t of view of an outline to which has been added light and shade, &c.
But unless both points of view are studied, the student's work will be incomplete. If form be studied only from the outline point of view, and what have been called sculptor's drawings alone attempted, the student will lack knowledge of the tone and atmosphere that always envelop form in nature. And also he will be poorly equipped when he comes to exchange the pencil for a brush and endeavours to express himself in paint.
And if his studies be only from the mass point of view, the training of his eye to the accurate observation of all the subtleties of contours and the construction of form will be neglected. And he will not understand the mental form stimulus that the direction and swing of a brush stroke can give. These and many things connected with expression can best be studied in line work.
Let the student therefore begin on the principles adopted in most schools, with outline studies of simple casts or models, and gradually add light and shade. When he has acquired more proficiency he may approach drawing from the life. This is sufficiently well done in the numerous schools of art that now exist all over the country. But, at the same time (and this, as far as I know, is not done anywhere), the student should begin some simple form of mass drawing in paint, simple exercises, 83as is explained later in the chapter on Mass Drawing, Practical, being at first attempted and criticised solely from the point of view of tone values.
Diagram II. SHOWING WHERE SQUARENESSES MAY BE LOOKED FOR IN THE DRAWING ON THE OPPOSITE PAGE
Diagram II.
SHOWING WHERE SQUARENESSES MAY BE LOOKED FOR IN THE DRAWING ON THE OPPOSITE PAGE
Plate XVI. STUDY BY RUBENS FROM THE COLLECTION OF CHARLES RICKETTS AND CHARLES SHANNON A splendid example of Rubens' love of rich, full forms. Compare with the diagram opposite, and note the flatnesses that give strength to the forms.
Plate XVI.
STUDY BY RUBENS FROM THE COLLECTION OF CHARLES RICKETTS AND CHARLES SHANNON
A splendid example of Rubens' love of rich, full forms. Compare with the diagram opposite, and note the flatnesses that give strength to the forms.
From lack of this elementary tone study, the student, when he approaches painting for the first time, with only his outline and light and shade knowledge, is entirely at sea. With brushes and paint he is presented with a problem of form expressions entirely new. And he usually begins to flounder about, using his paint as much like chalk on paper as possible. And timid of losing his outlines, he fears to put down a mass, as he has no knowledge of reducing appearances to a structure of tone masses or planes.
I would suggest, therefore, that the student should study simultaneously from these two points of view, beginning with their most extreme positions, that is, bare outline on the one side and on the other side tone masses criticised for their accuracy of values only in the first instance. As he advances, the one study will help the other. The line work will help the accuracy with which he observes the shapes of masses, and when he comes to light and shade his knowledge of tone values will help him here. United at last, when complete light and shade has been added to his outline drawings and to his mass drawing an intimate knowledge of form, the results will approximate and the two paths will meet. But if the qualities appertaining to either point of view are not studied separately, the result is confusion and the "muddling through" method so common in our schools of art.
84
VIII
LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL
Seeing that the first condition of your drawing is that it has to be made on a flat surface, no matter whether it is to be in line or mass you intend to draw, it is obvious that appearances must be reduced to terms of a flat surface before they can be expressed on paper. And this is the first difficulty that confronts the student in attempting to draw a solid object. He has so acquired the habit of perceiving the solidity of things, as was explained in an earlier chapter, that no little difficulty will be experienced in accurately seeing them as a flat picture.
Observing Solids as a Flat copy.
As it is only from one point of view that things can be drawn, and as we have two eyes, therefore two points of view, the closing of one eye will be helpful at first.
The simplest and most mechanical way of observing things as a flat subject is to have a piece of cardboard with a rectangular hole cut out of the middle, and also pieces of cotton threaded through it in such a manner that they make a pattern of squares across the opening, as in the accompanying sketch. To make such a frame, get a piece of stiff cardboard, about 12 inches by 9 inches, and cut a rectangular hole in the centre, 7 inches by 5 inches, as in Diagram III. Now mark off the inches on 85all sides of the opening, and taking some black thread, pass it through the point A with a needle (fixing the end at this point with sealing-wax), and across the opening to the corresponding point on the opposite side. Take it along to the next point, as shown by the dotted line, and pass it through and across the opening again, and so on, until B is reached, when the thread should be held by some sealing-wax quite taut everywhere. Do the same for the other side. This frame should be held between the eye and the object to be drawn 86(one eye being closed) in a perfectly vertical position, and with the rectangular sides of the opening vertical and horizontal. The object can then be observed as a flat copy. The trellis of cotton will greatly help the student in seeing the subject to be drawn in two dimensions, and this is the first technical difficulty the young draughtsman has to overcome. It is useful also in training the eye to see the proportions of different parts one to another, the squares of equal size giving one a unit of measurement by which all parts can be scaled.
Diagram III. A DEVICE FOR ENABLING STUDENTS TO OBSERVE APPEARANCES AS A FLAT SUBJECT
Diagram III.
A DEVICE FOR ENABLING STUDENTS TO OBSERVE APPEARANCES AS A FLAT SUBJECT
Fixing Positions of Salient Points
Vertical and horizontal lines are also of the utmost importance in that first consideration for setting out a drawing, namely the fixing of salient points, and getting their relative Positions. Fig. Z, on page 87 [Transcribers Note: Diagram IV], will illustrate what is meant. Let A B C D E be assumed to be points of some importance in an object you wish to draw. Unaided, the placing of these points would be a matter of considerable difficulty. But if you assume a vertical line drawn from A, the positions of B, C, D, and E can be observed in relation to it by noting the height and length of horizontal lines drawn from them to this vertical line. This vertical can be drawn by holding a plumb line at arm's length (closing one eye, of course) and bringing it to a position where it will cover the point A on your subject. The position of the other points on either side of this vertical line can then be observed. Or a knitting-needle can be held vertically before you at arm's length, giving you a line passing through point A. The advantage of the needle is that comparative measurements can be taken with it.
87
Diagram IV. SHOWING THREE PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION USED IN OBSERVING FIG. X, MASSES; FIG. Y, CURVES; FIG. Z, POSITION OF POINTS
Diagram IV.
SHOWING THREE PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION USED IN OBSERVING FIG. X, MASSES; FIG. Y, CURVES; FIG. Z, POSITION OF POINTS
88In measuring comparative distances the needle should always be held at arm's length and the eye kept in one position during the operation; and, whether held vertically or horizontally, always kept in a vertical plane, that is, either straight up and down, or across at right angles to the line of your vision. If these things are not carefully observed, your comparisons will not be true. The method employed is to run the thumb-nail up the needle until the distance from the point so reached to the top exactly corresponds with the distance on the object you wish to measure. Having this carefully noted on your needle, without moving the position of your eye, you can move your outstretched arm and compare it with other distances on the object. It is never advisable to compare other than vertical and horizontal measurements. In our diagram the points were drawn at random and do not come in any obvious mathematical relationship, and this is the usual circumstance in nature. But point C will be found to be a little above the half, and point D a little less than a third of the way up the vertical line. How much above the half and less than the third will have to be observed by eye and a corresponding amount allowed in setting out your drawing. In the horizontal distances, B will be found to be one-fourth the distance from X to the height of C on the right of our vertical line, and C a little more than this distance to the left, while the distance on the right of D is a little less than one-fifth of the whole height. The height of B is so near the top as to be best judged by eye, and its distance to the right is the same as B. These measurements are never to be taken as absolutely accurate, but are a great help to beginners in training 89 the eye, and are at times useful in every artist's work.
Plate XVII. DEMONSTRATION DRAWING MADE BEFORE THE STUDENTS OF THE GOLDSMITHS COLLEGE SCHOOL OF ART Illustrating how different directions of lines can help expression of form.
Plate XVII.
DEMONSTRATION DRAWING MADE BEFORE THE STUDENTS OF THE GOLDSMITHS COLLEGE SCHOOL OF ART
Illustrating how different directions of lines can help expression of form.
It is useful if one can establish a unit of measurement, some conspicuous distance that does not vary in the object (if a living model a great many distances will be constantly varying), and with