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.
It is wry important that the student of drawing shall understand in the beginning that a very large part of his education consists in learning to see correctly. The power to see correctly and the manual skill to put down with accuracy what he sees these he must acquire simultaneously. It is usually difficult at first to convince people that they do not naturally and without training see correctly. It is true that there is formed in every normal eye the same image of an object if it-is seen from the same position, but as minds differ in capacity and training, so will they perceive differently whatever is thrown upon the retina or mirror of the eye.
It is a matter of common observation that no two people agree in their description of an object, and where events are taking place rapidly in front of the eyes, as in a football game,one person with what we call quick perceptions, will see much more than another whose mind works more slowly; yet the same images were formed in the eyes of each. The person who understands the game sees infinitely more of its workings than one who does not, because he knows what to look for; and to draw with skill one must also know what to look for. Many people who have not studied drawing say they see the top of a circular table as a perfect circle in whatever position the eye may be in regard to the table. Others see a white water lily as pure white in color, whether it is in the subdued light of an interior or in full sunlight out of doors. In questions of color it, is a matter of much study, even with persons of artistic gifts and training, to see that objects of one color appear under certain conditions to be quite a different color.
6. Outline, The untrained eye usually sees objects in outline filled in with their local color, that is, the color they appear to be when examined near the eye without strong light or shade thrown upon them. One of the first things the student has to learn is that there are no outlines in nature. Objects are distinguished from each other not by outlines but by planes of light and dark and color. Occasionally a plane of dark will be so narrow-that it can only be represented by a line, but that does not refute the statement that outlines do not exist in nature. Very often only one part of an object will be detached from its surroundings. Some of its masses of light may fuse with the light parts of other forms or its shadows with surrounding shadows. If enough of the form is revealed to identify it, the eye unconsciously supplies the shapes which are not seen, and is satisfied. The beginner in drawing is usually not satisfied to represent it so, but draws definitely forms which he does not see simply because he knows they are there. Obviously then it is necessary to learn what we do not see as well as what we do.
7. Although there are no outlines in nature, most planes of light and shade have definite shapes which serve to explain the form of objects and these shapes all have contours, edges or boundaries where one tone stops and another begins. As the history of drawing shows, it has always been a convention of early and primitive races to represent these contours of objects by lines, omitting effects of light and shade. To most people to-day the outline of an object is its most important element-that by which it is must easily identified-and for a large class of explanatory drawings outlines without light and shade are sufficient. By varying the width and the tone of the outline it is even possible to suggest the solidity of forms and something of the play of light and shade and of texture.
8. Since, in order to represent light and shade, it is necessary to set off definite boundaries or areas and give them their proper size and contour, it follows that the study of outline may very well be considered a, simple way of learning to draw, and a drawing in outline as one step in the production of the fully developed work in light and shade. An outline drawing is the simplest one which can be made, and by eliminating all questions of light and shade the student can concentrate all his effort on representing contours and proportions correctly. But he should always bear in mind that his drawing is a convention, that it is not as he actually sees nature, and that it can but imperfectly convey impressions of the surfaces, quality and textures of objects.
9. It is often asserted that whoever can learn to write can learn to draw, but one may go further and assert that writing is drawing. Every letter in a written word is a drawing from mem-ory of that letter. So that it may be assumed that every one who can write already knows something of drawing in outline, which is one reason why instruction in drawing may logically begin with the study of outline.
Some good teachers advocate the immediate study of light and shade, arguing that since objects in nature are not bounded by lines to represent them so it is not only false but teaches the student to see in Lines instead of thinking of the solidity of objects. But these arguments are not sufficient to overbalance those in favor of beginning with outline, especially in a course planned for architectural students to whom expression in outline is of the first importance.