Here are all the art supplies you need to draw a Bargue Plate using atelier methods.
What is a Bargue Plate?
Ready to start your atelier training right this minute? This free Bargue drawing video series will teach you everything you need to know to complete your first successful drawing using a Bargue Plate.
Bargue Plates are typically the first project ateliers have students complete. The idea is to copy plates in a specific way in order to learn how artists observe and translate visual information.
The Barge Plates range from easy to difficult, and they were created with the intention that students would copy many of them in order to establish solid drawing skills.
Bargue plates teach you how to find big shapes, use repeating lines, divide light from shadow, and more.
Ready to jump in? Here is a supply list with everything you need to complete this project with the free online Bargue Plate video series.
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Strathmore 500 Paper
I suggest you get some each of the hard, medium, and soft charcoal to complete the online Bargue course as these are what is used in the demonstration.
You will need sandpaper to sharpen your charcoal to a fine point, and I have found these to be very useful for that purpose. Different students tend to prefer different grits of sandpaper. I like this grouping of sandpaper blocks because it allows you to experiment with several different grits to figure out which you like best. I often use a rougher grit in the beginning, and a finer grit to get a good point without accidentally snapping my charcoal.
I love Pro-Art tape. I think it is the best. I have tried so many different brands, but this one actually releases my paper when pulled away better than any other brand I have tried.
Do not skip this one. Skewers are a deceptively simple art supply that will change your life. It is no hardship to have many on hand because they bend and warp over time, and you are bound to lose one or two. The 16″ size is especially useful for larger drawings, but you may not need something so long for a typical Bargue Plate.
A word of warning: If you plan on using these in the art classroom, I encourage you to sand down the points!
A kneaded eraser is a must. It is so cheap, please do not skip this art supply. Nothing is more infuriating than trying to erase pencil widths with a nasty pink bulky eraser that streaks your paper.
You do not HAVE to have a drawing board, but it makes your life a whole lot easier if you do. These are simple and light and easy to tuck away when not in use. If you buy larger sizes, you can always cut them down to the proportion of your project. You can purchase just one foam core drawing board from your local craft store if you don’t think you will need this many. This article is a good reference if you are considering purchasing drawing boards for your classroom.
Again, you do not HAVE to have an easel, but it will make your life a whole lot easier when drawing a Bargue Plate for the first time. Easels keep you from looking at your paper from a skewed angle which creates distortion in your drawing.
This particular easel folds down to a very small portable size, but is pretty sturdy and solid when upright. It is the one I use in my studio and in my art classroom.
If you are looking to purchase a set of easels for your art room, check out this article on best classroom easels.
You definitely want to make sure to keep your charcoal safe after taking all the trouble to sharpen it correctly. I found that this paintbrush box does a beautiful job of keeping my charcoal tucked safely away when not in use. It will save you a few tears the first time you accidentally drop your box of freshly sharpened charcoal.
Charles Bargue Drawing Course Book
This book gives a detailed background on the history of Bargue Plates as well as beautiful reproductions of every plate. If you are serious about pursuing atelier training, working your way through drawing the plates in this book will get you far, especially if you use the method in this free online Bargue drawing course.
So, this is my must-have supply list for drawing Bargue plates. I hope this makes it easier for you to jump in and get started on your atelier journey today!
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Would you add something to this list? Let me know in the comments below.