WE HAVE already pointed out a few of the many advantages to be gained through practice in pencil sketching and rendering. It is our present purpose to further explain some of the reasons why a knowledge of such work is of value, especially to the draftsman anxious either to better his position or to build up a practice of his own, and to offer as well some practical suggestions as a help towards this end, these suggestions relating especially to the representation of the simpler sort of building such as the small house.
It should be remembered that the average client who comes to an architect's office builds but once or twice in a lifetime, and for this reason is, as a rule, entirely unfamiliar with the drawings employed in carrying on such work. The instrumental plans mean little to him, though he can read them, perhaps, so far as the general layout of the rooms is concerned, and can understand the elevation drawings if the building is simple in form, but let it be broken up into an irregular mass with numerous projections and varying roof pitches and he finds it impossible to visualize its finished appearance. This is not to be wondered at for even experienced designers and architects are sometimes surprised when they see one of their own buildings taking definite form on the site; - with all their training they are not always able to judge beforehand just how the completed work will appear in relation to its surroundings. Doubtless one of the main reasons why clients are sometimes disappointed with their buildings when finished is that they prove entirely different from what they expected them to be, for they have not really understood the architectural drawings and so have been unable to judge until too late whether or not the submitted designs were satisfactory. Unwilling to admit this inability or overconfident because of the architect's words of assurance that everything would come out all right, they have approved the designs and given word to go ahead with the work, when they actually had very little idea as to how the completed structure would appear. When such a building is finished it is only natural, then, that the client may be displeased, but if so he is much more likely to condemn the architect than to admit any error or lack of understanding on his own part.
It is largely because of this difficulty of expressing a building adequately by the plans and elevations alone, in such a way that the client will fully understand the scheme, that the practice has grown of preparing rendered perspective drawings which show in a very clear manner exactly how the completed structure will appear. Such perspectives are of value to the architect in many ways, for they not only serve as a convincing expression of the problem to the client but are of equal use in his own drafting room as a means of studying the design. In addition to this, new jobs are often brought to the office because of such renderings, submitted to some possible client frequently in competition with work from other architects. Again, when an attempt is being made to raise money to finance the erection of a new building, such a perspective, submitted along with the plans and specifications, may prove of the greatest service in obtaining the necessary loan.
These are only a few of the uses of perspective drawings, but enough to show that they are of immense value to the architect, and this being true it is only natural that there is a constant demand for draftsmen who are able, in addition to doing the usual instrumental work on plans and details, to make such renderings. Men with the skill to sketch and render well are almost certain to advance rapidly, as they soon come to the notice of their employer and are able to serve him in many important ways. First of all, when a new project is conceived many little sketches are needed as a means of study. These are usually done freehand, in pencil. Then as the design takes more definite form, accurate but simple instrumental perspectives are sometimes laid out and over these, on tracing paper, the designs are given further study, a few of the main lines being perhaps drawn instrumentally and the rest free-hand. With these designs quite definitely settled, a carefully finished drawing is often made to show the client, done instrumentally and rendered in any desired medium. After this perspective, with its accompanying plans, elevations, sections and the like has been approved and the final contract drawings started, free-hand studies are frequently made of such details as chimneys and dormers. Then, after the contract is let, another accurate rendered perspective is sometimes worked up, showing all the corrections and changes. Even while the building is being erected sketches are occasionally needed - perhaps to explain matters to the client - often to make some detail clear to a contractor or workman, or again simply as a means of giving further study to a doubtful point. It should not be supposed that so many renderings and sketches are needed for every job, for naturally everything depends on the cost and nature of the work. Often no finished perspectives are made and few sketches, on the other hand there are buildings of complex design which require, in addition to several perspectives both of the interior and exterior, many ornament drawings, including such details as carved stone or wood, wrought iron, leaded glass, etc., as well as carefully lettered inscriptions. All of these offer work for the man who can sketch and render. There are, to be sure, many professional delineators who are sometimes called upon to render the drawings of large or unusually important buildings, but there are many smaller jobs, such as suburban houses, in which the architect's fee is not sufficient to warrant the expenditure of any great sum for renderings. It is such jobs as these which usually fall to someone in the office and the man who is capable of doing them is often advanced to a position of greater responsibility with its corresponding increase in salary.