Sixth Lesson. We have now to consider the subject of " Outline," a most important one to a draughtsman.
A simple perfect outline is more valuable that an imperfect one, worked up with all the skill of a Vandyke, Wilkie, or Landsecr.
Many persons assert that the shading and filling up will hide some of the defects in a bad outline; but be assured that such advice is not only wrong, but highly injurious to tyros in the art of drawing; for opinions such as this are apt to undermine its right principles, and make beginners careless.
Outline signifies the contour, or the line by which any figure is defined, being, in fact, the extreme or boundary line of an
Fig. 26. The Quoit-thrower object. It is the line that determines form. For example - the outline of an apple would not, if correct, convey an impression to your mind that it was intended for an orange
Fig. 27. Alexander.
Outline may be said to be the skeleton or anatomy of objects; at least it bears the same relations to them.
Outline cannot be formed without the aid of curved and straight lines (see Lessen III.,) and in illustration of this, we beg to call the attention of our pupils particularly to figs. 26 and 27. The former represents the statute of the quoit-thrower of Myron, and the latter the statue of Alexander, by
Gabius, after that of Lysippus, in the Louvre, They are both admirable studies for outline, particularly the latter, which exhibits gracefulness, courage, and strength, the muscles being admirably expressed without the aid of shading.
Of course, as you are now able to form lines of all kinds, in any direction, and of any reasonable length, you are already in possession of the alphabet of outline, and the rest depends upon yourself - for without constant application and attention yon can never succeed.
Never be absurd enough to delude yourself, while you think that you are deceiving your relations or friends, by tracing outlines against a window. The practice cannot be too highly condemned, because it is contrary to art, honour, and good sense; and so long as you continue the system, it will be impossible for you to depend upon yourself.
All marks or lines, that assist in expressing the character of the design, may be considered as belonging to outline.
There are many methods of producing effects by means of outline, besides adhering to the variations of form in the figures. For example - the lines used to express drapery should be flowing, continuous, and generally of variable breadth; those used for the flesh or for some kinds of fruit should partake of the same character; hard substances, such as armour, statuary, etc., should be expressed by uniform lines of a fine character; and foliage should be drawn boldy, with occasional dark touches, and with a tremulous lateral motion of the hand. The figure of Pysche, will assist the pupil in comprehending our remarks upon drapery and flesh.
Never jag your lines by making thorn by fits and starts; let the motion of your hand be free and uninterrupted, so as to form a continuous line ; for if the pencil is removed from the paper, a line like a saw will be the result.
We need not remind our pupils that there are extremes of outline as in other things ; the one is too great a uniformity of line, the other too great a variation of breadth of line. If the subject is intended to be finished in outline, the pupil should strengthen one side more than the other; and we recommend that the outline etchings issued by the " Art Union of London," which are excellent compositions, should be carefully studied and copied.
If the subject is to be shaded, the outline should be lightly, and not too firmly, drawn.
We must remind the student in drawing, that to give a correct delineation of the human figure it is indispensable to have some knowledge of muscular action. It is necessary that all the muscles, their purposes and functions, should be well understood; nor must osteology, or the bones of the skeleton, be neglected.