In the last three days I worked on a Bargue drawing without any precise measuring. The reference on my monitor and the drawing paper on my lap I started to measure by eye. I made the measurements as precise as possible and I did not hesitate erasing lines that were wrong. But in the end it did not turn out as perfect as it could be. It is a good drawing though and I am satisfied with the result.
Why? Well, first the height of the most important points is about right (topmost point, angle of hip/thigh, bottommost point) and secondly the shading is really close to the reference (unfortunately the scanner can’t replicate the drawing as it appears in reality; it lets the drawing seem very grainy and halftones appear lighter in the scan). All in all it works as a good drawing.
The drawing took me about 10 hours I’d guess. Getting the shading right was the most time consuming – especially the filling of the little valleys of the paper’s structure.
In the picture below you can see the differences between my drawing and the reference. As described in this post I overlayed the reference over the scan in Photoshop and set the layer style to “Difference”. The black lines are my drawing and the white lines are those of the reference. While my height measurements where quite exact, the width measurements where too narrow.
While this was a neat exercise for me the end result is not the level you would do a Bargue drawing at a classical atelier. The Bargues made at an atelier are done as perfect copies of the reference but this takes much more time than the 10 hours that I spent on this drawing.
On the two days before the Bargue drawing I drew the following two pictures. The one with the horse is from a photo reference and the other is a self portrait. I sat on my couch, placed a large mirror on it and had a light come from the top left. The light source was not so bright to diminish the value spectrum. I could see every value – from the brightest light (bridge of the nose) to the darkest dark (parts of the hair).