The Sight-Size Cast
You Can Learn How To Draw What You See
Even if you cannot attend an atelier.
Drawing begins with seeing.
Learning how to accurately see, as well as draw, is best done through Sight-Size cast drawing. Ateliers exist worldwide to help you do that. But what if you cannot afford atelier training, or there is not an atelier nearby? Or, perhaps you are already in an atelier and would like to supplement that training?
You can learn how to see through Sight-Size, or enhance what you already know with Darren R. Rousar's book The Sight-Size Cast.
If you have searched high and low for a way to learn Sight-Size, your search is over. Darren R. Rousar is a master teacher and made the whole process so simple and easy that we were amazed we had ever struggled.
Sight-Size is an arrangement of the artist, their subject and their artwork that allows the artist to see the subject and artwork visually one-to-one. There is no scaling up or down between what you see and what you draw. For the student, Sight-Size is truly "draw what you see." Of course, once you can accurately draw what you see you can scale at will if you choose to do so.
Historically, Sight-Size was primarily used for portraiture although its documented use in teaching goes back almost two centuries. Drawing plaster casts in Sight-Size is the traditional starting point for that teaching. Although nothing can replace direct atelier training, The Sight-Size Cast presents, as closely as is possible, the same instruction you would receive in an atelier.
Master To Student
The Sight-Size Cast follows the same teaching given by the noted American artist and teacher R. H. Ives Gammell, as well as many of his students. Among them were two of my own teachers, Richard F. Lack (who originally coined the term Classical Realism), and Charles H. Cecil (who has run an atelier is Florence since 1983).
R. H. Ives Gammell (1893-1981) critiquing a portrait being painted by Allan R. Banks. Photograph courtesy of Allan R. Banks.
Richard F. Lack (1928-2009) working on a cast drawing.
Photograph courtesy of the Lack Estate.
Guess, Then Check
To learn to accurately see, you must first guess at the placements of the shapes of your subject and then confirm those guesses with a standard of measure. Often, that standard is a plumb-line. After thousands of these guesses and checks, your eye will become accurate. A similar process takes place for value, edge, and color accuracy.
In The Sight-Size Cast you will be taught the same sequence, along with numerous other ways to confirm your guesses in order to train your eye.
The Sight-Size Cast by Darren R. Rousar is an exhaustive and detailed book, useful for everyone who looks to better understand the uses of Sight-Size as related to drawing and painting. It is a must read textbook for reference today and for future generations.
Allan R. Banks, Painter. Studied with Richard Lack and R. H. Ives Gammell.
Darren R. Rousar’s real achievement with The Sight-Size Cast is his clearly explained and beautifully illustrated step-by-step exposition of the Sight-Size process. Not only is this a wonderful reference for aspiring students, but also for anyone who would like to add to their craft a better understanding of foundational artistic seeing. From technical procedures and tools to history and philosophy, it is all here.
Kirk Richards is an artist, author and teacher from Amarillo, TX who learned Sight-Size during his studies with Richard Lack from 1976-80.
For centuries, students began their studies by drawing and painting from antique casts. They learned to see the outside shape and the edge of the shadow and how to model half tones and turn edges - essential skills for any realist artist. Darren R. Rousar does a remarkable job of explaining and illustrating in great detail how students today may learn these skills. I heartily endorse this book!
Richard Whitney, PhD.H, Artist and author. Studied with Sid Willis and R. H. Ives Gammell.
The Sight-Size Cast In Three Parts
The Sight-Size Cast contains three parts.
- Part I is focused on the definitions, history, and philosophy of Sight-Size.
- Part II is a complete rewrite and expansion of my previous book, Cast Drawing Using The Sight-Size Approach. In it you will learn how to see and draw through two different cast projects.
- Part III is a complete rewrite and expansion of my second book, Cast Painting Using The Sight-Size Approach.
- The book’s end matter contains various appendices and a glossary.
Part I Chapters
- Sight-Size Defined
- The Only Cure For Measuring
- The Visual Impression
- The Ideal Plaster Cast
- To See Or To Know
Part II Chapters
- Drawing From The Flat
- Cast Drawing Setup
- Cast Drawing Materials
- The Art Of Starts
- The Block-In
- The Power Of Judgement
- Make It More Like
- Darkest Dark And Lightest Light
- Lost And Found
- Is It Finished?
Part III Chapters
- First Things
- Cast Painting Materials
- Drawing For Painting
- The Lay-In
- Coming Out Of The Fog
- A Complete Impression
- The Cast In Color
Darren R. Rousar provides helpful tips that only an active, involved teacher can provide. It's clear he has worked with students who tackle the problems he addresses when learning to see values and shapes correctly. Each problem is addressed with a solution, helpful tips and encouraging advice.
Where can I learn more about the author?
You can read up about Darren here.
What is Sight-Size again?
Sight-Size is an arrangement of the artist, their subject and their artwork that allows the artist to see the subject and artwork visually one-to-one. This is what makes the comparison so direct.
Do I really need to attend an atelier?
If at all possible, yes. Direction from someone with a trained eye will always be best. But you can go it alone. It will simply take more time. The Sight-Size Cast should help mitigate most missteps.
I already attend an atelier. Will The Sight-Size Cast be of any help?
Unquestionably yes! Even if your atelier is not teaching you Sight-Size, learning to see in this manner will help. Once your eye is trained, other approaches to drawing become much more interesting.
What if I have other questions?
I am always willing to answer questions. You may contact me here.
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