Dora Miriam Norton.

Freehand perspective and sketching; principles and methods of expression in the pictorial representation of common objects, interiors, buildings and landscapes online

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UNj\/-'r " BRANCH

CALlFORNfA
L/BRARY

L-'S ANGELES. CAUF.



FREEHAND PERSPECTIVE
AND SKETCHING



FREEHAND
PERSPECTIVE
AND SKETCHING

PRINCIPLES AND METHODS OF
EXPRESSION IN THE PICTORIAL
REPRESENTATION OF COMMON
OBJECTS, INTERIORS. BUILDINGS
AND LANDSCAPES

BY

DORA MIRIAM NORTON

INSTRUCTOR IN PERSPECTIVE, SKETCHING
AND COLOR, PRATT INSTITUTE, BROOKLYN

FOURTH EDITION




BROOKLYN
PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR

1916

S9 18



N

Copyright, 1908

By Doua Miriam Norton



C139



THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, V. S. A.






TO THE

MEMORY OF WALTER SMITH

FIRST DIRECTOR OF THE MASSACHUSE'lTS NORMAL ART SCHOOL
INSPIRING CRITIC AND JUDICIOUS FRIEND

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

WITH THE WISH THAT IT MAY HELP OTHERS AS ITS
AUTHOR HAS BEEN HELPED

D. M. N.



iz/rs'



PREFACE

REVISED FOR THE SECOND EDITION

THIS book presents essentially the course of study in Free-
hand Perspective and Sketching as developed during its
teaching at Pratt Institute since the founding of the
institute in 1887. It consists of a series of illustrated exercises
with explanatory text, so covering the subject that students who
follow the course as directed acquire the power to draw with ease
and intelligence, not only from objects, but from memory and
from descriptions. The principles and methods here set forth
have been taught by the author for some years in the above school,
and have been found practically effective in that direction. In
revising it the author has drawn upon its use as a text-book
for large classes, as well as in other directions.

As offered to the public this course is intended to form a text-
book for classes in high, normal, and technical schools and in
colleges ; also as a book of reference for supervisors and teachers
of drawing, for draughtsmen and artists whose training in per-
spective needs to be supplemented, and for the instruction of
students so situated that personal art teaching is beyond their
reach. Since manuals for the teaching of drawing to children
already exist, the methods here presented are primarily such as
have been found effective with maturer minds. Its relation
to the teaching of children is thus like that of a grammar to
the ** language lessons ' ' of the primary schools. From it the
teacher, whether of children or of adults, may select material for
courses according to age or aims in study.

In the case of older students, though perspective books excellent
in certain directions have been published, it has been found diffi-
cult to direct inquirers to anything at once applicable to immedi-
ate use and comprehensive enough to give a working knowledge of



PREFACE

the subject. For several years, therefore, the need which this
book is intended to meet has been increasingly felt. In the hope
that it may pass on to others the aid received in the past it is
sent forth.

The author gladly acknowledges indebtedness to many sources
in the making of this volume. Although the naming of all would
be impossible in this brief space some are so preeminent that
mention cannot be forborne. The experiences of teaching the
subject under the care of Mr. Walter Smith, then Director of
the Massachusetts Normal Art School, and later with Mr. Walter
Scott Perry, Director of the School of Fine and Applied Arts of
Pratt Institute, himself a teacher of great originality and force in
the subject for some years, have been most fruitful in the accumu-
lation of subject matter for this course. The author's drawings
have been so largely and sympathetically supplemented by the
work of Mr. Ernest W. Watson, now teaching in the Institute,
as to merit appreciation beyond that due the ordinary illustrator.
In the bringing out of the book the practical advice of Mr.
C. Franklin Edminster, many years an instructor in the same
school, and the critical taste of Mr. Henry Lewis Johnson, editor
of Tlie Printing Art, to whose suggestion is owing the form in
which the book appears, have been of great value. Of these aids,
and of others not mentioned, it is a pleasure to here express a
grateful appreciation.

D. M. N.

Brooklyn, June 24, 1910.



CONTENTS



Page

Introduction xi

Chapter

I. General Directions 1

II. Pencil Measurement and the Picture Plane 4

III. The Ellipse 8

IV. A Cn-INDER AND A CYLINDRICAL ObJECT 12

V. An Object above the Eye and the Cone Principle 18

VI. A Cream Jug 20

VII. A Time Study 24

VIII. A Group of Cylindrical Objects 26

IX. Cylindrical Objects jGrouped with Fruit 29

X. A Group of OsjECTS^-wtOM Memory or Invention 31

XI. The Cylinder Cone and Ball Grouped — A Problem for Original^

Study 34

XII. The Study of Straight Line Objects 36

XIII. Drawing the Book in Two Positions 43

XIV. The Book with a Cylindrical Object 45

XV. The Cylinder and Rectangular Block ^ A Problem for Original

Study 48

XVI. The Further Study of Straight-Line Objects — A Cube at Angles

WITH the Picture Plane 49

XVII. The Cube in Two Different Positions 53

XVIII. A Book at Angles to the Picture Plane 58

\ XIX. Two Books at Different Angles to the Picture Plane .... 61
-^XX. The Actual Center of the Circle and Measurement into the

Picture by Parallel Lines 63

XXL Books with a Cylindrical Object 67

XXII. The Study and Drawing of a House 69

XXIII. A Building from the Photograph or a Print 81

XXIV. Type Forms Helpful in Understanding the House — The Square

Frame 85

XXV. The Square Pyramid and Square Plinth 88

XXVI. The Square Frame Leaning on the Rectangular Block — A Prob-
lem FOR Original Study 9j

ix



CONTENTS

Chapter Page

XXVII. Cylindrical Objects when not Vertical 92

XXVIII. A Group of Flower Pots 95

XXIX. The Circular Frame in a Square Frame 96

XXX. A Round Window 100

XXXI. The Clock — A Problem 102

XXXII. The Arch • 103

XXXIII. Interiors — A Room Parallel to the Picture Plane .... 105

XXXIV. Interiors Continued— A Room at Angles to the Picture Plane 110
XXXV. Further Studies of Interiors 114

XXXVI. A Chair 118

XXXVII. The Hexagonal Plinth in Two Positions 121

XXXVIII. Interior with a Tiled Floor 126

XXXIX. The Hexagonal Prism and Frame 128

XL. The Triangular Prism and Frame — A Problem for Original

Study 131

XLI. The Study op Parallel Perspective 132

XLII. A Street from the Photograph 137

XLIII. Exceptions to the Use of the Flat Picture Plane 139

XLIV. Shadows 143

XLV. Out-of-doors Work 154

SOLUTIONS OF PROBLEMS , I6I

INDEX 171



INTRODUCTION

FREEHAND Perspective teaches those few principles
or truths which govern the appearance of things to
the eye, and the application of these principles to the
varied conditions encountered in drawing. Strictly speaking,
there are but two foundation truths in perspective, namely:

First. Things appear smaller in proportion to their dis-
tance from the eye. A house ten rods distant can be
wholly seen through one pane of glass (Fig. 8,
Ch. II).

Second. The eye can see surfaces in their true
shape only tvhen placed at 7'ight angles to the direc-
tion in which the eye looks, or, generally speaking,
parallel to the face. When not so placed they ap-
pear lessened in one dimension, that is, either nar-
rowed or shortened, in proportion as they are
turned away from the face or tend to coincide
with the direction of seeing. This apparent change of shape is
Foreshortening. The cylinder top held at right angles to the
direction of seeing appears as a circle (A in Fig. 1). When
turned away from this direction (as at B), it appears nar-




-^



n rowed, or foreshortened. So the pencil seen its

/'^'-^'^ full length at A in Fig. 2 appears foreshortened

/y\ y\ when held as in B. All the phenomena of free-

' A 'I B hand perspective, however complicated and per-

^^^' ^ plexing, may be simplified by referring to one

or both of these principles.

One great obstacle to the ready mastery of these prin-
ciples is our knowledge of the actual shapes of objects. For

xi



FREEHAND PERSPECTIVE

instance, we hnoiv the top of a cylinder (B, Fig. 1) to be
in fact a circle, and therefore we tend to mentally see a circle,
though it is just as truly a fact that the top can only appear
to the eye as a circle when the cylinder is held so as to lose
sight of all other parts of it, as at A. Consequently, the first
aim and benefit in studying perspective is the learning to see;
that is, to know what is the image really presented to the eye.
Therefore no step should ever be passed without clearly see-
ing the appearance under consideration. And in all drawings
the final test must be the eye; for, unless the drawing looks
right, it is not right. All rules and tests are only means to
this end.

Furthermore, the right study of perspective, which is think-
ing and drawing in perfect coordination, enables the student
to draw objects singly or combined or in unfamiliar positions,
without having them in sight. Also he should be able to
draw an object which he has never seen if a description of it
can be supplied. That this last is quite possible any prac-
tical artist will agree. The writer recalls hearing a popular
illustrator ask in a company of friends, " Does any one know
what a cider press is like? " adding that he must put one
in an illustration with no chance to see the thing itself. No
doubt of the sufficiency of a description was expressed, and in
this case it must suffice — a not uncommon situation. Hence
the necessity of memory work and dictation problems, such as
form part of this course of study.

Finally, it is not intended that in later practical work drawings
should be actually constructed by the explanatory methods here
given. These exercises should be drawn as directed, since only
by the actual experience of doing it can their principles be mas-
tered,, but a rigid clinging to these methods in practice would
result in very little art. Freehand Sketching means dratving by
the trained eye and judgment^ only using constructive methods to
test new or doubtful points. It is to make such sketching valu-
able by a foundation of definite knowledge that these methods

xii



INTRODUCTION

are given. The trained artist draws a vase in his flower study, or
a round tower in a landscape with no distinct recalling of ellipse
laws, feeling only joy in the living curves as they spring out
under his hand. But he would labor long and wearily over their
shaping had he not this foundation knowledge, which he uses
almost unconsciously.



xiu



Chapter I



GENERAL DIRECTIONS



MATERIALS. — Any paper having a fine and fairly soft
texture can be used. It should produce an even
grain in both vertical and horizontal pencil strokes.
Pencil exercises such as those reproduced in this book are
usually drawn on paper of quarter imperial size (11" x 15"),
on which at least an inch and a half of margin is allowed.
This is a good size for the student's drawings, whether copied
from these exercises or drawn from objects. Have two
pencils, one fairly soft (as No. 2 Faber, SM Dixon, or
2 B Koh-i-noor) , and a harder one ; also a good eraser.

Line Practice. — Cut the pencil like the illustration
(Fig. 3), and rub on practice paper ^ till a broad line,

firm at the edges
and transparent
(that is, with the
grain of the paper
slightly showing
through it) can be
made. Sit erect,
with the paper directly
in front, and have the
desk top inclined, or use
a drawing board (Fig. 4),
that the paper may be as
nearly as possible parallel with the face. Hold the pencil almost
flat, as in the illustration (Fig. 5), and as loosely as is consistent

^ Save spoiled sheets for this. Practice paper should be like that on which drawings are
made.




Fig. 3



Fig. 4



FREEHAND PERSPECTIVE




Fig.



with a steady control. For horizontal lines use position A,
Fig. 5, moving the pencil from left to right; for vertical lines
use position B, moving from the top downward. Practice
vertical, horizontal, or oblique lines persistently; moving the
hand freely from the shoulder, not resting it on the wrist or

elbow. If the muscles acquire an
unpleasant tension, relax by dropping
the hands at the sides and loosely
shaking them. Unfamiliar or diffi-
cult exercises should be first carefully
sketched with a thin, light line. If
wrong, draw over without erasing
until a satisfactory form is obtained.
Erase the incorrect part, and ren-
der expressively (Ch. IV). But after
the composition of the exercise is
planned, such straight lines as mar-
gins, cylinder sides, and many ellipses may be drawn in full at
once. And as the student gains in skill, more and more of the
work should at the first touch be put on the paper as it is
intended to remain. Exact knowledge is to be acquired only
that artistic interpretations may be expressed with ease and
certainty.

Models for "Work. — Objects in common use have been chosen
for most of these exercises. Geometric solids are assigned only as
needed for the clearer elucidation of perspective truths. Neces-
sary models, as the cylinder, the cube, and others, should be made
by the student as directed. For forms (as the hexagonal frame)
too complicated to be easily made, the well-known wooden
models have been used. But after thorough mastery of the
simpler forms, most of the later lessons can be understood with-
out models.

Placing of Models. — All objects for study should be placed so
as to present their vertical surfaces in nearly their true shape to
the student. Thus if the model is to be near, as on the table

2



GENERAL DIRECTIONS



at which the student sits, it is better to raise it a few inches
(Fig. 4). This will not be necessary if it can be placed four or
five feet distant. If the study is seen too much from the top,
the perspective will be unpleasantly violent, as in a photograph
where the camera has been pointed too much downward.

The Table Line. — To indicate a supporting surface under the
objects a horizontal line (A, B in Fig. 6) is used. It stands for
the back edge of the table or other horizontal support-
ing surface, and is called the Table Line. It should be
represented as further back than any portion of the
study. As will be observed later, it need not be used
if the supporting surface is otherwise suggested, as by
a cast shadow (Fig. 34).

All Work Freehand. — All work is to be done freehand, that
is, with no ruling, and no measuring other than by the eye
and pencil.




Fig. 6



Chapter II



PENCIL MEASUREMENT AND THE
PICTURE PLANE

PENCIL Measurement. — Before studying the exercises which
follow, the beginner should become familiar with Pencil
Measurement. Place a book upright directly in front of
the eye. With one eye shut and the arm at full length (to ensure
a uniform distance from the eye) measure on the pencil held hori-
zontally the apparent width of the book. Then turning the pen-
cil, compare this dis-
tance with its height
(Fig. 7). (It is bet-
ter to take the smaller
distance first, and to
measure it into the
larger.) Compare the
proportions so found
with those obtained
by actual measure-
ment of the book.
But always get the
pencil measurement
first, for this compels the eye to do all that it can unaided
before showing by actual measurement how much better it can
learn to do.

Now turn the book away a little, and compare this new ap-
pearance of the width with the height (Fig. 12).

The Picture Plane. — Here we must learn to keep tlie pencil
parallel tvith the face in order that the pencil measurement
may be reliable. For this, go to the window, and stand facing

4




Fig. 7



PENCIL MEASUREMENT, ETC.



WINDOV(/ USED AS



PCCTt/BE


, Plane


z




o




P






e


a
















J


•0






a








2










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Online LibraryDora Miriam NortonFreehand perspective and sketching; principles and methods of expression in the pictorial representation of common objects, interiors, buildings and landscapes → online text (page 1 of 10)