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PRACTICAL HAND-BOOK OF DRAWING ***




Produced by Chris Curnow, Paul Marshall and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)






Transcriber’s Notes:

Underscores “_” before and after a word or phrase indicate _italics_
in the original text.
Small capitals have been converted to SOLID capitals.
Illustrations have been moved so they do not break up paragraphs.
Typographical errors have been silently corrected but other variations
in spelling and punctuation remain unaltered.
The use of “v” in REPRODVCTION and Illvstrations as they appear on the
title page and in the heading for the list of illustrations have been
retained.




[Illustration]




A · PRACTICAL · HANDBOOK · OF · DRAWING
FOR MODERN METHODS · OF · REPRODVCTION

BY
CHARLES G. HARPER,
AUTHOR OF “ENGLISH PEN ARTISTS OF TO-DAY.”

[Illustration]

_Illustrated with Drawings by several Hands, and with Sketches
by the Author showing Comparative Results obtained by the
several Methods of Reproduction now in Use._

LONDON: CHAPMAN & HALL, LD.
1894.




_TO CHARLES MORLEY, ESQ._


_DEAR MR. MORLEY_,

_It is with a peculiar satisfaction that I inscribe this book to
yourself, for to you more than to any other occupant of an editorial
chair is due the position held by “process” in illustrating the hazards
and happenings of each succeeding week._

_Time was when the “Pall Mall Budget,” with a daring originality
never to be forgotten, illustrated the news with diagrams fashioned
heroically from the somewhat limited armoury of the compositor. Nor
I nor my contemporaries, I think, have forgotten those weapons of
offence—the brass rules, hyphens, asterisks, daggers, braces, and
other common objects of the type-case—with which the Northumberland
Street printers set forth the details of a procession, or the
configuration of a country. There was in those days a world of
meaning—apart from libellous innuendo—in a row of asterisks; for did
they not signify a chain of mountains? And what Old Man Eloquent was
ever so vividly convincing as those serpentine brass rules that served
as the accepted hieroglyphics for rivers on type-set maps?_

_These were the beginnings of illustration in the “Pall Mall Budget”
when you first filled the editorial chair. The leaps and bounds
by which you came abreast of (and, indeed, overlook) the other
purveyors of illustrated news, hot and hot, I need not recount, nor
is there occasion here to allude to the events which led to what some
alliterative journalist has styled the Battle of the Budgets. Only
this: that if others have reaped where you have sown, why! ’twas ever
thus._

_For the rest, I must needs apologize to you for a breach of an
etiquette which demands that permission be first had and obtained
before a Dedication may be printed. To print an unauthorized tribute to
a private individual is wrong: when (as in the present case) an Editor
is concerned I am not sure that the wrong-doing halts anything before_
lèse majesté.

_Yours very truly,
CHARLES G. HARPER._

LONDON,
_May, 1894_.




[Illustration: PREFACE]


Everywhere to-day is the Illustrator (artist he may not always
be), for never was illustration so marketable as now; and the
correspondence-editors of the Sunday papers have at length found a new
outlet for the superfluous energies of their eager querists in advising
them to “go in” for black and white: as one might advise an applicant
to adventure upon a commercial enterprise of large issues and great
risks before the amount of his capital (if any) had been ascertained.

It is so very easy to make black marks upon white cardboard, is it not?
and not particularly difficult to seize upon the egregious mannerisms
of the accepted purveyors of “the picturesque”—that _cliché_ phrase,
battered nowadays out of all real meaning.

But for really serious art—personal, aggressive, definite and
instructed—one requires something more than a _penchant_, or the
stimulating impulsion of an empty pocket, or even the illusory
magnetism of the _vie bohême_ of the lady-novelist, whose artists still
wear velvet coats and aureoles of auburn hair, and marry the inevitable
heiress in the third volume. Not that one really wishes to be one of
those creatures, for the lady-novelists’ love-lorn embryonic Michael
Angelos are generally great cads; but this by the way!

What is wanted in the aspirant is the vocation: the feeling for beauty
of line and for decoration, and the powers both of idealizing and of
selection. Pen-drawing and allied methods are the chiefest means of
illustration at this day, and these qualities are essential to their
successful employ. Practitioners in pen-and-ink are already numerous
enough to give any new-comer pause before he adds himself to their
number, but certainly the greater number of them are merely journalists
without sense of style; mannerists only of a peculiarly vicious
parasitic type.

“But,” ask those correspondents, “does illustration pay?” “Yes,” says
that omniscient person, the Correspondence-Editor. Then those pixie-led
wayfarers through life, filled with an inordinate desire to draw, to
paint, to translate Nature on to canvas or cardboard (at a profit), set
about the staining of fair paper, the wasting of good ink, brushes,
pens, and all the materials with which the graphic arts are pursued,
and lo! just because the greater number of them set out, not with the
love of an art, but with the single idea of a paying investment of time
and labour—it does _not_ pay! Remuneration in their case is Latin for
three farthings.

Publishers and editors, it is said, can now, with the cheapness
of modern methods of reproduction as against the expense of
wood-engraving, afford to pay artists better because they pay engravers
less. Perhaps they can. But do they?

Pen-drawing in particular has, by reason of these things, almost come
to stand for exaggeration and a shameless license—a convention that
sees and renders everything in a manner flamboyantly quaint. But this
vein is being worked down to the bed-rock: it has plumbed its deepest
depth, and everything now points to a period of instructed sobriety
where now the untaught _abandon_ of these mannerists has rioted through
the pages of illustrated magazines and newspapers to a final disrepute.

Artists are now beginning to ask how they can dissociate themselves
from that merely manufacturing army of frantic draughtsmen who never,
or rarely, go beyond the exercise of pure line-work; and the widening
power of process gives them answer. Results striking and unhackneyed
are always to be obtained to-day by those who are not hag-ridden by
that purely Philistine ideal of the clear sharp line.

These pages are written as a plea for something else than the eternal
round of uninspired work. They contain suggestions and examples of
results obtained in striving to be at one with modern methods of
reproduction, and perhaps I may be permitted to hope that in this
direction they may be of some service.

CHARLES G. HARPER.




CONTENTS.

PAGE
INTRODUCTORY 1
THE RISE OF AN ART 9
COMPARATIVE PROCESSES 22
PAPER 78
PENS 92
INKS 96
THE MAKING OF A PEN-DRAWING 102
WASH DRAWINGS 121
STYLES AND MANNER 135
PAINTERS’ PEN-DRAWINGS 154




WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR.


ENGLISH PEN ARTISTS OF TO-DAY: Examples of their work,
with some Criticisms and Appreciations. Super royal
4to, £3 3_s._ net.

THE BRIGHTON ROAD: Old Times and New on a Classic
Highway. With 95 Illustrations by the Author and
from old prints. Demy 8vo, 16_s._

FROM PADDINGTON TO PENZANCE: The Record of a Summer
Tramp. With 105 Illustrations by the Author. Demy
8vo, 16_s._

[Illustration]




[Illustration: List of Illvstrations]


PAGE
VIGNETTE ON TITLE
KENSINGTON PALACE. Photogravure _Frontispiece_
THE HALL, BARNARD’S INN 25
A WINDOW, CHEPSTOW CASTLE 29
ON WHATMAN’S “NOT” PAPER 31
FROM A DRAWING ON ALLONGÉ PAPER 31, 32
BOLT HEAD: A MISTY DAY. Bitumen process 38
BOLT HEAD: A MISTY DAY. Swelled gelatine process 39
A NOTE AT GORRAN. Bitumen process 43
A NOTE AT GORRAN. Swelled gelatine process 43
CHARLWOOD. Swelled gelatine process 45
CHARLWOOD. Reproduced by Chefdeville 45
VIEW FROM THE TOWER BRIDGE WORKS. Bitumen process 48
VIEW FROM THE TOWER BRIDGE WORKS. Bitumen process.
Sky revised by hand-work 49
KENSINGTON PALACE 51
SNODGRASS FARM 53
SUNSET, BLACK ROCK 55
DRAWING IN DILUTED INKS, REPRODUCED BY GILLOT 57
CHEPSTOW CASTLE 61
CLIFFORD’S INN: A FOGGY NIGHT 65
PENCIL AND PEN AND INK DRAWING REPRODUCED BY HALF-TONE
PROCESS 68
THE VILLAGE STREET, TINTERN. NIGHT 70
LEEBOTWOOD 71
EXAMPLES OF DAY’S SHADING MEDIUMS 75, 76
CHURCHYARD CROSS, RAGLAN 76
CANVAS-GRAIN CLAY-BOARD 84
PLAIN DIAGONAL GRAIN 85
PLAIN PERPENDICULAR GRAIN 85
DRAWING IN PENCIL ON WHITE AQUATINT GRAIN CLAY-BOARD 86
BLACK AQUATINT CLAY-BOARD AND TWO STAGES OF DRAWING 87
BLACK DIAGONAL-LINED CLAY-BOARD AND TWO STAGES OF
DRAWING 87
BLACK PERPENDICULAR-LINED CLAY-BOARD AND TWO STAGES OF
DRAWING 88
VENETIAN FÊTE ON THE SEINE, WITH THE TROCADERO ILLUMINATED 89
THE GATEHOUSE, MOYNES COURT 110
PORTRAIT SKETCHES 118, 119
THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT AT NIGHT, FROM THE RIVER 122
VICTORIA EMBANKMENT NEAR BLACKFRIARS BRIDGE: A FOGGY
NIGHT 123
CORFE RAILWAY STATION 125
THE AMBULATORY, DORE ABBEY 127
MOONLIGHT: CONFLUENCE OF THE SEVERN AND THE WYE 131
DIAGRAM SHOWING METHOD OF REDUCING DRAWINGS FOR
REPRODUCTION 133
PAINTER’S PEN-DRAWING—PASTURAGE, BY MR. ALFRED HARTLEY 155
" " PORTRAIT, BY MR. BONNAT 156
TOWING PATH, ABINGDON, BY MR. DAVID MURRAY 158
A PORTRAIT FROM A DRAWING BY MR. T. BLAKE WIRGMAN 159
FINIS 161




A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK OF DRAWING FOR REPRODUCTION.




INTRODUCTORY.


Pen-drawing is the most spontaneous of the arts, and amongst the
applied crafts the most modern. The professional pen-draughtsman was
unknown but a few years since; fifteen years ago, or thereabouts,
he was an obscure individual, working at a poorly considered craft,
and handling was so seldom thought of that the illustrator who could
draw passably well was rarely troubled by his publisher on the score
of technique. For that which had deserved the name of technique was
dead, so far as illustration was concerned, and “process,” which was
presently to vivify it, was, although born already, but yet a sickly
child. To-day the illustrators are numerous beyond computation, and the
name of those who are impelled to the spoiling of good paper and the
wasting of much ink is indeed legion.

For uncounted years before the invention of photo-mechanical methods of
engraving, there had been practised a method of drawing with the pen,
which formed a pretty pastime wherewith to fleet the idle hours of the
gentlemanly amateur, and this was, for no discoverable reason, called
“etching.”

It is needless at this time to go into the derivatives of that word,
with the object of proving that the verb “to etch” means something
very different from drawing in ink with a pen; it should have, long
since, been demonstrated to everybody’s satisfaction that etching is
the art of drawing on metal with a point, and of biting in that drawing
with acids. But the manufacturers of pens long fostered the fallacy by
selling so-called etching-pens: probably they do so even now.

By whom pen-drawings were first called etchings none can say. Certainly
the two arts have little or nothing in common: the terms are not
interchangeable. Etching has its own especial characteristics, which
may, to an extent, be imitated with the pen, but the quality and
direction of line produced by a rigid steel point on metal are entirely
different from the lines drawn with a flexible nib upon paper. The line
produced by an etching needle has a uniform thickness, but with the
needle you can work in any imaginable direction upon the copper plate.
With a nib upon paper, a line varying in thickness with the pressure of
the hand results, but there is not that entirely free use of the hand
as with the etching point: you cannot with entire freedom draw from and
toward yourself.

The greatest exponents of pen-drawing have not entirely conquered
the normal inability of the pen to express the infinite delightful
waywardnesses of the etching-point. Again, the etched line is only less
sharp than the line made by the graver upon wood; the line drawn with
the pen upon the smoothest surface is ragged, viewed under a magnifying
glass. This, of course, is not a plea for a clean line in pen-work—that
is only the ideal of commercial draughtsmanship—but the man who can
produce such a line with the pen at will, who can overcome the tendency
to inflexible lines, has risen victorious over the stubbornness of a
material.

The sketch-books, gilt-lettered and india-rubber banded, of the
bread-and-butter miss, and what one may be allowed, perhaps, to term
the “pre-process” amateur generally, give no hint of handling, no
foretaste of technique. They are barren of aught save ill-registered
facts, and afford no pleasure to the eye, which is the end, the
sensuous end, of all art. Rather did these artless folk almost
invariably seek to adventure beyond the province of the pen by strokes
infinitely little and microscopic, so that they might haply deceive the
eye by similarity to wood engravings or steel prints. But in those days
pen-drawing was only a pursuit; to-day it is a living art. Now, an art
is not merely a storehouse of facts, nor a moral influence. If it was
of these things, then the photographic camera would be all-powerful,
and all that would be left to do with the hands would be the production
of devotional pictures; and of those who produced them the best artist
would infallibly be him with a character the most noted for piety.
Art, to the contrary, is entirely independent of subject or morals.
It is not sociology, nor ever shall be; and those who practise an art
might be the veriest pariahs, and yet their works rank technically,
artistically, among the best. Art is handling _in excelsis_, and its
results lie properly in the pride of the eye and the satisfaction of
the æsthetic sense, though Mr. Ruskin would have it otherwise.

Is this the lashing of a dead horse, or thrice slaying the slain? No,
I think not. The moral and literary fallacies remain. Open an art
exhibition and give your exhibits technical, not subject titles, and
you shall hear a mighty howl, I promise you. Mr. Hamerton, too, has
recently found grudging occasion to say that, for artists, “it does
not appear that a literary education would be necessary in all cases.”
Whenever was it necessary? But then Mr. Hamerton is himself one of
those philosophic writers of a winning literary turn who can practise
an art in by no means a distinguished way, but who write dogma by
the yard and fumble over every illustration of their precepts. His
_Drawing and Engraving_—a reprint from his _Encyclopædia Britannica_
article—is worse than useless to the student of illustration, and
especially of pen-drawing, because Mr. Hamerton has long been left
behind the times. He knows little of the admirable modern methods
of reproducing line-work, but gives us etymologies of drawing and
historical dissertations on engraving, which we do not want. Of such
antiquated matter are even the current editions of encyclopædias
fashioned. The fact is, the bulk of art criticism is written by men
who can only string platitudes and stale studio slang together,
without beginning to understand principles. The appalling journalese
of much “art criticism” is hopelessly out of date; the slang of a
half-forgotten _atélier_ is the lingo of would-be criticism to-day.

It seems strange that a man who can write pretty _vers de société_ or
another who writes essays (essays, truly, in the philological sense),
should for such acquirements be amongst those to whom is delegated the
criticism of art in painting, drawing, or engraving; but so it is.
No one who has not surmounted the difficulties of a medium can truly
appreciate technique in it, whether that medium be words, or paint, or
ink. No one, for instance, would give a painter or a pen-artist the
chance to review a poet’s new volume of poems. You would not send a
plumber to pronounce upon a baker’s method of kneading his dough. No;
but an ordinary reporter is judged capable of criticizing a gallery
of pictures. You cannot get much artistic change out of his report,
nor from the articles on art written by a man whose only claim to the
standing of “art critic” is the possession of a second-class
certificate in drawing from the Science and Art Department. But of such
stuff are the neurotic Neros of the literary “art critique” fashioned,
and equally unauthorized by works are the lectures on illustration with
which the ingenious Mr. Blackburn at decent intervals tickles suburban
audiences or the amiable _dilettante_ of the Society of Arts into the
fallacious belief that they know all about it, “which,” to quote the
Euclidian formula, “is absurd.” Indeed, not even the most industrious,
the best-informed, nor the most catholic-minded man could ever lecture,
or write articles, or publish an illustrated critical work upon
illustration which should show an approximation to completeness in its
examples of styles and methods. The thing has been attempted, but will
never be done, because the quantity of work—even good work—that has
been produced is so vast, the styles so varied. The great storehouses
of the best pen-work are the magazines, and from them the eclectic will
gather a rich harvest. The _Century_ and _Harper’s_ are now the chief
of these. The _Magazine of Art_ and the _Portfolio_, which were used to
be filled with good original work, are now busied in providing such
_réchauffés_ as photographic blocks from paintings old and new, but
chiefly old, because they cost nothing for copyright. As for newspaper
work, the _Daily Graphic_ is creating a school of its own, which does
far better work than ever its New York namesake (now defunct) ever
printed.

Some beautiful and most suggestive pen-drawings are to be found in
the earlier numbers of _L’Art_ and many Parisian publications, such
as the _Courier Français_, _Vie Moderne_, _Paris Illustré_, and _La
Petit Journal pour Rire_. Many of the _Salon_ catalogues, too, contain
admirable examples.




THE RISE OF AN ART.


Photo-mechanical processes of reproduction were invented by men who
sought, not to create an art, not to help art in any way, but only to
cheapen the cost of reproduction. “Line” processes—that is to say,
processes for the reproduction of pure line—though not the first
invented amongst modern methods, were the first to come into a state
of practical utility; though even then their results were so crude
that the artists whom necessity led to draw for them sank at once
to a deeper depth than ever they had sounded when the _fac-simile_
wood-cutter held them in bondage. They became the slaves of mechanical
limitations and chemical formulæ, which was a worse condition than
having been henchmen of a craftsman. So far as the æsthetic sense is
concerned, the process illustration of previous date to (say) 1880
might all be destroyed and no harm done, save, perhaps, the loss of
much evidence of a documentary character toward the history of early
days of processes.

There have been two great factors in their gradual
perfection—competition with the wood-engravers and of rival process
firms one with another, and, perhaps more important still, the
independency of a few artists who have found methods of drawing with
the pen, and have followed them despite the temporary limitations of
the process-man. The workmen have “drawn for process” in the worst and
most commercial sense of the term; they have set down their lines after
the hard-and-fast rules which were formulated for their guidance. For
years after the invention of zincography, artists who were induced to
make drawings for the new methods of engraving worked in a dull round
of routine; for in those days the process-man was not less, but more,
tyrannical than his predecessor, the wood-engraver; his yoke was, for a
time, harder to bear.

One was enjoined to make drawings with only the blackest of Indian ink,
upon Bristol-board, the thickest and smoothest and whitest that could
be obtained, and upon none other. It was impressed upon the draughtsman
that he should draw lines thick and wide apart and firm, and that
his drawings should be made with a view to, preferably, a reduction
in scale of one-third. Also that by no means should his lines run
together by any chance, except in the matter of a coarse and obvious
cross-hatch. And so, by reason of these things, the pen-work of that
time is become dreadful to look upon at this day. The man who then drew
with a view to reproduction squirmed on the very edge of his chair,
and with compressed lips, and his heart in his mouth, drew upon his
Bristol-board slowly and carefully, and with so heavy a hand, that
presently his wrist ached consumedly, and his drawing became stilted
in the extreme. Not yet was pen-drawing a profession, for few men had
learned these formulæ; and the zincography of that time made miserable
all them that were translated by it into something appreciably
different from their original work. Illustration, although already
sensibly increased in volume, was artistically at the lowest ebb. It
was a manufacture, an industry; but scarcely a profession, and most
certainly it had not yet become an art.

When technique in drawing for process began to appear as an individual
technique opposed to the old _fac-simile_ wood-engraving needs, it was
a handling entirely abominable and inartistic. If old-time drawing
for the wood-engravers was pursued in grooves of convention, working
for the zincographer proceeded in ruts. There have never been, before
or since, such horribly uninspired things produced as in the first
years of process-work in these islands. Such dull, scratchy, spotty,
wiry-looking prints resulted: they were, as now, produced in zinc,
and they proclaimed it unmistakably. Had not these new methods been


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Online LibraryCharles G. (Charles George) HarperA practical hand-book of drawing for modern methods of reproduction → online text (page 1 of 7)