Figure 51. Pencil Rendering of Proposed Building for Harper College, Wichita, Kansas. Edward Forsblom, Architect.
Sketch by Hugh Ferriss. Madison Square Garden, New York. McKim, Mead & White, Architects.
The amount of time spent on a drawing should depend largely on its purpose, a few hours answering for some problems while several days or even a week may be required for others. It should be remembered that most renderings are drawn for a practical reason, - to show the architect or client how a building will look when completed. The drawing has, therefore, a limited and a somewhat temporary value. Naturally, then, the person paying for it can seldom afford a larger amount than the drawing is expected to be worth to him, and this will depend on its purpose. As we have previously explained, some renderings are simply studies to help the architect to visualize his design, - more, perhaps, are to make its appearance clear to the client. Others are submitted to banks as an aid in obtaining loans for building purposes, while some, again, are drawn for publicity or advertising uses, perhaps reproduced in circulars or magazines, the original being exhibited, possibly, in a show window or other conspicuous place. It is evident, then, that the delineator must, as in smaller work, prepare the kind of drawing demanded by his particular problem, - if a rough, quick sketch will answer as well as any other that is the kind to make by all means. It is necessary, therefore, to ascertain all the requirements right at the start. The architect himself is often at fault in not giving the delineator sufficiently plain directions, forgetting that a project which is clear in his own mind is not equally so in the minds of others. Or he will ask, perhaps, for a rough, sketchy drawing, "just a few hours work," and then on seeing it either completed or partially drawn will object emphatically and vociferously to the inaccuracies of incompleteness of this or that small detail. The architect should endeavor to make plain beforehand just what is needed, and the artist should try equally hard in turn to successfully fill the requirements, remembering that the architect is the one who is paying for the job. In order to do this it may be necessary for him to be familiar with several kinds of technique, for sometimes very bold drawings will be demanded, strong in contrasts and vigorous in treatment, while again preference will be shown for a more delicate type with the detail more accurately handled. Drawings of the bold type are often on rather rough paper while the others are more frequently done on a smoother surface. There are architects, however, who while they wish the general effect of a rendering to be rather bold, at the same time desire greater accuracy, even in the smaller parts, than can be obtained easily on a rough textured paper. This demand has caused the introduction of a rather interesting trick, the building itself being laid out first of all in the usual way instrumentally on a good quality tracing paper and rendered quite carefully and completely with the desired attention given to the smaller details, nothing being done to the surroundings, however, at this stage. Before they are rendered the tracing paper is loosened from the board and a rather rough sheet of cardboard or paper or even of cloth is put beneath the drawing and the rendering of the entourage then done, the pencil lines on the tracing paper taking an impression of the rough surface below. Then the building itself can be touched up a bit, enough to bring it into harmony with the surroundings, and the tracing mounted on a stiff board, which, if rather rough, will add to the effect desired. This same idea can of course be utilized in the making of drawings of less pretentious subjects, as can another trick which it may be worth while to mention, though it is more frequently used in connection with color work. This trick is borrowed from the printers and consists in running finished renderings, usually done on a fairly smooth paper, through heavy machines containing rollers which are designed to press patterns onto the paper, such surfaces as eggshell, linen, crash, canvas, moire, etc., being obtainable. These surfaces may seem a bit artificial but the idea is handed on for what it is worth. Perhaps it is well as a word of caution to mention that this process often makes the paper slightly smaller, destroying the accuracy of the dimensions.
Photograph by Wurts Brothers.
Rendering By Hugh Ferr1ss. Bush House, London, England Helmle & Corbett, Architects.
Figure 52. A Quick Sketch Done in Lithographic Pencil on Tracing Paper as a Preliminary Study.
Rendering by Hugh Ferriss. Bush House, London, England. Heltmle & Corbett, Architects.
Then there is one more addition to our list of tricks, this idea having been stumbled upon quite by chance by the author, though the same thing has perhaps been done many times by others. As the muntins and meeting rails of windows, as well as . other similar architectural members, are usually left white on small scale pencil drawings, considerable labor is sometimes involved in so darkening the glass or adjacent members as to leave them sharp and clean cut. It has been found that if a pencil drawing is being done on a fairly thick board, such as the illustration boards in common use, it is possible to rule these small members with a clean ruling pen or dull knife point or anything of that nature, pressing a groove into the surface for each white line desired, using care of course that the instrument employed is perfectly clean and that the lines start and stop at just the right points. Then with a little practice one can learn to pass two or three strokes of the pencil over each window, grooves and all, toning the various parts to the desired values, using a similar process wherever the grooves are employed. If the pressure is not too great and the point is rather blunt the pencil will pass over the grooves without darkening them, leaving them instead to appear as white lines. After a day or two or as soon as the paper has become damp (it may be lightly washed or sprayed with water if desired) the grooves themselves practically disappear, simply leaving the white lines. Possibly the greatest objection to this way of working is that the lines so formed sometimes seem a bit too perfect in relation to those drawn more freely with the pencil, yet on drawings at small scale enough time can frequently be saved by this method to make a knowledge of it worth having.