "converting" a 3D object in 2D. If we can't even judge the distance between 2 points on a piece of paper, it's no use trying to copy from life. it's like trying to play a piece from Bach without knowing how to put your hand on the keyboard.
Anyway, I suggest you read this post, there's a lot of useful information : http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=264765

And I also suggest you read "the complete artist's guide to figure drawing" by Anthony Ryder.. it's the best explanation of every skill we are prancing with the Bargues.. proportions, angles, point to point measuring..

6. I just started my first ever bargue copy yesterday. So far I'm "done" with the simplified outline and fairly close to finishing the internal (simplified) lines. I have about 4 hours on it thus far. It's more or less my first time doing sight/size (in the true sense, at least) and I've actually been really impressed by how accurate it is. Sometimes I'll make a dot using the sight/size method and then go and measure it with a ruler and find that it's right on the money. It's pretty amazing, because doing it that way doesn't seem like it'd be too accurate.

The reason I decided to do one is because I feel like I still need a lot more work on the very basics of seeing, drawing, and construction and, also, because I saw that Picasso did one when he was young. I'm not a fan of Picasso's work but I found it inspiring that you can do these universally-applicable exercises and not necessarily end up doing very academic work (which I don't really want to do.)

I'm copying plate 49, which I think is a portrait of the young Julius Caesar.

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Jacob: Way to go, man. Congrats on starting your bargue!

It's pretty amazing when you get the placement of a dot just right without much reference on the image, isn't it? Bargues are a strange exercise to me: I'm glad I did them and I learned a lot in the process, but it's slightly discouraging how after hundreds of hours of practice all you get to show is a picture that has been already done by someone else and now you have a copy of it which you can't even put into your portfolio. That being said, I think that working on that copy will pay off handsomely later on.

Btw, love your work, especially 'The Poet': that guy looks like he's going to yell at me in a second or two - so cool!

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