Get the most out of your investment

3 for 1 – Buy one face cast and get three!

I know, plaster casts – expecially the busts – are a very expensive investment. And what if you would like to make two cast drawings with a face?

As a student you don’t really need the decorative aspect that a bust brings but rather serving as a reference to practise. So in the end you need the bust only once and when you are done with your cast drawing you won’t need it anymore.

To get the most out of your investment, why not buying two or more busts at once for the price of one?

“What? Who is selling this?” are you saying?

Instead of drawing from a classical bust which has only one face to draw you can buy reliefs with 2 or 3 faces.

Look at this face of an old man. I know, this guy looks creepy but it serves its purpose very well.

Click the image to buy this at

And what’s with this one? It is one face of a boy and one face of a man plus additional folds to practise.

Click the image to buy this at

While I researched for this blog post about face references to draw from I stumbled across the same vendor who has very good references for figures:

Click the image to buy this at

Click the image to buy this at

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The IKEA HISTORISK Sketch book

They not only have furniture


I often use the HISTORISK Sketch book from IKEA for it has a slightly tinted and smooth paper, which I like very much. IKEA has them in two sizes (20 x 15 cm and 14 x 10 cm). They come in different cover colors and have nice ink illustrations on the front and back and so do the other HISTORISK products.

If you are interested in it, check if your IKEA has it. I don’t know which country has it in the program but I bought me a couple of these just in case they will be discontinued in Germany.


Here are some drawings I did with an HB Faber Castel mechanical pencil and a kneaded eraser. The sphere is from imagination, the bust is a drawing I did around the corner last year. The muscle man is Eugen Sandow – father of Bodybuilding. He presented his body powdered in chalk and posed to look like Greek statues. If you are thinking that you have seen this guy on this blog before you are right. A photograph of him served as my post image for the article “Learning anatomy through Bodybuilding“.

The last is a Bouguereau portrait. Also here I solely worked with the HB Faber Castel mechanical pencil and the kneaded eraser. The lettering was done with a PICMA MICRON 02.

And what is the IKEA pencil good for?

Well, an IKEA pencil is not the best you can use but it fulfills its purpose. Obviously they are meant to be used only once but don’t we all have them at home from our last furniture shopping? The IKEA pencil has a hard lead which is very sharp. One needs to be careful not to scratch the paper or push too hard.

Just for fun I drew this setup with the pencil in the HISTORISK Sketch book the other day:


What I used: a plaster sphere which I sell in my Online Shop, a plain white paper under the sphere, the HISTORISK Sketch book, the free IKEA Pencil, a kneaded eraser and the IKEA NOT lamp with its spot light (not shown on the photo).

Sphere drawing IKEA pencil

Look how shiny the paper has become. The IKEA pencil is simply too hard to get some dark tones on paper. You can try but you will scratch the paper.

Last year I drew a self portrait for fun with this pencil on a regular printer paper. You can tell from my facial expression that I did not really enjoy drawing with it and how it turned out.

Self portrait IKEA pencil

Do you use any IKEA materials for your art? Write me in the comments.

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Yvon’s Méthode de Dessin


Darren Rousar – author of the book ‘Cast Drawing – Using the sight Size Approach‘ which I read before I approached my cast drawing of the female bust has found a little treasure and he wants to share it with you.

It’s ‘Méthode de Dessin’ by Adolphe Yvon which has been printed in the 19th century and holds no copyrights anymore. So Darren is giving his scans to the public and asking people to help translating it from french to english. This book is one of several instructional books from the academic times in art. The most famous is the ‘Charles Bargue Dawing Course‘ which is beeing used in todays classical art academies.

Here is the beginning post. Make sure you follow all of the related blog posts.

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Video: Cast drawing ‘Ear’

cast drawing Ear_800

I’ve made a video for my website

It’s a cast drawing of the ear plaster cast that I am offering in my shop and which is the best selling product of them (besides the skull). You can also see this ear in a drawing by Heather – I wrote about it here.

Another cast from my shop is the mouth piece – here is a cast drawing of the mouth with critiques. And also a Beethoven cast drawing.

For my drawing I used a regular fine 185g/m² drawing paper from a drawing pad and 3 pencils H, HB & 2B and it took me about 8 hours. The editing of the video took even longer 🙁


In my little studio (attic) I just have flourescent light tubes that don’t make a spotlight. Instead of mounting a regular bulb for a spot light source I just wrapped some black card board over the excess tubes. Since flourescent tubes don’t become hot I wasn’t concerned about burning my studio down.


Not shown in the image: I also covered the window to be able to work during the day without changing light conditions. So here is a quick sketch of this setup:


First I taped the paper onto my multi purpose chipboard and then the cast was mounted on the board with a screw. Simple but good.


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Mannequins as nude models

Photo by Kenneth Freeman

Photo by Kenneth Freeman

Learning human anatomy is an important part of the study in classical art. Drawing a nude model not only teaches you skills in patient rendering but also anatomy. In the Academy you work on one single nude drawing for up to 6 weeks with a total of  ~50-60 hours ending up super realistic.

See here a 6 week charcoal drawing of a male nude by Dorian Iten done at the Angel Academy of Art. If you scroll down the page he is posting a step-by-step (click here to get right there). Dorians website.

Nude models can be expensive. Where I live they get payed around 13 € per hour.

So for one drawing you would need 50-60 hours x 13€ =  650-780 €.

The low budget “real” nude model

I’ve researched for Mannequins and – wow – there are very good ones! Well suited to your needs, which is learning realistic anatomy rendering. These are one time investments for 100 – 400 € for endless hours of nude modeling for you! How awesome is that?

For ~400 € you can have these awesome Mannequins which equals 30 hours of a living model:–Sport/

and these:–Sport-113/

But it goes even cheaper – a nude model for under 100 €!

This one for 82 €:

Additional the wig for ~13 €:

AND: it is painted and has eye lashes! Ok – the feet are a bit off but the detail in the hands is awesome!

If you are learning at home or you are giving courses these Mannequins can help you either save money or reduce the course fee. You can also find others to share the costs for such a Mannequin.

Yes, these are no living models which can make countless poses and different models have different body types but these Mannequins should be sufficient for more than one drawing. You should Google for prices and availability for your country.

Take a look at Shawn Sullivan’s blog where he shows the steps of his painting with a Mannequin.

Remember when I showed you free photo references as nude model substitutes?

Coming back to the free photo references from an earlier post, this is what I am currently working on basing on one of the free nude model photos of different vendors. See the blog post for further information.

reclining nude painting

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