Pen pictures and how to draw them
|Pen pictures and how to draw them|
A practical handbook on the various methods of illustrating in black and white for process engraving, with numerous designs, diagrams, and sketches
It is usual to say that there are three Arts of Design — architecture, sculpture, and painting. The nineteenth century has added a fourth to the number. Drawing in Pen and Ink, or, as it is otherwise called, Black and White, has, owing to special requirements, definitely taken rant as a separate art. With the aid of photography in its now highly developed state, a new and cheap method of engraving known as " Process" has, to some degree, revolutionized the world of matters artistic.
Until in recent years, most of the published drawings were prepared for the printer by the beautiful but costly art of wood engraving. What has formerly left altogether to the skill of the trained carver on wood is now more frequently produced automatically by a very simple method. The original drawing is photographed upon a plate of zinc.
Through the influence of the schools of the Royal Academy and South Kensington Museum, with their affiliated branches, the art of design has been enormously nurtured.
New systems and more capable teachers have sprung up, and much excellent work has been done. It is becoming, indeed, a sort of convention that everyone who can write should be able to draw. But, however, this may be as regards the individual, it is beyond doubt that there is an increasing number of matters which are represented by the draughtsman and engraver. Not the least important indication of this fact is the progress of illustrated publications, both in number and quality.
We may not, perhaps, return to an age of picture-writing, when men will be ac- customed to drawing their ideas instead of describing them in words. There is much, nevertheless, to be said for lessons by pictures, news by pictures, and the like, rather than by letterpress.
Certainly, we can understand almost anything better by an illustration than by any amount of ' ' word-painting." We know, for instance. Dr Johnson's definition of a network as " anything reticulated at equal distances with interstices between the intersections." But. the crudest, the most appallingly inartistic sketch of the apparatus would be a better explanation than that.
Although hundreds of persons of both sexes are daily engaged in making pen-and-ink drawings for the hosts — ever increasing hosts — of illustrated publications, opportunities for acquiring a practical knowledge of Black and White are, curiously enough, exceedingly rare. In London,. Paris, and New York there are annual exhibitions of Pen and Ink work.
We have also numerous schools for teaching- drawing as an introduction to painting. But academics and institutions affording reliable guidance and information in the art of Black and White have yet to be established in the numbers which the importance of the subject demands. It is not generally understood that an artist may be a royal Academician and an excellent painter, and yet a very inferior draughtsman for the purposes of reproduction in black and white.
The explanation of this is, that a drawing that must pass through the hands of engravers and printers before it reaches the public cannot be worked out so completely as a drawing intended to be looked at in itself, and not merely in the reproduction. Modem pen-drawing is based on the fact that artists now know how to work for the special needs of "process." With this in view, it is hoped that these pages will set before the student and artist a broad and accurate foundation upon which to study and reflect. No claim is made that everything necessary to equip an artistic draughtsman will be found, nor is the student asked to dispense with large and exhaustive works dealing with the critical and vague side of Pen and Ink work.
Simplicity has been studied even to the verge of frequent repetition. Complexity has been avoided, because experience has shown over and over again that the lessons of drawing-masters and textbooks are too often a maze of advice impossible for the memory to retain, and frequently serving only to disgust and discourage, without conveying any satisfactory instruction.
Publication date 1895
Publisher London: L. Upcott Gill
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