Bargue Plates, anyone?

  • I just started working on the Bargue plates in hopes that it'll have a magical effect on my rendering skills - hey, it worked for Van Gogh & Picasso! :). I'm wondering if anyone else has done them and if so, how many did you do and did it help your skills?

  • Never heard of it before now. In high school art we did the grid method, and in college life drawing we had to copy master studies for homework. Copying a reference is helpful to a point. It looks really tedious and analytical!

  • I haven't yet, but I would certainly like to! Seeing as how I'm going to be doing more figure work, this might be a good time to dig into Bargue.

  • @gimmehummus It's definitely a lot harder than it looks, skills-wise, but I'm on my 5th day and I can feel it stretching me. It forces you to really study angles and to get more confident line work...Van Gogh did nothing but the Bargue plates for 6 months and he said it was the best thing he'd done for his artwork. I'm giving myself a 6 month goal of working on these plates, doing the lessons here (which have already been so helpful), doing animal figure studies (via pixel lovely) and doing character studies. My goal is to start applying to the faery cons and fantasy cons that I really want to get into next year.

  • @Renduin I'm only on day 5, but it's definitely been worth it so far for me, Renduin! I didn't realize how shaky and tentative my line work is until I started doing these - it's giving me some things to aim for. Let me know if you'd like to do them & I'll give you the link to where I found them posted online.

  • Yeah, I would love a link! I plan to add the book to my collection eventually, but it is on the pricier side, so being able to just jump in now would be great! I know my line work is pretty shabby, so I'd love to be able to tighten that up too.

  • @Renduin Yeah, the book is expensive. Someone scanned the book as a .pdf though, and that's what this is - the photos are crisp, so it's great! I'd suggest downloading it, just in case the site ever goes down.

  • Really great pdf Amber, thank you for sharing that... love the style. I wonder how that could be applied to animal drawings, or cartoon like figures, if it would convey the same sense of solidity. I really like the portraits as well.

  • @Bobby-Aquitania No problem :). I'm an animal artist too and I find that my animal rendering skills also increase when I do human figure drawing, since it doesn't really matter what type of figure you're drawing - it's the ability to see the angles correctly that you're honing.

  • I realized that not everyone has heard of the Bargue plates, btw, so here's a good article that explains them and why they're significant:

  • I did use the technique many years ago. I think it did increase my patience but my great improvement acurred after finishing six month of human figure drawing with real models (about 40 sessions) and limited time ( 10 seconds to 1 hour).

  • @sergio I was just thinking today that I really need to start practicing life drawing. I tried doing plein air drawing the other day for the first time and it looked like a kindergartener's drawing. It's amazing what a huge difference it is to draw from life than it is to draw from a photograph. I'm pretty okay at figure drawing from a photograph (not excellent, but not beginner-looking), but when I've tried to draw the figure from life, it looks like I just started drawing. Life drawing definitely makes a huge difference...Unfortunately we live in a tiny rural town (4,000 people), so we don't have figure drawing classes here :/...So I have to just draw from photographs or from nature.

  • @amberwingart

    I really think if you are good at figure drawing from pictures, you'll be good drawing from life. For me, the problem is a psychological one. It's normal to feel a bit worried the first times. The trick is to remember even masters did fail innumerable times. To fail and correct is one of the main ways of learning. You must give you the right to do mistakes. Practice will increase your skills without a doubt.

    If you don't have the opportunity to fallow figure drawing classes, try using controled time slideshow on screen and draw in a sketch book. Use small timer for warming up (5-20 seconds) and then change to large sessions (5 minutes or more). Small timer will help to get confidence and, better, to recollect the essentials. Also, try to sketch a lot from life drawing.

    I think it,s not obligatory to draw from real life to get a great level of drawing. When I was an "in the making" illustrator I used to draw people from TV shows, including sports.

    Unfortunately I have had to forget my dreams 20 year ago, so I'm trying to awake them. I'll be glad sharing my process here.

  • I hadn't heard of the Bargue Plates. Thanks for sharing about them.They sound like a great resource. You could try looking at animal and human anatomy and draw the bones and muscles as well. I have found that learning the structure beneath the skin really helps with accuracy. Someone once told me "don't frost the cake before you bake it". Meaning don't add your details and spending time rendering before you base drawing is strong.

    I think your on the right track. Keep up the good work Im excited to see more of your work!

  • @amberwingart I used to do so in art-school. Its an awesome but difficult way to to improve.

  • @amberwingart Please post some of your work! Nice!

  • Thanks for the link!

  • @sergio Thank you for the suggestions! I'd love to hear more about your process - and drawing from tv shows is a really good idea...I hadn't thought about that, but it'll force me to really focus on the most important parts... I can also draw our cat and dog kids from life :).

  • @ShereeNorthrup Thank you! I definitely need to work more on my anatomy - that's a weak point for me. I've been using for sketch reference for both animals & humans (it's an awesome tool, if you haven't used it before, btw!), but I definitely need to get down to a natural history museum so that I can see the anatomy in 3D.

  • @Leontine It's so much more difficult than it looks, isn't it?? It's getting me to draw consistently every day though, so just that alone will probably help a lot (I'm hoping! lol)

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