There comes a point in an artist’s life when you just get stuck. Whether it’s a lack of inspiration, a need to improve, or a readiness to take the next step. This when it’s time for… A Bargue drawing. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, I would suggest going here. Basically Charles Bargue was an artistic mastermind who lived during the 19th century. You can also learn more about him on my favoritest blog by my favoritest artist, Meghan N. Sours. I am actually featured on this blog… because I’m just that amazing. And I’m her sister. But whatever. Anyway, here’s a little picture of me from this particular blog post.
Lookin good. Ahm, I mean the drawing. So, when this picture was taken last year I was actually at William Whitaker
‘s house. I had the amazing opportunity to study under him along with my sister. That was probably the best time of my life. Not only did I get to meet one of the most amazing artists ever, I got to study under him. I’m actually leaving in June to go back for this summer as well, I have a countdown going.
Bill had me start a Bargue drawing, and after almost a year, I still need to finish it. I will admit it sat for a while… but I have been working on it more. Some tips for working on a Bargue drawing:
- Get an easel. It’s tempting to watch Doctor Who while drawing, but it really requires your full attention. Here’s a picture of the setup over at Bill’s.
2. Sharpen your pencil. It changes everything.
3. Take. Your. Time. Mine spanned over a year. It took 3 weeks to get the outline perfect, that’s about how much time it should take. That’s working about 5 hours 5 days a week.
4. Layers. Layers. Layers. Someone asked me how my shading on my bargue was so perfect, the answer is doing almost invisible layers and picking out imperfections with a kneaded eraser.
5. Perfection. My Bargue is my prized drawing. Perfection is the only thing that will cut it. If I suddenly see a big mistake that could be seen even after erasing or is just huge, I’d start over.
6. Train your eyes. Flick your eyes back and forth several times to see differences.
I’m still in high school. So I do art mostly for grades first, then for fun/money. While I am tempted to use my art periods as study halls I do sometimes actually have to do something, and thinking of a project to do is often much more difficult than doing them. When in doubt, I draw a portrait or still life (and if you look at my art projects from this year… I’ve been in doubt a lot.) This is good practice and exercise for the seeing parts of your brain. But sometimes, that just doesn’t cut it.
So, what does this have to do with sketchbooks? Mix media sketchbooks are good for coming up with projects. They take pretty much any media, hence the name “Mix Media”. My favorite mix media sketchbook is by Canson.
As you can see, my sketchbook has seen lots of love. I filled this in about 5 months. It’s actually in pretty good condition for that amount of time though. I love this sketchbook for a number of reasons. One is the cover. This cover is thick, and that protects the pages inside. If I stab this sketchbook with a pencil, the pages won’t be hurt because the cover is so thick. But take the sketchbook from my last post and stab it with a pencil, and at least 2 pages will have big dents on them. Not cool. Another reason is the thickness of the pages, which I also mentioned in my last post. These pages react better to watercolor and ink media because of the thick paper. The binding is really nice too. It’s not going anywhere.
Here I did a little inspiration board in this sketchbook for a project idea. Having the pictures in black and white leaves more room for color inspiration. It’s harder to imagine what something would look like in blue when its green on paper.
This is a set of three commissions I did last year. I used pen, acrylic paint, and india ink on this sketchbook paper and it worked great.
The picture on the left is the sketch of the final product on the right. The painting wasn’t actually done with the sketchbook paper because I wanted it to be bigger but I did put some watercolor on the sketch to brainstorm colors. I painted this over a year ago, and I added ganache to the final painting to the waves for a more realistic look.
So, honestly, I have trouble filling an entire sketchbook. I usually work on one for a while, buy a new one, and start working on it. But I’ve been doing better. Sort of. I currently have 3 sketchbooks that I am working in. One, that I already did a post on, is perfect for carrying around. That one is for practice and fun. The one I’m showing today is used more for projects. It’s a bit too big to carry around in my purse.
This picture is compliments of Google Search. My sketchbook is a bit worn… But this is the one I use. I love the 9×12 size. This sketchbook is made for pencils. I have used other sketchbooks made for pencil, but this is the best one I have used so far. If you are in a store and want to know which pencil sketchbook to get, look mainly at 2 things. The thickness of the paper, and how fine it is. What I mean by fine is how smooth it feels. If you have ever tried to use pencils on thick watercolor paper you will notice that the pencil doesn’t go all of the way into the grooves of the paper. It then takes up time to try to get the pencil into the grooves while simultaneously trying to keep the shade value consistent. It’s frustrating. That’s why there is paper just for pencil drawings. As for color pencils, I have used them on this paper but in my opinion they work better on thicker paper.
I have been working on this pinecone for weeks. I use Reeves pencils, a kneaded eraser, and a blending stub. I will finish it. One day.
I did this just for fun a couple weeks ago. I see a lot of things to fix but it was good practice.