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.
A drawing is a statement of certain facts or truths by means of lines and tones. It is nothing more or less than an explanation. The best drawings are those in which the statement is most direct and simple; those in which the explanation is the clearest and the least confused by the introduction of irrelevant details,
A drawing never attempts to tell all the facts about the form depicted, and each person who makes a drawing selects not only the leading truths, but also includes those characteristics which appeal to him as an individual. The result is that no two people make drawings of the same subject exactly alike. 3. The Eye and the Camera. The question immediately arises:Why should we not draw all that we see; tell all that we know about our subject? Since the photograph does represent, with the exception of color, all that we see and even more, another question is raised: What is the essential difference between a photograph of an object and a drawing of an object '. These are which bring us dangerously near the endless region of the philosphy of fine arts. Stated simply and broadly, art is a refuge invented by man as an escape from the innumerable and bewildering details of nature which weary the eye and mind when we attempt to grasp and comprehend them. Without going into an explanation of the differences in struct-ure between the lens of a camera and the lens of the eye, it may be accepted as a general statement that in spite of apparent errors of distortion the photograph gives us an exact reproduction of nature. Every minutest detail, every shadow of a shade, is presented as being of equal importance and interest, and it is easy to demonstrate that the camera Bees much more detail than the human eye. In any good photograph of an interior the patterns on the walls and hangings, the carving and even the grain and texture of woods are all presented with equal clearness. In order to perceive any one of those details as clearly with the eye it would be necessary to Focus the eye on that particular point, and while so focused all the other details of the room would appear blurred. The camera. on the contrary, while focused at one point sees all the others with almost equal clearness. This fact alone is enough to demonstrate the danger of assuming that the photograph is true to the facts of vision. Again, a photograph .of an antique statue will exaggerate the im-portance of the weather stains and disfigurements at the expense of the subtle modelling of the muscular parts which the eye would instinctively perceive fir Nature, then, and the photograph from nature, is a bewildering mass of detail.The artist is the man of trained perceptions who, by eliminating superfluous detail and grasping and presenting only the essential characteristics, produces a drawing in which we see the object in a simplified but nevertheless beautiful form.
In looking at the drawing we become conscious of the subject and its principal attributes; we comprehend and realize these with far less effort of the mind and eye than we should expend in taking in and comprehending the real object or a photograph of it. Compared to nature it is more restful and more easily understood, and the ease with which it is comprehended constitutes, the psycholo--is say, a large part of the pleasure we take in art; it certainly explains why we enjoy a drawing of an object when we may take no pleasure in the object itself, or a photograph of it.