This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
"An English Girl"- By Mary Livock Mileham any undulation in the flesh - such as the slight sinking where the neck meets the collar-bone. These shadows are generally all of slightly purple tone and may generally be obtained by a mixture of brown madder and cobalt blue."
"In regard to the shadows of the flesh - do you, like some artists, look for green tints as complementary to the ' carnations ' ? "
"Not particularly. If I see them I paint them. You know you can see almost any colour by looking for it. The chief thing is to look for the 'values.' Search for than, above everything. You can suggest colour, you know, by a black-and-white drawing, if your values are properly placed."
"This is the first time, I think, I have used any on the miniature," was the reply. " Nor should I do so now, but that these crisp, dark little touches you see me putting in are the final ones, and I want each of them to tell."
The portrait was finished and the model descended from the throne. The drawing pins, by which the ivory was attached to the board, were removed, and Mr. Praga, having satisfied himself that the painting was quite dry, proceeded to the somewhat delicate operation of cutting the miniature out of the sheet of ivory. Having done this, he mounted it on white paper, and attached it to the glass around the edges with gold-beater's skin, so as to make it impervious to dust and damp.
Seeing him do it, it seemed easy enough to cut out the oval; but the novice would do well to entrust such a job to the artist's colourman, for there is a knack in it which if not understood may easily result in splitting the ivory. It would certainly be prudent to experiment at first by trimming a piece of thick white paper to represent the ivory, cutting out the oval in the manner suggested in the illustration on page 220. Mr. Praga used a pair of short, curved scissors, starting from the point marked "A" on the diagram and going around the oval towards "B" When this was done on the right side, he reversed the ivory, and, holding it up to the light so as to see the line with the oval through it, cut in the same way from "A" to "B" This operation he then repeated for the lower half. The cutting of the oval, of course, need not be left until the miniature is finished. It may be done at any stage of the painting.
"Let me ask you one more question, Mr. Praga," said the Scribe. "What course of preliminary study do you suggest to one who wishes to learn miniature painting ?"
"Practise drawing as much as possible. Draw in crayon several heads from 'the antique' - in profile, front view, three-quarter view, every point of view. Practise also, with lead pencil, drawing from life. Don't make these drawings too small at first - they should be at least double the size of an ordinary miniature. Four times the size would be better still. Acquire breadth to begin with, and gradually reduce the size as you go on and get experience, ending with quite a small head, drawn with a hard, finely pointed pencil on moderately smooth water-colour paper. Draw from life whenever you can get anyone to sit for you. Draw anybody and anything. But don't copy a photograph. That is an aid which no one should be allowed to use until he is quite independent of it.
It is good practice to copy good masters in line - but not Gibson. It is always more dangerous to copy the drawings of a clever fellow like Gibson a self-made artist - than those of an artist who has been academically educated. There is a certain evasive charm about the drawings of men like Gibson which is very alluring to the novice, but they are very unsafe models. The only way to acquire good execution as a miniature painter is to work with the point of the brush as if it were a pencil - that is, after the preliminary washes have been floated on. It is economical, too, for the brush will wear three times as long as a pencil."
"Lady Mulgrave." By Gainsborough.
It is a great mistake to try to put more in a drawing than your eye sees in the original.
The simpler your palette in its array of colours, the stronger and more harmonious will be your picture.
There are a number of ways of keeping your brushes soft after using them, but the only effectual one is to wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
Designing for Advertisers
A Rtistic advertisement work and illustrating have so much in common that advice about the one will often apply to the other. Both have made great progress during the last few years, and now the advertisement designer need not relinquish high ideals.
To be sure, there is one line of this work that seems somewhat degrading to the artist - namely, that which deals with the large-eyed, wasp-waisted beauties who simper from the average fashion plate. There is money, though, in clever work of the kind, for the pictures can be reeled off rapidly when once the trick of the trade is caught. That trick, however, is rather difficult to catch. Good drawing counts for comparatively little with this class of advertisements. A peculiar pose of the head and curve of the arms and hands are the advertiser's notion of grace, without which he is not satisfied. Then it is a great point to work up the materials of the gowns in a catching way, and to bring out the patterns of the lace and embroidery.
But with the higher class of advertisements the line between it and regular illustrating is very lightly marked. Often the student, after working out an illustration to the best of her ability, and failing to dispose of it for that purpose, may be able to sell it for a good price as an advertisement.
There is a well-known picture illustrating the excellencies of a certain baby food, which first was sent to several of the children's magazines as an artistic drawing, and repeatedly rejected. Finally, it was bought by an advertising firm, and for years the same artist toiled on at that sort of work, until at last she hit the higher mark required by the magazines.
It is not always required that the object advertised be introduced into the picture. It is enough if the drawing is good and suggestive. The most important tiling is that the picture should be pleasing and sufficiently well executed to catch the public eve. Pleasing does not mean merely pretty; a well-executed study of a street " gamin " is often as pleasing in its way, even for an advertisement, as a really beautiful picture. But character cannot be too much insisted on. If the drawing is of a society girl, let her be stylish and crisp and well groomed. If of a tramp, let him look like one; make the spectator feel that those shoes he wears have come to him already worn out, and since then have trudged miles through dust and mire - in short, let your tramp be consistently dirty and bedraggled.
The most saleable advertisement drawings are those done in pen-and-ink, because they can be printed on any paper. Drawings done in the style of posters, with fiat, broad, decorative work, are much liked by many advertisers. Designs painted in oil colours are objected to on account of difficulties in reproduction. Those in wash and opaque water colours rank next to drawings in pen-and-ink in saleability. They can be "processed" more easily than designs in oil colours, as there is no gloss to catch the light; but the printed picture is apt to look thin and to lack the solidity that an oil painting offers in reproduction.
Sometimes a client may wish to use a black-and-white drawing in colours, in which case it is not necessary for the artist to repaint the whole picture, but merely to make a small sketch of it in colours as a key for the lithographer.
There are various ways in which one may dispose of advertisement work. Perhaps the easiest way is to apply to an ordinary advertising establishment. The applicant should take some finished drawings to show to the firm, who will not risk an order unless they feel confident that it will be satisfactorily carried out. Often work can be procured by applying directly to concerns that advertise largely. Sometimes the magazines themselves supply these advertisements, though the most important of the big advertising firms have someone regularly in their employ to supply what they need in that line.
There is not such a demand for absolute originality in this kind of work as there is in illustrating, but the artist who depends upon others to suggest ideas will find in the end that it is a dangerous thing to do. Besides the risk of losing originality, there is the danger of having to meet an action for infringing copyright.
The growth of the photographic art is interfering very seriously with advertisement work as far as the artist is concerned. Of course, for the larger percentage of advertisements, pictures are required for which photographs could not be used, and, even where they are, the services of an artist are often required to put in a background or accessories.
In this line of business, as in every other, there is always work for those who can do it satisfactorily, and the great thing to be considered should not be so much how to dispose of one's designs as how to make them attractive enough to create a demand for them. K. Pyle.
Good photographs of good pictures should have a place in every amateur's portfolios, but a coloured photograph should not be tolerated. The colouring destroys its value as a black - and - white memorandum of the original, without making a painting of it.
Studies from still life are never wasted. A useful study for the student in oils is a composition made up of half a dozen different kinds of stuffs arranged so as to bring the textures into contrast. Another is a group of bottles, of different tints of glass. Porcelain objects furnish, in the same way, valuable studies of surface values. No harsh contrasts must be permitted. The value of the experiment is in the success with which you analyse and reproduce the more delicate differences of colour, lustre, and surface texture.