Human Head Drawing

to sit to him as a hired model, but takes her as he finds her, in her own freedom, and brings her home with him, as it were, to his studio, to come forth reproduced and perpetuated by his art.

18. The purposes of a study in design, involving so much more than the mere production of a recognisable drawing or representation — as the advantages to be derived therefrom are in proportion to the knowledge, theoretical as well as practical, to be gained thereby — neither time nor pains thus bestowed can ever be misapplied, nor will they be regretted. The utmost effort should always be exerted to secure the greatest accuracy in all respects, even to the elaboration of the minutest details.

19. It is false to suppose that the study and imitation of minutise in nature, in the beginning, has by any means a tendency to warp the mind, or to contract the hand into habits of littleness. The history of the career of most, if not of all, who have reached high attainment in Art, bears evidence to the contrary; and their progress, from laborious minuteness to grandeur, may be traced with edifying interest. Michael Angelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and many others, might be named as instances. The drawings and studies, still in existence, of these men, as well as their greater works, are, many of them, marvels of elaboration in their way. The early pictures of Titian and the founders of the Venetian school are equally marked by the most careful regard to details; and the evidences of perfect knowledge of their value and masterly command of them as expedients, thus gained, are as clearly discoverable in their bolder and later works. Thus reviewing the whole field of excellence in artistic achievement, the happy influence of a close and scrutinizing study of nature may be traced.

20. "It would appear almost incomprehensible,'" to use the words of a great historian of ail, "that the excellence of the great masters of art should have been so rarely rivalled,.with all the superior means and resources of intelligence that we possess, and the examples they have left to us; and that a knowledge of the path has not been sufficient in itself to enable enlightened spirits to run the*same career with success." The question suggests itself, how far we may have looked too earnestly to the end rather than considered the means of its attainment; and, in seeking byroads and shorter paths, may have lost more ground than we have gained by leaving the well-tried highway. That too much theoretical quackery in teaching may have had much to do with it can scarcely be doubted. It is true that these men, in almost all cases, received instruction from masters; but it was of the simplest kind, and always directed to the acquirement of practical skill, rather than to the discovery of contrivance. The pupil was tlie companion and, generally, assistant of the master from the beginning. There were no long and wearying preparatory studies exacted of him. He was led at once to results measured to his capacity. His strength was tried, his weakness assisted. The aid he received was derived from the experience of the master. All that was to be done, he did himself. Artists were the leaders and exemplifies of the capacity of their art. The student was set to work—as, in the honest sincerity of our convictions, he should be now — to learn to draw. He that can not draw a straight line, the simplest, easiest, and most comprehensible, has certainly much to learn, and should begin with it. He that can, has already made no inconsiderable advancement. The mystery is developed 5 the next step must be onward, and onward safely, surely, and successfully. Books and theories are all well enough in good time. There has scarcely ever been anything said or written in relation to art that may not be listened to or read to advantage, when sufficient practical knowledge has been secured to strengthen the judgment in forming just conclusions; but, to the inexperienced, they are often not only embarrassing, but in a measure profitless.

21. The materials commonly employed in drawing, and studying from nature, are so numerous and varied, and so well known, that it would seem scarcely necessary to say more than that the learner should select such as may be best adapted to his purpose. To this end, that which will most perfectly realize the faithful representation of his subject, rather than that which offers the temptation of expedition, should be considered. Our decided preference for the Pen, over all other instruments, would incline us to recommend its employment on all occasions, when practicable. There is nothing within the requirement of a study, with the exception of color, that may not be realized by it. The uncompromising character of its lines is the surest safeguard against the numerous vices and errors common to learners, as well as correct-*^ of habits of carelessness, and looseness of manner, which the pencil and Indian-rubber are apt to induce. True it may be, that a pen-and-ink drawing may not look quite so fair to ordinary judgments as if it were done in crayon or pencil, stumped and tortured until "you can't see the marks." But it is very certain that he who can produce one such, to the degree of perfection of which the pen is capable, has learned more in its execution, and more fully realized the advantages of a study, in all respeets, than could be obtained by any other more rapid process with which we are acquainted. He who is habituated to the use of the pen, and in whose hand it is obedient, will never be at a loss with any instrument he may employ. Faithful, however, as a servant, it is an exacting master, and no ordinary degree of trial, or amount of perseverance and courage, may be required to meet its exactions. It is just the kind of master that the Art-Student should secure to himself. Uncompromising in error, severe in its requirements, it neither flatters nor deceives, and repays in tenfold measure all the pains and labor it enjoins.

We would not, however, by any means insist that those who lack the courage and perseverance which the use of the pen may require, should be denied indulgence with less-exacting instruments. We have only to say, take the pen, as the best calculated, in our opinion, to make you a good draughtsman. Sooner than you should take nothing, take anything you please. The variety of instruments, methods, and materials, from which to choose, is sufficiently ample to meet the most fastidious or even capricious requirement. First, there is the Black-lead Pencil, of different degrees of hardness and depth of tint. Then, there is the long-established Conte, ot French crayon, which may be employed as a pencil, or applied with a stump, made of leather, paper, or cork ; Tinted crayons, covered with paper, reed, or wood, which serve with much effect for memoranda of color, light and shadow, etc. Japanned boxes of Water-Colors, either in dry or moist cakes, are much esteemed by sketchers, and are found very convenient They may be held on the thumb of the left hand, as a palette j while in the same hand may be also held, on an emergency, a card of Bristol-board, or stout paper, to receive the sketch, leaving the right free. Of Paper, we may have every variety of tint and texture, either mounted in blocks, or, better still for the sketcher, if cut into cards of a convenient size. There are, also, the French Sketching-hoards, prepared of variour tints, even with skies and suggestive effects ready laid in. They are so prepared as to present an agreeable working surface for either pencil, crayon, or stump ; and, at the same time, sharp lights and touches may be recovered, by scraping or rubbing up the under preparation. On these, colored crayons may be employed with much effect.

Paper is generally in a condition to work on when purchased. A little practical experience will direct in selection. For the studio, and careful, out-door drawings, it is better that it should be stretched 011 light drawing-boards.

To stretch paper on an ordinary drawing-board, it should be damped with a wet cloth or sponge, on both sides, with as little friction as possible. Let it remain for a few minutes, that the water may be thoroughly absorbed; which may be assisted, by rolling it up, and laying it aside, for a short time, in a situation not exposed to heat or air. Have ready some strong paste, glue, or gum-arabic, thoroughly dissolved in water; the last is most convenient, as it may be kept, always at hand, in powder, and prepared in a few moments. Lay the damp paper on the board, and run a border of either of these adhesivcs evenly around it, with a brush, to the width of a quarter to half an inch, more or less, according to the size of the sheet. Carefully turn the paper over, and lay it evenly on the board, taking care that it adheres firmly on the edges; place it, face

to the wall, to dry slowly, and you will have, to repay the little trouble it has cost, a tempting surface for your best effort. Several sheets may be thus mounted on one board at the same time, by cutting each one a little larger than another, so as to leave a margin for the glue on each, say, of one third of an inch all around. After being damped, as directed, lay them down evenly, one over the other, so that each sheet may have a sufficient margin exposed to receive the glue, over all of which it may be passed at once. Be particularly careful that all the sheets are of an equal degree of dampness, and that their adhesion to the board is certain. Over all place a damp, not wet, cloth; and, when the whole becomes thoroughly dry, they will be found as serviceable as if mounted singly.

Drawing-boards may be bought of every variety of contrivance; but, after all, there has been little improvement, as far as practical value is to be considered, from the simple, well seasoned, old-fashioned board.

Paper, put up in what are called " Solid Sketching-blocks," containing a number of sheets secured together by the edges, and bound up as a portfolio, will be found convenient for pen, pencil, and crayon sketches and drawings: they arc not, however, always reliable for water-tints.

For charcoal, crayon, and washed drawings, particularly those 011 a large scale, commonly called " Cartoons," the paper may be stretched in the manner directed by substituting a straining-frame and canvas cloth for the drawing-board. Paper of a delicate gray, or drab half-tint, is generally preferred in such cases. Formerly it was necessary to paste several sheets of paper together for large cartoons; but we can now procure it of any required length, and five or six feet wide. Although tinted paper in many cases may be the best to employ, white may be often used with great advantage, by rubbing it over carefully with a preparation of scraped crayon and pumace-powder, both very fine, with a pellet of cotton-wool, or some such substance, until a flat and even tint, of the desired depth, is obtained. On this the crayon will be found to take readily, and the fullest amount of force of which it is capable may1 be obtained, while by a judicious employment of points, or pencils, of stale bread, or, still better, of the recently-invented combination of Indian-rubber and pinnace, the white paper may be either entirely recovered for the highest lights, or in gradations, with admirable effect. This method will be found to work better, if a faint but careful outline has been secured, by the pen, 011 the white paper, previous to the application of the half-tint.

To suit the convenience of the amateur, more than to supply any absolute necessity of the artist—who soon learns, in the more absorbing impulses of his art, to hold such matters in very partial estimation — the shops afford every variety of artists' fixtures that can be well imagined.

The readiness of the age, in the invention of labor-saving contrivances, has surfeited art with gimcrackeries in many ways far more injurious to its interests than by supplying it liberally, as it has done, with tools and materials. These may have often the good effect of inciting trial, and in the end leading to the surer means of reliance. Thus, the drawing which may have been pro-

mduced upon the most nicely-contrived board —-

and desk, folding up so cunningly and conveniently, capable of being elevated or depressed at will—an ornament even to the parlor-table—compared against the one that a bit of plank and a couple of books have served as well, may develop a secret, worth knowing, to more than two rivals in the art.

22. After all that has been said upon the subject, and earnestly as we have endeavored to impress the learner with an understanding of the nature, requirement, and value, of Studies, many may feel disappointed that more definite and practical directions have not been given; that 110 novelties, in the way of easy methods, have been suggested, to relieve the exaction of exertion on their part; that still, as ever, such exertion has been insisted upon, as the only means by which excellence is attainable. To expect to learn the ways of art by the mere reading of a book, is to reckon upon an illusion. All that verbal instruction can do is to indicate a course to be pursued; to afford the learner the benefit of the experience of others: the rest must be achieved by the exertion of his own intelligence and hand. There is scarcely a page, preceding this, that does not bear in some way upon the subject of study of nature. To repeat what has been already said would be paying a poor compliment to those who have given proper attention thereto ; and such as have not, could scarcely be expected to derive benefit therefrom, at a period when, it is to be presumed, the learner has passed the ordeal of elementary study, and is qualified to assume the position of an artist, and fully prepared for the comprehension of all that has been said with regard to Studies, as well as that which may follow in relation to Sketches.

23. The leading requisite in sketching is to produce the nearest approach to intelligible expression by the most simple and direct means—to strike at once the motive and most prominent features of a subject, and to express them with certainty and decision. How little will suffice to do this is often surprising.

It will be seen, that, in the expression of action in figures, the skeleton gives, at once, the most marked and simple lines that can possibly be employed. Cover it with muscles, or drapery.

as we may, the key to the expression of its motive lies there, however faintly it may be indicated.

Sketching Realistic Human Expressions

These examples, simple as they may be, will be sufficient to explain our meaning, which the learner can further and profitably exemplify for himself; observing, that the skeleton gives but


Human Head Drawing Proportions

/rOr general action, and proportions, or rather divisions. For individuality of character and expression he must be aided by the model, or the store of observation and study, which the memory, or, to use another term, the imagination, may supply. Among the many advantages of designing upon the basis of the skeleton, there is one of much practical value. The parts of a figure, which may be covered by the general outline, or out of sight, by reason of its intervention, or by

that of other figures, or objects, falling in their just positions, and according with its action and proportions, leaves no uncertainty in defining the position of as much of such parts as may be seen. This, some of the examples just given, small as they are, will sufficiently show. There never should be a doubt as to the disposition of any part of a figure, whether seen or not.

24. It is a profitable exercise, after having drawn a figure in one view, to reverse it, as if seen from the other side, without changing either its action or general character; and even to endeavor to make views of it from various points. How much more easily this may be done than may be at first imagined, a few careful practical experiments will prove. He who can, from an impression on his mind, or slight suggestion of the action of a figure, express it in any point of view, without a model, has certainly passed no insignificant period of advancement toward the highest privilege and capacity of an artist. It is by no means to be understood that we would convey an idea that there are 110 other means by which the action or motive of a figure may be expressed j nor that, in all cases, a preliminary indication of the skeleton is absolutely necessary. It is, nevertheless, very certain that, whatever be the visible lines employed, they should in all respects accord with it. Unless the artist have a distinct comprehension of its general and governing action and bearing on the outline, as well in regulating its proportions as in directing its action — unless he can distinctly recognise and be able to define, it, both in the model and in his design—his efforts must be always feeble and experimental. He may make occasional lucky hits; but he who trusts to chance for success in art, plays but an uncertain game, creditless at best, even though may sometimes win.

25. As the skeleton is to the living figure, so in their practical application, in an artistic sense, are their skeletons to inanimate objects. A landscape may have its skeleton, so far as such may be available to the sketcher — a tree—a building — anything. For, although Correctness of outline may be the ultimate object, the surest way to secure it is by means of its skeleton, or main lines of construction.

Sceleton Head DrawingMountain Skeleton Head Drawings

26. Whatever degree of reliance, however, may be placed upon their skeletons, as the basis of delineating the proportions and action of objects, individuality of character and sentiment are more effectively and intelligibly expressed by outline. In the sketches of skilful artists, the power of a few apparently unstudied lines and touches seems sometimes almost magical; and the student may profitably trace therein the evidences of superior knowledge, whence such simple means

Human Head DrawingDrawing The Human Head

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Drawing The Human Head

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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