Monday, October 14, 2013

In Florence

So I am in Florence, Italy. It's been almost a month in this beautiful city.
Flight from Brussels to Florence

On my way to Duomo
Duomo~ Florence

I am studying classical drawing at Angel Academy of Art. At the moment we are copying the Bargue plates. In any traditional atelier method, they emphasize a lot on studying the bargue plates, casts and live models. There are total 197 bargue plates and it is said that the more you copy, better you become, as an artist. We have to copy three of them. Each one takes several hours depending on its level of difficulty. And it needs to be copied as accurately as possible. Copying Bargue plates helps in training the eyes and the hand. You may not realize in the beginning, but you get better with every plate that you copy. It provides a strong foundation for drawing from life to create an illusion of 3D form on a 2D plane by training both eyes and hand.

So on day one, we started with simplest bargue plates. Mine was this one:
Construct of the outline, plotting points

Roughly it took me about 35 hours. Two weeks plus three days. In the mornings for three hours we do the bargue plates and then post lunch we have life drawing class for three hours.

When I began, I had no idea why I was doing it..but when I finished, I did realize that it is surely helping in some way..

The bargue drawing is supposed to be pasted alongside your paper. Then use a thread to mark plumb line(center line) such that it gives more information for being accurate with the measurements. One can use a plumb bob as well. If the line touches important landmarks of the drawing, it is better as you can make comparative measurements to those landmarks later. 

All the measurements are done with a thread. When you begin, mark the top and the bottom of the bargue drawing that are on the plumb line. Plot these points on your paper. Be as accurate as possible as these points are now the reference points for all of the other points that you plot.

Steps/stages for drawing the Bargue plate:
1) Outer construct(Plotting the points for the outline): 
Whenever there is a change in direction, plot that point.
Join the plotted points with straight ghosty lines in order to understand the structure of the form.
2) Construct of the shadow((Black) shapes

3) Articulation of contour (adding details in the outline)

4) Articulation of the shadow shape
5) Fixing all the details and correcting the contours
6) Filling up of 9, 8, 7 values in shadow shapes
7) Big form modelling: Turning the form (making it look 3D) by adding the shades with brush, eraser, stump, 2H pencil. 
8) Bed bug line - It is the dark line that turns dark just before the shadow shape ends.  Redo it. Smudge - make it dark. It is part of the shadow shape.
9) Variation of the darks.
10) Variation of the lights.

Construct of shadow shape

Applied the first light tone of 2B to shadow shape. (this is the first layer ~ foundation for the second layer which will be darker)
Then stomped it.
Filling up the shadow shape with value 9, 8, 7
(The first layer of 2B should be very fine(as if the paper itself is dark gray) such that the paper grains are all filled up smoothly with graphite(2B) layer. This one is not that accurate, but I'll try to be better in my next bargue!)

Very very sharp pencils (Extremely important!!)

Yes, pencil points need to be THIS sharp. It is necessary when you have to create a very smooth layer of graphite on paper(such that pencil lead can even fill in the textures of paper)

Started with the next step: Adding halftones.

Began big form modelling

Then added some more halftones:
Adding more halftones

And my first Bargue done!

In one of the figure drawing class last week the model could not come. So we did the portrait study of one of the classmates. Here is what I came up with. 
First portrait study from life
More pictures in my next post!



  1. Great work Hemali..:D...
    hope to see more of these soon...:)..