This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Many draftsmen who are strong in drawing, are very weak in color work. The reason for this is, in most cases, that the colors are not fresh, that the brush is too dry, and that the color values are not correct. Fresh crisp color is most important. To get this it is necessary to start with a clean color box, clean brushes, and clean paints. The colors should be moist and not dry and hard.
Tube and Pan Colors. After having acquired some facility in the use of colors, tube colors are the best to use, although they are somewhat more wasteful than pan colors. They are less likely to harden and dry up and are not more expensive. The colors in the tubes can be squeezed out on the palette as needed, and if this is done fresh bright effects are obtained. For the beginner, however, pan colors are recommeded, as they are more easy to handle. Fig. 18 shows a japanned tin box for pan colors, Fig. 19 shows a pan color, and Fig. 20 a tube color.
Showing Difference in Rendering Stone and Metal.
Fig. 18. Box for Pan Colors.
List of Colors: The following list of colors will make a very good palette:
Cadmium Indian Yellow Lemon Yellow Gallstone Yellow Ochre
Orange Vermilion Carmine Light Red Burnt Sienna Warm Sepia
Cobalt Blue New Blue Prussian Blue Paine's Gray
Emerald Green Hooker's Green
The colors printed in italics are clear colors which will give clear even washes. The others will settle out, the color settling into the pores of the paper producing many small spots. This effect is often desirable,, giving a texture which cannot be obtained with the clear colors.
Fig. 19. Pan Color.
Fig. 20. Tube Color.
For use in the offices, India ink, Chinese white, gallstone, carmine and indigo will be found very convenient. The latter three are convenient forms of the three primary colors to use with India ink in rendering. Many draftsmen use these alone.
Manipulation. The washed-out look of many of the color sketches seen in architectural exhibitions is very noticeable. The sketches lack strength and crispness.
Color properly applied should be put on boldly in broad simple washes without fear of too much color. Remember that colors when dry are much lighter than when in a moist state. Use plenty of clear water in the brush. Do not go over one wash with another before the first is entirely dry. This is particularly true where a deeper tone is to be put over a lighter one. In broad sky washes where there is a great deal of paper to be covered, dampen the surface well first with a small sponge, then with a large brush and bold yet light quick strokes put in the sky.
Brushes and Paper. A small brush with a good point is necessary for "drawing in " and for detail. A bristle brush is very useful to remove color and to soften hard lines. Chinese brushes are very good, as they hold a great deal of color and at the same time have a good point.
If an edge shows a hard line, this can be softened by dipping the bristle brush into clean water and rubbing the point lightly over the edge that is too hard, sopping up the water at frequent intervals with a clean blotter. It is important that plenty of clean water should be used and that the water be taken up with a blotter very often.
When a "high light" is lost, and a bristle brush does not take out enough color, the "high light" may be put in with Chinese white, mixing it with a little of the color of the material. Look at your subject broadly and do not try to put in too many details. Whatman's hot pressed 70- or 90-lb. paper is good to use. The hot pressed paper, which has a smooth surface, takes the color better than the rough surfaced or cold pressed paper, but the cold pressed has more texture and gives better atmospheric effects.
Combination of Color. For the inexperienced a few hints as to what combinations of color to use may be helpful. It must always be remembered that the colors must be clean to get fresh bright effects.
A simple blue sky: Prussian Blue, Antwerp Blue or Cobalt Blue. Clouds: Light Red. For the distance use lighter tones with the addition of a little Emerald Green or Carmine. Dark part of clouds: Light Red and New Blue. Roads and pathways in sunlight: Yellow Ochre and Light Red with a little New Blue to gray it. Cast shadows: Cobalt and Light Red or Carmine with a little green added. Grass in sunlight: Lemon Yellow and Emerald or Hooker's Green; or Indian Yellow and Emerald Green. Grass in shadow: Prussian Blue and Indian Red; or Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna. Aurora Yellow and Prussian Blue gives a green color similar to Emerald. For gray roofs in sunlight: Light Red and New Blue.
Primary, Secondary and Complementary Colors. The combination of colors may be learned by means of the diagram, Fig. 21, which will assist the student greatly in his water color work. The three primary colors are yellow, red and blue. The combination of any two of these will give a secondary color - orange, purple or green. Two colors are called complementary colors if the one is composed of two of the primary colors and the other one is the third primary color. Thus, green, composed of the primary colors blue and yellow, has as complementary color the third primary color; i.e., red. Consulting the diagram it will be found that opposite colors are complementary colors; i.e., blue and orange, red and green, yellow and purple. If two complementary colors arc put alongside of one another, each color will look brighter alongside the other than if placed by itself; this is due to the law of contrasts. Thus, the same green if placed alongside red, will look greener than when by itself, and the same holds good for the red. If complementary colors are mixed together you get a softer color, a gray and sometimes muddy effect. If blue, red and yellow are mixed together in the right proportion a soft gray is obtained
Fig. 21. Diagram of Colors.
Water Color Rendering. Where colors are used for architectural drawings they should be mixed fresh, if clear tints are wanted, but in places where it is desired to have certain effects obtained by allowing color to settle, tints that have stood some time may be used. Especially is this true for plans, where the color is allowed to settle in putting in grass, trees, statues, etc. When it is desired to let the color settle it is better to leave the board flat and carry the color along with the brush, leaving it until it is dry. Some draftsmen keep the board level for all their work.
Sketch elevations in pencil may be inked in or may be rendered directly in water color, the shadows being cast and various colored tints laid on to show the different materials, shadows, window openings, etc.
Sketches rendered in sepia only are very effective, putting in the lines with the pen, and rendering with light sepia washes. Elevations are usually most effective when the shadows are put in by washes that grade quickly from dark to light, brilliancy is thus obtained. It is astonishing what effects can be obtained with very faint washes. This applies especially to small scale drawings. The larger the scale of the building or detail, the stronger should be the coloring and values of light and dark.
When sections are colored the parts actually in section are outlined with a strong red line and tinted a very light pink. The colors on the wall are merely suggested.
On the plans the mosaic, furniture, etc., is often shown in a light pink. Where a statue has a prominent place it is put in in strong vermilion. Attention is called here to the fact that lettering on a plan counts as mosaic, and should be done in such a way that it will help the effect sought for, a very important point to remember in competition drawings.
The important thing to remember in rendering is to get the correct relative value of lights and darks. To do this it is necessary to have clearly in mind what the important features to be brought out are and what is the most direct way of accomplishing this; in other words, the aim should be to make as harmonious a composition as taste, talent and thought can produce.
DESIGN FOR LIVING ROOM IN RESIDENCE OF MR. H. J. ULLMAN, OAK PARK, ILL.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect, Oak Park, 111.
TWO VIEWS OF LIVING ROOM IN RESIDENCE OF MR. B. H. BRADLEY, KANKAKEE. ILL.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect, Oak Park, 111. Woodwork of Fumed Oak; Brick, Brown. Built in 1901.
Water Color Sketching. Nothing is more useful to an architectural draftsman than out-of-door sketching in colors. A water color block should be his constant companion on his Saturday half holidays, and, if possible, he should join some sketching class.
The sketches in water color may be taken from natural scenery, but the student should also make studies and color sketches from color decorations of exterior and interior of buildings.
Do not indicate too much in water color sketching, search for the big masses in shape and color values and put them in direct and simple.
A draftsman who gives his leisure time to water color sketching in summer, and to evening classes in drawing from the antique and from life in winter, will have as good a training as could be wished for in this part of his architectural career.