Charles G. (Charles George) Harper.

A practical hand-book of drawing for modern methods of reproduction online

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the drawing shall be up to a certain standard of excel-
lence, and, more particularly, up to time. Mounting-
boards are appreciably cheaper than good Bristol-board,
but if erasures are to be made they are troublesome,
because under the surface they are composed of the
shoddiest of matter. They are convenient, indeed
admirable, for studies carried out in a masculine manner
with a quill pen, or for simple drawings made with an
ordinary writing nib, with not too sharp a point. For
delicate technique they are not to be recommended.

Indeed, for anything but work done at home, card-
boards of any sort are inexpedient ; they are heavy, and
take up too much space. If they were necessary, of
course you would have to put up'^^S^tfieF^Jjfconvenience



of carryiiiLi^ two or more pounds' weight of them about
with you, but they are not necessary.

Every one who makes drawings in pen and ink is
continually looking out for an ideal paper ; many have
found their ideals in this respect ; but that paper which
one man swears by, another will, not inconceivably,
swear at, so no recommendation can be trusted.
Again, personal predilections change amazingly. One
day you will be able to use Bristol-board with every
satisfaction ; another, you will find its smooth, dead
white, immaculate surface perfectly dispiriting. No
one's advice can be implicitly followed in respect of
papers, inks, or pens. Every one must find his own
especial fancy, and when he has found it he will produce
the better work.

The pen-draughtsman who is a paper- fancier does
not leave untried even the lly-leaves of his correspon-
dence. Papers have been iound in this way which have
proved satisfactor)-. All )ou have to do is to go to
some large stationer or wholesale papermaker's and
get your fancy matched. It wouKl be an eas)- matter to
obtain sheets larger than note-paper.

Whatman's HP, or hot-pressed drawing-paper, is


good for pen-drawing, but its proper use is not very
readily learnt. To begin with, the surface is full of
little granulations and occasional fibres which catch
the pen and cause splutterings and blots. Sometimes,
too, you happen upon insufficiently sized Whatman,
and then lines thicken almost as if the drawing were
being made upon blotting-paper.

A good plan is to select some good HP Whatman
and have it calendered. Any good stationer could put
you in the way of getting the calendering done, or
possibly such a firm as Dickinsons', manufacturers of
paper, in Old Bailey, could be prevailed upon to do it.
If you want a firm, hard, clear-cut line, you will of
course use only Bristol-board or mounting-board, or
papers with a highly finished surface. Drawings upon
Whatman's papers give in the reproductions broken
and granulated lines which the process-man (but no
one else) regards as defects. Should the block itself be
defective, he will doubtless point to the paper as the
cause, but there is no reason why the best results bhould
not proceed from HP paper. Messrs. Reeves and
Sons, of Cheapside, sell what they call London boards.
These are sheets of Whatman mounted upon card-



board. They offer the advantages of the HP surface
with the rigidity of the Bristol-board. The Art Tablets
sold by the same firm are cardboards with Whatman
paper mounted on either side. A drawing can be made
upon both sides and the tablet split up afterwards.

In connection with illustration, amongst the most
remarkable inventions of late years are the prepared
cardboards eenerallv known amoncrst illustrators as
"scratch-out cardboards," introduced by Messrs.
Angerer and Goschl of Vienna, and by M. Gillot of
Paris. These cardboards are of several kinds, but are
all prepared with a surface of kaolin, or china-clay.
Reeves sell eight varieties of these clay-boards. They
are somewhat expensive, costing two shillings a sheet of
nineteen by thirteen inches, but when their use is well
understood they justify their existence by the rich
effects obtained, and by the saving of time effected in
drawing upon them. Drawings made upon these pre-
parations have all the fulness and richness of wash,
pencil, or crayon, and may be reproduced by line
processes at the same cost as a pen-drawing made upon
plain paper. TIk; simplest variety of clay-board is the
one prepared with a plain white surface, upon which a

drawing may be made with pen and ink, or with a
brush, the Hghts taken out with a scraper or a sharp-
pointed knife. It is advisable to work upon all clay-
surfaced papers or cardboards with pigmental inks, as,
for instance, lampblack, ivory-black, or Indian ink.
Ebony stain is not suitable. The more liquid inks and
stains have a tendency to soak through the prepared
surface of china-clay, rather than to rest only upoji it,
thereby rendering the cardboard useless for "scratch-
out" purposes, and of no more value than ordinary
drawing-paper. A drawing made upon plain clay-board
with pen and brush, using lampblack as a medium, can
be worked upon very effectively with a sharp point.
White lines of a character not to be obtained in any
other way can be thus produced with happy effect. Mr.
Heywood Sumner has made some of his most striking
decorative drawings in this manner. It is a manner
of working remarkably akin to the wood-engraver's art —
that is to say, drawing or engraving in white lines upon
a black field — only of course the cardboard is more
readily worked upon than the wood block. Indeed,
wood-engravers have frequently used this plain clay-
board. They have had the surface sensitized, the



drawing photographed and printed upon it, and have
then proceeded to take out lights, to cut out white
hnes, and to hatch and cross-hatch, until the result looks
in every way similar to a wood engraving. This has
then been photographed again, and a zinc block made
that in the printing would defy even an expert to

Other kinds of clay-boards are impressed with a
grain or with plain indented lines, or printed upon with
black lines or reticulations, which may be scratched
through with a point, or worked upon with brush or
pen. Examples are given here :


No. I. White cardboard, impressed with a plain

canvas crram.



This gives a fine painty effect, as shown in the
drawing of polled willows : a drawing made in pencil,
with lights in foreground grass and on tree-trunks



scratched out with a knife or with the curved-bladed
eraser sold for use with these preparations.










2. Plain white diagonal lines. Pencil drawing.



3. Plain white perpendicular lines. Pencil drawing.

4. Plain white aquatint grain. Pencil drawing.
These four varieties require greater care and a

lighter hand in working than the others, because their
patterns are not very deeply stamped, and consequently
the furrows between the upstanding lines are apt to
become filled with pencil, and to give a broken and
spotty effect in the reproduction.


5. Black aquatint. This is not a variety in constant
use. Three states are shown,

6. Black diagonal lines. This is the pattern in
greater requisition. The method of working is shown,





but the possibilities oP this pattern are seen admirably
and to the best advantage in the illustration ot"
Venetian Fete on the Seine.

7. Black perpendicular lines. Same as No. 6,
except in direction of line.



Hh''!' ''^''"''''IH

M|jHte«|'':.: pi







Drawings made upon these grained and ridged
papers must not be stumped down or treated in any
way that would fill up the interstices, which give the
lined and granular effect capable of reproduction by
line-process. Also, it is very important to note that
drawings on these papers can only be subjected to a
slight reduction of scale — say, a reduction at most by
one quarter. The closeness of the printed grains and
lines forbids a smaller scale that shall be perfect. Mr.
C. H. Shannon has drawn upon lined "scratch-out"
cardboard with the happiest effect.


A COMMON delusion as to pens for drawing is that only
the finer-pointed kinds are suitable. To the contrary,
most of the so-called "etching pens" and crow-quills
and liliputian affairs sold are not only unnecessary, but
positively harmful. They encourage the niggling
methods of the amateur, and are, besides, untrustworthy
and dreadfully scratchy. You can but rarely depend
upon them for the drawing of a continuous line ;
frequently they refuse to mark at all, I know very
well that I shall be exclaimed aofainst when I sav that
a good medium -pointed pen or fine-pointed school nib
are far better than three-fourths of the pens especially
made for draughtsmen, Init that is tiie case.

With practice, one can use almost any writing nib
for the production of a pen-drawing. Even the broad-
pointed J pen is useful. Quill pens are delightful to

PENS. 93

work with for the making of pen-studies in a bold, free
manner. A well-cut quill flies over all descriptions of
paper, rough or smooth, without the least catching of
fibres or spluttering. It is the freest and least trammel-
ling of pens, and seems almost to draw of its own

Brandauer's pens are, generally, very good, chiefly
for the reason that they have circular points that rarely
become scratchy. They make a smaL nib. No. 515,
which works and wears well ; this last an unusual
quality in the small makes. Perry & Co. sell two very
similar nibs. No. 601 (a so-called "etching pen") and
No. 25 ; they are both scratchy. Gillott's crowquill.
No. 659, is a barrel pen, very small and very good,
flexible, and capable of producing at once the finest
and the boldest lines ; but Brandauer's Oriental pen.
No. 342 EF, an ordinary fine-pointed writing pen, is
just as excellent, and its use is more readily learnt. It
takes some time and practice to discover the capabilities
of the Gillott crowquill ; the other pen's possibilities
are easier found. Besides, the tendency with a micro-
scopic nib is to niggled work, which is not to be desired
at the cost of vigour. Mitchell's F pen is a fine-pointed


school writing nib. It is not particularly flexible, but
very reliable and lasts long. Gillott has recently
introduced a very remarkable nib, No. looo, frankly
a drawing pen, flexible in the extreme, capable of
producing at will the finest of hair-lines or the broadest
of strokes.

Some illustrators make line drawings with a brush.
Mr. J. F. Sullivan works in this way, using a red sable
brush with all superfluous hairs cut away, and fashioned
to a point. Lampblack is the best medium for the

To draw in line with a brush requires long practice
and great dexterity, but men who habitually work in
this way say that its use once learnt, no one would ex-
change it for the pen. Of this I can express no opinion.
Certainly there are some obvious advantages in using
a brush. It does not ever penetrate the surface of the
paper, and it is capable of producing the most solid and
smooth lines.

Stylographic and fountain pens, of whatever make,
are of no use whatever. Glass pens arc recommended
by some draughtsmen for their quality -of drawing an
equable line ; but they would seem to be chiefly useful

PENS. 95

in mathematical and engineering work, which demands
the same thickness of Hne throughout. These pens
would also prove very useful in architects' offices, in
drawing profiles of mouldings, tracery, and crockets,
because, not being divided into two nibs, they make any
variety of curve without the slightest alteration in the
character of the line produced. Any one accustomed
to use the ordinary divided nibs will know the difficulty
of drawino- such curves with them.


It is, perhaps, more difficult to come by a thoroughly
reliable ink than to be exactly suited with papers and
pens ; and yet greater attention has been given by
manufacturers to inks than to those other necessaries.

You can, often with advantage, use a writing pen ;
but no one, however clever he may be, can make a
satisfactory drawing for reproduction with the aid of
wTiting-inks. They are either not black enough, or
else are too fluid, so that it is impossible to run lines
close together, or to cross-hatch without the ink running
the lines into one another. It may, perhaps, be remarked
that this is an obvious error, since many of Keene's
most delifrhtful drawincrs and studies were made in
writing-inks — black, blue-black, or diluted, or even in
red, and violet, and blue inks. Certainly Keenc was a
great man in whatever medium he used, but he was
not accustomed to be reproduced in any other way

INKS. 97

than by so-called facsimile wood engraving-. In this
way ah his greynesses and faint Hnes could have their
relative values translated, but even in the cleverest
surface-printing processes his work could not be
adequately reproduced.

Stephens's ebony stain is perhaps the most widely
used ink at this time. It is not made for the purpose
of drawing, being a stain for wood ; but its merits for
pen-drawing have been known for some considerable
time. It is certainly the best, cheapest, and least
troublesome medium in the market. It is, when not
diluted, an intensely black liquid with an appreciable
body, but not too thick to flow freely. It dries with
a certain but not very obtrusive glaze, which process-
engravers at one time objected to most strongly, because
they wanted something to object to on principle ; but
they have at length become tired of remonstrating, and
really there was never any objection to the stain upon
that score. It flows readily from the pen, and when
drying upon the nib is not gummy nor in any way
adhesive, but powders easily — avoiding the abomination
of a pen clogged with a sticky mess of half-dry mud,
characteristic of the use of Indian ink. Ebony stain



is sold in substantial stone bottles, and so does not
readily become thick ; but when, owiniL; to an\ cause,
it does not run freely enough, a sparing dilution with
water restores its fluid properties. Diluted too often
or too freely, it becomes of a decided purple-brown
tint ; but as a good-sized bottle costs only sixpence,
and holds enough to last a year, it need not be re-
peatedly diluted on the score of its cost. It is not a
fixed ink, and readily smudges when washed over or
spotted with water — so cannot be used in combination
with water-colour or flat-washes. Neither can Chinese
white be used upon a drawing made in Ebony stain.
These are disadvantages that would tell against its use
by illustrators who make many alterations upon their
work, or who paint in lights on a pen-drawing with
body-colour; but for pure pen-drawing, and for straight-
away journalistic work, it is invaluable.

Indian ink is the traditional medium. It has the
advantage of fixity ; lines drawn with it, when once dr\-.
will not smudge when washed over, and, at most, tliey
give but a very slight grey or brown lini to the paper.
Indian ink can be bought in sticks and ground with
water in a saucer ; but there seems to be no reason

INKS. 99

for any one to go to this trouble, as liquid Indian
inks are to be bought in bottles from Messrs. Reeves.
The best Indian ink, when freshly ground, gives a
fine black line that dries with that bogey of the
process-man, a glaze ; but lampblack is of a more
intense blackness, and dries with a dull surface.
Lampblack is easily soluble, and therefore has not the
stability of good Indian ink to recommend it. For
ordinary use with the pen, it has too much of the pig-
mental nature, and is very apt to clog the nib and
to cause annoyance and loss of time. Lampblack and
Ivory-black are better suited to the brush. Hentschel,
of 182, Fleet Street, sells an American preparation
called " Whiting's Process- Drawing Ink," which pro-
fesses to have all the virtues that should accompany
a drawing-ink. It is very abominable, and has an
immediate corrosive effect upon pens. The drawing-
materials' shop in King William Street, Strand, sells
*' Higgins' American Drawing Ink," done up in ingeni-
ously contrived bottles. It is well spoken of.

Encre de Chine Liquide is the best liquid Indian
ink sold, and is very largely used by draughtsmen. It
can be obtained readily at any good colour-shop. It is


far i)referable to most of the liquid Indian inks pre-
pared by English houses, which when left standing for
a few minutes deposit a sediment, and at best are
inadequate concoctions of a greenish - grey colour.
Messrs. Reeves and Sons have recently introduced
a special ink for pen-drawing, which they call *' Artists'
Black." It is as good as any. It is a li(|uid ink,
sold in shilling bottles.

Mr. Du Maurier uses blue-black writing-ink from
an inkstand that is always allowed to stand open and
receive dust and become half muddy. He prefers it
in this condition. Also he generally works upon HP
drawing-paper. It is interesting to know this, but to
Avork in blue-black ink is an amiable eccentricity that
might prove disastrous to any one following his example.
His work is not reproduced by zincography, but by
facsimile wood engraving. It may be laid down as an
inflexible rule, if you are beginning the stutly of pen-
drawing, if your work is for hurried newspaper produc-
tion, or if \-ou have not the control of the reproduction
in your own hands, to draw for line-process in the
blackest ink and on the wliitcst paper.

•Many architects and architectural draughtsmen, wlio


are accustomed to exhibit pen-drawings of architecture
at the Royal Academy, are accustomed to draw in
brown inks. Front's Brown is generally used, and gives
a very pleasing effect to a drawing. It photographs
and reproduces readily, but it must always be borne
in mind that, if printed in black ink, the reproduction
will inevitably be much heavier. Scarlet inks, and even
yellow inks, have been used by draughtsmen for special
purposes, and are allowable from the photographic point
of view ; but blue must not be used, being an actinic
colour and impossible to photograph.


It is not to be supposed that because the pen is so
handy an instrument, and inks and paper, of sorts, are
everywhere, that the making of a pen-drawing is a
simple affair of a few uneducated strokes. The less
you know of the art, the easier it seems, and they do
but show their ignorance who speak of its simplicity.
You will want as much power of draughtsmanship, and
more, for drawing in this medium than in many others ;
because the difference between good drawing and bad
is more readily seen in line-work than in other methods,
and since in these days the standard of tlie art has
been raised so high. You will want not less study in
the open air, or with the life-class for figure-work,
than the painter gives or should give to his preliminar\-
studies for Iiis art. This drudgery you will liave to
go through, whether In th
and strong, a great deal of rubbing would have to be


done to get them out, and that injures the surface of
the paper and greys the black Hues of the ink used.
On the other hand, if the pencil-marks were not rubbed
out, they would very likely photograph and reproduce
in the process-block. To a pen-draughtsman of ex-
perience the reproduction of his pencil-marks can be
made an additional beauty ; but the student had much
better be, at first, a purist, and make for clean pen-
strokes alone on his finished drawing.

It must always be remembered, if you are working
for reproduction (and consequent reduction of scale
from the drawing to the process-block), that the pen-
work you have seen printed in the books and papers
and magazines was made on a much larger scale than
you see it reproduced in their pages. Very frequently,
as in the American magazines, the reduction is to about
one quarter scale of the original drawing ; but, working
for process in England, the drawing should, generally
speaking, be from two-thirds to one-half larger than
the reproduction. These proportions will, as a rule,
give excellent results.

Seeing that your drawing is to be so much larger
than the process-block, it follows that the pen-work can,

io6 /)A\nr/XG for reproduction.

with advantage, be correspondingly vigorous. It would
help you better than any description to a notion ot
what an original drawing should be like, if you could
obtain a glance at the originals of any good pen-
draughtsmen. But unfortunately, there are few exhi-
bitions in which pen-work has any place.

When your pencil study is completed in an outline
giving all details down to the minutest, you can set
about the pen-drawing. Often, indeed, if carefully
made, the pencil-sketch looks too good to be
covered up with ink. If you wish to retain it. it can,
if made upon thin paper, be traced upon cardboard
with the aid of black carbon paper, or better still (since
blue will not photograph) with blue transfer paper,
which you can either purchase or make for yourself by
taking thin smooth paper and rubbing powdered bkn*
chalk upon one side of it. or scribbling closely upon it
with blue pencil. There is another way of tracing the
pencil-drawing : by pinning over it a sheet of thin
correspondence paper (of tin; kind called Hank Post)

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Online LibraryCharles G. (Charles George) HarperA practical hand-book of drawing for modern methods of reproduction → online text (page 4 of 7)