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.
Fig. 16. Nest of Saucers.
Inking the Drawing. The lines should be drawn with ground India ink, the ink being as black as possible without being too thick to flow. Ornament should be inked in with lighter lines than the vertical and horizontal lines. This accents the structural lines. Very often the outline of the ornament is drawn in a heavier line than the remainder. The width of the line
RENDERING OF ROMAN IONIC CAPITAL.
Reproduced by permission of Columbia University should vary with the scale of the drawing, the larger and bolder the drawing the wider the line.
India ink evaporates very rapidly. It should be kept covered and changed several times a day, especially in summer. After the drawing is inked it should be washed to remove the surplus ink, otherwise when the tint is applied the ink will spread. This is best done by placing it under a faucet and rubbing it very lightly with a soft sponge. If the inking has been properly done the lines will now have the appearance of a firm pencil line of a soft neutral color forming a harmonious background for the tint. The shadows should then be cast and drawn in with a hard pencil in faint lines.
Preparing the Tint. For large washes India ink should be freshly ground in a clean saucer each time it is required. In no case use the prepared India ink which conies in bottles, as this is full of sediment which settles out in streaks on the drawing. Always use the stick ink.
Rub the ink in the saucer until it is very black; then let it stand, keeping the saucer covered. This allows the sediment, which is so fatal to a clear wash, to settle. After it has settled take the ink from the top with a brush without disturbing the bottom. Put this ink into another saucer and dilute it with the necessary amount of water. Never use the ink in the saucer in which it was originally ground. In dipping the brush into the second saucer it is well to take this ink also from the surface and thus avoid stirring any sediment which may still remain in the ink. In other words, the sediment which is found in even the most carefully ground ink should never be used for washes, otherwise streaks and spots may show in the washes.
Where only a small surface is to be rendered the tint can be mixed on a piece of paper in the same manner in which it is mixed in the saucer. Thus various shades can be obtained more quickly and experiments made more easily. Skill in laying washes is only acquired by practice. However, some instruction is necessary. If, after all possible care has been taken during the drawing, such as placing paper under the hand to keep the paper from getting greasy and keeping the drawing covered to protect it from the dust, the paper has nevertheless become soiled, it should be cleaned by giving it a light sponging with a very soft sponge and perfectly clean water. Touch the surface lightly, sop on the water liberally, and dry it off immediately with a sponge or blotter without rubbing. Before washing, the paper should be cleaned by rubbing it very lightly with a soft rubber. Especial care must be taken not to injure the surface of the paper by rubbing too hard.
It may seem that all this care is unnecessary, but it is only by observing this extreme care that the skilled draftsman obtains the transparent wash and the beautiful, even, clear tints free from all streaks, which give so much charm to an India ink rendering.
Handling the Brush. Skill in handling the brush is acquired only by constant practice. The brush demands great lightness of hand. The right arm should never support the body. The arm should not rest on the drawing; only the little finger of the right hand should come in contact with the paper. The brush should be held somewhat like a pencil between the thumb and index finger, and the little finger should be very free in its movements. Touch the paper only with the point of the brush.
The brush should be well filled with the tint and care should be taken that there is practically the same amount of tint in the brush at all times. If this is not done, for example, if the brush is allowed to get too dry, one part of the wash will dry faster than the other and streaks will result.
If the brush should be too wet, the surplus moisture can be removed by touching it to blotting paper.
If the paper is too wet the surplus tint can be removed by drying the brush on blotting paper and applying it to the surplus tint which will then be rapidly absorbed by the brash. Great care must be taken not to remove too much of the tint; otherwise it will dry too fast and leave a streak.
Laying Washes. There are two kinds of washes; the clear washes used in rendering shadows, window openings, etc., and the washes in which the color is allowed to settle, the latter being used to render the grounds surrounding a building. When laying clear washes it is better to tip the board slightly so that the washes may flow slowly in the direction in which they are being carried. If the board is placed flat there is danger of the wash running back over the part that is already dry and thus forming a streak.
DORIC DOORWAY FROM ROMAN TEMPLE AT CORI, ITALY.
An example of classic lettering, conventional shadows and rendering.
Reproduced by permission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.