IF ONE desires to learn to draw, let him draw and draw and draw. The author wishes that this message might remain fixed in the mind of every reader of these chapters, for even those who have had the patience to follow them through from the very first to this the concluding one, will profit little by them unless such ideas as have been acquired are put to practice before they are forgotten, as it is only by drawing over and over again until such assimilation has taken place as will enable one to make unconscious use of them, that they will prove of more than partial and transitory value.
Yet it is not enough to draw, without plan or reason, for one gets even through faithful practice far less gain than should be rightfully his, unless he follows a logical system, adopting some scheme which seems best suited to his individual requirements. For what might be logical for one might be illogical indeed for another. There are students, for instance, so imbued with earnestness and enthusiasm, so passionately fond of drawing, that they seize with avidity every hint or suggestion which is offered as an aid to the development of their talent, and who at the same time possess enough common sense to realize their own shortcomings and weaknesses and to direct their own energies to (he best advantage in their attempt to overcome them, so planning their study and practice that they move on step-by-step up a road of steady progress. Such men are also occasionally so fortunate as to have the somewhat rare ability of judging correctly the merits of their own work, being able to view it impartially from a wholly unbiased standpoint, acting as their own critics with considerable success.
Needless to say men of this type are scarce, however, the average student falling into one or another of three classes, the first including such as either underrate their own ability or are easily disheartened, the second and largest class consisting of those having a fair amount of ability and confidence coupled with a willingness to work, and with an excellent attitude towards the acceptance of instruction and criticism, the third being made up of a few such vain and self-conceited individuals as hold the egotistical opinion that their work is the acme of perfection, ignoring with thinly masked ridicule the suggestions of their instructors and fellow students, seemingly ignorant or careless of the fact that their attitude of antagonism is deterrent to their own progress.
Now the student of this first class needs a guiding hand and word of encouragement, for once he gains a reasonable amount of confidence in himself and his own ability his advancement is frequently rapid. Such a student should by all means join a class or work under a critic or patron, as otherwise he may lack the necessary incentive to inspire him to the achievement which is possible, and neither should he be discouraged by adverse criticism. Especially if one is self-conscious and supersensitive he should strive to become so thoroughly immersed in his work as to grow forgetful of self and unmindful of unfavorable comment or the gibes of the thoughtless.
Students of the second class, which includes a large percentage of all the men interested in such drawing, should put themselves under instruction also, either attending school (many night schools offer courses for those to whom day attendance is impossible) or, if no organized classes are available, gathering as a group to form a sketch club, meeting once a week or so to compare work and receive criticism from each other or, better yet, from some capable critic engaged for the purpose. Or if it seems impractical to join or form a club or class it is all the more important to work under an able teacher. As far as the architectural draftsman is concerned this should be easy, especially in the larger cities, as capable men may be found in nearly every office, glad to give their services either gratuitously or for reasonable compensation. The choice of a teacher or critic should not be made hastily, however, for it is not enough that he be a skilled artist, for many who draw exquisitely well cannot tell how they do it or what is wrong with another's work. Again some teachers are so dogmatic and opinionated as to try to force their own ideas upon all their students rather than to aid in developing the individuality of each. So make your choice with care, but once you go to a teacher, put yourself under his direction unreservedly, and even though you sometimes fail to agree with him or with his corrections or criticisms, try to get his viewpoint, to see from his eyes, as his vision may be broader than your own. It is not always wise to remain under the instruction of one man for too long a time, however, as there is sometimes a tendency to mimic his style, but it is better, instead, to change after a while, gaining new inspiration and help by the fresh contact.
But we are digressing a bit from our consideration of the three various classes of students so let us return to discuss the third, the conceited lot. Perhaps the less said about them the better, for such men are well-nigh hopeless unless they can be made to see the light, and this is not easy if they are confirmed egotists. But some men are egotists only so far as their drawing ability is concerned, and for these there is hope. This condition is sometimes brought about because friends or members of a student's family or possibly teachers have in their ignorance or in their desire to flatter, heaped unwarranted praise upon him, causing him to arrive at false conclusions as to his ability and knowledge. If such a man joins a class or sketch club, however, the truth will generally be forced upon him sooner or later that his work, when compared with that by others, lacks the perfection which he imagined it to possess.