This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
In practicing drawing circles start from a point at the left and move around toward the right as in Fig. 2. Draw a series of ten cir-cles half an inch in diameter, forming each with a single pencil stroke. Next draw a group of ten with a one-inch diameter, still keeping to the single pencil stroke. Follow these with a set, each being two inches in diameter and another set with a three-inch diameter. In drawing these larger circles the free arm movement will be found necessary and the lines may be swept about a Dumber of times for the purpose of correcting the first outline and giving practice in the arm movement. As the circles increase in diameter the difficulty of drawing them with accuracy by a single stroke increases also, but instead of erasing the faulty positions and laboriously patching the line, it is better to make the corrections as directed, by sweeping other lines about until a mass of lines is formed which gives the shape correctly. The single outline desired will he found somewhere within the mass of lines and may he accented with a darker line and the other trial lines erased.
D raw a series of ten ellipses, fig. 3, with a long diameter of half an inch, forming each with a single pencil stroke. Follow with a group of ten, having the long diameter one inch in length, joining each outline with a single pencil stroke. Proceed with a set having a long diameter of two inches and a set with a long diameter of three inches. Follow the same instructions for these last two groups as were laid down for drawing the larger circles, that is, sweep the lines about several times with the free arm movement.
In drawing horizontal straight lines the elbow should be held close to the body. For vertical lines and for all curved lines the elbow should be held as far from the body as possible.
These exercises and similar ones of his own invention should be practiced by the student for a long period, even after he is studying more advanced work. Any piece of waste paper and any spare moments may be utilized for them. As in acquiring any form of manual skill, to learn to draw requires incessant practice, and these exercises correspond to the five-finger exercises which are such an important part of the training in instrumental music. While they are not very interesting in themselves the training they give to the muscles of the hand and arm is what enables the draughtsman to execute his work with rapidity, ease, and assurance.
The student should bear in mind that a straight freehand line ought not to look like a ruled line. A part of the attraction of freehand drawing, even of the simplest description, is the sensitive, live quality of the line. A straight line is defined in geometry as one whose direction is the same throughout, but slight deviations in a freehand straight line, which recover themselves and do not interfere with the general direction are legitimate, as the hand, even when highly trained, is not a machine, and logically should not attempt to do what can be performed with more mechanical perfection by instruments. Where freehand straight lines are used to indicate the boundaries of forms, the slight inevitable variations in the line are really more true to the facts of vision than a ruled line would be, inasmuch as the edges even of geometric solids appear softened and less rigid because they are affected by the play of light and by the intervening atmosphere.
Fig. 3. Ellipses.
This the beginner will not be able to see at-first, for in this case as in bo many others, his sight is biased by his knowledge of what the object is and how it Feels.