The Form Principle As A Basis Of Approach

No matter what subject the artist uses or what medium he works in, there is but one solid basis of approach to a realistic interpretation of life— to the representation of the natural appearance of existing forms. I cannot lay claim to being the first to perceive the truths which underlie this approach. You will find them exemplified sn all good art. They existed long before me, and will continue as long as there is light. I shall attempt only to organize these truths so as to make them workable for you in study and practice, in everything you do. To the organization of these basic truths I have given a name: the Form Principle, This principle is the basis for everything which will be discussed in this book; and it is my hope that you will adopt it and use it. for the rest of your lives. Let us start out by defining the Form Principle:

The Form Principle is (he rendering of form as to its aspect at any given moment with regard to its lighting, its struct tire and texture, together with its true relatkniship to its environment.

Now let us see what this means. Any pictorial effect that will present a convincing illusion of existing form must do so first by the rendering of light on that form. Without light, as far as we are concerned, form ccascs to exist. The first truth of the Form Principle that we are concerned with is:

It must be determined at once what kind of light we are working with, for its nature and quality and the direction from lohich it comes will affect the entire appearance of the form.

If it is impossible to render form without light, then it follows that the nature of the form becomes visible because of light. A brilliant light produces Well-defined light, halftone, and shadow. A diffused light, such as the light of the sky on a grey day, produces an effect of softness and subtle gradation of light to dark. In the studio the same relative effects are produced by artificial light for definition and by the natural north daylight for the soft gradation.

The direction or position of the light source, then, determines what planes shall be in the light, halftone, or shadow. Texture is more apparent in a direct or bright light than in a diff used light. The planes of the form are also more apparent in brilliant light.

This brings us to the next truth:

The lightest areas of the form will be within those planes lying most nearly at right angles to the direction of the light. The halftone planes will he those obliquely situated to the direction of the light. The shadow planes will be those planes lying in or beyond the direction of light so that the light of the original source cannot reach them, The cast shadows are the residts of the light having been intercepted> and the shape of such intercepting form is projected to other planes. In diffused light there is little or no cast shadow. In brilliant light or direct light there is always cast shadoiv.

So you will see that the kind of light immediately has to do with the approach to your subject and the ultimate effect. Having less definition, the diffused or over-all light will be most difficult. For "snap," take direct light. For softness and simplicity, use sky light. Direct light produces contrast, sky light produces closeness of value.

Direct light produces much more reflected light, and this is most apparent within the shadow. The amount of reflected light reaching the shado w will determine Us value. Everything upon which the light falls becomes a secondary source of reflected light and will light shadow planes in

The big form makes the subject carry and appear solid, not the incidental surface forms.

Many of the small and intricate forms must be subordinated to keep the big form solid. Folds, for instance, can ruin the effect of underlying form and break it up. Draw only the folds that express form and the natural drape of the material, not every fold just because it is there on the model or in the copy,

The best pictures run to a few simple values.

This will be taken up later on.

The design makes the picture, not the subject or material.

Almost any subject can be used with charm through the help of design and arrangement, Presentation is more vital than subject matter.

The same form may he presented with great variety by a careftd arrangement of lighting. Just any light will not do. H must be the best of several experiments,

A landscape beautiful in early morning or evening light may be dull and uninteresting at noonday. A charming head may be ugly in bad lighting. The best plan is always to choose the lighting that tends to big simple form, not form too broken up in light and shadow.

Light and shadow in itself produces design.

The plainest of subjects can be made artistic by weaving patterns of light and shadow through it.

Value relationships between objects produce design>.

For example, a dark object placed against a light one, and both against a grey field, would be design. Units may be placed against close values or contrasting values, thereby getting subordination in the first instance and accentuation in the second. The planning or composition of the subject is really dealing with the relationships of the values of certain units as combined with or opposed to others. This results in "pattern," and can be further combined with lighting.

All pictures are fundamentally either arrange ments of lights, intervening tones, and darks > or else linear arrangements.

You cannot avoid making your subject either a tonal statement or a linear statement. You can combine both, but you cannot get away from one of these. If you do not understand tonal relationship you cannot secure a feeling of "existence."

Line is contour; tone is form, space, and the third dmumsion.

Get this clearly in your mind.

Contour cannot be continuously defined all around all units and a sense of space be achieved.

Contour becomes lost and found and interlaced or woven into other areas in nature. If the edge is kept hard all around, it cannot avoid sticking to the picture plane, losing the feeling of space, or one edge in back of another. Edges will be taken up in more detail later.

The f undamentals are the same in all mediums.

Each medium has an inherent quality of its own. Once you master the Form Principle, only the peculiarities of the medium remain to be mastered. You will simply have to find out how to express a sharp edge, a soft edge, light, halftone and shadow, in the medium, which is a purely technical matter. But you will render form in essentially the same way in all mediums.

The darkest part of the shadow appears nearest the light, bet ween the halftone of the light and the reflected light within the shadow.

This is called the "ridge"or "hump"by the illustrator, and is most important, It keeps the shadow luminous and the form round.

The Form Principle is the co-ordination of all factors dealing with line, tone, and color.

This book is laid out on the Form Principle, since it enters into everything you will ever do, or see, in the field of illustration. We shall attempt to clarify its various applications as we go along. I suggest that you come back to these fundamental truths often, for they are the answer to most of your problems.

So we start with line;

Aspergers Communication Iceberg ModelCartoon Vested Interest

LINE IS PROPORTION WITH IMAGINATION

CAN YOU CON/TRLICT AHEAD IN ANT PO/E ? A PLAN OF HEAD CONSTRUCTION HA/ 13E&N J* ET FORTH JN * FUN WITH A PENCIL.

|VlJ-(JAL -TURVES PLAN A/ I/ET FORTH IN ^WCURE DRAWING FC1RALL ITJT WORTH.

OF THE PROPORTION AND CON/TR.UCTI ON OF THE HUMAN FIGUR-E. IT I J* MY PURPOSE KOWTOHELP YOU DEVELOP THEFICURE PICTOR.I A LLY TO PRÄCT1 CAL COALS AND TO A Li VE.LI HOOP.WORK!

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Unequally Divided Space
IFA DRAWING IJ" BArED UPON UNDERLYING THERE FORE*INFORMA L DE/IGN BY UNEQUAL

LINEAR DEJ'tCN.lT WILL RßkfcTAKE Of1 IT./"UNITY DlVl/tON, COMPOSITION UONE OR.THE OTHER

Linear Compositions Line ImagesDrafting Geometric Symbols

USING THE FIRST FUNCTION OF "LINE FOR ITSELF" FOR COMPOSITION

Straight Line Composition

COMPOSITION MAY EE BASED ON LETTERS AND SYMBOLS

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Composition Forms Examples

COMPOSITION MAY BE BASED ON GEOMETRIC FORMS

Drawing Composition Rules

THE "FULCRUM-LEVER" PRINCIPLE APPLIED TO COMPOSITION

RULE THE. HEAVIER THE f^ATJ OR. WE IGHT, THE Nf:AftFft ITJHOULD BE PIJ\CEU TO TH LI MIODI.R t IM E OF YOUR PICTURE.

rut HEAVY WEIGHT

PLACt EACH WEltVHT J O TH£CT iT^Al 'PEAl¿S TO tM &ALANCE

BALANCING

E^QUAL WSi IGttl J" S H O U LD "AP HF-AR TO BE fî.âuA \J'

each side). If two forms are equal, let one overlap the other so as to change the contour. Variety is the spice of composition. We make a small weight balance a heavier one by placing it farther away from the middle of the subject, or the fulcrum, which is the middle point of balance. Balance in composition is a sense of equilibrium between the masses of light and dark, or of the area and bulk of one thing balancing another. The heavier the mass, the nearer the middle—the smaller the mass, the nearer the edge—is a good axiom.

To he pleasing, the material within a picture needs balancc, or should seem to be pleasantly reposing within the picture limits. Balance is obviously "off" when we feel that the limits would seem better if moved over, or more space added or cut away. This is the best guide we have, for there are no infallible rules of composition. About the only rule is that we give the greatest variety of spaces possible, no two duplicating one another in size or shape (except in strictly formal arrangements, where all things are balanced equally on

INTRODUCING INFORMAL SUBDIVISION

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space. Two diagonals crossing like an X would divide the rectangle equally, which we do not want. Now you may draw horizontals or perpendiculars at any intersection, thus making more rectangles to divide by diagonals again. In this manner you will never break up the same shape twice in the same way. It offers a great deal of suggestion for the placement of figures, spacing, and contours, with no two spaces being exactly equal or duplicated, except the two halves on each side of the single diagonal. If you have a subject in mind you will begin to see it develop.

This is a plan of subdivision of my own. It offers greater freedom to the artist. Study it. It will help you to divide space unequally and interestingly. Start by dividing the whole space unequally with a single (optional) line. It is best to avoid placing the line at a point which would be one-half, one-third, or one-fourth of the whole space. Then draw one diagonal of the whole space from diagonally opposite corners. At the intersection of the diagonal and your first line, draw a horizontal line across the space. Now draw diagonals in any of the resulting rectanglcs, but only one to a

Creative Drawing Lessons

INFORMAL SUBDIVISION IS PURELY CREATIVE, NOT MECHANICAL

MAKE THUMBNAIL/. THE PfVl^l ONJ" HEftE „TUGGE-TrED THE J*U B J AND ARRANGEM ENT/.

Since, when a space is divided in the manner shown in these pages, selection plays a great part, and invention the rest, it cannot avoid being creative. That is its strongest recommendation, in comparison with forms of subdivision that start you out with a "set" or formal arrangement to begin with. You start inventing with your first line when you use informal subdivision. It helps to get you over the emptiness of blank paper before you, without an idea in your head. That, I assure you, is the feeling most of us experience, and you probably already know what I mean. If you have a subject in mind, it will develop with one or two tries. If you have no subject in mind, pretty soon the lines will start suggesting something, as these did in the little drawings above. In starting out I had no intimation of what the subjects would be. This method is invaluable in work ing up ideas, layouts, small compositions. As the ideas develop they can be carricd out with models, clippings, and so forth, When the original subdividing lines are erased, it is amazing how well the composition balances or "hangs together." I urge you not to pass this up without a tryout It has often saved the day for me, and 1 admit that even in my own work I am often so "stymied" for a good arrangement that I turn to it in great relief. While all of the compositions of the book arc not so based, many of them are, and in my estimation the better ones. Any one of the arrangements on this or the preceding pages would be intriguing to do as a painting, and I only wish I had the space. Most artists develop an eye for composition eventually, but this device will get you well on the way. Draw the dividing lines lighdy so they can be easily erased.

Impossible Room Drawing

EVERYTHING YOU DRAW IS

It is impossible to draw correctly and intelligently without the consideration of a viewpoint and an eye level. The viewpoint is what is known as the station point in perspective. However, that is really the spot on the ground plane where you are standing. Artistically, the viewpoint is the center of the field of vision and is not to be confused with the vanishing points. If we look straight out at eye level, the viewpoint will be exactly opposite a point located in the middle of the horizon. The horizon is the eye level. Think of a great fan-shaped sheet of glass starting at a point just back of our two eyes and spreading out at our eye level and reaching as far as we could see. This entire sheet of glass would be the picture horizon. No picture can have more than one horizon. It follows that all receding lines parallel to the ground plane that recede from points above the horizon must slant downward pictorially and end in the horizon. Then all lines below the horizon, also parallel to the ground plane, must slant upward to the horizon. Our viewpoint, then, determines the horizon.

Since a picture may not, and seldom does, represent the whole field of vision, the horizon may cross the picture plane, or be above the picture or below it. Suppose you have a large photo of a group of buildings. Without changing the horizon or perspective lines, you might crop out any small section of the photo for your picture. But no matter what part you take, the relationship to the original eye level (or viewpoint of the camera) is apparent. You or the camcra look down on everything below the picture horizon or up at anything above it. All things will show only their top surface when below the eye level or picture horizon. We can look into things only when the eye is above them. Round lines like a belt around a waistline must curve up when below the horizon, and down when above. But how many times we see this truth disregarded! How often do we see necks, shoulders, paying no attention to an eye level, roofs slanting down or up when the reverse should be the case! It must be stated here that too large a percentage of art-

RELATED TO AN EYE LEVEL

ists go into the field of illustration and commercial art woefully lacking in a knowledge of simple perspective. It becomcs apparent when the artist has obviously worked from two clippings or photos, each having a different eye level. You may be certain two clips will seldom be in agreement with each other in this respect.

Perspective must be understood by the artist. It applies to every bit of copy he uses. He can start with one thing, for instance a photo of a piano. That will establish the horizon of his picture. Then every tiling else, including figures, must be drawn to the same eye level. lie must redraw the perspective so that the vanishing points will fall in the same horizon set by the piano. Or, selecting a figure, he may adjust the perspective of the piano to fit the figure. The best way to do this is to make small sketches so that wide vanishing points may be used. Use a large tissue pad. Then square off the small sketch and enlarge to the size you want.

To learn perspective means only a small investment at the bookstore, and only a few evenings set aside to learn it once and for all. Why an artist will jeopardize his whole output and a lifetime of effort by a lack of such knowledge is beyond me. For some reason, the man who does not know perspective imagines it is much more difficult than it really is. It is just one of those things, like the study of anatomy, which an artist may keep putting off eternally and suffer for lack of, every day. Perspective is a part of ex :ery form under every condition and cannot be avoided. It affects your very next job and every one thereafter. If you are working from a single photo the camera may do it for you. But if you change or add one single unit to your photographic copy, you will not be able to do it correctly unless you understand this principle of eye level and viewpoint. If you do not understand perspective, by all means drop everything else and get it at once. You will never draw until you do. (There are so many good texts on perspective that it would be superfluous to give further space to it here. Your bookstore can help you.)

EYE LEVEL, CAMERA LEVEL, AND HORIZON MEAN THE SAME

Perspective is the first and foremost means of

__^— depicting space on a flat picture plane and the

^---- j, —j^¿Aj natural or normal aspect of things. If modern art fV?}V "l^J T^^^Sm. w ~ chooses to ignore it, modern art chooses to suf-

¿Kjf ^ wll ne^at*ve resPonse thereby evoked. But in

—- illustration we cannot ignore it and make our f J-— - —--work appeal with any conviction of reality.

/[ _ _ - ^ ^r^-y V* can easily check any copy to find the hori-

--.--.--zon Simply carry any receding straight lines back

* until they meet m a point. These lines, ot course, should be parallel to the ground plane, like two

. |m --y|iiL>i ll — floor boards, two ceiling lines, two parallel sides

W ¿jg g li |Ji§| of a table, or the top and bottom lines of a door

Jit-' T \ M V -Jills 01 w*ni^ows' ^he which such lines meet

Pfl^lnB^' ffl^Jl® straight across through such a point and that is

. "S- When you have your horizon, note where it

'3P*' cuts across the figure. Then it must so cut across tiff1 ^ f\~~ ^ cE figures> at the waist, breast, head, or j\ J_ -aJU-J—P—--wherever it comes. All added units must have

^CJjf YjVlrves_ e&Low thu Picrof<E their vanishing points in the same horizon. Sup-

1'v pose you have a clipping of an interior. By finding the horizon you can estimate the height of the r7 EYE LEVEL ABOVE (HE PlClUftE

v^ ___ - camera. By adjusting the figure you may wish to

_IT«,.. i ^ 'S K. 11'— ^^Cjlfei draw within that same interior with this camera yT/ i J ■ /i-^ 7W11 level, you can make the figure seem to fit in per-

A^^^^s^lffe i ft I Mill ^--tiisl/Mn spective. Cameras are usually at breast level, so Tf ttnTTT] '¡, iii! 'IILrf1^1WIl (p iB j 1¡1 ¡'iM I S6e horizon Cuts through the figures prop-

J: j | jj ¡ [{/-f^ 'l erly. This is about the only way there is to insert

¡C^S^M |IJjj jjv^jl t fig^es properly, so that they will all seem to be

"^HjR h IfSfiF - standing on the same floor.

liP^1^ -- Mff m 'r1''1 Another advantage: if you know beforehand pfl^TT" L' ■ ' l| ilpFjjp || about how high the horizon appears above the floor in the intended copy, you can then adjust

^ EYE LEVEL -XTr'T^ yOLtr CamCTa t0 that ]iei'Sht When taking PiCtUrCS

Ji. i | of the models whom vou intend to use in the pic-j--rrH---' 1

^ ij jjjj ,! I |.■;_ I ture. You cannot shoot at just any level and make ptiiiv1!^ jt fit y°ur c°py'

- V^J f 'ii^ili'ii'il-l IP^Tf^r^f) When redrawing copy to fit a new eye level,

1 j jjfa'nftlT^Fi ^rSt somet^ng known measurement in the '^vyfe^ i-CT^'l lit--copy. For instance, a chair seat is about eighteen

> inches off the floor. Draw a perpendicular at the

; iV^ ' corner of the chair and measure it off in feet. Then llTl^^^y^^^* __—^--you can take any point in the ground plane. The

Femdon ComicWaiting Quotes ClipartBalance Vision Focal PointThe Focal Point Illustration

USING LINE TO PRODUCE A FOCAL POINT IN SUBJECT

don't DO THIJ"

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TUfc VA.Nh.rmNQ POINT IJ" THE

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IT /HQULl? ÖOTO MAIN CHARACTER,

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Tutorial Sketch CompojForm Illustration

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How To Become A Professional Pencil Drawing Artist

How To Become A Professional Pencil Drawing Artist

Realize Your Dream of Becoming a Professional Pencil Drawing Artist. Learn The Art of Pencil Drawing From The Experts. A Complete Guide On The Qualities of A Pencil Drawing Artist.

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