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.
First observe carefully the whole mass of the object, its general proportions and the direction of lines as well as the width of the angles.- Then sketch the outlines rapidly with very light lines, and take care that all corrections are made, not by erasing but by lightly drawing new lines as in Fig. 28. By working in this manner much time is saved and the drawing gains in freedom. Where the drawing is kept down to only one line which is corrected by erasure, the line becomes hard and wiry, and there is a tendency to be satisfied with something inaccurate rather than erase a line which has taken much time to produce. There is always a difficulty at first in drawing lines light enough, and it is well for the beginner to make the first trial lines with a rather hard pencil. Practice until the habit of sketching lines lightly is fixed. The ideal is to be able to set down exact proportions at the first touch. This, however, is attained by comparatively few artists, and only after long study, but the student will soon find himself able to obtain correct proportions with only a few corrections.
22. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the student must teach himself to regard the subject he is depicting, as a whole, and to put down at once lines that suggest the outline of the whole. This he will find contrary to his inclination, which with the beginner is always to work out carefully one part of the drawing before suggesting the whole.
There are two objections to this ; in the first place, much time having been spent on one part, it is almost inevitable that the addition of other portions reveals faults in the completed part, and unnecessary time is consumed in correcting. The second objection is that a drawing made piecemeal is sure to have a disjointed look, even if the details are fairly accurate in their relative proportions.
Fig. 23. Blocking in Trial Lines.
The idea of unity is lost and some one detail is apt to assume undue importance, instead of all details being subordinated to the general effect of the whole. It is always most important to state the general truths about the subject rather than small particular truths, which impair the general statement. This applies particularly to small variations in the outline which should be omitted until the big general direction or shape has been established.
23. Where an outline drawing is desired, after the correct lines have been found, they should be made stronger than the others and then all trial lines erased. In doing this the eraser will usually remove much of the sharpness of the correct lines so that only a faint indication of the desired result remains. These should be strengthened again with a softer pencil and each line produced, as far as possible, directly with one touch ; in the case of curves and very long lines, breaking the line and beginning a new one as near as possible to the end of the previous line, but taking care that the lines do not lap.
As soon as the student has acquired some proficiency in drawing the single figures made from the tablets, groups of two or three objects should be attempted. Combinations of books or boxes with simple shapes, or vases, tumblers, bowls and bottles will illustrate most of the principles involved in freehand perspective. Outline sketches may be made on the slate first and tested in the usual way, and afterward the same group may be drawn larger on paper. The chief difficulty in drawing a group is to obtain the relative proportions of the different objects. There is the same objection to completing one object and then another as there is to drawing a single object in parts. The whole group must be suggested at once. This can best be done by what is called blocking in, by lines which pass only through the principal points of the group. The block drawing gives hardly more than the relative height and width of the entire group and the general direction of its most important lines. But if these are correct, the subdivision of the area within into correct proportions is not difficult, The longer and more important lines of the parts are indicated and short lines and details lost.