IN THE preceding chapters the greater part of our space has been devoted to describing methods of sketching or rendering the small type of building such as the average student or draftsman usually desires to draw, so although much that has been contained in them relates also to such larger subjects as office buildings, hotels, theatres, churches and the like, it seems wise to offer some suggestions which apply especially to their handling, supplementing these with a few additional facts not yet discussed in this volume applicable to the treatment of both small and large structures.
When a proposed building of such magnitude as a hotel or court house or railway station is to be represented in perspective there are many architects and clients who prefer to see it done in water color or wash, or, if the drawing is to be reproduced, pen-and-ink is popular because of the ease of getting a good reproduction at comparatively low cost. Pencil, then, is perhaps less in demand as a medium for large subjects than it is for smaller ones, but there is, nevertheless, enough call for it to make its study essential. It should be borne in mind also that the pencil plays a most important part in laying out subjects to be rendered in water color, pen and ink and other mediums, - in fact it is difficult indeed to make an excellent color rendering unless the instrumental pencilling has been very carefully prepared, and it is quite an art to do this well, for certain profiles, lines of division between light and shade, etc.. are often best if accented or strengthened, while subordination is necessary in some other parts. When such a layout is complete and before the color is applied, free-hand pencil lines are often added to indicate the brick courses, etc., a texture being thus obtained which could not be gained with the brush alone. Even for a pen drawing where the pencil layout simply serves as a guide for the ink lines it must be prepared with care, though no great attention need be given to the neatness of the draftsmanship as the lines will be erased or obliterated as the pen work progresses.
It is not this pencil preparation for rendering in other mediums which especially interests us at this time, however, but rather the free hand completion of a pencil rendering after the instrumental layout has been made. Just a word first, though, regarding this layout. To begin with, it is of course necessary to select such a paper or board as is known to be satisfactory for the free-hand pencil work, - then in drawing the instrumental lines it is best to use a hard enough pencil to permit later cleaning of the paper with a soft eraser without entirely effacing them, a 2H or 3H answering very well for such a purpose, the choice depending, of course, on the nature of the paper, too hard a pencil or too much pressure forming such deep grooves as to mar the perfection of the finished work or especially those parts of it which are to remain the tone of the paper itself, whereas too soft a pencil will leave hardly enough of a guide to be easily followed after the paper is cleaned. This layout, although it must be accurate, need not be quite so carefully drawn or at least so fully completed as would be necessary for wash or color work, unless, as is sometimes the case, part of the lines are to be left in the finished rendering, - then, of course, extreme care is essential.
Once the layout has been completed it is advisable for the student to make, just as for smaller work, a preliminary study or two, as a means of deciding the values and working out a pleasing composition of the surroundings, - in fact because of the amount of time and labor involved in making a large rendering such preliminaries are even more essential than for smaller problems, and an hour or two spent making them will usually result not only in the saving of several hours in the end but at the same time in better work. (It seems hard, however, to impress this fact on students, who therefore waste much time trying to render without any definite plan in mind). Such studies are usually made on tracing paper directly over the layout and the best selected and saved as a guide for completing the drawing. On work of such magnitude a diminishing glass is often of help in making both the layout and the final as it is possible by its use to reduce the whole to a size easily seen without shifting the eye. Setting the drawing away at a distance of several feet will accomplish the same result.
If the preliminary sketch is well done it will be possible for the student in starting the finished rendering to begin at the top of the sheet and work down, completing the drawing as he goes, with the exception of a few final touches which will probably be necessary at the last moment. In order to do this successfully, however, the preliminary must be carefully worked out, special care being taken to see that there is a center of interest for the entire composition and that unity and balance are obtained, for it is generally true that the larger and more complicated the subject the more likely the student is to be led into overaccenting relatively unimportant parts. As soon as this sketch is completed and "fixed" for preservation the rendering of the final is started, pencils of several grades being prepared beforehand as described in a previous article. Beginning at the top, then, and working as a rule from left to right, a strip an inch or two in height can be completed at one time, - for instance if a balustrade forms the crowning feature of a building this and the cornice beneath might be finished first, - next the upper story, - then the story below and so on down until the street is reached, adding the surroundings as the rest progresses or completing them after the building itself is finished. Finally it may be necessary to go back to touch up here and there, as has just been mentioned above, adding a bit of tone in one place, lifting a little in another, until the results are satisfactory. Some teachers and artists would doubtless criticise this method as not being conducive to the best results but it at least offers the great advantage of reducing the difficulty of keeping the drawing crisp and clean, which means much to the architect, who takes little pleasure in smeared or soiled drawings. Perhaps a more logical method, however, would be to render at the center of interest first as has been mentioned in a former discussion of smaller problems, gradually carrying the work towards the edges, thus building up the entire drawing as a unit, going back over the different parts as often as may prove necessary, to change them or correct them. Whatever method is followed, however, perseverance is the one thing most needed. There seem to be many draftsmen willing to attempt to render comparatively small subjects and who succeed with them nicely yet who shun such buildings as we are considering here, though mere size seldom brings difficulties greater than are found in work of less magnitude, and so should not cause one to refrain from attempting to represent them, - in fact small residences with their irregular plans, sloping roofs, numerous chimneys and the like, to say nothing of their variety of building materials, are often far more difficult in proportion to their size than are the bigger structures. Again, the smaller the building as a general rule the larger the scale at which it is drawn, simple residences being sometimes done, for instance, at a scale of 3/8" or 1/2" to the foot and seldom at less than 1/4" , whereas larger buildings are more often 1/8" or 3/32", thus reducing such details as windows to a size too small to require much labor. Of course the greater mass of a big building does make necessary the expenditure of more time and patience than are usually demanded by one which is small, because of the mere effort needed to cover the extensive area of paper, and some such complicated subjects as Gothic cathedrals doubtless call for more skill as well. It is usually lack of persistency rather than lack of skill, however, that causes the failures among attempted renderings of large subjects, though it is nevertheless true, paradoxical though it may seem, that those renderings which are completed by students or draftsmen attempting large subjects for the first time, often show as their greatest fault overstudy rather than lack of study and too much detail rather than too little. Too often every window is indicated with painful precision, while not a brick or stone course is slighted or omitted. Though such conscientiousness about the detail is frequently found, too little attention is given as a rule to the study of the effect as a whole, - it is for this reason that we are laying such stress on the importance of the preliminary study.