IN VIEW of the popularity that the pencil has long enjoyed as a medium of artistic expression, it seems rather strange that so little has been written relating exclusively to it. For it is certainly true, whatever the reasons may he for this apparent neglect on the part of our writers, - reasons on which it is idle and irrelevant to speculate here, - that though there is a wealth of material dealing with kindred subjects, contributions bearing directly on the uses of this universal medium are few and meagre indeed.
This dearth of material became clearly apparent to the author when he was called upon, some ten years ago, to teach pencil sketching and technique in the art and architectural classes at Pratt Institute, for at that time a book was sought which might be employed as a text and reference work for his students. As nothing seemed available complete enough to satisfactorily meet all the requirements, a series of lectures was prepared by the author, based on his own training in art and architecture, which, after having been revised and amplified from time to time to meet the needs of the various classes under bis instruction, forms the basis of this present volume.
Some of these lectures were arranged for pupils seeking a general art education; others were especially for architectural students, while a few, taking up the representation of furniture, draperies and the like, were used for the classes in interior decoration. As records were kept in all of these classes from year to year of the difficulties most frequently encountered and of points which seemed to require the most thorough explanation; also of the mistakes most commonly made by the pupils, it was possible to so revise the lectures as to anticipate and cover in advance many of the questions and problems which might otherwise have given trouble. An effort was made to guide the student step-by-step through the work, explaining each part with the greatest care.
When arrangements were made in 1020 to prepare a serial article on the subject of "Sketching and Rendering in Pencil" for "Pencil Points" it obviously became necessary to approach the whole subject from the standpoint of the architect and the architectural draftsman and student, so arranging the facts presented as to make them of the greatest value and interest to persons connected with the architectural profession. It seemed advisable, therefore, to exclude considerable material of a general nature, hut in its place several additional sections were prepared, based on the professional experience of the author as architect and architectural illustrator and dealing especially with the uses of pencil in the free-hand rendering of architectural subjects.
This article, based on the lectures mentioned above, appeared in "Pencil Points" from August, 1920, to December, 1921, inclusive, in seventeen instalments, and met a much warmer reception than was expected by either the author or the publishers. Because of the rapid growth of the magazine, the hack numbers of each issue were soon exhausted - it became impossible to meet the demand for the early installments; therefore the publishers, taking into consideration the fact that the inquiries received were not only from those connected with the architectural profession, but from artists and teachers and art students as well, decided that it was advisable to republish the entire series in some permanent form so as to make it available to all. The present volume is the result of this decision, and as it now stands contains in revised form the material published in "Pencil Points." to which has been added much material which was omitted from the magazine mainly because it approaches the subject entirely from the art rather than the purely architectural standpoint. Then, besides many new illustrations by the author drawn especially for this purpose, we are able to include through the kind cooperation of many well known artists, numerous examples of pencil work, showing a wide range of subject and great variety of technique. All these various reproductions are presented not merely as excellent examples of pencil drawing, however, but each is selected to illustrate some principle of composition or some suggestion for technique given in the text, thus adding, we believe, to the usefulness of the whole.
In preparing this volume we have presupposed that our readers would be. in the main, students of art or architecture or some allied subject, on the one hand, and architects or draftsmen, artists and art teachers on the other. We have endeavored to offer suggestions of value to all these classes of individuals and to do so it is plainly necessary to include much that is too elementary for the experienced man and much that is a bit too advanced for the novice. Therefore let the former omit or hurry over the rudimentary portions and the latter seek advice from his teacher as to the parts best suited to his state of progress. For the beginner needs a teacher and no hook or books can take the place of personal instruction, - in fact, a hook of this sort can do little but offer general instructions and suggestions, a bit of knowledge and a little inspiration; - if the reader gains a few thoughts that are new or has ideas which were partly forgotten brought back to him or is made to see familiar things from an enlarged viewpoint, this work will have served a useful purpose.
A Figure Study By Troy Kinney For His Etching "Provoquante".
Courtesy of Kennedy & Co.