Atelier Training: Drawing the Bargue Drawing Plates

Tomorrow, I will begin a very exciting journey! I’ve signed up with the LaRock Art School Atelier Program in The Woodlands. According to Tom’s description, we will start with drawing the Bargue plates. If you have never heard of those, you can learn more and get a free download here.

Generally, you progress from drawing plates, to drawing cast statues, to drawing live models using the sight-size method. Measuring and marking ‘anchor’ points from the model to your paper in the exact same size. Interestingly, at first you draw just contour lines, then only light and dark, looking for ‘shadow shapes’. It’s a pretty tedious and meticulous process which takes a lot of time.

Why learn this method? There are certainly easier drawing courses available! But I happen to know that most artists of the Renaissance learned to draw, paint, and sculpt under a master in an Atelier type school. I want that foundation for my sculpting.

As it turns out, I really got the cart before the horse in my sculpting. I spent about a year in a self-taught ‘Drawing for Beginners’ course, then started sculpting! I have to say that I’ve been amazed how much I’ve progressed over the years in my drawing in spite of no focused drawing effort. Apparently, sculpting really trains your eye! But not having a really strong drawing background has made drawing out relief designs and faces on portrait sculptures very slow and meticulous. I can just tell that I don’t know enough.

Besides, I have been drawing off and on since I was a child and just love it! But I am a bit stuck. I do hope getting this training this next semester will greatly improve my eye and my drawing skills.

I’ll be attending part-time on Wednesday afternoons and am really thrilled. This particular type of drawing study is very realistic and very related to Classical sculpting. Just what I need! I’ll be posting my drawings as I go! Hope you enjoy them!

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