This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
There arc many little hints which might be given on geometric models composed of straight and curved lines, but let us content ourselves with exploiting the drawing of a common chair, which will duly introduce us to some curves and help to show us that, if the system recommended is adopted, the greater the number of points to be considered so much the more is the accuracy of the drawing proved. The final test of proof is that no point above another point is drawn below, no point below above, tested by passing the pencil before the eye upwards and downwards whilst maintaining it in a horizontal direction. Right and left points may be proved by passing the pencil, vertically, across from side to side, thus correcting or confirming all the points in their various positions. In the chair selected (Fig. 24) the front legs are vertical, and if the progressive sketches are followed the application of the point system to complex objects may, it is hoped, be understood; but all true teachers know how difficult it is to explain anything.
A teacher (who shall be nameless) once gave this lesson to a pupil, as an experiment, on the day of the examination in model drawing. It was the first and only lesson on the subject the pupil had ever received; the idea was grasped, and the result was an "Excellent."
Beginning with the vertical line, thus deciding the points 1 - 2, points 3 and 4 are to be found (Fig. 18) in relation to the line, precisely as in the cube. We may still consider the line 1 2 as a foot rule and mentally refer to inches when measuring. Points 5, 6, 7, 8 being determined, we arrive at a rough cubical form - the lower part of the. chair; the two points of the top of the back being ascertained, intermediate points arranged in position, and we get a skeleton sketch which requires clothing (Fig. 19). Of course the lines are the axes of the form which is added. Proof comes in here by testing in ermediate shapes between rails and legs; it may be likened to the proof of subtraction by adding the remainder to the sum subtracted and once more getting the full number. Much stress is laid on proof because it teaches the student how to teach himself - a great desideratum, as most persons will acknowledge.
To craftsmen this method of sketching should especially appeal; it is the careful "setting-out " of work, for few are foolish enough to use chisel, saw or centrebit before the rule, the pencil and the callipers. With reference to the curves, if they are "treated like lunatics and put into straight-jackets," as one art teacher humorist has it, they will be none the worse for it (Fig. 20), and here a parallel occurs in craft. In manual training, the making of a ruler, the square section first, the octagonal, the multipolygon, and then spokeshave and sandpaper.
William Hunt, the American art teacher, used to say in reference to such ideas, "First the hatchet, and then the sandpaper." Common sense and obvious truism are constantly ignored by the embryo draughtsman.
To return to the chair. Consider the seat. We have four straight lines indicating the general shape (Fig. 20), which is convex back and front and alternately concave and convex on the sides. Guided by straight lines, these are more securely determined, and, again, the common sense of practical craft may be applied to drawing; notably in modelling is the fixing of the highest point in a convex form both necessary and desirable.
The curves of the back rails rise in gradation, the full points follow a series, whilst the sides of the back have some variety of curvature, and the craftsman will readily recognise the thickening, for strength, of the portion near the seat.
It remains now to deal with the front legs and the rails, which are more or less conical, spherical, and cylindrical, and may be worked out with comparative ease if the axial system has been thoroughly grasped.
Figs. 21 and 22, giving details to a large scale, will probably give sufficient indication of the application of the system.
It, as a Hibernian might remark, the front leg was at the back and the rails weren't there, we could see the holes they were put into (Figs. 21 and 24).
As craftsmen, you would first make the holes and then put in the rails; do so as draughtsmen (Fig. 21). Sketch lightly the whole of each ellipse and then draw from the back.
The words mortise and tenon you will have no difficulty in understanding (Fig. 23).
The front rails are the most difficult, but the axial system will supply the solution, especially if you view the drawing by turning it round to a vertical position (Fig. 22).
Beware of finishing without visual reference to the model, or you are likely to undo what you have done and fall into some amusing traps for the unwary draughtsmen, who are apt to make back rails hop over the front ones and other such errors.
It is a very good proof of your drawing if the chair looks as if you could sit on it; if in doubt ask any critic; he would probably be able to do so. In regard to irregular models, many call for special instruction, yet the general principles laid down may be found of some service.
The study of perspective may later engage your attention; it is now treated in a much more interesting fashion, and is of a much more practical character than was formerly the case. It has much value educationally, demanding special reasoning power; its parallel is a chess problem where the result achieved is due to the skilful moving of the pieces and a knowledge of the game.
It is not claimed for this essay that it is a complete exegesis of the subject, and many practitioners of the art of teaching art will probably strongly disagree with the writer: yet it may be that by presenting somewhat of the other side of the shield one may draw attention to other aspects of sketching than those in common use. If the remarks made induce some students to see for themselves, to make experiments from actual objects and advance towards the expression of visible truth, the object of the writer will have been achieved.
In conclusion let me add a few hints of trite truisms which may be kept in mind. Of these saws many are rusty with age. yet are useful to day: - 1. No day without a line. - Appelles.
2. Put your pencil on your paper before you begin to draw.
3. Draw like bricks, not slates.
4. The pencil perpendicular to the line.
5. "From whence to where."
6. "Horizontal and vertical lines are infallible guides to perspective." - Hunt.
7. Observe in squares.
8. Never line in.
9. The arm at full length when measuring.
10. Seeing is believing. Believing is not seeing.
11. Do not stay too long at one point. Move!
12. The whole is greater than a part.
13. Three parts of your eye for your model, one for your drawing - Couture.
14. Correct your line before you rub it out.
15. If a model be difficult simplify it.
16. Draw! The thoughtful will consider the word literally and artistically.
17. Beware of finishing without reference to the model.
18. In an ellipse there is no angle or straight line.
The narrow-minded advocate of useful art unconscicusly helps to crush out the vitality of art. The bigot may be very earnest, but he remains a bigot.
Art and Craft! Words inseparable: Craft is good, Art is good. Craft requires Art to ennoble and enrich it; Art needs Craft with which to express itself. Edward Renard. A.R.C.A. (Lond.).
AN interesting fac-simile effect is given to some of the drawings in the magazines by reproducing the preliminarv pencil sketch lines, which are beneath the artist's actual pen work. This may be done by rouletting the pencil marks, which otherwise would print as black as the lines in ink.