1000 Hours

Between 1st January 2012 and 1st January 2013 I will commit one thousand hours to drawing and painting, and progress will be posted here.

Pencil portrait progress: Jess in Apron - 20 hours

Submitted by Sam on 2 April, 2012 - 17:26
Pencil portrait progress: Jess in Apron - 20 hours

Work in progress: A1 pencil portrait on 300gms paper of my sister Jessica. Working from a photo I took over the Christmas holidays in 2011. Around 20 hours of drawing so far.

Pencil Portrait - Beginnings

Submitted by Sam on 2 April, 2012 - 16:56

I'm taking a break from my Bargue plates, and drawing something new. I've spent around twenty hours on a portrait of my sister, working from a photograph I took in December 2011.

For the first time I'm drawing upright on an easel (rather than horizontally on a table), and on a big scale. I'm working at A1 -- whereas my Bargue plates were smaller than A4 -- and I'm using correspondingly heavier paper. At 300gsm it is twice as weighty as my Bargue sketchbook pages, and it is able to take much more aggressive erasing and re-working. This gives me confidence to lay down lines that I know can be altered later, and the large size allows me to be much more expressive when sketching out the initial form.

As the paper is so large I have drawn guidelines to separate it in to thirds to make sizing easier. I am currently refusing to use a ruler or tape-measure to precisely map the enlargement from source image to final drawing, as this feels like cheating. I instead measure relative lengths against a small paintbrush. 

Pencil portrait progress: Jess in Apron - 20 hours: Work in progress: A1 pencil portrait on 300gms paper of my sister Jessica. Working from a photo I took over the Christmas holidays in 2011. Around 20 hours of drawing so far.

Here is the sketching and rendering so far. I need to fine-tune the facial features, which are distorted at the moment, but I'm happy with how the shading on the fabric is going so far; see the image below for a close-up.

Detail - Pencil portrait progress: Jess in Apron - 20 hours: Detail of dress and apron. Work in progress: A1 pencil portrait on 300gms paper of my sister Jessica. Working from a photo I took over the Christmas holidays in 2011. Around 20 hours of drawing so far.

Jess A1 photo reference: A photo I took of my sister whilst she was getting some food ready over Christmas 2011. Taken in my Grandma's house in Barton-on-Sea, New Milton.  I used a Nikon f/1.8 35mm AF-S lens on a Nikon D5000 (1/250th of a second shutter speed at ISO-500). This photo serves as the reference for my first A1 pencil portrait.

Here is the original photograph from which I am working. I desaturated it and printed it at A3, and have it taped next to the drawing to use as a sizing reference. Unfortunately the printed version has lost a lot of the tonal depth, so I use the digital version on my laptop as the source for values and detailed areas.

Detail - Pencil portrait progress: Jess in Apron - 20 hours

Submitted by Sam on 2 April, 2012 - 14:50
Detail - Pencil portrait progress: Jess in Apron - 20 hours

Detail of dress and apron. Work in progress: A1 pencil portrait on 300gms paper of my sister Jessica. Working from a photo I took over the Christmas holidays in 2011. Around 20 hours of drawing so far.

Caracalla - an unfinished plate

Submitted by Sam on 27 March, 2012 - 17:36

I've been working on this Bargue plate (number 38 in the sequence) for several weeks now, and I've found it increasingly tedious. When I came to draw in the fiddly bits of hair (which I foolishly left until after I had started shading the face), I found that they didn't slot in to their proper places easily. I found myself having to distort and elongate strands of hair to accommodate increasingly apparent errors of alignment on a more fundamental level. I have conceded defeat and abandoned this plate as "unfinished".

Whilst I like the smooth gradients on the face, I find it difficult to look beyond the horizontal distortion that caused me so much aggravation when I came to put in the details.

Bargue Plate I, 038 - Caracalla (unfinished)

The composite image shows my drawing against the silhouette of the original plate, illustrating very clearly how my attempt has gone wrong. The original is significantly thinner.

Plate I, 038 - Caracalla - overlay

Plate I, 038 - Caracalla (unfinished)

Submitted by Sam on 27 March, 2012 - 17:28
Plate I, 038 - Caracalla (unfinished)

This is the 38th plate of the Bargue course. I abandoned this one at a very late stage because I didn't realize how inaccurate it was until I came to put in the fiddly bits of hair, which just didn't line up correctly because of the distorted form.

Nevertheless, I'm pleased with the shading of this, despite the errors of form.

Bargue plates: horses' heads

Submitted by Sam on 14 March, 2012 - 17:31

I made two attempts at Bargue Plate 37, the "Head of Horse, Parthenon", and neither of them got it right. I spent a combined 40-50 hours on these; I've lost count. I don't know if I can stomach a third attempt, but I know that I should try!

I measured the first one reasonably well initially, but got sloppy and made some pretty poor judgements on the internal features. It seems I usually only measure-up the outline, and then fit internal bits in with much less rigour. Even then, the outline isn't perfect. Here's the first attempt:

Frustrated with the first attempt, I rushed in to the second without properly sizing it up. In fact, I did everything by eye, taking no measurements whatsoever. The results might *look* okay, but it is actually quite unlike the original plate. Angles are incorrect almost everywhere, and overall it is a very poor reproduction.

To make matters worse, I managed to spill a bit of tea on this, which I ended up removing with sandpaper. You can't see it terribly well in this image, because the brightness of the scanner's light has washed it out, but there is a good deal of rough paper where I have erased mistakes too many times. Here is the second attempt:

Plate I, 037 - Head of Horse, Parthenon - Attempt 1

Submitted by Sam on 14 March, 2012 - 17:10
Plate I, 037 - Head of Horse, Parthenon - Attempt 1

This is the first attempt at the horse's head plate. I abandoned this because I was roughing up the paper with too much rubbing-out (even though I'm using putty rubbers!), and because I could spot a lot of inaccuracies as I was working on it. The most obvious to me at the time was the size of the eye, which seemed much too large.

Plate I, 037 - Head of Horse, Parthenon - Attempt 2

Submitted by Sam on 14 March, 2012 - 17:07
Plate I, 037 - Head of Horse, Parthenon - Attempt 2

This is the second attempt I have made at the horse's head Bargue plate. I was frustrated with the first try, which had taken a long time, so rushed in to this one without properly sizing it up. In fact, I did everything by eye, taking no measurements whatsoever. The results might *look* okay, but it is actually completely unlike the original plate. Angles are incorrect almost everywhere, and overall it is a very poor reproduction.

To make matters worse, I managed to spill a bit of tea on this, which I ended up removing with sandpaper. You can't see it terribly well in this image, because the brightness of the scanner's light has washed it out, but there is a good deal of rough paper where I have erased mistakes too many times.

Plate I, 036 - Marcus Brutus

Submitted by Sam on 28 February, 2012 - 08:07
Plate I, 036 - Marcus Brutus

Checking the proportions of this scan by overlaying it on the original plate revealed that I still have a long way to go before I get sizes correct by sight. I am going to have to be much more disciplined in the early stages of the drawing to ensure accuracy, which is the principle goal of the Bargue course for me.

Towards the end of this drawing I bought new pencils with grades that I haven't used before (6H to 9H), which proved very useful for the very light tones.

Bargue plate 35

Submitted by Sam on 25 February, 2012 - 12:28

My latest Bargue plate is "The Cardinal de Birague by Germain Pilon", and took me around twenty hours to complete. In the sequence the plates are presented in the Cours de Dessin, this is the first plate to offer the full gradation of tone from pitch black through to the most delicate grey.

Bargue plate 35

Syndicate content
Drupal theme by Kiwi Themes.