SPECIAL DIRECTIONS FOR TEACHERS.
DRAWING ON THE SLATE.
THE teacher who does not understand how to draw, or how to use the glass slate, must prepare for her work by drawing upon the slate just as her pupils do. A short time spent in this study will enable her to draw well enough to give good advice and criticism to her pupils.
The teacher who understands how to draw and how to use the slate, will require little instruction in the details of her work ; and she will obtain the best results by depending upon her own judgment instead of upon directions given by those who have no knowledge of her pupils and of their varying needs.
It is impossible to carry out with different classes lengthy and detailed directions, even if they have been successfully followed in special cases. The directions given here are to be considered as suggestions for the experiments which may show teachers the best ways of handling the subject in their own classrooms.
In the primary grades the slate may be placed flat upon the desk during the work in drawing ; but as soon as possible it should be held in the left hand, at right angles to the direction in which it is seen ; since when flat upon the desk the surface of the slate is generally fore-shortened and pupils cannot see the real proportions of their drawings.
The pencil should be as long as possible. It should be held lightly in the fingers, near the middle or at the unsharpened end, for all except the final accenting of the sketch and the drawing of lines at one touch, for which work it must be held nearer the point and more firmly.
The first practice should be in free arm movements and should aim to make the pupils work freely by first suggesting the whole
drawing in light touches, and then adding others until the desired effect is obtained by a gradual development or growth of the parts, in which every line and touch helps every other.
The point most necessary for the pupils to understand is that they cannot expect to draw correctly at first touch, and that it is useless to spend unnecessary time upon lines which must be changed. Of course, practice of free arm movements will enable an approximate straight line or regular curve, as the circle or ellipse, to be drawn with one movement. The power to do this is desirable, but principally because it will enable pupils to obtain correct drawings, after making a comparatively small number of changes in the lines first suggested.
Free arm movements may be practised in the air, upon the slate, or upon paper, and should be repeated frequently. Pupils should be encouraged to spend any spare moments, whether of the drawing hour or other period, in this way.
In this practice the motion should be perfectly free and of the whole arm from the shoulder. The lines should be gone over repeatedly with a rapid, continuous motion. In circles and ellipses the motion should be from left to right. In straight lines the pencil should be on the slate or paper all the time, and the lines drawn in both directions.
The printed copies for use in the lower grades are to be so placed on the model support at the back of the desk as to, be at right angles to the direction, in .which they are, seen
The first copies are to be full size, and are to be made by eye without any measurements. They are to be tested by folding the flap back and holding the slate so that the drawing covers the copy. If the drawing is the same size as the copy and is correct, the two will appear to coincide ; if incorrect or not the right size, the pupils will at once see what changes to make. These may be made without erasing, unless it is necessary in order that the pupils may see the drawing and the copy at the same time.
When testing these full-size drawings, the slate must be held against the printed copy, with its long edges horizontal, that is, parallel to those of the book. The book must not be taken from the model support and held behind the slate.
When drawing from the printed lines the pupils should endeavor to give their lengths, positions, and relations, and also to divide them as the copies are divided. In these lessons special care must be taken, when testing, to have the slate held with its edges parallel to those of the book.
The square, circle, and any regular polygon drawn from the copy may be tested, if drawn smaller or larger than full size, by holding the slate so that the drawing and the copy are concentric.
If the pupils are able to close one eye when testing the drawings of copies, tablets, or solids which' are smaller than full size, they may be made to appear to coincide with the copy or the object drawn, by holding the slate nearer the eye than the copy or object. As soon as possible this way of testing should be explained and used exclusively.
When able to draw the forms of the simple copies, the pupils may draw from large tablets placed upon the model support so as to appear their real shapes. The drawings may be tested as were those from the printed cards.
The circle and square should be drawn first, and repeatedly, and then the other tablets. The polygons should be placed in many different positions so that their edges may have all possible relations to the desk. These tablets should be drawn until the pupils can represent their real shapes correctly.
When drawing these forms, practice in comparing distances may be given by placing points for the centres of the figures. When placed, the positions of the points should be tested.
Drawings made on paper may be tested by tracing them upon the slate and then by holding the slate and comparing in the usual manner. Drawings from copies, tablets, or solids may be made and tested in this way. It is, however, not as generally satisfactory as the direct use of the slate.
The drawings should be made without placing points for the ends of lines and the corners of figures, except when the work is intended to be dictation. There should be one method for all the work, and it should be artistic instead of mechanical. If pupils begin by placing points it will be difficult for them to change and consider the masses (the whole) in later work.
The circular or square tablet may be placed horizontally at the back of the desk for the first lesson involving foreshortening. No study of theory or explanation of principles is necessary or advisable. Let the pupils arrange and draw the tablets, and then test by holding the slates as they have held them when drawing from the copies and the cards when not foreshortened. After a few experiments they will understand that the tablets do not appear their real shapes, and they will be interested to study other forms in the same way.
Pupils who begin the use of the slate by drawing from the printed copies will have little difficulty in using it to test the drawings of foreshortened forms. Any pupil who is unable to hold the slate to test perspective drawings will be assisted by placing a piece of paper about in diameter upon the desk and marking a point upon the slate. He will readily hold the slate so that the point appears to cover the paper.
After this he may place a stick upon the desk, and draw upon the slate a line shorter than the stick: By holding the slate in front of the stick, and changing the distance of the slate and its angle with the desk, the line may be made to appear to coincide with the stick ; and in the same way it may be made to appear to cover any line whatever in the room. These experiments will help the pupils to understand that a correct picture of any tablet or object must appear, in every part, to coincide with the' corresponding part of the object.
The problem may be simplified for young pupils by having the nearest point or edge of the tablet touch the slate, and the slate rest upon the desk, so as to be held steadily for the test. In order that the tablets touch the slate, they must be raised from the desk by a book or other object. When thus arranged, the slate is to be placed upon the desk and against the tablet, and held by the left hand at° right angles to the direction in which the tablet is seen ; while with the pencil held in the right hand the angle or edge of the tablet on the slate is traced. The slate is then to be taken up and the drawing completed by eye, above its lowest point or line traced on the slate. To test the drawing, the slate is placed in the position it had when the point or edge of the tablet on the slate was traced.
When the tablet is placed upon a small object, the slate may be supported as an easel by opening it at an angle with the flap, and resting the two parts on the desk as illustrated. This enables the pupil to give his entire attention to the comparison of the drawing and the object.
In all this work, when the test is applied, the eye should be in the same position it had when the drawing was made. These first experiments give, however, simply an idea of perspective, and this will be gained if the positions are not exactly the same.
When pupils are allowed to begin in this way, they should, as quickly as possible after this method, be taught to hold the slate at arm's length, and nearer the eye than the object, in order that they may make drawings which are more pleasing than those which will result from the eye being near the object and some distance above it.
Few pupils who have drawn from the printed copies and the tablets placed to appear their real shapes, will have much trouble in using the slate properly in work involving foreshortening. Tracing to a greater extent than that indicated above should not be allowed, for many of the pupils will not think of tracing if it is not explained, and thus they will not be tempted to avoid work by tracing instead of drawing.
Having drawn from the circular and square tablets, the pupils may be led to see that these may appear straight lines, or figures of any width up to their actual width. To illustrate this fact in the simplest way, cut a circular piece of paper with a projecting piece at one side, and hold the circle against the back of the slate while tracing its real shape. Then swing the circle back and observe its appearance when it is at different angles to the slate. This experiment with the circle, a similar one with the square (see Lesson I., page 56), and, if desired, with the triangle, or other forms, may be made and understood by young pupils. Theories and rules, however, should not be stated until the pupils have had more experience.
In arranging tablets and other objects for study, no care should be taken to obtain definite angles as 6o°, 45°, or 3o°, etc. The simplest foreshortened position of the rectangle is when two edges appear horizontal. When the illustrations represent this position, all the tablets of the class should be so placed ; but when the illustrations show tablets at angles, the angles are not specified and are immaterial, and each pupil's tablet may be in a different position. 4
When able to represent single tablets, two may be combined and placed in different positions, as illustrated in the " Outlines of Lessons."
If the slates are used accurately enough to give the convergence seen in the vertical edges, when drawing tablets and single objects, there is no reason why this convergence should not be represented until the pupils are older, and the work more advanced, when they may be told that it is the custom to omit this convergence and represent vertical edges by vertical lines.
After drawing from two tablets combined, several tablets may be arranged in the form of the type solids, or of common objects based upon them. The interior and the exterior of the solid prism forms should be studied, by combining the tablets to present these appearances.
To obtain the cube, for free-hand purposes, it is necessary to combine only two or three square tablets ; and no more tablets should be used for any form than are necessary to give the visible surfaces for the required position of the object.
The prism forms are best represented, for free-hand purposes, by tablets representing the bases, and connected by a rod which represents the axis of the prism. Both ends of the prism are thus visible at the same time.
For the first few years all tablets and combinations of tablets should be placed at the middle of the back of the desk, for the desk line behind the tablets will then appear horizontal and assist the pupils to correct their work. If the tablets are placed at the corner of the desk, the desk line will appear inclined and the problem is much more difficult.
The desk line (called table line) should not be represented in the first work, for it is thought of as horizontal, and when in later work it does not appear horizontal, the pupils will, if in the habit of representing it by a horizontal line, be prevented from seeing correctly the directions of the lines of the object. In the upper grades, and after having drawn from objects at a distance and not directly in front of the pupils (when referred to the desk or the walls of the room), the table line or edge of the shelf supporting the objects may be represented, but always as an inclined line when its ends or points in it on each side, equally distant from the group, are unequally distant from the eye. The custom of drawing a horizontal line to represent this edge, when it seldom appears horizontal, is one of the many evil results of the teaching which assumes that drawing can be understood and taught by mental processes only.
In some cities an adjustable model-support is used, which is
attached at the corner of the desk, and is valuable as it gives any desired elevation to the object. When this is used in the lower grades, its edges should not be parallel to those of the desk. The edges should be so placed that the ends of the nearer edge are equally distant from the pupil's eyes. In the upper grades, they should be placed in various positions and their lines represented in every drawing.
After the pupils are able to draw and test with ease the tablets and combinations of tablets placed on their own desks, they should draw from objects farther away. Drawings on the slate ought never to be less than about two or three inches long, according to the subject studied. The drawing which ',will appear to cover a distant object, will be much too small to be satisfactory unless the object is quite large. All drawings on the slate or on paper should be of fair size, and, as large drawings cannot be made to appear to cover the object, it is necessary to find some new way to test their proportions. The use of the pencil to obtain the proportions of objects is explained in Chapter V, and also in the " Grammar Outline of Lessons," and, after the slate, is the method of most value to the pupils.
Drawings which are too large to appear to coincide with the object may be tested by holding the slate so that, one at a time, the different points of the drawing may appear to cover the corresponding points of the object. In this way the directions of all the lines meeting at a point may be tested, and if the directions are correct throughout the drawing, the proportions must be also.
In the upper grades memory drawings of the cube, cylinder, and other type forms may be made on the slate. These may be tested by placing the object at any level and angle such that the drawing on the slate may be made to appear to coincide with the object. When a memory drawing represents a possible appearance of ,any object, a few experiments will give the position of the object in which the drawing will appear to coincide with it.
The chief value of the slate consists in the instant and certain fest of proportions given by its use. Many pupils who use the slate through the lower grades will, when in the upper grades, have little need for it or other means of testing, as they will be able to depend upon their eyes ; and all pupils of the upper grammar grades will find the best use of the slate to be in the rapid sketching, by eye entirely, of large simple objects whose proportions may be tested by holding the sketch upon the slate to cover the object, in the usual manner.
Pupils must expect to make sketches, and not finished drawings, upon the slate. Having used the slate, they will understand what a sketch is, and, more important, will be able to work in a sketchy and artistic manner.
The slate may be used for reviews of the facts of form, for the free-hand working drawings made in studying principles preliminary to the instrumental drawings, and for all work in drawing 'which is not intended to be kept to show the capacity of the students,. The fact that the work done upon the slate is not kept, is beneficial ; for most unsatisfactory results are due to the instruction commonly given, by which pupils are assisted to perform a certain amount of work, all of which is kept as if it were valuable.
The objection of some to the use of the slate is that the supervisor cannot see all the work done by the pupils. This is not considered important, for pupils cannot draw without study, and if the practice work is not done, the drawings on paper or in the book will show it, and the supervisor can at any time ask that all the drawings be made on paper, if for any reason he desires to see them.
When the air is very damp and the slate is cold, the moisture will condense upon it, and the pencil will not work until the slate has been rubbed with a dry cloth or warmed. There are in a school year but few days when this trouble will occur, and it is readily remedied as explained above, or avoided by drawing on paper.
The slate should be cleaned at the end of each lesson, as the lines are more readily removed at this time than at any later period. A dry woolen cloth with a rough surface should be used for erasing. Albatross cloth or nun's veiling is the best.
DRAWING ON PAPER.
When books are not used, pupils should draw upon blocks or upon sheets of paper fastened to small drawing boards, so that the paper, during all except the finishing or accenting of the drawing, may be held at right angles to the direction in which it is seen. This is especially important, and in all free-hand drawing the slate, book, or block should be held at right angles to the direction in which it is seen.
Drawings upon separate sheets of paper should be numbered and dated, and arranged in order in large envelopes kept for this purpose by the pupils.
The drawing books should be fastened to cardboard or other backs, in order that they may be used as blocks. The book may be placed upon the model support, which is changed into a desk easel by extending the base, or held in the hand while the first sketching is done ; but it may be placed flat upon the desk when the drawing is ready for accenting.
When copies from the book are to be drawn on the slate, the 11 book should be supported by the cardboard back and placed upon the model support.
For the upper grades the pupils should be asked to make drawings from outdoor subjects of a simple nature, and from any objects, found at home or elsewhere, which interest them. A cheap sketch book is the best means of interesting the pupils and of keeping the drawings. These books may be criticised by the teacher occasionally.
A few moments' talk once in a while upon the pictures of the magazines will interest and instruct the pupils. Such drawings should be cut out and fastened upon the walls.
The" reproductions of artists' and old masters' drawings, given in each drawing book, are valuable, as they furnish each pupil the best inspiration for individual work, even when they are drawing the type forms in outline ; and they give the pupils of the upper grades the best information of the way in which the drawings they desire to make at home should be handled.
These reproductions are not intended as copies, but pupils who work at home and out-of-doors will be helped by copying a drawing once in a while, after having attempted original drawings in the same style of handling. This copying should not be done during the drawing period.
When working from foliage, flowers, fruits, or vegetables, the aim should be for artistic, and not for structural or botanical drawings. Drawings which give all the minute veins and details of these subjects may be made for the study of botany, but the drawing hour should be devoted to artistic rendering, to the study of the masses and the effect, and not to details of growth which are unimportant artistically.
Details of foliage and vegetable growths may be studied in about the following order,' though this is unimportant if too difficult work is not given.
Single, large, simple leaves placed so their real shapes are seen. Vegetables and fruit.
Single, large leaves when foreshortened.
Face views of flowers.
Side views of flowers.
Sprays of foliage placed so the leaves appear their real shapes.
Sprays of foliage placed in any natural position. '
Sprays of foliage and flowers in any natural position.
Foliage and flowers, as in potted plants.
Sprays of foliage may be placed in bottles filled with water or with wet sand. The sand will hold them firmly in position.
Plants with simple, large leaves, such as the geranium, calla lily, begonia, primrose, gloxinia, cowslip, jack-in-the-pulpit, and rubber plant, may be placed on boards across the aisles and drawn by the pupils of the eighth grade.
Pupils who work for a long time upon drawings of uniform size find it very difficult to make larger or smaller drawings ; for this reason blackboard drawings should be made occasionally. These drawings should be of the same nature as the other work. As few pupils can work on the board at the same time, this work should be done outside the drawing period ; and if it is not possible to place objects so that pupils may draw from them, they may draw from memory. The making of " pictures," copying, etc., should not be allowed.