Figure 48. A Somewhat Decorative Handling of Architecture and Its Accessories.
Many of these decorative renderings are done in pen-and-ink or wash or some medium other than pencil, but as in nearly every case careful pencil preparation is required, regardless of the medium used for completing the final drawing, the subject seems to fall within our scope. In fact the importance of such preparation cannot be over emphasized. When a decorative sketch is desired the customary method of proceedure is the same as we have explained for other pencil work, for once the artist has conceived his scheme a number of rough sketches are generally made first of all at small scale, from which the best is selected for further study, following which larger scale sketches are drawn, frequently on tracing paper and one over the other, changes and corrections being performed as the work progresses. When the design meets the requirements and satisfies the artist it is transferred to the final paper and completed. The number of studies made from start to finish depends on the skill of the artist and on the kind and size and importance of the problem.
At "1," Figure 48, is a "fine line" pencil sketch of a decorative nature, and yet the naturalistic effect is not in this case wholly lost; - in fact one can gain a clear conception of the building and its environment in spite of the decorative character of the rendering. At "2" and "3" are several other suggestions, showing a somewhat similar treatment of smaller subjects, and in these, too, architecture of a practical nature has been indicated.
Not infrequently artists make decorative sketches just as a pastime, either combining existing elements, or fragments of some definite style, into a decorative arrangement or composing fanciful designs entirely from the imagination. In such projects no limitations of any sort are present unless the designer wishes to impose them upon himself, so he is able to forget the many handicaps that ordinarily restrict him in every direction and find an opportunity to lose himself for the moment in these creations of his imagination.
Mention pencil sketching or rendering to the average individual and he immediately conjures up in his mind a visualization of the making of the customary type of drawing such as we find in common use, done on white paper, as a rule, and with ordinary graphite pencils. This is only natural, for a large majority of sketches are done with these mediums and in this way, and it is because of the frequency with which they are found that so much has been written in previous chapters referring especially to this everyday sort of representation.
There is, however, another class of work which comes within the scope of our subject yet which differs in many respects from the type just mentioned, and which, in so differing, offers so many opportunities for variety, both in the selection of materials and in the technique employed, that it finds special favor among those who prefer to break away from the commonplace and exercise their abilities in a less restricted field, - one which offers, in fact, unlimited opportunities for individual expression. For it is our present purpose to describe briefly some of the uses of papers of various tints and shades; to touch upon the employment of wax crayons, lithographic pencils and the like; to point out also a few of the advantages of colored pencils, and most important of all, perhaps, to describe some of the many successful combinations of two or more media, such as pencil tinted with water color, water color touched up with pencil, and colored crayon accented with brown ink.
A glance at the appended list (on page 170 concluding this text) which shows some of these combinations, will emphasize the futility of even attempting an adequate exposition of our subject within a single chapter, but if the student desires to acquire a more complete knowledge of some of these inexhaustible possibilities for obtaining effective results, let him study such examples as he finds available, and then take his own tinted papers and his pencils and colors and work out for himself such ideas as make the strongest appeal to him.
First of all it is well to learn what the market affords in the way of materials for such work, for too many artists are ignorant of the numerous kinds of pencils and crayons and papers and the like that have been prepared to serve him. So multitudinous are these offerings, in fact, and so varied, that to recommend any particular ones here might handicap rather than help, for it is best for each student to experiment with all these things himself. As an instance of the wealth of drawing materials at our disposal, inquiry of any large dealer in artist's supplies for black pencils and crayons alone will bring out many sorts, each having its individual characteristics and uses. Some give a shiny and some a dull tint or tone, - some are easily erased while others smear and smudge when rubbed or are practically indelible. There are those which offer resistance to water, too, and others so soluble as to blur or wash off under its application. Then again, the extreme softness of some prevents a firm line while in others brittleness makes a sharp point impossible. Now just as these pencils vary, so also do the numerous colored ones, hence considerable testing is necessary if one desires to ascertain their possibilities and limitations, but once such a knowledge is obtained and along with it a reasonable facility in handling, it will be realized that notwithstanding these differences each kind of pencil or crayon, whether black or white or colored, is capable of serving a useful purpose. It is not only in pencils and crayons that we find a wide diversity, however, for papers are multifarious also, and in addition to the numerous kinds, both white and colored, especially prepared for artists, wrapping paper, cover papers, mat stock and the like are used, even wall paper of some sorts occasionally finding favor. The beginner increases his difficulties, however, if he selects papers which do not permit of con-sideiable erasure. In this connection attention is directed to the fact that erasers have individual characteristics, also, and some which prove satisfactory on certain papers, or for erasing some grades of pencils or crayons, are useless with others, so here again personal experimentation is desirable, seeking all the time for ideal combinations of pencil, paper and eraser.