1 Freehand Drawing

line, object, tracing, straight, principles, slate, lines, exercises and student

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In draWing horizontal straight lino the elbow should be held close to the body. For vertical lines . and for all curved lines the elbow should be held as far from the body as possible.

These exercises and similar ones of his own invention should be practiced by the student for a long period, even after he is studying more advanced work. Any piece of waste paper and any spare moments may be utilized for them. As in acquiring any form of manual skill, to learn to draw requires incessant practice, and these exercises correspond to the five-finger exercises which • are such an important part of the training in instrumental music. While they are not very interesting in themselves the training they give to the muscles of the hand and arm is what enables the draughtsman to execute his work with rapidity, ease, and assurance.

The student should bear in mind that a straight freehand line ought not to look like a ruled line. A part of the attraction of freehand drawing, even of the simplest description, is the sensi tive, live quality of the line. A straight line is defined in geom etry as one whose direction is the same throughout, but slight deviations in a freehand straight line, which recover themselves and do not interfere with the general direction are legitimate, as the hand, even when highly trained, is not a machine, and logically should not attempt to do what can be performed with more mechanical perfection by instruments. Where freehand straight lines are used to indicate the boundaries of forms, the slight in evitable variations in the line are really more true to the facts of vision than a ruled line would be,- inasmuch as the edges even of geometric solids appear softened and less rigid because they are affected by the play of light and by the intervening atmosphere.

This the beginner will not be able to see at first, for in this case as in so many others, his sight is biased by his knowledge of what the object is and how it feels.

16. Freehand Perspective. One of the chief difficulties in learning to draw is, as before stated, in learning to see correctly. because the appearance of objects so often contradicts what we know to be true of them. More than one beginner has drawn a handle on a mug because he knew it was 'there, regardless of the fact that the mug was turned in such a way that the handle was not visible. The changes which take place in the appearance of forms through changes in the position from which they are seen, are governed by the principles of perspective. Although students of this course are supposed to be familiar with the science of per spective, it is necessary to restate certain general principles of perspective with which the fieehand draughtsman must be se familiar that he can apply them almost unconsciously as he draws.

The most important of these are demonstrated in the following paragraphs, and their application should be so thoroughly under: stood that they become a part of the student's mental equipment. In theory the draughtsman draws what be sees, hut practically he is guided by his knowledge as to how he sees.

The principles can be most clearly demonstrated through the study of certain typical geometric forms which are purposely stripped of all intellectual or sentimental interest, so that nothing shall divert the attention from the principles involved in their representation. The student will readily recognize the great variety of subjects to which the Principles apply and the impor tance of working out the exercises and mastering them for the sake of the knowledge they impart. These'principles can be explained very clearly by the use of the glass slate, which is a part of the required outfit for this course. All drawings should be made from the models in outline and in freehand on the glass, using the Cross pencil. The drawing,-should be tested and corrected according to the instructions for testing.

17. Tracing on the Slate. In beginning to study model drawing the model may be traced upon the slate held between the model and the eye and at right angles to the direction in which the object is seen. (See section 13.) In order to do this with accuracy it is absolutely necessary that the slate shall not move and it is equally necessary that the position of the dye shall not change. As neither of these conditions can be fulfilled exactly without mechanical contrivances for holding both the slate and the head fixed, it follows that the best tracing one can shake will be only approximately correct and even that only if the object is of a very simple character. The snore complicated the object the' ess. satisfactory will be the tracing from it. Perhaps the best method is to mark the important angles and changes of direction in the contour with points and then rapidly connect the points with lines following the contours. Although the result may not be very correct, if carefully made the tracing will at least demonstrate the principal points wherein the appearance of an object differs from and contradicts the facts, and that is the sole object of the tracing. It awakens in the student the power of seeing accurately as it teaches the mind to accept the image in the eye as the true appear ance of an object even if that image differs from the actual shape and proportion of the object as we know it by the sense of touch. Except as it helps us to learn to see, the tracing gives no train ing in freehand drawing other than' the slight manual exercise involved in drawing the line.

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