With Special Reference To Painting In Water Colours

IN sketching with the point, the first thing to do is to indicate very lightly the ensemble; that is to say, put down a few faint lines to bound the whole of the subject, or show, at least, where the principal parts of it are to come on the paper. This is of very great importance. The sketching of animals in motion, clouds, ships under sail, and many other things can never go much further. To neglect mapping out the ensemble is also to run the risk of being carried beyond the limits of the sketch-block. You begin with some interesting object on a scale so large that you find as you go on that you have no room for the other objects that you intended to include in your sketch. The position of the principal objects or parts being lightly indicated, the next thing to do is to test their relative distances and proportions. Beginners are too apt to omit even this necessary precaution. It is a fact that one cannot without much practice make absolutely sure of proportions, for one cannot measure everything, and the means that can be used in sketching are rather rough. But that is no reason for failing altogether to attend to this important matter. Much of the difficulty experienced by novices is easily avoidable. They try to take in so much of the scene that it cannot be perceived at the same glance. Hence their ensemble is an artificial one, and to render it properly it is requisite that the draughtsman imagine himself so placed that the objects might be fully seen at one and the same time. To do this requires considerable practical acquaintance with perspective, and some facility in composition. Such sketching is not for beginners. They should fix their eye upon some particular object, and take into their sketch only what can be clearly seen at the same time with that object. Having mapped out the subject so limited, it will be found easy to determine the main proportions by measuring with the pencil or pen, held out at arm's length. There are various means of simplifying even this simple process. One of the best is an empty frame or mat the size of the proposed sketch, on which a few strings or rubber bands can be disposed to follow the leading lines, and mark by their intersections the principal points of the subject. It is necessary to hold this in the one position with regard to the eye while the strings are being adjusted. That done, the frame can be laid upon the drawing-block and the desired points can be marked with the pencil point. But the main thing is to accustom the eye to measuring distances. Such aids as this should, as a rule, be resorted to only as tests of the measurements taken by the eye. In selecting the subject of a landscape sketch, try to secure from one position as many as possible of the following results: (1) Variety of objects with diversity of forms and features of a picturesque or otherwise attractive character; (2) diversity of character and direction in the lines of those objects; (3) diversity of heights in the objects, avoiding (a) accidental unpleasing continuity of line; (b) large-masses of blank or uninteresting surface, and (c) of the predominance of unbroken, vertical, diagonal, and horizontal lines; (4) in combination with all this, a bold, effective foreground.

Landscape Sketch by Theodore Rousseau.

Landscape Sketch by Theodore Rousseau.