Pencil Rendering By Chester B. Price. S. W. Straus & Co. Build1nc, New York City Warren & Wetmore, Architects.
Figure 53. Apartment Houses at 115 to 137 West Sixteenth Street, New York City. G. A. & H. Boehm, Architects.
Drawn in Pencil on Kid-finished Bristol Board.
So much in regard to the architectural handling of large buildings. For additional suggestions see the previous chapters of this book, nearly all of which offer something related to our present subject, and study the numerous examples of rendering that have appeared from place to place in the text.
We should not close our discussion of the rendering of large buildings without some reference to the very sketchy and often rather impressionistic type of drawing in which the architecture is treated from the point of view of the artist rather than of the architect, and which, therefore, gives special attention to the effect of the whole and not to the almost photographic representation of the architectural detail common to the work of the architect and the professional delineator. In drawings of this type, for instance, the whole is treated very broadly, some of the windows being merely suggested, perhaps, or omitted entirely, while practically all of the tiny members such as dentils are left out. Such drawings are usually more interesting than the architectural type, partly because more is left to the imagination and partly because of the absence of mechanical perfection of line. (In fact many are made entirely freehand from start to finish). Again, the accessories may be treated with greater freedom as no reason exists for suppressing them, - so all-in-all, when the artist draws architecture the results are better from a purely aesthetic standpoint than those obtained by the average architect or architectural delineator, who is of necessity usually forced to show so much detail (in order to make the design clear to the client) as to prevent the most artistic result.
Then there is another form of work in which large buildings are shown but where they become subordinate to something else. As examples of this we have advertisements of automobiles and clothing and the like, where the buildings are simply a setting or background. Here of course the greatest freedom in their treatment is permissible, the slightest suggestion of the architecture often sufficing.
So much variety is found in all this sort of work that we can hardly do more than mention it here, and bring emphasis to the fact that the outstanding difference between this and the architectural type is, as we have mentioned, the greater freedom used in the former in relation to the latter. This freedom is not confined to the technique but is found in the composition also, and in the general treatment, moonlight or evening scenes, sunsets, rainy day effects and the like being popular. Even though these are not common in architectural work, it would be well for the student of architectural rendering to study all this sort of thing, as much can be learned from it which is adaptable with modifications to his own problems.
Whether the student desires to better his ability to do architectural renderings or whether it is this other work which interests him most, there is no better training in either case than to sketch directly from buildings. It is by making many such sketches as that by Otto F. Langmann on page 181 from the big buildings themselves that one can get a strong grasp on how to handle them.
Now of these various types of drawings our illustrations have been selected from those of an architectural nature. Figure 52, page 175. is the reproduction of a very quick sketch of a proposed building done on tracing paper with a lithographic pencil. Unfortunately this reproduction is reduced from so large a drawing that the values show stronger contrasts in many ways than on the original, making the whole lighting seem somewhat unnatural and artificial. It will serve to show, however, that such a drawing, even though hastily done without preliminary study, conveys the general impression of the proposed structure.
Figure 53, page 178, was done at much smaller scale (1/8-inch to the foot) with ordinary graphite pencils. Both of these illustrations show comparatively simple buildings, simple indeed so far as general mass is concerned, and in presenting them we wish to point out a truth not commonly recognized by the beginner who attempts this sort of work, and this is that it is more difficult to get an interesting representation of simple masses of this type than of buildings having towers or domes or pediments or, in fact, any irregular shaped features. Even the outline drawing of a domed structure is full of interest before the rendering is started, whereas the block forms or skeletons of such buildings as we are picturing here seem very commonplace, which means that greater care must be given to the rendering. Choose, then, for your early practice, structures with domes or towers which will form interesting silhouettes and you will find it less difficult to obtain good results, saving the more simple forms for later practice. This seems strange, perhaps, but it is true.
Figure 51, page 172, was also made at the scale of 1/8" to the foot, on kid-finished bristol board, and in this case the main lines were drawn instrumentally and left to show in the final result, the free-hand work being added to them. This building, like the others, is very simple in general mass, but because of the trees it was possible to avoid the rather hard and uninteresting outline against the sky which we find in Figure 53.
Sketch By Robert A. Lockwood.
Pencil Sketch By Otto F. Lancmann. A Bit Of Lower New York From West Street.