A plate isn’t just for putting food on

My latest drawing study is one of the plates from the “Charles Bargue: Drawing Course” book. Which, if you don’t know, is an AMAZING book on drawing. Many of the greats – Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh – used this book and copied the plates. There are three levels within it and the student copies all of the first level before moving on the the second and finally the third. I really want this book, but am nervous about the 1-3 months it takes for Amazon.ca to ship it. I will have to just bite the bullet and wait I guess. Although I might check some used bookstores that could have it in stock right now. (Update. I did receive this book and cannot recommend it enough. You can purchase it HERE.)

Anyway, my point was my latest drawing. I copied the plate, which I got from Google, while I desperately await the book. There are two stages to this drawing. The first is the block in. These are angled lines that give general shape and proportions. Technically, the next step is supposed to be rounding out the form and blocking in the shading, but that was part of the first step here as well.

Charles Bargue plate - torso

Charles Bargue plate - torso initial block in stage of both the form and the shading

The idea is to be as accurate in your reproduction as you can (or at least that’s my understanding SINCE I DON’T HAVE THE BOOK). I was very pleased with myself after getting to this stage. It’s only now, days after the fire of my ego has died down, that I can see that it’s not that accurate at all. All three of the diagonal lines intersecting the vertical line are off. This means that the sizing is wrong for the back. This is pretty major and would have been nice to ‘see’ before I went on, giddily, to the next stage. Chalk it up to learning. The idea of being able to see is more complex than I thought. It’s neat though. Doing these drawings reminds me of the self-reflective process or being on a spiritual path. The goal is just to see things as they are without all my thoughts or opinions on a subject or ideas. Sounds so simple, but my patterns of belief and opinion run deep.

The second part of this drawing is adding in the shading and then building the form by adding more values. I am beginning to believe that value studies are probably one of the most important things we can study when trying to learn to draw or paint. Realistic drawing is found in the ability to provide values that convince the viewer that they are seeing something real.

Charles Bargue plate - torso with final shading

Charles Bargue plate - torso with final shading

Again, I was happy with this after completing it. A happy dance in my head as I stroked my ego. I make myself laugh (even out loud sometimes) with how silly I am. So, days later, again the fire has died down, I see how off I was with this. The left hip looks like this torso ate too much pumpkin pie last weekend (I have one of those rolls too). The right shoulderblade line is completley wrong. The shading just above the left butt cheek is out of whack and the size and shape of the lumbar area is also incorrect.

Alas, I am not dismayed as I am loving the learning that is happening. I still can barely believe how challenging it is to simply draw what I see. See it, draw it. Sounds so simple.

I am almost done my next little study too, which I will post once complete.



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One Response to “A plate isn’t just for putting food on”

  1. hind Says:

    professional drawing

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