Figure 46 shows a number of sketches from nature such as the student should make for purposes of study, and several others showing sky treatments applied to architectural subjects. We should perhaps remind the reader, before going on, that clouds are possibly the one thing in nature least affected in appearance by man, for though he may destroy forests and alter shore lines, they continue to go their own way uninterrupted.
Now we turn to a consideration of the representation of what is perhaps the most difficult of all the architectural accessories, the human figure. It is not our purpose to discuss at any length the drawing of the individual figure, but rather to offer a few suggestions for the use of figures as they form a part of an architectural setting, and right at the start it is well to state that it is better to omit figures entirely than to draw them poorly. This should not be interpreted to mean that they must be indicated with photographic accuracy - in fact, it is often possible to suggest them satisfactorily in what seems a rather careless manner, omitting or subordinating the features and other detail, especially if the scale is small. It does mean, however, that the first impression gained when one looks at the drawing should be of professional excellence rather than of an amateurish attempt at something beyond one's capabilities. The figures should be correct in size, as they give scale to the architecture itself, and should be arranged in a natural disposition, so grouped that they aid, rather than injure, the unity and balance of the composition; considerable practice is necessary to enable one to do this well. There should be a pleasing variety, too, in their selection, using figures of men, women and children if many people are shown. Choose the number and type, also, that are appropriate to the location of the building. In picturing a railroad station, for instance, show people with suitcases or hand bags, also railroad porters and the like. When drawing an office building have business men, stenographers, postmen, telegraph messengers, etc., with most of the figures in action. At a summer hotel, on the other hand, we would find people dressed for bathing, boating, riding, tennis, golf, and other sports, or leisurely enjoying themselves dressed in appropriate summer clothes. Needless to say, fashions should be up-to-date in such a scene, but by all means avoid the unnatural people often found in the conventional "fashion drawings." Be especially careful not to have the figures too straight and stiff; this is a very common fault. Use care also not to make foreground figures so large or important that they dwarf the architecture or lead the eye from it. Occasionally people so near as to be exceptionally prominent are made slightly smaller than they would actually be, though such liberties should never be taken unless one has sufficient experience to enable him to do so to the best advantage, and a figure beside the building pictured should always be of correct size or a wrong impression of scale will be given. Too many figures spotted around carelessly will destroy balance, so, in composing, plan for the eye to be lead gradually from one group to another. It should not be inferred from this that all drawings demand a number of figures, for this is not true. Sketches of residences seldom need more than two or three at the most and are frequently made with none at all and a single person standing beside any building is enough to give scale and can be done in a very simple, conventional manner. Period costumes are sometimes used for such figures, a Colonial lady or gentleman being shown, for instance, at the door of a Colonial mansion.
Figure 47. Illustrating Certain Principles Regarding the Representation of Figures as Accessories to Architecture.
Figure 47 shows at 1 the steps sometimes gone through in drawing a figure. At A the salient points have been established, at B the outline is completed, while C gives us the finished result; D simply adds a somewhat more sketchy indication of the same person standing before a window, and serves to remind us that the technique used for figures should harmonize with that of the rest of the drawing. At 2 is a quick suggestion of men walking, while 3 and 5 show a number of action sketches, very hastily done. Sketch 4 is a bit of street scene such as might be used as a portion of a large rendering. Perfect drawing and finish is by no means necessary in this sort of work.
Vehicles, automobiles, and similar accessories require no special instructions, as catalogues and other advertising matter give many excellent illustrations which can be adapted to the work at hand. Be sure to draw them in correct perspective in relation to the buildings, and of proper size; neither should you make the mistake of showing any vehicles drawn or parked on the wrong side of the street.
Horses, dogs and other animals require as much skill to draw as do people and unless one is confident of his ability he will do well to omit them entirely or to get assistance from someone with greater dexterity.