This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
the many flowers useful to the student of pen-drawing, pan-sies probably offer the best opportunity for study of texture, form, and colour. The odd and varied shapes in which these flowers grow, the velvety softness of the petals, and the variety of colours make the study of them, though difficult, unfailingly attractive. No flower more quickly awakens the student's interest, none at first seems to him more simple; and though his first attempts, instead of producing the desired result, may give studies of pansies with some hard or wooden qualities, and with stems like small match-sticks, yet there is something in the appealing little flower itself which drives away discouragement and makes one willing and anxious to try again.
In studying these flowers it will be better to take them individually first - the more simple ones being those which are white - and so involve less trouble with colour-values. As we learn by experience, the great secret in pen-drawing is "the knowledge of what to leave out," so a little practice with these will reveal the fact that every little veining and crinkle cannot be drawn, or the result will be a dark pansy instead of a white one. Rather must we, after making an accurate study in pencil of the outline of our flower, put on the paper, in ink, merely the largest and strongest shadows, keeping in mind that it is our wish to show a white flower, and that many of the faintest shadows are so delicate that an attempt to show them at all in so strong a medium as ink will necessarily give a value much deeper than the one we see in the pansy before us.
In rendering the edge of the white petals, unless there be a background, there must, of course, be an outline of some kind. This may be frequently broken. It may be made with several sketchy lines instead of one severe one; or it the drawing is not intended for reproduction, a single suggestive out-line may be used. But for process work, it cannot be too frequently remarked that while a number of lines together will reproduce in proportion to the original sketch, a single pen-line will thicken always out of all proportion to the rest of the drawing. Unless, therefore, you are resigned to seeing the reproduction of your pen-drawing appear on the page with its delicacy gone and the single lines heavier than any others, avoid, as far as possible, all hard outlines.
Turning now to the pansies with more colour in them, we may remember that with the best pen-work there can be but an intimation of the beauty before us; and in seeing these beautiful fawn colours and reddish browns, the brilliant yellows and deep purples, we must be content if we can give such a hint of their values as shall make a pleasant and interesting suggestion.
The use of much solid black had best be avoided. Black ink in itself will never express the velvety quality of these darkest petals; and only by its occasional use, in contrast to lighter tones, can any idea of this quality be given.
Pen Study. By E. M. Hallowell.
Where the flower turns to the light, it will, perhaps, be advisable to show the texture by the general treatment, keeping the direction of line in the radiating direction of the petals. But if the flower be in shadow, it will be as well, and will certainly lend greater variety to the subject, to treat the petal simply as any other object in shadow, with a broad, flat tint of lines in what direction you will. Here may be borne in mind, too, the well-known fact: objects in shadow show less detail than those in light, for which reason all markings and variations in colour should receive less attention in such cases than where the flower is more fully in the light.
The centre of the pansy, it may be noted, is always in shadow, and however bright it appears, it should have a tone over it, showing that the edges of the petals around it are in relief.
The pansy leaves are less interesting than those of many other plants, and it may be because the blossom has an exceptional interest that we do not oftener see the flowers in designs or studies of this flower. In considering the stems we may note their squareness, and may remember how characteristic the stems of flowers always are, and how deserving of careful attention. These may appear almost straight at times; yet how extremely needful it is to try and imitate in our drawing the slight but very expressive curves which give flexibility to the flower stalk !
No flower is more useful in design than the pansy; and while none is more frequently seen, the variety of form and colour seems to keep it from becoming hackneved. Its decorative qualities are unlimited; and having first become well acquainted with its form and manner of growth through accurate studies, we may adapt it to an almost endless variety of conventionalised subjects. Here may be used the formal outline; here, too, we need pay no heed to the direction of lines in rendering the petals, since it is decorative and not realistic treatment that is desired now, and in conventional work the suggestion of reality must be avoided.
Having learned the forms of these flowers, we may use them conventionallv in a number of ways, as designs for borders or headpieces for instance, like those on the two pages following; but we shall see the need for an intelligent knowledge of the forms to be applied before we can rightly make the application of them.
An initial letter, reduced rather more than one half, and two designs of pansies treated, one realistically and the other conventionally, with but little reduction, accompany these words. It may be mentioned that the flowers in the original drawings were all about the usual size of the pansy blossom. It will be seen that drawings so openly and coarsely treated as these can stand, if needful, more than the usual one-third reduction; and thus, by comparison, the student may gain some very valuable practical knowledge of the diminution of lines in reproductive work.
E. M. Hallowell.
Decorative Border of Pansies (semi-conventional). Pen Drawing by E. M. Hallowell.