Saturday, September 20, 2014

Free Handbook of Drawing Offers Help for Students of All Ages

Brush and ink drawing by Ennyman.
Sometime this summer I stumbled upon a website that offers a free book every day. These are no ordinary books. The site is called Forgotten Books and that's exactly what they give you, books from long ago that have probably long been out of print for which there may have been high demand at one time but which are no longer in vogue, perhaps considered by our current culture as no longer relevant.

So much of what has been created in the past has been lost because of our perpetual fascination with the new. The newest movies, the latest TV shows, the new fashions. And yet... what wonders have been produced in ages gone by.

As regards these books, the subject matter is as varied as your interests. Books on social science, religion, mathematics, history, medicine, literature and the arts.... forgotten books for every kind of interest. Including this one on how to draw. A book about drawing will always be useful for the beginning artist. If you ever wanted help with regard to improving your technique as an artist, or for your children who are growing up, this book has many practical bits of advice and countless illustrations. It even has a course of study for helping fledgling artists learn the ropes.

When I was a young art student someone gave me this piece of advice. "It takes a thousand bad drawings to make a good drawing." I took it to heart and set about to make as many drawings as possible as fast as I was able.

Now the reality is that those first 999 drawings weren't "bad" drawings. They showed creativity, imagination and promise. But the process of drawing over and over provided me with an awareness of what my pen or pencil would do if I did this or that. I mastered certain aspects of eye-hand coordination, for example. I learned how to fool the eye and create the impression of depth on a flat surface.

In reality, though, a real class on drawing will offer more than that. And it helped that I had some training when I was very young so that I wasn't shooting from the hip.

High school drawing shows effect of varied line strength.
This 1880 volume by William Walker provides nearly 300 pages of useful instruction. In the early part of the book one learns how the eye works, the persistence of impression, the ways we perceive light and color, and how to observe as an artist. We learn about the tools of an artist and the proper way to sharpen pencils. There are insights on drawing lines, both straight and curvilinear. Sections dealing with outlining, shading, sketching, contour, light and shade, and the use of shadows. This is all groundwork for a course of study which forms the next major segment of the book, which included lessons on beauty, variety, proportionality, and composition.

And there is much, much more.

Even if you are not planning to be an artist, there are many occupations where the ability to draw will prove useful. If you are a cabinet maker, or in the trades, it can be useful to have improved your drawing skills so you can convey a concept to a client.

You can't argue with the price. If you don't want to keep it, you can simply hit the delete button.

A Handbook of Drawing can be found here in this section of their online catalog. If drawing is not an interest of yours, then check out the books on philosophy, poetry, ancient history, recreation, home and household, self help or business and economics.


1 comment:

Drawing said...

Thanks for the info - will check it out.