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Wash Drawings

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WASH DRAWINGS Water-colors or India ink for coloring draw ings, are used for the best work, almost entirely. By means of color or by the use of India ink for a monotone, the shades and shadows can be emphasized and the drawing made much more attractive. The usual method of proce dure is to have the paper upon which the draw ing is to be made, stretched tight upon a board; then cast the shadows, marking the outlines faintly with a hard pencil; then clean the drawing with a soft eraser; finally, have all materials ready for applying the washes, and then start the color work.


The usual materials for wash drawings are: the colors or the India ink; a number of brushes (one a bristle brush and the others soft camel-hair or Japanese brushes) ; plenty of receptacles for holding the color in its various shades, also one large receptacle for clean water. Porcelain or china dishes made especially for this work may be purchased from any dealer in artists' materials. In addition to the above, a soft sponge and a number of blotters will be necessary. The paper should have a rough finish, as this takes the color or wash much better than paper with a smooth or glazed sur face. Hot-pressed and cold-pressed papers of good quality are largely used for this work. The cold-pressed is a little rougher than the hot pressed and is perhaps more frequently used. A good tracing paper may be used if the color is applied thick and in spots, or where no attempt at a true wash drawing is made. Care will have to be exercised in the use of tracing paper, as too much water will spoil the work.

As mentioned above, the paper upon which the drawing is made has to be stretched tight on the drawing board. This may be done after the drawing has been made, although it will be found much more convenient to stretch the paper first, and then make the drawing. To stretch the paper, it should be thoroughly wetted all over, and kept wet until it is firmly fastened in place; this wetting causes the paper to expand. On the four edges of the paper, for about an inch back from the edge all around, place glue or drawing-board paste. The paper,

being expanded by the water, should now be fastened or pressed down onto the board, work ing opposite edges at the same time. Do not attempt to stretch the paper perfectly tight. Be careful to see that the edges of the paper are in contact with the board, and run the back edge of a pocket-knife all around, to insure the glue or paste on the edge of the paper coming into contact with the board.

After the paper is thus stretched, take all sur plus water off by means of a sponge, and dry the paper as much as possible with the sponge. Allow the paper to stand until thoroughly dry, when it will be found that the paper has shrunken tight and smooth, giving a good sur face for the drawing, and the rendering will be much easier because the paper is held firmly in place. Be very careful to see that the paper is stuck to the board all along each of the four edges, before allowing the paper to dry.

After the drawing has been made, the shadows are cast with light pencil lines. Clean the drawing with a soft eraser, either of kneaded rubber or of "sponge" rubber. These erasers remove the general surface dirt without affecting the lines materially.

The use of an India ink wash will be described, although the same treatment will be true of colors. The drawing should, of course, be inked very carefully before any tinting is started. The erasing of lines should be done very carefully as the surface of the paper, if rubbed too hard, will be abraded—so that when colors are applied they will soak in instead of remaining on the surface. The drawing may be very carefully washed after the inking is com pleted, with a soft sponge; this removes surplus ink and leaves the lines more subdued.

Method of Applying Wash. Having the drawing all ready to render, a few principles must be followed to insure the best results. Have your water, color, brushes, blotters, and sponge, all handy; have plenty of clean water convenient; for heavy or dark shades, apply sev eral washes of a lighter value, instead of putting the heavy color on all at once.

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