Sight-Size Articles

Not Just For Portraiture

Darren R. Rousar   April 19, 2017

Although Sight-Size is most often discussed as an approach to portrait painting, Sight-Size is not just for portraiture. In fact, the first written use of the term relates to figure drawing.

Essential Reading – Mr. Gammell’s Book List

Darren R. Rousar   April 5, 2017

I would imagine that all teachers have a list of recommended books which they consider to be essential reading for their students. Mr. Gammell was no exception. This article passes that list onto you. My sources are a half-dozen of Mr. Gammell's former students.

The Eyeballing Game

Darren R. Rousar   March 23, 2017

Mentioned many times on this site is that you will draw better when you have an accurate eye; that learning to draw is actually learning to see. To help you with the process, in early 2016 I wrote an ebook, titled An Accurate Eye. Recently brought to my attention is an online eye accuracy trainer: The Eyeballing Game, that nicely supplements the book's exercises.

The World of Light and the World of Shadow

Darren R. Rousar   March 8, 2017

Depending upon how deep you want to go, the principles of light and shade can be quite complex. Nonetheless, everything hinges on the fact that light travels in a straight line. Upon hitting a surface light also reflects back in a straight line. How much of that light reflects back to your eye is dependent upon whether the surface is in the world of light or in the world of shadow.

Flat As A Hat

Darren R. Rousar   January 25, 2017

Keep your shadows flat, flat as a hat, flatter than that, is a saying of which Mr. Gammell was quite fond. At first glance it might seem like nonsense, but that assumption would be incorrect. Flat shadows are integral to creating the illusion of depth.

The Farthest Back Straggler

Darren R. Rousar   January 11, 2017

After spending enough time on this site, or at an atelier that comes down through R. H. Ives Gammell, you will soon notice phrases like, the big-look and piecemeal seeing. The former is always deemed to be good and the latter, bad. The surest way to avoid the bad and pursue the good is to work on the farthest back straggler first.


Darren R. Rousar   December 28, 2016

Of all the ways we have to check the accuracy of a guess for the placements of a shape's salient points, triangulation is the most effective. It is an important concept to understand, whether you are Sight-Sizing at life-size, or not, for it allows you to plot all the salient points on your source in a relationally accurate way.

How Will You Proceed Mr. Sargent?

Darren R. Rousar   December 14, 2016

In 1905 John Singer Sargent was commissioned to paint the portrait of Joseph Pulitzer. The sittings would take place in Sargent's Tite Street studio in London. By this time in his career, Sargent had tired of portraiture. To make matters worse, Pulitzer was irascible. He was also blind.