Tuesday, April 09, 2013


This is a step by step effort to reproduce Charles Barque's lithograph of Homer in graphite.  I began the proses during Christmas break 2012. 

 This is a copy of Homer from the  Bargue-Gerome Drawing Course.  The original drawing was by Jean-Leon Gerome, the lithograph produced Charles Bargue. Left is the "schema" on the left the fully rendered drawing.   

I copied the both drawings at exactly the same size, piece by piece on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper; hooking the segments together with clear tape.  The next step was to lay out the vertical and horizontal reference lines onto to a peace of "cheep" drawing paper. 
The next step is to map out the highlights, carefully measuring each width and high with a knitting needle.  This forms a tiny cross at each angle. I use the 2B pencil for this.
This is the completed map of the high points.
 Connecting the dots produces a copy of schema.
Once the lines of the schema are ruffed in, work on each line to make sure that they are as close as possible to the original in thickness and value.
 The completed schema.
 When the schema is copied, remove the "model from the drawing board and replace it with the fully rendered lithograph of the Gerome drawing.  I also produced this in three strips and matched them together with tape.  In the picture above the dark tones of left side of the face is fully outlined.
 Here the outlining is completed. 
 Once the outlines were placed I began to fill in the shadow shapes with a single flat tone.  All the work up to this point had been done with the 2B, soft pencil. Again, I worked methodically, filling in the face from left to right.  I had to judge which shadows are on the "dark" side and which are on the light.  I tried to keep the 9 step value chart in mind; placing the shadows at the 6,7,8, & 9 values.
 Once all shading is in place I carefully re-measured and adjusted them with my kneaded eraser to insure the shapes were as close to the model as possible.
The next step will be to transfer the drawing to the "good" paper.  I am using a heavy Stonehenge pearl gray paper in a smooth finish.  I carefully covered every part of the back of the drawing that had lines on the front side with 2B graphite.  I put it on as softly and as heavily as I could.

Then, I attached the rough draft over the smothers side of the Stonhenge paper with tape and carefully outlined the drawing, going around every dark value.  One must lift the pencil at every high point to maintain the strength of the drawing.

 This is the completed tracing. 
 Once more I carefully re-established the outlines, methodically, side after side.  Here is the left hand rendering.

 This is the completed outline - transferred and reinforced on the "good" paper.

 The value is added.  I try to keep it as uniform as possible at this stage.  Once it is completed I will begin to model the darks.
 Modeling the darks is the process which presents the variations in value in the dark parts of the drawing.  Above is the first pass at the left side.
 After careful examination and imitation all the darks are in place an most transitions are in place.  Edge transitions can be hard, soft, blended,or lost. 
This is a picture of the Brague lithograph.  I printed out a "high quality photo" copy.  Although only 8 by 10 3/4 it gives a better representation and enables more accurate rendering of both the darks and the lights.

 The next step is to add in the all values in the "light".  Lights are drawn with the HB and 2H pencils. This is the part of the drawing in the 1 - 5 value range.  It is very important to determine the type of edge - the line between dark and light.   Above is a fully rendered drawing - but it is far from complete.
The final step is to finish the drawing by accenting and highlighting the drawing  One must step back and review all areas and see if there has been a loss of contrast.  Punch up the darkest darks; examine the hard edges; and lighten the highlights with the eraser. Then check the lines on the model and make sure they are faithfully reproduced on the drawing.  
This is the final drawing.  It is the 9th of April, and I have been working on this project for over four months.  I feel pretty good about it. 
It is reasonable to ask why I would want to do this. It was to learn.  To learn to draw, to learn to demand quality in my personal effort, and to learn that such effort can be its own reward.  I learned - again - that I can set difficult goals and work toward them little by little; following small steps, enduring the tedious to fruition.  Once more, "Art" teaches truth and therefore is beautiful.
Of course, I wanted a picture of Homer, and now I have one.  


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