150 hours update

Submitted by Sam on 17 February, 2012 - 00:44

One and a half-months in to my 1000 hours of art challenge and I have just passed the 150 hour mark. It has been difficult keeping up the pace alongside a full-time job, freelance work and the vestiges of a normal existence, but I have settled in to a productive routine which gives me time to enjoy both the process and the progress.

I know my materials better now, and have manufactured several guidelines which I use in my workflow for the Bargue plates:

  • Start the initial sketch with a hard-grade pencil, say 3H, and work with very faint lines. These are much easier to erase later than heavier lines made by softer pencils, which tend to leave a shadow no matter how hard they are erased.
  • Keep light areas light by dabbing the putty-eraser to pick up loose graphite.
  • Don't over-work the dark areas, otherwise they will be spoilt by a reflective sheen.
  • Don't start shading dark areas with 2H's and above, as it is hard to lay softer and darker grades on top of them.
  • Keep all the pencils seriously sharp, so that line quality is tight and inconsistincies in shading (perhaps caused by the grain of the paper) can be addressed at the smallest level of detail.
I have uploaded high-resolution scans of all of my Bargue studies so far, which can be seen in the gallery. The most challenging was Plate I, 30 - Legs of the dying slave, which I made many attempts at, and still haven't got completely right. Here's the best one:Plate I, 030 - Legs of the dying slave - Attempt 4Plate I, 030 - Legs of the dying slave - Attempt 4
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