The Practice and Science of Drawing HTML version

Permit me in the first place to anticipate the disappointment of any
student who opens this book with the idea of finding "wrinkles" on
how to draw faces, trees, clouds, or what not, short cuts to
excellence in drawing, or any of the tricks so popular with the
drawing masters of our grandmothers and still dearly loved by a
large number of people. No good can come of such methods, for
there are no short cuts to excellence. But help of a very practical
kind it is the aim of the following pages to give; although it may be
necessary to make a greater call upon the intelligence of the
student than these Victorian methods attempted.
It was not until some time after having passed through the course
of training in two of our chief schools of art that the author got any
idea of what drawing really meant. What was taught was the
faithful copying of a series of objects, beginning with the simplest
forms, such as cubes, cones, cylinders, &c. (an excellent system to
begin with at present in danger of some neglect), after which more
complicated objects in plaster of Paris were attempted, and finally
copies of the human head and figure posed in suspended animation
and supported by blocks, &c. In so far as this was accurately done,
all this mechanical training of eye and hand was excellent; but it
was not enough. And when with an eye trained to the closest
accuracy the author visited the galleries of the Continent and
studied the drawings of the old masters, it soon became apparent
that either his or their ideas of drawing were all wrong. Very few
drawings could be found sufficiently "like the model" to obtain the
prize at either of the great schools he had attended. Luckily there