WHEN the student has obtained a sound fundamental knowledge of the subjects treated in Part I, namely - Object Drawing in Outline, Object Drawing in Light and Shade, Free-hand Perspective, Cast Drawing, Life Drawing and Sketching Animals, it would seem that he might find little difficulty in sketching buildings, street scenes and the like.
Yet every new subject presents its peculiar problems; - there are many things that the beginner will hardly know how to approach. A street scene or a landscape or a building, for instance, needs a far different treatment than a posed model in the life class, but the artist should be trained to do all of these well, especially if he hopes to become an illus-tator or commercial artist. If typical book or magazine illustrations, or free-hand drawings of almost any sort in which figures appear, are studied, it will be seen that buildings or portions of buildings or bits of landscape are given almost as much attention as the figures themselves, - one could hardly hope to become successful in such a line of work if he lacked skill in the representation of any of these things.
Among the following chapters the art student will find many valuable hints to help him draw these subjects for some have been especially prepared to offer suggestions on the drawing of buildings, both in whole and in part, as well as all sorts of accessories such as water and clouds; then there are other chapters presenting many facts regarding technique, composition, decorative drawing, the uses of tinted paper, etc., for one should master these, too, in order to gain versatility.
If skill in the representation of buildings is important to the artist or the art student it is indispensable to the architect and his assistants, and it is mainly to meet their requirements that the following chapters have been prepared. If the time for drawing practice is limited, the work in object drawing and cast drawing and life drawing described in Part I may be omitted by the reader of architectural inclination and he may turn directly to the problems discussed in these coming pages, where the subject of Sketching and Rendering in Pencil is considered mainly from the standpoint of the architect. Rut unless the reader is well grounded in drawing it is desirable that he study Part I and before going further it is advisable to study at least the first two chapters of Part I, and Chapter V (Free-Hand Perspective) on free-hand perspective. A knowledge of perspective is essential to anyone who paints or draws, and especially to those who find the representation of buildings or street scenes a part of their work.
In Part I emphasis was placed on the importance of selecting a suitable subject for each drawing and it is equally essential for the work to be done at present that the choice be as carefully made; - it is as much of a problem to learn to select as it is to learn to draw. Now the architectural draftsman or student wishes to learn architecture as well as how to draw, so it is usually best for him to choose some architectural object of merit. The drawing may be made directly from some interesting portion of a building, if the student feels capable of attempting this, or from a photograph. In either case it is well not to attempt too much at one time.
When the subject has been chosen it is necessary next to decide exactly how much of the object is to be drawn. If one works from the photograph this is comparatively easy, for by using strips of paper or cardboard as a frame, suitable compositions can be found. One has more difficulty, however, when drawing directly from a building for it is then necessary to determine the point from which the best view can be obtained. If you were to photograph such an object as you have selected to draw, the view-finder of the camera would help you to determine the best point at which to stand and would frame for you any number of interesting views from which you might select the best. The same idea may be carried out by the student of sketching, either by using a camera view-finder or, what is more commonly done, by making a view-finder by cutting a rectangular opening about 1 1/2 in. x 2 in. through a sheet of stiff paper or cardboard, which, when held near the eye, will help you to decide the point from which the drawing can best be made. Once the subject has been chosen and the point from which it is to be drawn decided upon, we are ready to block in the proportions of the sketch.
At this point it is as well to remind the student that it is more difficult to learn what to leave out of a drawing than what to put in. As we minutely examine any object in nature we see an overwhelming mass of small detail. Even as we sit in our rooms and glance around we find, if we search, thousands of spots of light or shade or color. These tiny spots are the many lines of the delicate graining of the wood, the hundreds of partly-visible threads from which the hangings and upholstery materials are woven, the myriad indentations and projections of the masonry and plaster.
It is hardly necessary to point out that it would be impossible to correctly indicate each of these spots on a small sheet of paper, even if it were desirable to do so. Instead we must try to represent the effect of the mass as a whole, the effect that we get not when we hunt for such details, but when we enter a room and look around in the usual way. If we do look directly at some object such as a chair in a room corner we see little detail with the exception of that in the chair itself and in those objects adjacent to it. Even in these objects we are not conscious of each tiny spot, but instead notice only the broad general tone and effect. The chair, being directly in the range of vision, is the center of interest and the other objects become more and more indistinct and blurred the farther they are from this center. It really is a surprising thing what a small area we are able to see plainly when looking in one direction only. We are so accustomed to shifting our eyes constantly from one object to another that we fail to notice this limitation. Stand within ten feet of a door and gaze intently at the knob. Without shifting the eyes, are you able to see the top of the door distinctly? If you raise the eyes and look at the top of the door, do you see the bottom plainly? Go to the window and look at some building across the street. Fix your attention on an upper window or chimney or some part of the roof. Are not the lower portions of the building blurred and indistinct unless you shift your gaze to them? When you look at the foundation you do not see the roof distinctly.