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.
Drawings may be made in " black and white" or in color. A black and white drawing is one in which there is no color and is made by using pencil, charcoal, crayon or paint which produces different tones of gray ranging from black to white.
The pencil is the natural medium of the architect and the materials for pencil drawing are very inexpensive and require little time for their preparation and care. Drawings in pencil are very easily changed and corrected if necessary. All the required plates for this course are to be executed in pencil.
The pencil will make a drawing with any degree of finish ranging from a rough outline sketch to the representation of all the light and shade of a complicated subject. In addition it is the easiest of all mediums to handle. Students are sometimes led to think that it is more artistic to draw in charcoal crayon or pen and ink- It may be that an additional interest is aroused in some students by working in these materials, but the beginner must assure himself at once that artistic merit lies wholly in the result and not at all in the material in which the work is executed.
Pencils are made in varying degrees of hardness. The softest is marked BBBBBB or 6B; 5B is slightly less soft and they increase in hardness through the following grades: 4B, 3B, 2B, B, IIB, F, H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H. A pencil should mark smoothly and be entirely free from grit. The presence of grit is easily recognized by the scratching of the pencil on the paper and by the unevenness in the width and tone of the line. The leads of the softer pencils are the weaker and are more easily broken. They give off their color the most freely and produce blackest lines. What hardness of pencils one should use depends upon a number of considerations, one of the most important being the quality of paper upon which the drawing is made.
Quick effects of light and shade can be best produced by the use of soft pencils because they give off the color so freely and the strokes blend so easily into flat tones.
A medium or hard pencil is necessary when a drawing is to be small in size and is intended to express details of form and construction rather than masses of light and shade. This is because the lines made by hard pencils are finer, and more clean and crisp than can be obtained by using soft grades. The smaller the drawing, the more expression of detail desired, the harder the pencil should be; a good general rule for all quick studies of effects of light and shade is to use as soft a pencil as is consistent with the size of the drawing and the surface of the paper. Beginners, however, are obliged to make many trial lines to obtain correct proportions, and in that way produce construction lines so heavy that the eraser required to remove them leaves the paper in a damaged condition. Until the student can draw fairly well he should begin every piece of work with a medium pencil and take care to make very light lines and especially to avoid indenting the paper.
It should be understood that pencil drawings ought never to he very large. There should always be a proportional relation between the size of a drawing and the medium which produces it. The point of a pencil is so small that to make a large drawing with it consumes a disproportionate amount of time. For large drawings, especially such showing light and shade, crayon or charcoal are the proper materials for they can be made to cover a, large surface in a very short time. The larger the area, to be covered the larger should be the point and the line producing it.
Special pencils with large leads can be obtained for making large pencil drawings 11. Paper. In general the firmer the surface of the paper the harder the pencil one can use on it. For a medium or hard pencil the paper should be tough and rather smooth but never glazed. Many very cheap grades of paper, for example that on which newspapers are printed, take the pencil very well but have not a sufficiently tough surface to allow the use of the eraser. They are excellent for rapid sketches made very directly without alterations.
Paper for effects of light and shade should be soft and smooth. For this work the cheaper grades of paper are often more suitable than the expensive sorts. Paper with a rough surface should always be avoided in pencil drawings, as it gives a disagreeable "wooly" texture to the lines.
Any hard and fast rules for the proper use of the pencil would be out of place, but until the student has worked out for himself the ways which are the easiest and for him he cannot do better than adopt the following suggestions, which will certainly aid him in using the pencil with effect dexterity.
The most important points in drawing are to be accurate and at the same time direct and free. Of course, accuracy-the ability to set down things in their right proportions-is indispensable; but the abilty to do this in the most straightforward way without constraint, fumbling, and erasures is also necessary. Art has been defined as the doing of any one thing supremely well.
The pencil should be held lightly between the thumb and forefinger three or four inches from the point, supported by the middle finger, with hand turned somewhat on its side.
There are three ways in which it is possible to move the pencil; with the fingers, the wrist, or the arm. Most people find it convenient to use the linger movement for drawing short, vertical lines. In order to produce a long line by this movement it is only necessary to make a succession of short lines with the ends touch-each other but not overlapping, or by leaving the smallest pos-ihle space between the end of one line and the beginning of the next. The wrist movement produces a longer line and is used naturally to make horizontal lines. For a very long sweep of line the movement of the arm from the shoulder is necessary. This is, perhaps, the most difficult way of drawing for the beginner, but it affords the greatest freedom and sweep, and many teachers consider it the only proper method.
The draughtsman should sit upright and not bend over his drawing, as that cramps the work and leads him to look, while working, at only a small portion of his drawing instead of comprehending the whole at a glance.
The surface to receive the drawing must be held at right angles to the direction in which it is seen, otherwise the drawing will be distorted by the foreshortening of the surface. A rectangular surface such as a sheet of paper is at right angles to the direction in which it is seen when all four corners are equally distant from the eye. A fairly accurate test may be made in the following manner: Locate the center of the paper by drawing the diagonals. Flat against this point place the unsharpened end of a pencil. Tip the surface until the length of the pencil disappears and only the point and sharpened end are visible, then the surface will be at right angles to a line drawn from the eye to its center. The pencil represents this line for a part of the distance because if properly held it is at right angles to the surface.