Drawing for Beginners
WHEN we are very small nothing seems too difficult for our pencil. If we wish to draw a tree, a horse, or an engine, we make no bones about the matter,
we draw it. Possibly the drawings may look rather quaint in the eyes of other people, but they satisfy ourselves.
And behind these quaint early drawings lies, more often than not, a sound and practical line of reasoning.
You know, for instance, how fond is Baby John of drawing an engine in full steam.
" My t'ain," he will say, proudly pointing to a piece of paper covered with whirligigs of pencil.
He's right enough, I dare say. Did he not begin by drawing a queer bit of shed, some odd-looking wheels, and perhaps even a coconut thing with a few straight lines meant for the engine-driver's features ? And always he drew the shape of a funnel. And then . . . his fancy ran riot ! Out of the funnel came smoke ! Lots and lots of smoke ! Wasn't the train the puff-puff of his infancy ? Puff-puff-puff came the smoke. It was glorious drawing ! Everything was covered in smoke.
He showed you his train, and, in all probability, you laughed, as I might have done in your place.
And yet he was doing what is a very difficult thing to do, he was drawing ' out of his imagination,' or, as some people say, ' drawing out of his head.'
Once, and not a very long time ago, I was sitting alone and drawing in haste, when old Cary entered, curious and inquiring. She looked round the empty room, she looked at me, and she looked at my paper, on which several scenes were shaping, and then she said : " Ah ! I see you draw out of your fancy ! "
I loved Cary's expression " out of your fancy." Don't you think it far more expressive than ' drawing out of one's head ' or ' drawing from one's imagination ' ?
Few of us who are fond of drawing can resist, when we are young, drawing ' out of our fancy.'
Little girls fly to the enchanted regions of Fairy- and Flower- land, as surely as little boys turn to scenes of breathless and stirring adventure, ships at sea and ships in the air, soldiers, Red Indians, camp-fires, hunting, shooting, and games of thrilling interest.
Little girls push wide the enchanted gates of Fairyland. Flowers emitting tiny elves, gnomes dancing with toadstools held aloft, gorgeous ladies on prancing steeds or in flower- bedizened motor-cars, castle gates opening to the blast of a horn blown by a handsome prince.
And as we grow older we cease to draw our magical dreams --more's the pity I for there will be nothing as delightful in all the sparkling realms of art.
When we become more ' practical,' we get more matter- of-fact, and we lose, unfortunately, our early confidence.
Sometimes, see-sawing between the things of ' our fancy ' and the things that are simple facts, we get disheartened.
We are tempted then to throw away our pencils and paintboxes in disgust, to be discouraged by a smile, to be utterly disheartened by a laugh. And yet between the beautiful Land of Fancy and the strange approaching Land of Fact lies a simple bridge with a very familiar aspect, no more nor less than the companion of our babyhood--the toy- cupboard.
The nursery is full of inviting little models, models that
we have handled for years and that are as patient as ever.
Here I will let you into a secret. It is comparatively easy to draw the things with which we are familiar. The boy who has made a footstool will probably draw it far better than the boy who has never driven a nail. And it is an excellent thing, when we draw an object, to take it up and examine it, whether it be leaf, feather, footstool, chair, or toys.
If we draw our toys now, toy girl, toy horse, toy tree, later we shall be able to draw real girl, real horse, and real tree ; confident because we have a little knowledge to help us on ourway.
The toy tree is stiff and still, but has the look of a tree ; Mr Noah is straight and long, but Mr Noah is a man and he has sheep, cows, pigs, and birds ; though made of wood, these have a queer resemblance to their originals.
For a beginning let us take these little creatures and place them in procession along the table, the ark in front, and then, with our sketch-books on our knees (some stiff bit of board beneath it if it be a limp-covered book), sit on a low seat at the extreme right-hand side of our models, and with our eyes on a level with the table.
As in the preceding chapter we experimented with the different shapes of our models, so we will begin by noting that these little ark creatures vary in shape.
Having drawn them with pencil, we could then take up our paint-brush and paint them in gay colours, making a long narrow-shaped picture, a kind of frieze, or border.
What could be easier to draw than Mr Noah himself ? He is just a straight angular shape in several sections. The first and top section makes a queer little hat. The second--an oval shape--a face. The third section slopes outward from his wooden neck to provide his body and then, slightly indenting at the waist, continues in a straight robe to his feet, where we have the fourth section--wider than the others--the stand upon which he is balanced.
After we have finished with Mr Noah we might proceed to draw the animals. A sheep has a long-shaped body perched upon four straight little legs, a thick tail, and possibly two erectly pricked ears. The pig has a more drooping head, a thicker neck, shorter legs.
But I need not discuss the details of each one. The foregoing suggestions will enable you to apply the same principles to all.
A toy tree might well bring up the rear of our procession. And a toy tree is a very simple affair, a thimble-shape on the end of a stick, very like a large T with elongated lines drooping on either side.
Looking at the tree as a whole mass we see that the branches extend more than half-way down the stem. Lightly we sketch the line of these branches. Then we look at the trunk of the tree. It is thick and solid for its height. Then thick and solid we will draw it. Next we come to its little green stand, like a slice of the one which supports Mr Noah, and this stand is smaller than the circumference of the tree at the widest part.
Baby Tom's unbreakable Bunny is surely the simplest of all shapes--a flat base from which rises a rounded hill, steeper on one side than on the other. The steeper, more massive end corresponds with the crouching hind-legs (which we know to be the largest part of the rabbit and which help him to run so fleetly across the warren).
From the top of the head the ears lie flat along the body. Then we mark the small eye, the rounded soft nose, and the tiny forepaws. We look for folds of leg, paw, and ear, and we shade these with a light but firm touch. Bunny Rabbit is white and therefore must not be shaded too strongly. And if you wish to insist on his white coat, look for shadows cast by his rounded body on the ground or background.
The fish of painted celluloid is interesting and by no means difficult to draw, although at first glance we may be slightly puzzled where and how to begin.
A fish is long--one almost might term it domino-shape. Begin, then, as always, by sketching out this general shape.
This done, we trace from the wider and larger end of the fish the long sloping line to the branching tail. The forepart slopes steeply down from the ' shoulders ' and finishes with a rounded blunt nose. Next we notice that our fish--unlike a real fish--has a flattened underside upon which he rests on fiat surfaces--and this we draw.
After this we proceed to sketch the gills, the curious breathing-apparatus of the fish, placed on either side of his head and behind his cheek.
Then we note the eye--circular in shape (not oblong like a human eye)--and the queer scoop of a mouth with the lower jaw jutting forward. We then sketch the tail, which is forked.
If we feel so disposed we can sketch a few of the fish's scales ; they overlap, beginning at the head and diminishing in size with the diminishing size of the tail-end of the body,
We may also build up a picture with a group of several fishes drawn from the single model.
Turn the fish round, so that the head comes nearest. This will not be so easy to draw, because here we are confronted with something that is not on a fiat plane. But do not let this worry you. When we are sketching something ' coming toward us' we draw first the part that is nearest, then the parts behind.
If you draw two or three or even four fishes you might add a swirl of water, and some reeds. Then you will have completed a little picture.
Observe real ponds and reeds at your next opportunity, and if a fish darts before your eyes you will sec that his fins and tail agitate the water.
By observing and remembering--we cannot always have a pencil in our hand--we build up pictures in our minds. Teddy Bear might next pose as a model.
He has a rounded head and a pointed snout. These we sketch very roughly--something like the shape of a pear.
He has a round, fat, pillow-shaped body, to which are attached his fat little thighs, the backward-sloping hind-legs, and his small but solid feet thrust sturdily forward. To the top of his head we must add his large, soft, round ears. The front part of his forehead curves in a decided kink, and his queer little snout soars upward. His nose is black and shiny, and the noses of bears are three-corner shape, wide at the top, curling round the nostrils and narrowing to the upper lip.
Fig. 5, VARIOUS TOYS
The lower jaw of Teddy Bear is small and retreating, and his mouth curves upward in a pleased little smile.
His upper arms are very thick, and they scoop downward and outward and end in rounded paws. Teddy Bear might carry our study further. In all probability he will wear a coat or tunic. Then draw the little garment carefully. Draw the folds under the arms, and the belt round the waist, and the pattern about the edge of it.
Teddy Bear is different from the wooden creatures of the ark or the velveteen of Bunny Rabbit. He has a furry coat.
Try to indicate with several strokes of the pencil the furry shadows in his cars, behind his ears, in the bend of his arms and legs, and the shaggy little fringe of his paws and hind-legs.
Draw the furry lines lightly. His coat is of a soft substance. Draw some of the thick curls with their queer little twists, and the shadows on the curve of the ragged edges.
His eye is dark and bright. It has a shiny light, being of a shiny substance. Draw the dark shadow of the little eye with strong, dark touches, leaving the light untouched.
There, you see, we have the fur of the coat, the velvet of the dress, and the button of an eye. Three different substances requiring different handling of the pencil.
Dobbin, who has carried us so many miles round the nursery-floor that all his tail and most of his mane has sprinkled the highway of our fancy, Dobbin, after all is said and done, is a horse. He has four legs, a stout body, an arched neck, and a spirited eye and nostril.
See how smooth and round is his body, and how firmly the four legs are fastened to the corners, and how squarely the neck is placed ! His hoofs are stoutly fixed on the ground, the left fore-leg and the right hind-leg stepping forward.
First note the barrel shape of his body and draw that firmly, placing the legs at each corner and simply marking the angle from the top of the leg to the hoof. Then place the curved neck on the square shoulders and trace the long face. (The ' horse-faced individual,' a rude nickname we sometimes hear, suggests a man or woman with a very long face.)
You may now place the saddle on Dobbin's back, because (we are now looking for more details) the triangular shape of the saddle throws a shadow and marks the curve of his flank.
Compare the various thicknesses of Dobbin's fore-legs. The width of the upper part, the firm square swelling of the knees, the narrowing of the fetlock, the curve and forward thrust of the fetlock, and neat little black hoofs. The hind- legs have a very decided and firm sweep backward.
The bridle is useful. The cheek-strap marks the thickest part of the horse's head, the frontal strap gives the width of the forehead, the long straight side-strap throws a shadow under the funny little painted eye and down the cheek.
It now only remains to draw his long thin face, and his rounded nostril, and his mouth open to receive the bit which has long since disappeared, and his two ears pricked intelligently forward. He has all the ' points ' of a good horse, has Dobbin !
And surely among all our scalped darlings there will be one fair lady to sit for her portrait. Primrose, who never closes her blue orbs, though she is rocked until her small mistress's arms ache with fatigue, and Dahlia, proud, snub-nosed, and long-bodied. Primrose has a real dolly face, rosy cheeks, big round staring eyes, arched eyebrows, and pouting lips. We might do worse than study Primrose. Her eyes are glassy and stuck in oblong sockets ; beyond that they have no more than a general resemblance to human eyes. But Primrose has not such an ill-proportioned body as some of I her little doll-sisters, though her legs are stiff, and her arms are absurdly small.
Sketch first her large head, then her long body, the angles of her plump legs, and her tiny arms. Roughly mark the position of nose and eyes, the shape of the bobbed locks cut squarely across the brow and at the level of the ear. Look at the length of the tunic, the skirt, and the socks, the edge of the sleeve folds under the arm. The feet being slightly upturned expose the tiniest slip of the sole of the shoes.
Fig 6. TOY HORSE AND DOLL
When you have the head on paper, then you can mark the features ; arched eyebrows, tiny nose, dimpled chin, and absurdly fat apple-dumpling cheeks.
Observe the large sockets of the staring eyes, the tiny pink lips.
Shade in the soft hair, and note that it clings to the shape of the head, and the ends are fluffy.
The velvet tunic sticks out at the hips, and the fur edging on the skirt just covers the knees.
Mark that the upper edge of the sock follows the curve of the fat legs, and notice also the curious dimpled fingers that seem proper to the little girl doll.
Don't trouble too much about detail. Draw the chief things and let the others slide. And having proceeded step by step from wooden toy to waxen doll, we might next consider certain little people of more importance--ourselves.
How to begin a drawing