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Fiff. 1. A Pack fiio.m a Sketch-bdhi, 
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Printed in Great Britain 
by Turnbull 6^ Spears, Edinburgh 



And all ike breeze of Fancy blows. 
And every dew-drop paints a bow. 
The wizard lightnings deeply glow. 

And every thought breaks out a rose. 



HAVE you heard the reply given by a small boy to a 
query, " How do you draw ? " 
" I think," he said, " and then I draw round my 

It is an excellent answer to a very difficult question. 

Many an artist could not give as lucid a reply. As far as 
I can judge, and I have been peculiarly fortunate in meeting 
many artists, the great artist would probably say : 

" How do I draw ? Here — give me a paint-brush " — and 
if he were inclined to be brutally frank — " don't ask me fool 
questions ; watch — this is how it is done." And he would 
proceed with a few swift strokes to paint something, at 
which you would gasp and feel no wiser than before. It 
would look perfect. It would be perfect. But how was it 
done ? He thought, and then drew round his thought. The 
great artist speaks with his tools ; more often than not he is 
a man of few words. 

We are told that when a Japanese artist wishes to paint 
a flower he watches its growth from bud to blossom and 
then to seed. After a little time has elapsed he takes up his 
brush and paints his remembrance of the flower. Whether 
he could describe the manner in which he intends to paint 
that flower is doubtful. 

We must think with the brush and the pencil ; we must 
think first and then draw round our ' think.' 

I hope that this book may help you to arrange your 

It is but a helping hand on the broad highway that leads 
to the great world of art. 

D. F. 



Introduction : A Few Technical Hints 13 

I. How TO Begin. Simple Subjects for 

Drawing and Painting 20 

II. Drawing our Toys 28 

III. Drawing Ourselves and Others 36 

IV. Drawing Hands 44 
V. Drawing Feet 52 

VI. Drawing Head, Face, Features, and Hair 60 

VII. Drawing People in Right Proportions 79 

VIII. Drawing Inanimate Things 83 

IX. Drawing our Pets and other Animals 88 

X. Colour, and how to Find it 106 

XI. Measuring and Perspective 114 

XII. Sketching Out of Doors 141 

XIII. How to Catch a Likeness 160 

XIV. Action and Composition 171 
XV. Light and Shade 182 

XVI. Correcting our Drawings 198 

XVII. Materials 199 

Index 205 




A Page from a Sketch-book 



Ivy Leaf and Feather 


Models illustrating Varied Shapes and 



Various Toys 


Toy Horse and Doll 




Left Hand Pointing 

Left Hand in Various Positions 

44 <v 
46 v/' 

Hand Gloved and Ungloved 

48 ^" 

Hands and Wrists 

50 y ' 

Jack's Foot 


Margery's Foot 


Back and Side View of Feet 



64 /• 


68 i/ 


72 v/' 




76 \/' 

Baby's Head 


Mufti the Cat and Robin the Puma 


Drawing for Beginners 


Birds at Rest and in Flight 92 

Squirrel and Horses 100 

Dogs 102 

(a) An Artificial Silk Poppy : how it should and 
HOW it should not be painted, [h) Two Colour 

Schemes and First Impressions of both 110 

The New Wing of the Tate Gallery 136 

Sketching Plants. Thumbnail Landscape Sketches 148 

Fence overhanging a Rock 150 

Tree growing out of a Rock ' 150 

A Silhouette of Trees. Sketches of Ruins 154 

A Simple Landscape 156 

On the Beach 158 

Expression in Portraits 164 

Action and Rhythm in Composition 172 

The Madonna della Sedia 180 

Simple Objects in Artificial Light 184 

Simple Objects in Daylight 184 

Light and Shade on Coloured Objects 186 

Stump-drawing of Old Man's Head 190 




A Few Technical Hints 

Drawing with the Lead Pencil 

A PENCIL has many excellent qualities. It is a clean 
tool and easy to handle. It can be carried in the 
pocket and pressed into service whenever required. 
Beyond sharpening, it requires no attention. 

To sharpen a pencil you should pare the wood in small 
shavings with a sharp knife. When a small portion of the 
lead is exposed place the lead on a piece of paper and whittle 
down to a firm and not very thin point. A very sharp point 
is a mistake. With such a point we are inclined to dig into 
the paper, and thus to add to our difficulties when erasing. 
A thin point, moreover, snaps easily, needs constant sharpen- 
ing, and therefore leads to much wasting of valuable lead. 

A word or two about the position of the pencil when 

We hold it, of course, as we do the pen, between the thumb 
and the first two fingers, and half-way up the shaft. 

There is a modern fashion of holding the pen between the 
second and third fingers, and whatever may be said for this 
position in writing nothing could be advanced in its favour 
for drawing. 

An overwhelming argument for holding the pencil between 
the thumb and the first two fingers is this : the hand never 

I have never heard an artist complain of a tired hand, 
though his work extended from early morning till late at 
night ; the reason lies in the perfect balance of the tool in 
his hand. 

Take the pencil between the first finger and the thumb 


Drawing for Beginners 

and hold it lightly. Is it not perfectly balanced ? Does 
not the point respond to the slightest motion of the two 
fingers ? Raise the thumb. If you are holding the pencil 
correctly, it remains resting against the two fingers and the 
root of the first finger. The little finger is the pivot of the 
hand. The hand sweeps round in curves from the tip of the 
finger with perfect freedom. 

Practise various touches with your pencil. For light, 
feathery, gossamer lines hold the pencil lightly and half-way 
up the shaft ; for rich firm effects hold the pencil firmly and 
lower on the shaft, rubbing the lead to and fro without 
removing the point from the paper ; for minute or detailed 
drawing it will probably be desirable to hold the pencil 
lower still. 

A medium HB pencil is generally useful. B or BB for 
textures, rough-coated animals, etc. 

A firm-surfaced paper such as cartridge is useful both for 
pencil and water-colour. A polished card is not advisable, 
neither is a paper with a rough ' toothed ' surface ; the latter 
is apt to lend a tricky effect which is alluring, but dangerous. 
It is wiser to employ straightforward methods. Then you 
know exactly the various stages of your progress. 

Do not use patent pencils with metal holders or decorated 
tops. The ordinary plain wooden pencil is the best tool. 

Drawing with Black Chalk 

Black chalk, in the shape of a pencil, is a pleasant medium, 
but it has one disadvantage, it is very difficult to erase. 
Therefore the use of chalk necessitates a certain amount of 
confidence and experience. In other words, do not begin 
your studies with chalk in preference to lead, but reserve it 
for your later work. 

Chalk gives a rich velvety tone and never a greasy shine, 
the drawback of blacklead. It is delightful for quick sketches, 
for materials of a coarse or rough texture, for the sketching 
of animals, buildings, trees, and landscapes. 

Chalk crumbles and breaks more easily than lead, and it 


white chalk gives the highest Hghts, and the paper itself 
forms the middle tone. 

I know of nothing more interesting than sketching animals, 
dogs, rabbits, and goats with these three mediums. 

White chalk needs very little pointing. It crumbles and 
breaks with the slightest encouragement, and the small pieces 
are often useful for sharpening up the edges, or touching in 
the brightest light. 

Drawing with Coloured Chalks 

Coloured chalks are very simple mediums. Often the baby 
begins with a box of coloured chalks as a step toward the 

Chalk does not trickle about the paper like water-colour, 
and is, moreover, a very direct medium. 

A red berry demands red chalk ; a blue bead demands 
blue chalk ; a skein of mixed silk or wool of blue, green, and 
yellow demands blue, green, or yellow chalk. 

By placing yellow against blue, or blue against green, or 
red against brown, we obtain a degree of shading, a mixing 
of tints, which teaches us to blend our colours. Chalks 
should not be applied to the paper too heavily, but laid on 
with a ligV^: touch. There is no need to point the chalks. 
By rolling the chalk in the fingers we can usually find a sharp 
little edge. Rub the chalk on a piece of waste paper, and on 
one side only ; that will give a flattened side for sharp and 
decided drawing. 

Drawing with the Brush 

Drawing with the brush is more difficult than with the 
pencil, but you should accustom yourself to the use of both. 

It is far better to paint a picture from the very beginning 
with a brush. Drawing first with a pencil and then with 
a brush necessitates changing one's tool, and readjusting 
one's mind. We look at a model, pencil in hand, very 
differently from the way we regard the same object when 
holding a brush. 

B 17 

Drawing for Beginners 

If you accustom yourself to the use of the brush you will 
soon find it an adaptable tool. 

The artist holds the brush in the same way as he holds the 
pen or the pencil, and he shifts the position according to the 
demands of the subject. 

For instance, if we are applying a broad wash of colour we 
should hold the brush with freedom, and fairly high on the 
shaft. One with a fair point, full and firm, will be necessary 
for drawing. A long hairy point will give a feeble line, and 
one too short and blunt no line at all. 

A brush that is at its thickest the size of an ordinary 
lead pencil is a useful tool. A very small brush will prove 
inefficient, for in drawing with a brush a fairly bold drawing is 
aimed at. 

If you have made a mistake cleanse the brush with fresh 
water, and while it is still full of this pass it over the 
mistake. Then complete the erasure by rubbing. Do not 
rub too hard or the surface of the paper will be destroyed 
and refuse to take colour other than a misty blur or 

Clean blotting-paper applied to a mistake — first lightly 
brushed with water — will sometimes erase it. 

Sketch in light tints, not dark. 

In order to get a fine point, fill your brush with colour, 
wipe it on a cloth, or roll the tip round on a piece of blotting- 

To run a good deal of colour on your paper, charge your 
brush with paint and put it on with rapid touches. 

For the darkest shadows, wait till your paper is drying 
and use the water sparingly. 

Drawing with Charcoal 

Charcoal is by far the most fascinating, as it is the most 
difficult medium, therefore it will be wise to keep this for 
our most advanced studies. 

But we must bear in mind that no medium takes the place 
of charcoal. If we shirk its use and adhere obstinately to the 


pencil we shall lose the freedom that is essential for the 
development of our art. 

You will require a small box of Vine charcoal and Michelet 
paper ; if you intend to use sheets of paper instead of sketch- 
books — and this I strongly advise — you must have also a 
drawing-board on which to pin the paper, and an easel. (Only 
by standing do we get perfect freedom for the handling of 
our large drawings.) 

Charcoal has several irritating qualities. It snaps easily 
and crumbles, and it rubs away despite spraying with fixa- 
tive. Nevertheless there is no medium more fascinating and 
more satisfying. It is equally useful for delicate effects and 
for those of a bold and vigorous character. 

Charcoal can be used at arm's length ; it is usually held — 
for quick sketching of big subjects — at the end and not at 
the middle of the shaft like the chalk or lead pencil. 

It requires very little sharpening and never a point. A 
flattened side answers the purpose. 

Rub the stick on sanded paper or shave with a knife, 
shaving not toward the tip and bearing away, but holding 
the charcoal in the left hand and along the first finger. Pare 
the charcoal inwardly with the grain of the wood, for, as you 
probably know, charcoal is burnt wood. 

The pith of bread (worked into small pellets) makes a better 
eraser for charcoal than rubber, though putty rubber is often 

When fixing a charcoal study stand not too near the easel, 
but a pace or two away, so that the spray falls in a light, even 
shower over your drawing. When standing too near the 
liquid falls in blobs and blots the drawing. 



How to Begin. Simple Subjects for 
Drawing and Painting 

Do you like painting ? Does drawing interest you ? 
Have you a pencil, a box of chalks, or a paint-box ? 
Because, if you have even one of these things, you 
can open the door to such jolly times. 

Do you remember Alice finding in Wonderland the little 
closed door, and how she longed to open the door and walk 
into the charming garden ? Well, there's a garden just as 
fascinating as the one seen by Alice, and the keys to it are 
your pencil and brush. 

This garden, like Alice's, is full of wonderful surprises. 
You never know w^hat is lying in wait, what quaint, curious, 
and beautiful things are to be found. Would you like to go 
into it ? Then come with me. You have the keys in your 

But first I will ask you a question. Have you ever heard 
of the story of the shepherd-boy of Vespignano ? 

Once upon a time there lived in Italy a little shepherd-boy 
who was so passionately fond of drawing that he would pick 
up a stick and draw with it on the dusty roads and sandy 

You might ask why he used such rough tools ; it was all 
the material he could call his own. Paper and parchment 
were far beyond the reach of shepherd-boys. But Giotto, 
for that was his name, drew quite happily with his pointed 
stick upon the ground, and he had all the hillside from which 
to choose his subjects. He drew the flowers, the grass, and 
the pine-trees. Best of all, he liked to draw his sheep, and 

How to Begin 

these he drew with loving care. A great artist called 
Cimabue happened to pass one day when Giotto was absorbed 
in his drawing. His curiosity was awakened, and dismount- 
ing from his horse he drew near. To his unbounded surprise 
he saw, traced on the ground, a number of beautiful little 

He began to talk with Giotto, and soon discovered that 
the boy's whole soul was in his simple art. And, being a 
wise and very generous man, he determined to do all that lay 
in his power to educate Giotto as an artist. In a very Uttle 
time the shepherd-boy left Vespignano for Florence, where 
he entered the great man's studio. Being extraordinarily 
gifted and more than usually industrious, he made rapid 
progress in his art. He soon outstripped his master, and in 
course of time was acclaimed the foremost artist of his day. 

And that is the story of Giotto, who died ten years after 
Edward III came to the English throne. 

Young people (and sometimes old people are not much 
wiser) are fond of excusing their laziness by saying, " I can't 
draw this — or I can't draw that. I haven't got the materials, 
or the pencil won't work." Which last excuse is about as 
reasonable as mounting a push-bicycle and expecting it to 
carry you up a hill without your moving your legs. 

The shepherd-boy taught himself by drawing with a pointed 
stick on a smooth piece of ground. So lack of materials is no 
excuse for lack of effort. 

One of my young readers may cry, " Draw ! Draw ! / 
draw ? Why, I cannot draw a straight line." As a matter 
of fact, a perfectly straight line is one of the most difficult 
things to draw. There are many artists who cannot easily 
draw a straight line. If you study Nature — and she is our 
safest guide — you will never see an absolutely straight line. 
If you do see one, you may be sure that the hand of man has 
helped to make it. 

A very general excuse is that which pleads the impossi- 
bility of drawing two sides of an object alike. Have you 
ever seen two ' sides ' alike in Nature — a tree, a flower, or even 


Drawing for Beginners 

a single blade of grass, inch by inch and tint by tint, the 
same ? Look round and judge for yourself. 

Only man makes things mathematically exact. He is 
forced to balance one side with the other side. The cup, the 
vase, the house, will not stand and support itself. Nature is 
bound by no such rules, and Nature is always an artist. 

Would you like to know the most difficult thing of all to 
draw ? Without question, a perfect circle. 

Strangely enough there was one artist whose fortune was 
made through the drawing of a circle. It was Giotto, the 
shepherd-lad whose story we have just been discussing. 
When his name was beginning to be known the Pope sent to 
learn more about him. He wished to employ the cleverest 
artist to be found in all Italy to paint pictures on the walls of 
the great church of St Peter at Rome. 

And how do you think Giotto convinced the envoys of his 
fitness for the work ? He took a large sheet of paper, and, 
dipping his brush into red paint, he drew a circle with one 
sweep of his arm, perfect and exact. 

" Take that to the Pope," he said. 

And the Pope admitted that of all the paintings submitted 
by the artists not one equalled the perfection of Giotto's O ; 
whence we have the proverb, " As round as Giotto's O," 
signifying perfection. 

We are not, unfortunately, all Giottos. Straight lines, 
symmetrical sides, perfect circles — perhaps when we are older 
we shall be able to attack these problems without flinching, 
but now, away with them and away with all excuses — let us 

Take a sheet of paper, or open your sketch-book ; pick up 
a pencil. Now what shall we draw ? 

Some children bubble with odd fancies ; men, horses, 
fairies, dogs come tripping to their minds ; but you and I 
are not so sure. We will choose something simple, something 

What of a leaf, an ivy leaf ?— for that we can easily find 
whether we live in city or country. 

How to Begin 

It is a quaint shape when we come to observe it closely. 
Would you call it a long, square, or round shape ? I should 
say that it resembled a heart. 

Then we will draw a heart-shape. Next we see a large vein 
running through the centre of the heart. It extends from the 
very tip of the leaf to the stout little stalk which eventually 
fastens itself on to the main branch. 

Now we had better mark the chief points of our leaf, which 
are three in number. And also there are two or three a trifle 
smaller. These we also draw. And we note that the large 
central vein is met by two smaller veins, and that these, 
with two more, radiate from the stalk. 

Turn the leaf and look at its back and see how wonderfully 
these veins converge to the stalk. 

Put in some of the veins lightly and carefully, choosing 
the biggest and the most important. 

Next we should note that the light comes from one side, 
and the side farthest from the light is in shadow. We might 
shade the edges of the leaf with our pencil and sharpen and 
shade the strongly curved stalk, and any other part that 
needs to be strengthened. 

You may say that you live where there are no ivy leaves. 
Then take a maple leaf, a sycamore, or a chestnut ; any leaf 
at hand. I am not laying down any hard-and-fast rules, 
but merely trying to help you with something that you want 
to do. 

If you prefer it, draw a shell or a feather. I suggest these 
particular things because they are simple and easy to draw, 
and within the reach of most people. 

A feather can be studied on the same lines as a leaf, presum- 
ing that it is a well-formed wing or tail feather — a not-too- 
fluffy affair. First observe its general shape. Elongated — 
oblong, is it not ? Then draw in an oblong shape. Next 
notice that it is broad at the bottom end, and that it inclines 
to a rounded point. We will shape off the side tips. 

Next we trace the main stalk or stem from which the plume 
spreads. Observe the separating of the plume on one side, 


Drawing for Beginners 

the crisp firmness of the narrower vein, the fluffiness at the 
back of the thick stem, and the solid firmness of the stem 

We can work this with a pencil and trace the beautiful 
marking on the feather, or we can produce our paint-box 
and try to colour our drawing. It is an excellent plan to 
hide the model from sight, and see how much, or how little, 
has penetrated our brain. 

Afterward try drawing some simple flowers : a snowdrop 
in a small vase ; a crocus — bulb, stem, and flower ; a daffodil 
with a few broad spear-like leaves. 

And if we find it difficult to interpret shapes with our pencil, 
and our brain tires, and our fingers get weary, choose some 
very different and ' opposite ' shapes. 

The mere task of choosing requires a little stimulating 

For instance, contrast a flat, squat-shaped, circular inkpot 
with a small, narrow upright tumbler ; a big spoon w\th a 
broad-handled knife. Compare a lemon with a tangerine ; 
an egg with an apple ; a reel of cotton with a tube of 
water-colour paint ; a matchbox with an ash-tray ; a tall 
slender vase and a dumpy bowl ; a large breakfast-cup and 
a small cocoa-tin ; a flat, thin book and a sphere-shaped 

Put some of these objects on a table, at a little distance from 
your desk, and sketch them two by two, and side by side. 

You could draw some with your pencil, and some with your 

The lemon and the tangerine are excellent subjects for this 
test, because you have contrast of both shape and colour. 

If you sketch them first with your brush, choose a tint of 
which they are both composed — say, a very pale yellow. 

Draw first the lemon, the large, elongated, egg-shaped 
variety. Notice the characteristic knob, like a nose, at one 
end, and compare this with the round tangerine and its 
somewhat flattened top. You will find a further interest in 
comparing colours. How rich is the orange tinge beside the 

Fig. 3. Ivy Leaf and Feather 


How to Begin 

paler yellow ! How deep the shadows of the tangerine 
appear when compared with those of the lighter-hued lemon ! 
For the lemon we must seek out our cool blues and pale 
golds ; for the tangerine, warm crimson, and even touches 
of bronze and brown. 

If we wish to handle our pencils intelligently (to get from 
our pencil many varied touches), we should draw objects which 
are variously composed. In other words, made of more than 
one material. And here again we must don our thinking-cap. 

We need not go very far. A few homely domestic articles 
would furnish us with some useful models. 

Take a feather brush — that is, a brush composed of feathers, 
leather, and smooth polished wood ; hang this up at a level 
with your eye, feathers downward, and sketch it with your 

Draw a long line to represent the handle, and indicate the 
rough fan-shape of the lower part. If the handle is grooved 
and turned, do not worry because you cannot get both 
sides exactly alike. First sketch the largest shapes and re- 
member to keep the stick slender ; next the three-cornered 
piece of leather which neatly hides and binds the ends of the 
feathers together ; lastly, the feathers themselves, spreading 
out in a loose, plumy fan. 

Having sketched these shapes, darken the handle, which 
is polished and black. Leave the white paper to show through 
to provide the lights. Try to represent the polish of the 
surface by drawing with firm sharp touches. 

The leather, being of a more pliable material and of a duller 
surface, needs a lighter treatment. If it has a dull tint, 
give it a shaded tone ; if it has folds, draw these folds in 

Next the feathers. 

A feather is one of the lightest of all substances. We say 
" light as a feather " when we wish to suggest something of 
the airiest description. 

But although it is so unsubstantial, it is not feeble. It 
has a definite shape. 


Drawing for Beginners 

Each feather has a spine from which it spreads in a definite 
shape. Soft, yes, and dehcate, but with a curved spine and 
a broad tip. Look at those nearest to you . . . and draw 
their shapes dehcately. Hold your pencil lightly, give a 
gentle, feathery touch, and, as the feathers are bunched 
together, and some will be in shadow, put in the shadows 
lightly, but sharply. Then pause and look at your drawing. 

Have you ' handled ' the drawing of the wood and the 
feathers differently ? Does the leather look more substantial 
than the feathers ? 

The work is not easy, but practice will soon give a surer 
touch. You are playing a scale with your pencil as one plays 
a scale on a piano. Deep bass notes, then the middle strong 
notes, and lastly the soft delicate treble. We must try to 
make our pencil speak with a varied tongue. 

Drawing different textures might include a kettle and a 
kettle-holder (shiny metal — rough cloth or velvet) ; a small 
piece of fur coiled near, or over, a hard cricket-ball ; a cake 
of soap and a loofah. A woman's hat with a soft wide brim 
(not the pudding basin variety, which is most difficult for 
unpractised fingers), trimmed with a cluster of berries, or a 
twisted bow of ribbon, gives us several different textures. 

We must hold the pencil delicately, loosely, and half-way 
up the shaft if we wish to convey the delicacy of fur and 
fine hairs. If we would show the richness of velvet, we must 
use our pencil with determination and shift our fingers for 
a shorter and firmer grip. 

All this will come with practice. There is no need to worry 
yourself with harassing doubts. Do your best ; no one can 
do more. 

When we work alone, we are very apt to get weary and 
depressed with our difficulties. 

We sit before our little models and look so often that we 
see less and less, instead of more and more. 

It is very wise occasionally to cover up your model, or, at 
any rate, to turn your back upon it for a while. 

This will often appear to increase your difficulties, but 

Fig. 4r. Models illustrating Varied Shapes and Textures 


How to Begin 

it will tend to quicken your observation, and this is worth 
any extra trouble or discouragement that may be entailed. 
There is a temptation to look continually at our models, and 
in consequence we look at them more often than is necessary. 
If, after looking at the model, we hide it from sight and 
then proceed with our drawing, obviously we must work from 
memory. The habit of working without models is soon 
developed, and it adds enormously to our powers of ' taking 



Drawing our Toys 

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 fain," 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 draw- 
ing 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 ? Pujf-piijf-'pujf 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 Gary entered, curious and inquir- 
ing. She looked round the empty room, she looked at me, 
and she looked at my paper, on which several scenes were 

Drawing our Toys 

shaping, and then she said : " Ah ! I see you draw out of 
your fancy ! " 

I loved Gary'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 1 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 paint- 
boxes 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- 

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 


Drawing for Beginners 

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 ; con- 
fident because we have a little knowledge to help us on our way. 

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 fore- 
going suggestions will enable you to apply the same principles 
to all. 

Drawing our Toys 

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 sUce 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 

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 
flat surfaces — and this we draw. 


Drawing for Beginners 

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 

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 flat 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 com- 
pleted a little picture. 

Observe real ponds and reeds at your next opportunity, 
and if a fish darts before your eyes you will see 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, curl- 
ing round the nostrils and narrowing to the upper lip. The 

Fig. 5. Various Toys 


Drawing our Toys 

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 ears, 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 sub- 
stances 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 some- 
times hear, suggests a man or woman with a very long face.) 
c 83 

Drawing for Beginners 

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 intelli- 
gently 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 
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. 

When you have the head on paper, then you can mark 

Fig. 6. Toy Horse and Doll 


Drawing our Toys 

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 

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 con- 
sider certain little people of more importance — ourselves. 



Drawing Ourselves and Others 

WHEN we first try to draw each other it is best 
to choose fairly easy positions. Put your small 
brother into an exaggerated attitude — for example, 
rushing toward you with arms outspread, his chin in the air. 
You will very soon get tired "and discouraged ; worse still, so 
will he, and the probabilities are that his first posing will be 
his last. 

So choose an easy position. Firstly for his sake, secondly 
for yours. It does not pay to be too selfish about these things, 
and posing, after all is said and done, is very monotonous 
work. Queer aches and pains develop in hands, knees, and 
feet. Extended arms holding banners or grasping trusty 
swords are apt to get heavy as lead. So I offer it to you as 
an invaluable principle, consider the feelings of your model. 

By ' an easy pose ' one that represents a simple position is 
meant. If we begin by trying to draw some one with body 
huddled together, legs crossed, neck twisted, and eyes gazing 
into ours, we shall soon be very confused. 

Stand your brother upright, with his arms to his side ; or 
put your sister on a chair with her hands in her lap and her 
eyes looking before her ; or plump the baby down on a cushion 
on the floor and draw him sideways (he won't stay there, but 
that is a detail). Choose, in a word, easy positions. 

It is a very encouraging reflection that all people who 
aspire to become artists are more or less in the same boat. 
We land on the same rocks, reefs, and shore, we battle with 
the same currents, tides, and storms. We should, therefore, 
be ready with a helping hand whenever it is required by 

Drawing Ourselves and Others 

" I will sit to you if you will sit to me," my brothers would 
say. As there were two brothers and one sister, all fond of 
drawing, we formed a Triple Alliance, and posed to each other 
in turn. 

So we will begin with simple poses. 

A hint here as to the size of our sketches may not come 
amiss. Do not draw on too small a scale. A sketch of a 
figure the height of your thumb will not teach you very much. 
Moreover, one is too apt to adopt a niggling, worried style of 
drawing. Take a good-sized sheet of paper and try to make 
your sketch as large as the length of your hand. 

Shall we assume that Kathleen has kindly agreed to sit to 
us for fifteen minutes ? Let us place her on a stool on which 
she can sit upright and in a steady suffused light — not too 
near the window, the fire, the electric, gas, or lamp light, all 
of which tend to throw confusing lights and shadows. Then 
we give Kathleen a searching look — not too long — and we 
ask ourselves what shape does Kathleen, roughly speaking, 
present ? She forms a triangular shape. Yes. See the line 
of the back, the line of the upper leg, the line of the leg from 
the knee to the foot, and the upright supports of the stool. 

Having seen, we record our impressions — lightly — for after 
all they are but first impressions, and we don't want to make 
harsh lines that can be erased only by much rubbing and 
spoiling of paper. 

Next we consider the angles we have made and compare 
with Kathleen. We see that the angles are softened into 
curves, the forward thrust of the neck, the curve of the spine 
and upper part of the leg. We might note the position of the 
hands on the lap (they are not on the extreme edge of the 
knee), and we could look again at the head and indicate 
the roundness of the upper side, the comparatively flat oval 
of the face, and the hood-like shape of Kathleen's short mane. 

Now we are searching for more detail. I know you are 
dying to give her a nose, eye, and mouth. Well, trace these 
details lightly and do not labour the eyelashes — we have 
something more important in hand. 


Drawing for Beginners 

Next we might note the arm. Turn up the sleeve if the 
elbow is hidden. Hinges or joints are very important, and 
the more we see of them the better we shall understand the 
working of the human frame. Kathleen has a thin but 
shapely little arm, the upper surface of which is gently 
rounded and the lower straighter and firmer because of the 
bones beneath. The thumb rises to a point, and the fingers 
fall outward more or less in the shape of a fan. The position 
of this hand is very simple. But ten to one, if the pose has 
been left to Kathleen's choice, she has clasped her fingers 
tightly together, for that is a very natural thing to do with 
an unoccupied pair of hands. And clasped hands are very 
difficult to draw. One invariably makes them far too large. 
It is not easy to fit four fingers and a thumb on that small 
thing called a palm until we have gained experience. 

Having arrived at the arms and hands we continue with 
the lower limbs, tucking in the skirt (folds can be very mis- 
leading) to show the upper part of the thigh. The square 
angle resting upon the seat of the stool is sharply defined. 
The knee is more or less hidden, but ask Kathleen to touch 
the knees where they bend, or hold the skirt tightly across 
the knees, and mark it well in your mind, or on your paper, 
because from there we trace the lower part of the leg. 

Now we follow the curve of the leg, noticing the flat surface 
of the front part compared with the calf. Your Kathleen 
may not have as much calf as my Kathleen. Girls have very 
often the thinnest of arms and legs, and it is a common mistake 
to give too much flesh. Next we draw the feet. The boat- 
shape of the foot seen in profile (or sideways) is broken up 
with the strap, which marks also the thickest part of the foot, 
the instep. From that curve it descends steeply to the root 
of the toes or the curve of the shoe proper. Stout, sensible 
shoes has Kathleen, and the sole and heel are easily traced, 
marked as they are with the shadows of the leather. 

Lastly, note the most important shadows and folds ; also 
the hair, neckband, cuffs, or doubled-back sleeves — just so 
far as your interest carries you, but no further. 


Drawing Ourselves and Others 

And so we have Kathleen down on paper. She deserves 
our thanks, and if she laughs, as she probably will, and 
exclaims, " Oh, how queer I look in your drawing ! " you can 
tell her that if she will only sit to us fairly often, we will 


Fig. 8. The Balancinq of Moving Figurks 

improve and hope some day to make her as nice-looking as 
she would wish. 

Now what about Jack — do you think he would care to sit 
for his picture ? 

Jack being a gentleman full of frolic will probably like 
to pose in more or less spirited action. Why not ? If he 
wishes to peer aft across the good kitchen chair with his back 
toward us, we shall probably find it is no more difficult to 
draw him thus than from a side view. His energy may be 
a spur to ours. 


Drawing for Beginners 

There is one fact about standing figures that you must 
always bear in mind. They must balance. 

You will probably say with a smile you are quite certain 
of that without any reminder. But I am inclined to think 
that young artists are very unobservant, or else uncommonly 
careless, so often do we note a lack of balance in their pictures. 

And you can see for yourself, artist or no artist, that if 
you throw yourself into an attitude, and lose your balance, 
you will come with a crash to the ground. 

Your heel, or toe, or whatever happens to be your support, 
must come under the centre of your spinal column. 

In Fig. 8 are shown a couple of silhouettes of figures in action 
to emphasize this principle. Suppose you were hopping on one 
leg, or dancing on your toe, or standing upright with your 
arms above your head, and Michael or Peter gave you a 
push, as brothers sometimes do, you would at once lose your 
balance — and the figure in your drawing will overbalance if 
you do not rightly plant him upon whatever is to support 

Therefore, as soon as we have sketched in the angles of 
Jack draw a faint line down the centre from the back or half- 
centre of the neck, and this should reach the ball of the right 
foot. (Jack is depending on the chair with his left leg, and 
he could therefore lean backward or forward without losing 
his balance.) 

First we glean a general idea of the big angles of the body, 
and the broad, sweeping line of the spine, the bending thigh 
and leg, and the standing leg and foot (in my sketch drawn 
on a smaller scale). Then we follow the angles, and find they 
break into large simple curves. We trace the great curve of 
the body, its backward thrust, the width of shoulders, and 
the comparatively narrow width across the hips, the thick 
curve of the thigh and its narrowing line to where the knee 
bends on the chair, the curve of the calf, and the flatter line 
of the knee to the foot where it bends downward in a great 
spoon-shaped curve. The right leg has far more delicate 
curves. The calf and upper thigh are drawn taut with the 

FijT. 9. Jack 


Drawing Ourselves and Others 

very upright position. (If you stand in this position you can 
feel the strain of the sinews at the back of the knee and the 
ankle.) The ankle tapers and the toe of the foot is turned 
outward, and thus we see both the back of the heel and the 
broad toe turned away in shape something like the bow of a 

Having noted the main forms and their relation to each 
other, we can next devote ourselves to detail. The line of 
the hair follows the upper part of the round bullet-shaped 
head. The ear is valuable, coming as it does at the meeting 
of the jaw and skull, and we note the tiny niche where the 
neck rises above the collar. 

Now we can mark down the big shadows — under the loose 
sleeve of the shirt, at the waistbelt, between the legs and the 
folds at the back of the knickerbockers, at the knee, and 
beneath the heels. We follow the grip of the hand on the 
chair, remembering that something solid and big flattens and 
pushes out the palm. The uplifted right arm is turned from 
us. We can see — and it is all that we can see — the small 
apex of the bending arm, the round edge of the elbow as it 
bends upward and outward, the folds on the inner part of 
the sleeve, and the tips of the fingers resting on the brow. 
After which you can carry on with anything that holds your 
interest. But keep your sketch a sketch. Do not worry after 
details. You will learn more at this stage from making 
sketches of quick poses and getting a knowledge of general 
proportions than by delving after detail. 

Also you could reverse the positions of Kathleen and Jack. 
Kathleen might stand in the same pose as Jack, and Jack 
might sit on the stool. 

And it is very amusing to dress brother and sister in their 
elders' clothes. 

Give Kathleen a shawl and a handkerchief folded three- 
corner-wise and tied under her chin, put a basket at her 
feet, a closed umbrella in her hands, and we have an old 
market woman. Only remember that we bend with age, 
our head droops, our arms sag forward, and our toes very 


Drawing for Beginners 

probably would turn in a little after long years of weary 

It is amusing to play with one's fancy, to bring out our 
colour-box and make a fresh drawing, tinting clothes, hair, 
and face. 

Put the ' old lady ' against a plain background, a wall, for 
instance, and begin by sketching the whole figure (as we 
sketched Kathleen as herself). That is, the simple angles, 
the big curves, then the smaller shapes 
of head, face, arms, hands, shawl, apron, 
feet ; lastly, the details of hair, folds, 
features, fingers. 

If you decide to colour your picture of 
the market woman, choose pleasing colours, 
/ Kt^ Ny""^ tints that will blend pleasantly. 
//In rV"^ ^^ *^^^ French peasant woman would 

wJl # y^Ts. i^g dressed probably in greys and blues, 
whereas a gipsy woman would have a 
highly coloured handkerchief and shawl. 
Jack might dress up as a shepherd 
The mISet' Woman (^^^h a long cloak or plaid across his 
shoulder, and a staff in his hand, and 
his knee on a rock) scanning the rough pasture ground for 
sheep that have strayed. 

But beware ! — draperies, cloaks, and plaids are very mis- 

We are inclined to ' lose ' the drawing of a leg, arm, or 
figure when we are trying to sketch draperies. The folds 
deceive the eye. The fall of a cloak may hide the position 
of a foot or an arm. If such is the case, then remove the 
drapery, make a note of the particular object about which 
you have doubts, and replace. 

Should you prefer to leave the folds untouched because 
they are happily arranged, take a walk round your model 
and look at the hidden object from the opposite side. Never 
hesitate to survey the thing that you are drawing from a 
different angle. It is a common fault to worry over a detail, 

Drawing Ourselves and Others 

to labour a difficult problem, when a glance in another posi- 
tion would make everything perfectly plain. 

To return to the shepherd. 

The colouring of the old shepherd's clothes should be more 
or less decided by his surroundings. One would not for choice 
give him a scarlet plaid and a Prussian blue kilt. These 
colours would soon fly in the mists of early dawn, the long 
days of rain and storm. A shepherd's clothes would prob- 
ably share the tints of the hills and of the heather — mauve, 
green, brown, and fawn. 



Drawing Hands 

HANDS are excellent things on which to practise draw- 
ing. Firstly, because they are difficult ; secondly, 
because having two we can always spare one and 
draw that. And we can draw hands early and late. We 
shall never draw hands too often nor study them too much. 
It is often said that we can judge an artist's work by the 
drawing of the hands. If the hands are good the rest of the 
work is good, and if bad, then so is the rest. 

It is not wise to make hard-and-fast rules ; still, there is 
a good deal of truth in the saying, as we shall very soon 

When first drawing hands we must apply the same broad 
rules — of simplicity. We must choose simple positions. 

For instance, that hand with finger pointing, with which 
we are so painfully famihar; that ugly, ill-drawn hand — 
" This way to the Menagerie," " This way to the Performing 
Bears," " This way to the Cricket Pavilion," " This way to 
the best Teashop in the Town." " This way," we might add, 
" to our first drawing of a Hand." 

Having the offer of our left hand, we can begin without 
delay. Let us sit squarely at a table, resting our left elbow 
on a book and pointing the index finger straight in front 
of us. 

Observe the whole shape carefully ; block in the strong 
square angles and proceed from the beginning of the wrist 
to the upper knuckle — then along the forefinger to the more 
or less square block of the inner finger, and on to the sweeping 
curve of the thumb. 

Now open your hand, spreading out your fingers. As you 

Drawing Hands 

move each finger up the knuckles loosen and dimple the 
skin ; as you clench them once more together the knuckles 
curve into clean sharp forms. Each finger is based in a 
good strong knuckle, remember that. Young artists are too 
fond of crowding knuckles together, and if hands grew as 
their drawings indicate they would have a poor chance of 
gripping an oar, a handle-bar, or even the useful knife and 

Having noted that the biggest mass is composed of the 
doubled fist, and that the angles of thumb and forefinger 
bear away from each other, we see that the line of the wrist 
forms yet another angle. 

Of course it is quite probable that your hand may not 
resemble mine, but the general principles hold good. My 
thumb is large, my fingers are long ; yours probably will be 
shorter and the thumb more slender. 

Look at the sweeping line as it proceeds from the back of 
the wrist to the knuckles, and notice the swelling curve of 
the thumb beneath and the manner in which it bends back. 
We will now give our attention to the forefinger. How 
straight and determined it is, pointing and almost speaking 
its command, how thick it is at the root, and how it tapers 
to the tip ! 

We now begin to search for more details. We draw the 
finger more carefully, marking the wrinkles on the upper 
part, and the corresponding curves on the lower ; then we 
notice the way in which the loose flesh folds in springy curves, 
joining thumb to forefinger in a useful hinge. 

We mark the clean sweep of the thumb and the wrinkles 
on the back-curving knuckle, also the shape of the nail, a 
square-cut, important-looking nail, curving on the outer edge 
and following the curve of the thumb-tip. Then back we 
trace the thumb and note the wrinkles on the largest swell- 
ing curve ; back to the wrist we go until we meet its firm 

From thence we might jump to the knuckles once more, 
noting the deeply cleft wrinkles in the bend. We should 


Drawing for Beginners 

then be ready to draw in the dark shadow of the doubled 
fingers, the upper nail (like a portion of a tiny pink shell), 
and the square shadowing of the thumbnail. 

Before we leave the drawings of our own left hand there 
are other poses to consider. 

For instance, your own left hand holding a small object 
such as a coin, a flower-stem, or a reel of cotton. The latter, 
being a light object, you would hold lightly between your 
first fmger and your thumb, supported by the second and 
third fingers. 

Sketch first the upright shape of the hand and wrist, then 
the first finger and the knuckle from which it springs, the 
upright thumb, and the angle of the reel of cotton. 

Here, by the by, let me say once more that you need not 
feel bound to pose your left hand in exactly this position. 
If you should prefer another pose, with the palm more I 
exposed (or less), by all means adopt yours in preference 1 
to mine. These hints may then be used as a general ." 
guide. My positions are chosen because they present simple 

And now let us return to the hand with the reel of cotton. 

Having roughly sketched the forefinger, the thumb, and 
the general proportions of the wrist and hand, we should 
then pay a little more attention to the hand itself, the 
back of which lies like a flat upright line breaking into 
small indications of the second or third knuckle. The first 
knuckle is slightly indented, and the root of the first finger 
descends in a firm swelling curve to the folded muscle of 
the thumb. 

The thumb presses inward against the reel, and, marking 
the angle of its nail, we sketch the firm long line of the knuckle 
down the swelling curve to the root of the thumb, behind 
which we have the lower swelling curve of the palm. 

The first finger and the shape of it must be carefully noted. 
My fingers, though long, are plump, and yours may present 
sharp . bone and knuckle. I trust that they may, for bony 
substances are easier to draw. Their shape is clean and 

Drawing Hands 

definite, their angles more acute and therefore more quickly 

We note here the tip of this first finger and the apex coming 
at the front of the nail. Next we draw the folds of each 

From the second knuckle we can trace the second finger, 
hidden behind the first finger, but seen in a tiny space 
between the reel and first finger, and the tip of it obtrudes 
on the far side of the reel. 

The third finger rises from the third knuckle, and is seen 
in the space between the first finger and thumb, and again 
beyond the thumb, behind which we know it supports the 

The little finger merely waves a graceful tip, like the clown 
in the circus, doing nothing in particular. This hand, though 
simple, can be carried to almost any length of study. Note 
the shadows of the thumb, the shadows of the knuckles, of the 
first finger-tip, and those cast by the reel. The reel itself, 
being of black silky thread, is (in my study) the darkest tone 
of all. 

The left hand holding a fan suggests another variation — 
this time with the palm broadside on, and the finger-tips 
coming forward. 

First note the pear shape of the pointed fingers, bent 
fingers, and flattened palm, meeting at a slender wrist. 

Observe the angle of the object that is held correctly, 
because from that position the fingers curl. 

The fan is a fairly stout object composed of thin slats folded 
together, and so nicely adjusted that the touch of the tip of 
a finger displaces them. 

The thumb holds and supports the fan in a firm upright 
position. The thumb rises from a long swelling base, flatly 
on one side — despite the faint indication of the bones — and 
in two long swelling curves on the others, meeting in a firmly 
rounded tip. 

Beyond, and curled round the fan, we have the first fi].;;er ; 
then the second, third, and fourth fingers tightly grasping the 


Drawing for Beginners 

end of the fan. These we block in as one mass, marking the 
angles of the outer joints, the inner joints, and the finger-tips ; 
the palm flattens and bulges to the wrist. 

Then we again revert to the thumb and the finer details, 
the pointed finger and the shadows, the first, second, third, 
and little finger (we have ^.Iready sketched this in mass and 
therefore shall have no great difficulty with details), the 
knuckles bending inward, and the tips of the fingers closely 
holding the fan. Mark all the darkest shadows. Under the 

Fig. 13. Thumbs Upright and Foreshortened 

first finger is the curve of the thumb, and under the fan (the 
lower part of the palm indented by the ring of the fan) the 
sharp firm shadows between the fingers. 

More poses for the left hand might include : 

Left hand beckoning, or palm extended and back pre- 
sented ; hand clenched ; hand lying flat on the table palm 
downward, or palm uppermost. Both are rather difficult 

Rest your elbow on the table, clench your fingers, and 
extend your thumb. Draw only the thumb. 

Turn your hand toward yourself with the palm uncovered 
and draw your thumb — bent. 

You should become well acquainted with all your various 
fingers by drawing each one separately — and many times. 

Suzanne Lenglen, the great tennis-player, said that it took 
her six months to learn a certain stroke. It will take us 

Drawing Hands 

certainly longer to learn how to draw all the fingers of our 
left hand. 

Little children are very clever at painting and drawing 
gloves. Sometimes I have pinned a shabby old leather and 
fur gauntlet to a board, and the painting has been surpris- 
ingly good. And yet had I suggested the drawing of a hand, 
a wail of despair would have gone up. A glove is a step 
toward the drawing of a hand. 

Have you drawn a hand, gloved ? 

If not, I advise a trial. Take for choice a glove of a firm 
substance, leather instead of wool, and thick leather in prefer- 
ence to thin ; if it has a gauntlet of fur, so much the better. 

Ask some kind friend to put his gloved hand on the top of 
a stick or an umbrella, and make a careful study of it. It 
will be simpler than the hand unclothed. The palm will be 
more of a mass, the seams will give the direction of the fingers, 
the wrinkles of the leather will give — more or less — the base 
of the thumb, the knuckles, and the wrist. 

Having made a study of the gloved hand, ask your friend to 
remove his glove and resume the position with the bare hand. 

If you can make the two drawings on the same sheet of 
paper you will find that your previous effort has helped you 
considerably to draw the ungloved hand. 

Tight gloves distort and contract the hands, loose gloves 
vdisguise the shape. Do not let this worry you. Try to draw 
what you see — as you see it. 

Another time you might persuade some one to hold up a 
hand, palm toward you and fingers together. (See No. I, 
Fig. 16.) 

Do not begin with sprawled fingers spreading apart, it is 
bewildering for a start. 

Block all the fingers together and draw an imaginary line 
from the tip of the thumb to the fingers to check your pro- 
portions. Close up your own thumb and note that it reaches 
to the first joint of your forefinger. Thumbs, because of the 
deceptive nature of a curve, are often deprived of strength, 
length, and muscle. Note the large surfaces of muscle, the 
D 49 

Drawing/or Beginners 

almost square shape of the palm. Once you have the larger 
proportions of fingers and thumbs well fixed in your mind it 
will not be difficult to observe each finger, each knuckle, each 
finger-tip separately. 

The rather listless fingers (No. II, Fig. 16) can be indicated 
on the same lines ; the fingers, though they are separated, can 

be first blocked in together. 

When drawing a hand holding 
a ball be sure that the hand does 
hold the ball. I would emphasize 
the point that often, very often, 
young artists draw a hand holding 
a ball, or a pen, or a hockey-stick, 
and so absorbed do they become 
in drawing the fingers that they 
neglect the object the fingers are 
clasping, with the result that it 
reappears in a distorted form. 

And the excuse offered gene- 
rally is : "I had to draw it in 
such and such a way or the fingers 
would not have come right." 
When drawing a hand grasping 
Fig. 15. Deaw the Object that ^n object draw first the pen, or 
IS HELD FIRST, THEN THE whatcvcr thc objcct may be, and 
Fingers round it n . . i o t • . i i • 

fit the fingers round it, rubbing out 

later the part which is hidden. If the thing held is straight 
or round, obviously it must be drawn straight or round. 

Have you seen an X-ray photograph of a hand, or held 
your fingers up to a bright light and seen through the film 
of pink flesh the dim shape of the bones ? Muscles, tendons, 
veins, flesh, and dimples attract our attention. The bones 
we are inclined to neglect. 

Indeed, it is curious how fond we are of looking for things 
that matter not at all. 

For instance, how often do we see a hand pleasantly but 
feebly drawn ! We wonder vaguely what can be wrong. Ten 

Drawing Hands 

chances to one the artist has paid too much attention to minor 
things. He has tried so hard to give the nails the right shape ; 
but what attention has been paid to the knuckles, to the base of 
the fingers, and firm shapes between each joint, to the joints 
themselves, all of which are a great deal more important ? 

The ring on the finger, the watch 
on the wrist, is eagerly depicted, for 
it is ' jolly interesting.' So it is. 
But if the metal is beautifully and 
intelligently drawn, and the finger, 
or the wrist, looks feeble and patchy, 
what then? And the wrist is often 
neglected. It is the link between the 
arm and the hand, as the ankle is 
the link between the leg and the 
foot, and both shapes are fascinating 
studies for the artist. 

We must try to ' get at ' the frame- 
work. Once we have the bony struc- 
ture in our minds we shall find the 
outside shapes less baffling. 

Not that I would advise you to 

begin by drawing the skeleton. 

c^ i J • c 1 Fig. 17. Bones of Hand 

htart drawmg freely. 

Only, when you feel yourself becoming confused, give a 
thought to the bones ; they are a wholesome check. Seek 
out shapes. Don't be satisfied with pretty curves and 
dimples, cushioned palms and tallow-candle fingers. Move 
the fingers to and fro. Twist and turn the wrist. Never be 
afraid of losing a position. You will gain something of far 
more value than that which you may lose. 

The bones of the hand are small but fairly easy to under- 
stand. They have no cup and ball or rotary movements like 
those of shoulder and forearm ; neither are they shrouded in 
huge muscles like those of the ribs and back. Moreover, 
they are plainly seen in the hands of the very old, criss- 
crossed with big blue veins. 



Drawing Feet 

IF we all walked about in sandals instead of boots and 
shoes, the human foot would be much less difficult to 

If centuries of cramping leather, of high heels and pointed 
toes, had not spoilt the shape of modern feet, we should be 
more interested in drawing the ' human foot divine.' 

Artists often declare that a pretty foot is the rarest of all 
rare things. 

But all start in life fairly well equipped in that respect, 
and therefore we may consider ourselves fortunate if we 
have the opportunity of drawing Jack's bare foot or Baby's 
queer little curling toes. 

And this presents an idea. Feet — that is, bare feet — often 
being impossible to ^procure as models, why should we not 
begin by drawing shoes and boots ? 

Baby's ' bootikin,' absurd little shape though it is, gives 
a rough idea of the foot, as Baby's small fingerless glove 
presents a rough impression of the shape of a hand. 

There is plenty to observe in a shoe or a boot, and it is 
rather a fascinating study if we choose one with a highly 
polished surface. Then, again, a bedroom-slipper of quilted 
satin and fur is a joy to paint. 

Examine the bootikin. Do we not get a crude shape of a 
foot ? Stuff it with paper and perch it on a table before you. 
Make a sketch of it, and then sketch Baby's foot in the same 
position, and on the same broad outline as the bootikin, 
treating it first as two simple angles — the sloping angle of 
the leg, and the forward thrust of the small plump foot. The 
baby's ankle is so cushioned with fat that it is difficult to 

Drawing Feet 

discover the bone, but that we must try to find, because 
from the ankle-bone we get the triangular shape of the heel 
and the flat tread of the sole. The fold of fat above the ankle 

marks the deepest part of the foot and the highest line of the 
instep. This line descends steeply to the root of the toes, 
and expands in the bold curves of the five toes. 

Now borrow your mother's shoe. Place that before you 
and on a level with your eye. (If you begin by trying to 
draw the shoe very much beneath you, or, for the matter of 


Drawing for Beginners 

that, very much above you, you will have a more compli- 
cated problem.) 

Try first to draw it in a simple position — a side view. 

At fi.rst sight one is apt to think a high-heeled shoe a rather 
complicated shape, but if you try to analyse it as a rough 
block, it is no more nor less than a wedge. The high heel 
gives the greatest depth, the toe gives the narrowing point, 
the tread of the foot — heel and sole of the shoe — a flat line. 
Having marked this simple triangular shape we note the 
large oval opening, the stumpy and rounded toe, the beautiful 
' slick ' curve of the heel. Of course we know that no part 
of the foot enters the high heel, which is merely compressed 
leather or wood ; and we should, therefore, trace the foot 
within the shoe, in our thoughts if not with our pencil. 

Then perhaps we shall catch Jack in a specially charitable 
frame of mind, ready to sit bare-footed. 

Quick ! let us get pencil and paper, and plant Jack on a 
stool with his foot resting on the floor, and to give more 
action — and consequently more interest — to our study we 
will raise his heel by propping it up on a fairly thick book. 

Next we sit down on a low seat or cushion on the floor, 
as near as possible to the level of Jack's foot. 

Again we are all for simplicity. A profile of Jack's foot, 
presenting an angle with the ankle and leg, would be an 
interesting study. 

Having roughly drawn the triangular shape of the bending 
foot, we next proceed to note important facts. The mass of 
the heel, the shape of the ankle, the broad fine sweeping line 
of the instep (Jack has a particularly well-shaped instep), 
and the ball of the foot — the springy cushion upon which the 
tread of the foot presses. 

Afterward observe the masses of light and shade, and see 
how the light picks out the strong tendons about the ankle. 
I find it helpful to shade as if I were chiselling out shapes 
— a method that may not appeal to you. So long as you 
shade intelligently, not beginning a shadow and leaving it 
off without reason, but using the shadow to emphasize a 


f-— ^"If^^*^ 

Fig. 19. Jack's Foot 


Drawing Feet 

shape, a swelling, a curve, a bone, or a tendon, that is all 
I ask. 

Another time we might try a ' full-face ' or three-quarter 
view of a foot. And as this presents us with the problem of 
foreshortening, let me advise you to begin by drawing the 
foot in shoe and stocking ; afterward draw the foot in the 
same position without the shoe and stocking, for the very 
same reason that we first drew the hand gloved, and later 
ungloved. The covering simplifies matters. Instead of the 
angle of the toes and toe-nails we have the broad sweep of 
leather covering it all in a three-cornered form. 

You may prefer to draw the foot with the heel on the 
ground. I have chosen to represent the heel lifted. For 
one reason it gives action and life to the position, and for 
another presents a more acute and more interesting angle. 

We have the leg representing one angle, and the foot yet 
another angle, and the apex of this angle lies in the ankle, 
which we know to be the end of two bones. The ankles are 
the ends of the leg-bones, the wrists are the ends of the 

When we are very small we usually draw the feet as two 
little spoon-shaped objects, something like a couple of feeble 
golf-clubs, which is not so very wrong in effect. 

Therefore, when we draw a foot, no matter what the 
position may be, the two simple angles of foot and leg are 
most important. Once they are settled we can devote our- 
selves to noting the tread of the foot and the heel, the curve 
under the foot, and the curve of the toes. 

Margery has not a very big ankle ; the outside bone is 
higher and clearly defined ; the inner one is barely seen. 
Partly by observing the folds of the stocking, and partly 
by deduction (for we know the ankle-bones are opposite each 
other), and also because of a shallow depression, we mark the 
position of the bones. That, you see, is a valuable fact. 
Ankle-bones settled, we next mark the curve of the heel, 
which is slightly exaggerated by the thickness of leather ; 
then we note the curve of the foot as it treads on the ground, 


Drawing for Beginners 

and compare the two sides of the foot, one a long sweeping 
line, the other shorter (shorter because of the fullness of 
the rising instep), meeting at the toe with an abrupt and 
slightly indenting curve. 

The sharp shadow under the toe lifts the foot from the 
ground, and a shadow defines the top of the instep. The 
curve of the strap of the shoe provides another shadow, and 
also emphasizes the depth of the foot from instep to arch. 
Margery's stocking, being of lighter material than the shoe, 
adds to the variety of the surface of our drawing. As the 
folds in a stocking indicate the position of the ankle, so will 
the bend of the leather in a boot or shoe mark the tread of 
the foot and the bending joints of the toes. 

A highly polished leather is easier to draw than a soft dull 
glace or suede, for it accentuates light and shade. The bright 
light on the toe, the half-moon of light on the side of the 
foot, the dull disc of light that indicates the ankle, are of 
great value ; they show the position of the bones. Keep 
these bright ; do not dim their surfaces. 

Having now drawn Margery's foot in shoe and stocking, 
perhaps we shall persuade Margery to pose in the same 
position without her shoes and stockings, as if she were on 
her way to paddle in the sea. 

Now you see the bones more easily, and having marked 
the two large and simple angles of leg and foot, as in the 
previous drawing, we continue with the rest of the foot. The 
heel looks a trifle smaller ; the toes, being unhampered with 
leather, spread, and the big toe asserts itself. Block first the 
toes as a large shape, noting their tips and roots, and working 
from the tendons (seen between the ankles) and the arching 
muscles of the upper part of the instep, and then divide and 
sketch the toes and their various angles. 

The drawing of the foot clothed has, I am sure, helped you 
with the drawing of the naked foot. 

The sandal worn by the Romans, with its half-covering of 
the toes, and its straps and ribbons across the instep, and 
its thick sole — and one can roughly contrive a sandal with 

Fig. 20. Margery's Foot 


Drawing Feet 

the monkeys, the tree- 
as we use our thumbs, 

cardboard and ribbons at home — makes a most interesting 
subject to draw. 

Sandals, by the interweaving of their straps, draw our 
attention to the variety of shapes of the toes, which we too 
often overlook. The big toe is an important member of the 
foot ; indeed, of the whole body. When the foot is raised 
it is the big toe that spreads and separates from the other 
toes, and helps to balance the foot. The big toe is as char- 
acteristic as the thumb. (Indeed, 
climbing animals, use the big toe 
to grasp and hold the 
branches.) It is usually 
square-tipped, thick, and 
muscular. The next toe 
is slender and long, the 
second and third toes 
graduate, and the little 
toe is curved or doubled 
up, and is almost more 
negligible in size and 
appearance than the 
little finger. 

It is interesting to learn that by the use of the feet and 
the manipulation of the toes, artists, or, at all events, crafts- 
men, have been helped in their work. A famous craftsman 
of Cairo, who works in wood and produces beautiful lattices 
for windows and doorways, uses his left foot as a third hand ; 
because of his skill in the use of this foot he is known to the 
city as ' the three-handed man.' 

When the foot is seen from the back the heel is naturally 
the most prominent feature. Also the ankles are more easily 

Having marked the angles of the leg and foot, we should 
next notice the straight tendon that runs down between the 
ankles and spreads into the firm swelling apex of the heel. 
On either side of the foot the ankles are clearly seen. Note 
the shapes well, and note also the height of the upper part 


Fig. 21. The Sandalled Foot 

Drawing for Beginners 

of the foot (this is always the widest section), and its sharp 
descent to the toes. Seen from the rear these toes present 
a bhmted and rather flattened curve. Trace the flat under- 
surface of the foot, the tread and balance first, afterward the 
curves of the heel, and the space between the instep and the 
ground, remembering, always, the foot within the shoe. 

The sole of the foot is a flattened surface on the outside 
edge. This you can see for yourself in the two sketches 
which show both the inside and the outside of the foot. 
Moreover, if you take off your shoe, you can pass your finger 
under the inner side of the foot, but on the outer edge there 
is no space at all. 

Walking, kicking, dancing, stamping, swimming — here we 
have an immense variety of poses. Dancing, the foot rises at 
a steep angle, the heel clear of the ground, the ball of the foot 
and the toes resting lightly. (I do not refer to ballet-dancing, 
which is more or less of a gymnastic feat ; the shoes are heavily 
padded at the toes, and on these pads the ballet-girl rests.) 

Stamping, the foot comes down with an all-over flat action, 
heel and toe held level. Kicking, the foot thrusts out, toes 
upraised. The kicking position shows us the sole of the foot, 
and the sole is a curious shape — one that we should not 
neglect. Should we draw one of our brothers sitting by the 
fire leaning back in a chair, it is highly probable that he will 
cross his legs and put up his feet to warm. Shorn of heel and 
thick leather soles, the sole of a foot is a flat elongated shape. 
The human foot has the padded soft flesh beneath the tread, 
with wrinkles on the inner side, and a small firm smooth heel, 
something like the outline of an elongated pear. 

The shape of the modern shoe worn by the small child gives 
us, as it claims to do, the natural shape of the sole. 

Turn it over and observe it well. 

The general shape of the five toes resembles the general 
shape of the four fingers. When you doff your shoe and 
stocking look at your toes. Then put up your hand and 
observe the back and tips of the fingers. Fan-shaped — are 
they not ? So are your toes. 

Fig. 22. Back and Side View of Feet 


Drawing Feet 

There is as much character in the foot as in the hand. The 
tall, slim, long-limbed person has invariably a long slim hand, 
and a slim and narrow foot. The plump short girl or boy- 
has the plump hand and foot. The long-fingered hand usually 
goes with the long thin toes. 

Fashion inflicts queer shapes on the foot. At one time it 
insists that all our shoes shall be narrow and peaked, another 
time squat and round-toed ; then heels must be worn like 
stilts, or shaved down to the thinnest substance. 

In China we all know what a fetish was once made of the 

Fig. 23. The Inside and Outside of a Foot 

tiny foot. When swaddled and compressed, the poor little 
foot has no chance at all. And there was a time in English 
history when the toes of the shoes were so long that they had 
to be buckled back to the knees. 

All of which indicates the absolute necessity of knowing the 
shape of the foot. Fashion may deceive the many, but the 
artist must know that it only tries to disguise the true form. 

If we want to see the foot unspoiled then we must go to 
the countries where fashion and manners have not affected 
it, where generation after generation has walked the earth on 
the bare foot, or with only the slight protection of a sandalled 
sole. Then we see how finely it supports the body, what a 
thing of strength and beauty it can be ! — firm heel, arched 
instep, springing muscles of the sole imprinting the ground 
with its firm tread I 



Drawing Head^ Face^ Features^ 
and Hair 

I REMEMBER, years ago, poring over an old-fashioned 
drawing-book which contained — among many other things 
— diagrams that reduced head, face, and features to the 
very simplest of problems. 

The author began by comparing the head to an oval or 
egg-shaped substance. 

Full face presented a simple oval. 

Sideways (or profile) presented a deeper oval, with the 
forepart flatter than the back, which thickened a little at 
the base. 

On this egg-shaped form were traced curving lines, follow- 
ing, of course, the curves of the surface, one central line, and 
three transverse lines. The central line marked the centre 
of the brow, the angle and tip of the nose, and ran through 
the upper and lower lips to the point of the chin. 

The cross, or transverse, lines marked the angle of the 
brow above the eyes, then the angle of the nostrils, and lastly 
the angle of the mouth. 

When the head tilted and sank forward the lines of the face 
curved downward. 

When the head was thrown up and backward the lines of 
the features curved in a like manner. 

Seen in profile (or sideways) the line of the brow, carried to 
the back of the head with the line of the nostril, gave the 
position of the ear. 

This is a valuable little key to the quick placing of the 
features. In a word, it helps with the perspective of features. 

Head^ Face^ Features^ Hair 

The unpractised artist is very prone to devote too much 
space to the face and too little to the head. 

Fig. 24. The Head and Face 

We all know that babies have abnormally large heads • 
that children's heads are large in comparison with their 


Drawing for Beginners 

bodies ; that only the adult's head and body balance in nice 

proportion — that is, the head is neither too large nor too 

small for the body. 

But the face never occupies the entire space of the head, as 

young artists often seem to imagine that it does. 

Look at the size of the crown of the head, at the back and 

the sides thereof, and do not spread the forehead right up to 

the crest of the head. 

Note also the beautiful balance of the head on the neck, 

the neck on the shoulders. 

The indenting curve at the base of the skull is not level 

with the jaw — but see ! — it is a little 

below the level of the ear and on a line 

with the nostril. 

The neck is full of interesting drawing. 

There is the full curve of the throat, 

and the shorter and stronger 

l3 ^ S <2 ^ curve from the base of the back 

^ ^ of the skull to the nape of the 

neck and the spine. The large 

bones of the vertebrae, which 
Fig. 25. The Head and Neck ^g ^^^ fg^j ^j^j^ ^j^^ t^p^ ^f 

our fingers, resemble, as the French word chainon has it, the 
links of a chain. 

Two large muscles (mastoid) often attract our attention 
when the head is twisted aside. Extending from behind the 
ear to the forepart of the collar-bone, they are always more 
strongly developed in a boy than in a girl, and in a man than 
in a woman. These you can feel at the root of the neck and 
the forepart of the throat by twisting your head right and 
left ; and they form a cup-like depression when your head is 

The neck, you will notice, is so strengthened with muscle 
and bone that it rises like a small pillar from a very solid 

A girl's neck is slender, a boy's equally thin, but more 
muscular. A woman's neck is full of entrancing curves ; a 

Head^ Face^ Features^ Hair 

man's neck very strong, very muscular, and consequently 
rather thick. 

As with all other parts of the human body, necks exist in 
every variety — short necks, long necks, thick, thin, muscular, 
strong, feeble, and fat ; but, and the fact is worth noting, the 
base of the neck where it joins the body is always its thickest 

With this slight introduction to the general proportion and 
shape of the head, we can next turn our attention to the face 
and the features. 

One hears many curious remarks from young artists ; for 
instance : "I simply love drawing people, but I can never 
draw a face." This is by no means an uncommon experience. 
Another equally frank statement is often heard : " Faces ! 
'Rather ! They are simply topping ! But / can't draw hands 
and things ! " 

And there we are ! 

A curious world it would be if ygung artists were confronted 
with embodiments of their own drawings ! Imagine the shock 
of meeting a gentleman in plus fours with no face but a turnip- 
like smudge, or a lovely languishing lady with exquisite 
shingled head and nothing more substantial than a few slight 
lines indicating a body — and those quite wrong ! 

Believe me, it does not do to run away with such ideas. 
We may say things so often that in time they seem to weave 
a spell. 

A young and most promising artist-friend of mine drew 
faces admirably, and refused to draw anything else. She 
would not draw a hand or a foot. And in time it really 
seemed as if she could not — which of course was absurd. 
Anyhow, to this day she draws exquisite faces, and the rest 
of her drawings would shame the veriest beginner. She is 
an artist — spoilt. 

If we take our subjects one by one, and make our progress 
step by step, we may be slow, but in due time we shall ' arrive.' 

And as an excellent aid to our own home studies let us 
provide ourselves with a hand-glass or small mirror. This 


Drawing for Beginners 

is an invaluable help, indeed, a necessity, for the studying 
and drawing of our own features. 

And at the outset I would utter a word of warning about 
the drawing of a face. 

It is surprising that young artists often draw the eyes and 
mouth as if they were mere patterns stuck on the face, a 
method that is evidently copied from fashion and poster 
artists, who are very fond of this effective but mask-like effect. 
The eyes in their pictures are heavily outlined, the lips are 
thickly painted with purple crimson tints. It is a wrong 
point of view, and a very harmful one, as you will soon 

Look at the eye, your eye, anyone's eye. What a lumi- 
nous, expressive feature it is, composed of most subtle and 
exquisite parts ! 

Look at the iris, the ring of colour, the velvety depths of 
the pupil, the shining white surface of the ' sclerotic tissue ' 
surrounding the eyeball, and the soft pink inner corners. 
Remember the ball of the eye is a large object covered by 
lids which reveal only part of the whole. Look at the curve 
of the lid and its graceful fringe. 

But lashes, though dark and sweeping, are not as important 
as pupil and lid. Do not draw the lower lid in a thick hard 
outline. You will produce at once a mask, not a face. If, 
for theatrical purposes, you rub a stick of darkening stuff 
beneath your eyes, you then see your eye forced into a slit- 
like shape, but only then. The eye is the most expressive 
feature. Laugh, and your eye must laugh. I have seen 
people smile with their lips when the eyes were not smiling, 
and what a futile smile it was ! 

To picture the lips as two thick slabs of colour is just as 
great a crime. 

Your mouth may be full and dimpled, it may be small and 
thin, it may be wide and of no very definite shape. But it 
is not, it can never be, a moulded pattern stuck like a postage- 
stamp on your face. 

Draw down your mouth, pout, smile, laugh — and note the 

Head^ Face^ Features^ Hair 

teeth revealed. " Roses filled with snow," sang the Eliza- 
bethan poet of his lady's pretty lips. 

Let us take up the hand-glass in our left hand and a pencil 
in our right, and examine our features. 

An eye is an oblong shape set in an oval cavity. We see 
it in primitive drawings as a round black dot to which is 
added a pointed lozenge-shaped frame. 

The iris, being the coloured part of the eye, will probably 
first attract our attention. That, we notice, is a circular 
shape, covered above and below by the upper lid and the 
lower lid. Draw the circular shape boldly. We will assume 
that the upper lid is firmly and clearly seen, not hidden 
by the brow. Having observed it closely and recorded our 
impressions we pass to the lower lid, which should be 
drawn lightly, for it is a tender delicate form. 

Next we examine the inner corner of the eye (nearest the 
nose), where are the soft pink tear-ducts, which we touch in 
lightly with the pencil. 

The outer corner of the eye forms a sharper angle, with 
the upper lid curving downward to meet the flesh of the 
lower lid and its corresponding upward curve. 

Having sketched the shape of the eye as a whole, we might 
next return for a closer observation of the iris. 

Is there anything in nature more lovely than the iris of 
the human eye ? The liquid tint of blue, grey, or brown is 
like the luminous colouring of a strange flower. And it is 
colour. Therefore, it is a shade deeper, many shades deeper, 
than the opaque whiteness of the eyeball. Then shade it 
with your pencil. 

Within the iris we have yet another shape, the little black 
pupil of the eye through which the light passes. This is of 
velvety richness, but before shading carefully note the shape 
of the bright light on the pupil, and ' leave ' this light, working 
the shadow round it. 

Suppose we ignore this light, and shade it in with the 
pupil ; at once the eye looks lifeless. 

Having done all this, we might add a few of the long lashes 
E 65 

Drawing for Beginners 

— not all. We should no more draw every leaf on a tree 
than draw every lash of the eye. We choose the most 

Finally, we take a general survey, deepen shadows, add a 
few details, and then notice that the eyebrows have been 

We should compare the eyebrows with the shape of the eye. 

The hairs of the eyebrow are usually thicker at the base 
— that is, nearest the nose — than at the outer edge. They 
begin full and thick and incline from the nose outward, 
framing the eye in a wide curve. 

Eyebrows there are of every variety. You may see every 
day eyebrows thick, thin, bushy, soft, fine, and coarse ; 
eyebrows dark, and eyebrows so fair that they can hardly 
be detected except in a very bright light ; eyebrows traced 
as delicately as if they were made of a single hair, and shaggy, 
overhanging eyebrows from under which the eyes gleam like 
little pools. Note the eyebrows and draw them carefully. 

It would seem foolish, having made a close study of one 
eye, not to draw both eyes with equal care. 

We might this time choose to draw our eyes from another 
angle. And as we are drawing a pair of eyes, we have twice 
as much to bear in mind. First, we should roughly trace 
the position of the two eyes. Sketch the position of the brow, 
and the angle of the two eyes, and the size of the eye and 

It is useful to remember as a general rule that the space 
between two eyes is the length of an eye. Then, having 
sketched the position, general angle, shape of eye and eye- 
socket, it would be wise to note the position of the iris and 

These we know must agree. Unless we are very careful 
to sketch the iris of both eyes looking in the same direction, 
we shall certainly give our drawing a most horrible squint. 

If the iris lies in the outer corner of the near eye, it must 
lie in the inner corner of the far eye. (If you wish to sketch 
a cross-eyed person, then you place both irises near the nose.) 

Head^ Face^ Features^ Hair 

Lightly trace the iris and the pupil, and the shape and posi- 
tion of the light on the pupil. 

Next we note the shape of the upper lid of the near eye 
(and its long curve), the deepest and the narrowest part ; 
the shape of the inner and blunt end of the eye, the sharper 
curved angle of the outer part of the eye. We look at the 
far eye, and this curves slightly away from us on the curve 
of the cheek. The eyeball nears the blunt end, and exposes 
a large space of white. 

Lid, pupil, iris, eyelash, eyebrow, all follow in their turn ; 
add such shadows as you wish, and you must certainly not 
forget the shadow of the nose and the forehead. The eye 
lies in a socket. In old people this is very noticeable. The 
shadow of the brow falls on the socket and gives a very sharp 
and bold outline for drawing. 

Drawing eyes from the mirror has certain limitations, so 
let us ask some one to ' sit ' for us with an eye in profile. 

Bear in mind an important point. The eyeball is covered 
by the lid. Then obviously the lid must project beyond the 
eyeball. Young artists often draw the eyelid and the eyeball 
as if they are exactly on the same level. But anything that 
covers must be larger than the object covered. 

You would not, for instance, draw a tea-cosy smaller, or 
even the same size as a teapot, for you know very well it 
would not cover the pot. You would not draw a hat exactly 
the same size as the bare skull. It must be larger. Then 
why draw an eyelid (^hat covers the eyeball) the same size as 
the eye ? 

Also you must allow for the thickness of the lid. If you 
turn your head upward, and look down at your reflection in 
the glass, the thickness of the lid will be very apparent. You 
will notice the inner edge resting against the eyeball, and the 
outer edge fringed with the lashes. This can be seen even 
more plainly if you open your eyes wide, as if in astonishment 
or surprise. 

The open lid is not so frequently seen as the small lid and 
sunken eye, which fact worries the unpractised artist not a 


Drawing for Beginners 

little. The eyelid of course is there, but the brow swells 
forward and conceals part of the lid. 

When you draw eyes of this description sketch the ball of 
the eye, and the lid, and then sketch the brow. 

Eyes, of course, there are in infinite variety. Some are 
heavily lidded, some are large and round, some are lashed 
with long silken hair. There are the small ' piggy ' or half- 
closed eyes, the eyes that pierce with sharp keen glances. 
There are the dreamy eyes, the laughing, twinkling eyes, and 
the sharp, suspicious eyes. 

There is nothing easy about the drawing of an eye. It 
will always demand the closest care and attention. 

Even when we are drawing the eye of a sleeping person, 
when the lids cover the eyeball, there is the exquisite meet- 
ing of the lids, the mingling of the lashes, and the shadows 
cast by the lashes on the cheek. We must not forget, by 
the way, to indicate the roundness of the eyeball beneath 
the lids. 

A nose presents more difficulties to the young student than 
any other feature ; more especially the drawing of a nose 
in full view — when we see as much of the left nostril as the 
right. And the reason of this difficulty is one of perspective. 
We are confronted with something which fills our mind with 
perplexity, something of which we shall often hear, namely, 
' foreshortening.' 

Yet a nose is not such a very alarming shape. Certainly 
not as difficult to draw as a hand pointing straight out of 
the picture. It is merely two small cavities placed at an 
equal distance from each other, winged in flesh and protected 
by a round tip and bridged to the face by bone and gristle. 

When you draw the nose full face draw the shadow of the 
bridge, and the shadow under the tip of the nose, and the 
shadow beneath the nose, boldly. Think, if you will, of the 
keel of a ship, of the corner of a box. Don't be fearful of 
making the nose ugly. Rather a big, well-shaped nose than 
one — as we see so often in our drawings — timid, feeble, and 
of little account. 

Head^ Face^ Features^ Hair 

Your nose will in all probability be smaller than the first 
example selected. It is a bold nose. It has a firm bridge, 
a rounded and full tip, curved nostrils. 

Examine your own nose in a glass, and try to sketch it as 
I have indicated in the first example. Begin by drawing an 
upright line, then trace down each side of this line the bridge 
of the nose, with the shadows — I hope you are sitting with 
the light coming from one side — cast by it. Notice the round 
tip, and on each side the two little curved nostrils, and round 
each nostril the wing of flesh. These will probably be only 
slightly defined, for these lines deepen with age. Beneath 
the tip of the nose a shadow will fall, and also on the very 
tip will be a fainter but decided little shadow. The shape 
of this shadow on the tip of your nose is very important. 

If your nose is slightly tip-tilted, then this shadow will be 
sharp and incline in a three-cornered shape upward. 

If your nose is Roman, then this shadow will dip down in 
a firm half-moon shape. 

Now incline your head away at a slight angle, and observe 
your nose. 

Again you will notice the long straight line of the bridge, 
and the firm tip, and from the tip you get the decided tri- 
angular shape of the under part of the nose, with the two 
nostrils inclining toward the centre. The near nostril is more 
clearly seen than the far nostril. It is round and full and 
narrows toward the tip, and the wing of it curves in a very 
decided line. 

If you close your mouth and draw in a deep breath through 
your nose you will notice that your nostrils will quiver and 
expand, and if you draw your upper lip down over your 
teeth, your nostrils will elongate. These observations help 
us to understand the muscles and movement of the nose. 

The nostril of the far side is slightly hidden by the point 
of the nose, and presents a three-cornered form, the nostril 
inclining toward the tip, the wing of the nostril correspond- 
ingly shaped. 

Again we notice the shadows on the tip of the nose, the 


Drawing for Beginners 

shadow on the bridge, the shadow of the indented lip where 
it falls in a dimple above the upper lip. 

The line that extends from the nostril to the corner of the 
lip may also attract your notice ; this is the curve which 
deepens when we are moved to expressions of mirth or grief. 

Throw up your head. 

Your nose rises boldly like a small peak on your face, the 
nostrils wide at the base, narrow to a point ; the wing of each 
enclosed nostril is also long and narrow. 

Persuade your sister to bend her head downward. 

The nose rises from the broad brow pointing downward and 
outward, hiding the upper lip and possibly part of the mouth 
and chin. In this position we get the tip of the nose very 
well defined. If our model be a child, the width of the 
delicate nostrils is very apparent. 

The nose seen in profile, with the head flung aside, is sharply 
defined ; the bridge slender, end slightly tilted, nostril curved, 
and the wing of the nostril well marked. 

Now, we know that a nose has two sides, two nostrils ; 
we know also that there is another eye, another eyebrow 
on the far side of the face. We must never draw a profile 
as if it were a flat surface (as we are sometimes inclined to do), 
but suggest by the curve of the eyebrow, the eye, nose, and 
mouth, the side of the face that we are not drawing. 

For the head itself is a ball-shaped object, as we must 
never in any circumstances forget. 

We should take every opportunity of studying noses in 
reproductions of pictures. The Old Masters never scamped 
difficult problems of drawing ; and you may also gain a 
certain amount of knowledge by examining the photographs 
in the daily papers. Once embarked on this fascinating 
study of features, you will glean helpful ideas from all sorts 
of unexpected sources. 

Always try to simplify your objects ; and accept a wrinkle 
from the Old Masters, who usually posed their models in 
half-lights — namely, with the light coming from one side 

Head^ Face^ Features^ Hair 

A nose seen between two lights is more difficult to draw 
than a nose seen in one light — and that from above. 

And there is such an infinite variety of noses ! You can 
amuse yourself by noticing the different characteristics : snub, 
aquiline, peaky, pointed, inquisitive. Artists declare that a 
pretty nose is seldom seen, but a pretty mouth, I think, is 
almost as rare. 

Only once do I remember to have seen the ideal mouth, the 
Cupid's bow, with the pouting, rather full under lip, and the 
upper lip rising into two small dimpled curves. But how 
many times do we see long lips — the mouth that shuts with 
a thin, ugly, straight line, the loosely drawn under lip, the 
pursed-up, discontented mouth ? 

Hold up your glass and study your own mouth. 

The mouth is sometimes depicted as a mere slit in the face ; 
curved upward it represents mirth, curved downward grief or 

Try first sketching your lips closed. Draw a single line 
across your paper as a guide, and finding the thickest part of 
the lips in the middle, sketch the flattened pyramid shape of 
the upper lip and the lower lip with one long curve. 

Next you will notice that the upper lip is composed of 
two slightly indented curves. The under lip probably curves 
slightly in the centre. 

Next we look for the shadows. The upper lip, protruding 
slightly, casts a shadow, as does the lower lip in a lesser degree. 
Observe wrinkles or folds, the shape of the corners, and the 
soft indication above the upper lip and beneath the nose. 

Then, for a second example, we might smile at our own 
reflection and draw the parted lips, revealing the teeth within. 
Here we have the curved line. Draw the upper lip and lower 
lip first, and then the arc of teeth within, remembering that 
the lips hide the greater part, and, therefore, not making these 
few teeth too many, too big, or too prominent. 

The corners of the lips will, no doubt, throw a deep shadow, 
and the lips curving round the teeth will also be thrown into 
shadow ; shadows there will be on, and under, the lip. The 


Drawing for Beginners 

curve of the cheek will help to accentuate the smile, and the 
groove running downward from the nose to the mouth expands 
over the teeth. 

When drawing the mouth in profile we must of necessity 
ask some kind person to pose. 

Try first drawing the mouth closed, then open. 

Closed, the mouth is a curious little triangle. We at once 
notice that the upper lip extends slightly beyond the under 
lip ; we notice, too, the depth of the upper lip and the more 
sharply decided line as compared with the rounded under lip. 
We must look for shadows, and mark the opening of the 
mouth, and anything that will help to explain the corners of 
the mouth, for these are exceedingly expressive, and change 
with baffling quickness. 

Now look in your glass once more. 

Throw up your head, and your mouth follows the curve of 
your face, forming a semicircle. You see under the under 
lip, do you not ? And the upper lip rises in a very distinct 
and acute curve. 

Now ask your friend to bend the head downward. 

Do we not get the position reversed ? The curve of the 
lips is now thrown down, the centre points downward, the 
corners curl upward. 

And this we offer as a really sound piece of advice. When 
you wish to study faces do not draw a stolidly staring, 
bored countenance, but ask the friend who is ' sitting ' 
to scowl, or smile, to look pleased, or disgusted. It is in- 
finitely easier to study features in motion than when set firm 
as if moulded in wax. 

Our little friends Mr Sad and Mr Glad, whom we are so 
fond of tracing on the margin of our books, have a good deal 
to commend their honest countenances. They have the lines 
of laughing and crying faces crudely expressed. With chin 
upraised and eyes twinkling, cheeks pushed up in dimpling 
curves, and nostrils and lips curled upward — behold Mr Glad 1 

And, when we cry, do not our lips curve down in unutter- 
able woe, dragging our cheeks in straight lines from our 

Head^ Face^ Features^ Hair 

nostrils, puckering our eyes into sad half-moons — like Mr Sad 
in very truth ? 

While you are studying the features, choose some interest- 
ing subject to enliven model and artist alike. Though you 
may not complete your original intention, make a beginning 
on, say, the subject of a small child sniffing up a slightly dis- 
agreeable scent from a small bottle. 
Such a conception may provoke such 
hilarious amusement that your drawing 
will bubble with laughter. 

Art students often begin their studies 
by painting the head of an old man or 
old woman. And the reason is that it 
is far easier to draw age than youth, 
for the features become more marked 
with age and therefore more distinct. 
Compare, for instance, the nose of the 
old man and the nose of the infant; 
the tiny button of a baby's nose, as 
against the big bold bridge, the heavily 
marked nostril. As the saying goes, 
one can hardly ' miss ' the drawing of 
an old man's nose. 

Compare the mouth of a young girl, 
full and pouting, parted over the 
white teeth, and the old man's, grim, 
straight, and lined ; and the wide clear 
gaze of the boy with the heavily lidded eye of age. Even the 
ear of the old is loose in shape and wrinkled about the lobe. 

Which brings us to those very important organs — the ears. 
There is something peculiarly interesting in the drawing of 
an ear. There is the soft texture, the delicacy of its curves, 
and the contrasting shapes of the large upper part and the 
slender lobe. It is a feature of which the amateur too often 
falls foul. For some inexplicable reason the ear in a weak 
drawing is often its worst feature. Invariably it is given a 
queer little waist at the central part. 


Fig. 29. Me Glad and 
Me Sad 

Drawing for Beginners 

Where several young artists are gathered together they 
can easily draw each other's ears in turn. For, with all the 
goodwill in the world, we cannot study this feature alone and 
with a hand-glass. 

The ear is an oblong, the upper part of which is wide, while 
the lower part contracts toward the lobe. It bears a slight 
resemblance to a huge interrogation mark. The ear is com- 
posed of so many exquisite curves that it presents a somewhat 
baffling subject to the pencil of timid young artists. 

Look at the ear as one mass and do not at first trouble 
yourselves with its manifold hollows and curves. Sketch 
very lightly the oblong shape. By slicing the corners of the 
upper part, and carving a considerable portion from the 
lower part, you have the angles of the ear. 

Then look at the large and beautiful curve of the outer 
rim and the flattened upper space which creeps from behind 
the fold nearest the cheek and swells into a smooth surface 
dipping down toward the lobe ; the orifice itself is a dark and 
mysterious little cavern tucked beneath the coral-pink pro- 
jections nearest the cheek. 

Having marked and sketched the biggest shapes, we should 
turn our attention to the folds. The ears of young people 
are usually of a simple pattern. In the example given, there 
is only one large fold curving round the upper rim. There is 
also the deep curve or dimple of the inner part, and this we 
can shade, following the shape with our pencil and exaggerat- 
ing rather than losing the indentations ; within the outer rim 
we have a deeper shadow, while the orifice gives us our darkest 
tone. We might also suggest the shadows behind and under 
the ear. 

The ear that you are trying to sketch may not resemble the 
ear in this example, but of course it is ' up to you ' to draw 
yours as faithfully as possible. The ear you are sketching 
may be wider, it may have a more flattened appearance, the 
lobe may not be pointed. 

It is difficult to suggest any rules to help in the drawing of 
an ear. The main thing to bear in mind is the use of the ear. 

Fig. 30. Ears 


Head^ Face^ Features^ Hair 

As an organ of hearing it rarely lies as flat against the head as 
some young artists depict it. 

Seen from the front, it lies apparently very close to the 
scalp, but from the back the ear presents a very different 
appearance. When it is the ear of a small boy with his hair 
cropped smooth, it will often project in a very singular fashion. 

The ear rises from the head, a flat trumpet-shaped opening 
to catch sounds. The projecting cup extends and rolls over 
in a large fold or curve, hiding the upper part from view, and 
revealing only a tiny portion of the lobe. The position of the 
ear, the way in which it is moulded on the rounded receding 
curve of the skull and the cheek, and just above the juncture 
of the jaw, can be plainly seen. Open and shut the mouth 
and feel the motion with your finger-tip under the lobe of the 

Seen from the front, and almost full view, we have an 
elongated shape. The upper part, though flattened and 
receding with the receding side of the head, still presents 
the fullest curve, and the lobe is as a drooping or pendent 

Mark the large folds first, and then the inner curves, and 
the shadows beneath and within the ear. One fold tucks 
behind the other fold, resembling, so it often seems, the petals 
of a pink rose. 

Present these folds simply ; mark the shadows crisply — 
that is, with quick, bright touches of the pencil. In the fore- 
shortened position a man's cheek swelling forward will hide a 
portion of the ear with whiskers and with beard. 

If you should happen to be one of a group of young artists 
who have taken the opportunity of alternately sketching and 
sitting, you will find that it is helpful, interesting, and perhaps 
surprising, to lay your sketches side by side at the end of a 
sitting and compare the various shapes of the various ears. 

Some ears lie flat on the head, others stick out. Some ears 
have long lobes ; in others the lobe is small and pointed ; 
others again have no lobe at all. There is little chance of 
being bored with a too-uniform pattern. 


Drawing for Beginners 

Hair is a fascinating theme for the artist, whether it be the 
bobbed and shingled hair of the modern girl, the floating locks 
of the mermaid, the small boy's cropped poll, or the silvery 
ringlets of old age. 

Hair is a strangely deceptive substance. It expresses, 
though it veils, the form from which it springs. It may lie 
thick as a cloak, or as lightly as the fluff of a feather ; it can 
be coiled as massively as gleaming metal, or crimped with 
strange outstanding puffs and bushes ; it may be clipped 
short as a beard or trained in wisps of whiskers. There is 
no end to the tricks played by (and upon) the hairs of our 

Small wonder that we find hair a difficult, baffling subject ! 

Says Mary plaintively : 

" My hair " — she is of course speaking of a drawing — " looks 
like a wig." 

" And mine like a doormat," adds Madge, even more 

The reason why the hair in our drawings resembles wigs 
and doormats is that when drawing the substance of the hair 
itself we forget the shape beneath the hair. Also, that hair 
has very peculiar qualities of its own. Every coil, every 
cluster of curls, every curl, has its own shape, its own light 
and shade. It has a beginning and an ending. Hair doesn't 
rise stiff and stark from the face and head like a new brush, 
but in soft down, in short, silky hairs merging into long locks. 
False hair and false beards look false because they do not 
grow gradually as hair grows from the skin. 

Note the way in which the hair springs from the scalp, the 
thickness of the roots, the silky tendrils of the temples, the 
soft down at the nape of the neck. When we are young our 
hair springs thick and long. When we approach old age the 
hairs thin, not suddenly, but gradually. And the reason 
that shingled hair has an artificial appearance when seen 
from the back lies in the fact that the barbers shave the 
smooth fine hairs on the nape of the neck. 

Look at Rosemary's little curls. The hair clasps the little 

Head^ Face^ Features^ Hair 

head with the daintiest web of silk. Note the curve of each 
curl, the wave, the kink, and the final upward fluffy thrust. 
Diana's bobbed hair, though stiff and prim, has strong light 
and shadows. If we shade it as one mass, it will naturally 
look mat-like. But Diana's dark hair covers the shape of 
the crown, and the light strikes on the curve of the head and 
reveals its shape. 

Take a single lock of hair, and mark its shape as if it were 
a single object, instead of a mass of fine hairs falling together. 
Draw first the general shape. Trailing as it does, without 
touching or clinging to the shoulder, we observe its curious 
snake-like appearance. Then lightly draw that shape. 

Next we notice a twist in the lock. Draw the twist ; 
within the twist a shadow is cast by the thick over-hanging 
mass ; draw that shadow. Another shadow we observe 
beneath the lower curve ; indicate that also, likewise the 
several broad shadows which will probably appear above the 
thickest mass. That being done, we sit back and look at 
our drawing critically. Too solid, we say, and not sufficiently 

Hair, unless very wet or thickly saturated with oil, has a 
wayward disposition. 

Within the lock you will probably note a parting of several 
hairs, extending from the upper part to the lower kink or 
curl. Then note some of these separate hairs, and indicate 
with the lightest possible touch. 

Diana's bobbed hair, stiff and prim, has valuable lights and 

First sketch the shape of Diana's head, next look for the 
parting from which the dark masses of hair arise and fall 
about the ears, brow, and neck. Draw the line of the parting, 
the dividing-line of the hair. 

On one side you will notice a very sharp little shadow 
defining the crown of the head ; sketch this lightly. From 
the crown the hair springs and catches the light. Cropped 
firm and square, the shadows beneath the lower edges must 
of necessity be also firm and angular. Across the light spaces 


Drawing for Beginners 

you will probably detect hairs. Draw some of these hairs. 
They will ' break ' the light and give a hairy appearance to 
what might otherwise appear rather like metal or woven silk. 

Hair that is frizzy, and grows golliwog-fashion from the 
scalp, must be drawn with the lightest touch. Hair smooth 
and silken, and parted and worn close to the head, can be 
drawn with more firmness. But there is no general rule to 
be followed with safety. Hair is so diverse in tint and texture 
that only by constant practice can we ' make good ' with our 

When drawing hair we should keep a light but not a feeble 
touch. Draw with delicacy and look for stray hairs to break 
the firm masses. 

Babette's thick plait offers another variation. Ask her to 
turn her head aside and sketch the back of the head and hair, 
the parting, the smooth hair covering the crown and then 
dividing and twisting into a silky plait. If the drawing of 
the plait gives you trouble, practise with some twisted skeins 
of coloured wool, or silk ; only recollect that in this case the 
material will be of equal thickness, whereas the plait of hair 
graduates from thick strong roots to wispy tail. 

The movements of the body, the action of wind and weather, 
all affect the hair of the head. 

Indeed, the little details of floating hair and flying beard 
are invaluable when we sketch figures in motion. 

Young artists will draw people dashing through space, 
flying down or upstairs, chasing balls, bowling hoops, with 
their hair as neat and smooth as if they were calm and motion- 
less, whereas ruffled hair will give the effect of movement. 
In this age of tight and narrow garments, when flowing robes 
and cloaks and long veils are seldom seen, hair is an asset we 
dare not neglect. 


Fig. 32. Baby's Head 



Drawing People in Right Proportions 

WHEN first we draw human beings we are very 
much inchned to draw the child and the man in 
the same proportions. Indeed, it is a mistake we 
invariably commit. 

We draw a tall man with long legs and swinging arms, and 
we draw at his side a little man with short striding legs and 
swinging arms. We label the tall man ' father,' and the 
little man ' son.' 

But they are not a man and a child, they are merely a man 
and a smaller man. Sometimes we have an uncomfortable 
feeling that our children do not look very childish, and we 
complain in discouragement : " I canH make my little boy 
look like a boy ! " 

It would seem perfectly logical to draw children as little 
people, and yet, if we pause to reflect, is it really so ? 

As a kitten is different from a cat, a chick from a hen, so 
must a child be different from a man. 

Have you ever remarked to yourself the huge size of Baby's 
head in comparison with his body ? 

Though the head is large, the features are almost negligible, 
the tiny neck is a mere roll of fat. Baby has a large round 
eye, a flat wide nostril, a button of a nose, and a half-open, 
flower-like mouth. (See Fig. 32.) 

The months and the years slowly pass, Baby's features 
form, his head develops, his body grows, his limbs extend. 

Compare the photographs of Pamela at one year and 
Pamela at twelve years ; and look well at Pamela when she 
trips beside her aunt. 

If we draw Martin and his father sitting side by side on a 


Drawing for Beginners 

bench watching a football-match, in all probability we should 
draw a big man, and at his side a little man less than half 
his size. Martin may inherit the square shape of his father's 
shoulders, but they will be less than half in bulk. The thick, 
strong, muscular neck of Martin's father is very different 
from Martin's thin weedy little one. The head of the man is 
well shaped and firmly balanced, but the boy's will probably 
look very large, a trifle bumpy and big behind the ears. The 
ears of Martin's father lie flat against his close-cropped hair, 
whereas Martin's stick out from his thin jaws and neck like 
little handles on a big vase. Martin's legs are thin and 
lacking in calf, his feet consequently appear rather too large 
for his height ; but his father's legs are finely shaped, muscular, 
and well proportioned. 

Now having considered these few points, would you still 
feel inclined to draw Martin and his father with the same 
proportions ? 

There are a few accepted rules that are useful to remember, 
though we must never blindly follow any rules, for we know 
the human figure is capable of every variety of form. Still, 
as a check to an observation that cannot always be correct, 
as a trifling guide when perplexing moments beset us, these 
facts are worth noting. 

A grown man of good proportion, when standing erect, 
usually measures seven and a half heads high. Remember, 
however, that this is the proportion of a perfectly formed 
man. A very, very tall man would not have an elongated 
body, but longer legs. The bodies of most men are the same 
length. A man when standing with his arms to his sides will 
rest the tips of his fingers a little more than half-way between 
his hips and knees. 

A figure when sitting roughly represents three lines of a 
fairly equal length, measuring from the nape of the neck to 
the seat, from the seat to the knee, from the knee to the foot. 

An elbow usually rests in the hollow below the waist, as 
you can prove for yourself by clapping your arms to your side. 

A hand measures the same length as the face. Put the 

Fig. 33. Pkopoetions of the Human Figure 

Drawing for Beginners 

palm of your hand against your chin and spread your fingers 

A nose is the same length as a thumb. The ear the same 
length as a nose. 

And, having gleaned these few ordinarily accepted rules, you 
will probably find your next model will have arms too long, 
legs too short, and a nose disagreeing most profoundly with 
the length of the thumb. Nature is a law unto itself, and I 
bring these few suggestions to you with some misgivings. 

If your eye insists that your model measures but five 
heads high, accept that as a fact. Very few human beings 
are correctly proportioned. 



Drawing Inanimate Things 

HOUSES, hats, motor-cars, chairs, beds, and boats — 
all these and many other inanimate things are fruit- 
ful of much worry for the young and inexperienced 

"Why is it," we ask ourselves, "that the hat of the man 
in my drawing does not look as if it would fit on his head ? 
How can I make it right ? " 

And the reply comes, " Measure — measure the size of the 
hat against the size of the man's head." 

It may be that the hat is held in the man's hand, or that 
it rests against his chair, in which case measure the size of 
the hat with your pencil and put the measurement against the 
man's head. In all probability you have committed the very 
usual mistake of making the hat too small for the head. 

Hats are not as easy to draw as some young artists seem 
to believe. The depth and width of the hat can be the most 
deceiving and perplexing problem. 

Personally I never hesitate to measure hats most carefully 
against the heads of the owners. 

Tall hats are more than usually difficult, and consequently 
more often than not wrongly depicted. The term ' tall ' is, 
to begin with, a misnomer. In the old days of rough high 
beavers and curled brims the words ' tall ' or ' high ' were 
quite appropriate. But nowadays it is not so, as you can 
prove for yourself by placing a tall hat against another 
object, and checking its height ; for instance, against the 
leg of a dining-room chair. You will find that the hat barely 
reaches the first rail of the front leg. Which brings under 
our consideration ordinary chairs, queer enough looking 


Drawing for Beginners 

affairs in our early drawings, represented with very small 
(and always unpadded) seats, perched on long, crooked, and 
stilt-like legs. 

The seat of a chair is a little lower than an adult's knee. 
How uncomfortable it would be were it otherwise ! And the 
back of the chair (I refer to the ordinary dining-room chair) 
lies half-way between the knee and the hip, and level with the 
outstretched hand of a grown person of average height. Ask 
your mother, father, or big brother to stand for a second by 
a chair and check these proportions for yourself. The height 
of a dining-room table is higher, but only a little higher than 
the height of a seated man's elbow. An inexperienced artist is 
inclined to draw the table far too high. And a table either 
too high or too low would complicate matters pretty con- 
siderably for the diner. 

A chair is an interesting subject to draw. Even the 
roughest and most primitive has good lines and a certain 
grace. First sketch the skeleton shape, the seat and the 
four legs, as you would a box, by drawing lines from point 
to point. This will enable you to get a clear idea of the 
perspective. Then compare the curves of the back legs with 
those of the front, carry the curve from the legs up to the 
back, and add the arms. 

Chairs there are of every description, lounge-chairs, and 
chairs fashioned out of all kinds of materials. When chairs 
are given for tests in drawing examinations they are usually 
the simple wooden or Windsor chairs, and if you should feel 
inspired to try your hand in this direction, add something of 
an outside interest, a velvet or silk cushion, a fur stole or a 
woollen scarf; or, better still, persuade Pussy to lie curled 
upon the seat. Then you will have several kinds of textures. 
Couches, settees, and sofas are often under-represented in our 
sketches. They are really very large objects, and made to 
hold a grown person when lying full length. 

Beds, too, are commonly shorn of half their width and 
length. A bed, even a small one, occupies a good deal of space. 
If we err over the length and width, we are on the other 

I ke 5ea h of 
IS a 

Sn adulb's /rnee. 

a littlo 


A Kat 

IS a iattlc. larger 
tKau ttio head. 

^ChiWs /)ed IS ^ little. 

Fig. 34. The Peoportions of Chairs, Tables, Hats, Beds 

Drawing for Beginners 

hand very prone to draw beds a great deal too high from the 
ground. The old-fashioned four-poster with its curtains and 
plumes belongs to a bygone age. The bed of to-day is usually 
low and lightly framed. Would it not be extremely awkward 
if it were higher ? We should certainly require a ladder to 
climb into the beds depicted in the drawings of many young 

When drawing tables, couches, or beds make a point of first 
drawing the framework, the long seats of the sofas, the legs, 
and then the backs and the arms. Tables fall naturally into 
simple forms with the top first decided, and then the angle of 
the legs. Suggest the length, width, and height of the bed, 
adding afterward minor details of sheets, blankets, pillows, 
and counterpane. 

Boats we rarely draw large enough to hold the crew, let 
alone the passengers ; motor-cars are usually depicted far too 
small for their owners. 

Heads, faces, and shoulders emerge happily enough from 
the tops of cars, carriages, and boats, but it is often in the 
nature of a conundrum to find accommodation for the unfor- 
tunate bodies and legs. Therefore, always draw these hidden 
limbs, for even if you make mistakes with shapes and pro- 
portions, the mere fact of sketching bodies and legs will serve 
to remind you that a certain space is required ; and they can 
be erased as you proceed with your drawings. 

Another difficulty that besets us is the matter of spacing 
the floors of the houses, the windows, and doorways. Tenants 
are often seen strolling about their front lawns, and the 
houses in the background have windows so closely presented 
that nothing larger than a well-proportioned mouse could 
possibly move in the rooms. Yet a room, even a small 
room, is a considerable height. Your father does not knock 
his head against the ceiling. He stands erect, and there is 
ample space above his head. Try to remember that the 
gentleman and lady require rooms large enough to use. This 
matter of drawing inanimate things in proportion is chiefly 
a matter of common sense. Leave sufficient space between 

Drawing Inanimate Things 

each window so that the floors are not crammed closely 
together and the windows are drawn fairly evenly. Reflect 
how uncomfortable it would be to live behind windows 
sprinkled haphazard about the front of the house ! 

If we apply a good deal of common sense, and compare the 
size and shape of one thing with another, we shall find the 
difficulties of drawing inanimate things gradually fading 



Drawing our Pets and other Animals 

very serious rival in our feathered and four-footed 

We can reason with Fidgety Phil, but no power on earth 
can prevail if Timmy the cat, or Spot the terrier, wishes to 
alter his pose. It will signify nothing that we are in the 
middle of a masterpiece ; and the fact that we and our models 
are well acquainted will not, by any means, ease the situation ; 
the reverse will probably be the case. 

My dog Prince always sat on my sketch-book when he spied 
on the face of his mistress a certain expression which con- 
veyed to his mind that a sketch of himself was about to begin, 
instead of a sensible walk on the hills. 

Dogs, cats, horses, and birds, especially birds, no sooner 
spy a pencil and a piece of paper than up go their heads, 
away go hoofs, wings, paws, or tails. 

In the first place, when we wish to draw our pets we must 
invest in a very large — we might almost say an inexhaustible 
— store of patience ; in the second place, if we are wise we 
shall sketch our models when they are at rest ; in the third, 
we must use a large sheet of paper. For our model will most 
assuredly move, and if we are properly equipped with paper, 
we can make a fresh start without any erasing or smudging. 

We must also be thankful for small mercies. We must 
sketch an ear if we can't see a head, a fraction of a paw if the 
body is hidden, a comb or beak if that is all that meets the 

We must, in short, " take the current when it serves, or 
lose our venture." 

Our Pets and other Animals 

With a large sheet of paper and one or two pencils ready 
pointed, steal near to Mufti (the cat, Fig. 36), sleepily coiled 
on a couch, and begin. 

By crouching beside Mufti we shall have a fairly close 
observation. Preferably choose a position a little below rather 
than a little above. It is usually better to look up to your 
model than down. 

Possibly we may sigh at the difficult and baffling shape 
presented by Mufti. 

First, however, make a 
rough note of the curious, 
almost circular shape, and 
then seek for any definite 
' bits.' 

Can we detect any of the 
big bone shapes, any pro- 
jection of the spine, neck, 
or shoulder ? Yes ; having 
traced the half-circle of the 
back we note that the far 
shoulder pushes up and 
presents an angle (softened, of course, by the fur), from 
which angle the loose skin slopes in a gradual curve to the 

Notice, too, that the large pointed ears lie opposite each 
other, and a line drawn from ear to ear will give the tilt 
of the head. Between the ears, a curved line following the 
forehead downward will strike the centre of the face between 
the closed eyes, and extended downward and outward will 
pass over the projection of the nose, the muzzle, and the 

Next we might pay attention to the width of the broad 
back and flanks. 

The spine can be traced by the light which strikes on the 
fur, the tail being, as we know, an extension of the spine. 

The curious square mass of the doubled-up thigh and the 
leg beneath is fairly apparent. 


Fig. 35. Flttffy 

Drawing for Beginners 

Look for the opposite thigh and mark any projection, for 
that will give you the angle of both flanks. 

Sketch the lower part of the face, jot down the position of 
the right leg upon which rests the head, and get the angle of 
the hind-leg tucked up and meeting the chin. 

Next look for more detail. The shape of the ears, the 
angle of the eyes, the position of the tiny pink nose — once 
those three things are settled we can study the marking on 
the fur. And here I must strike a note of warning. The 
marking is very misleading, as are the great lumps of loose 
fur, and the fluffy, silky down. 

First get your facts, and here the word ' facts ' means the 
big bone shapes — the shape of the skull, the shape of the 
body, the legs, and the tail. 

Then we shall know we are clothing a frame of reasonable 

Having arrived at tuis stage, then comes the chance to 
note the way in which the fur follows these big bone shapes. 
First draw the direction of the fur as it curves over bone and 
muscle — then the marks, stripes, dots, and so forth, the 
smooth silky down that covers the ears, the soft fluffiness 
undeif the limbs and about the muzzle, and the thick pro- 
tective length of the fur on the back. 

The marking on the fine fur will be more delicate than the 
markings on the thigh and back. Use your pencil with a 
light firm touch. 

By way of a final observation, see if any valuable shadows 
have been omitted where the firm body presses on the ground, 
possibly beneath the tail, or under the chin and paw. 

A short-coated pussy with black fur is easier to draw than 
a striped and tabby cat. The fur being short and unmarked 
will not conceal and confuse the structure to the same extent ; 
moreover, the light will strike on the glossy coat and define 
the big bony shapes more sharply, the flanks, thigh, shoulder, 
head, and paws. 

Whether we sketch Pussy asleep or awake, reclining on a 
wall, or playing with a leaf, we cannot fail to notice his invari- 


Our Pets and other Animals 

able grace. Never do you see an awkward or ungainly move- 
ment. Which fact alone should be an invaluable training for 
our pencil. From the tip of Pussy's whiskers to the tip of his 
tail, mark the long flowing line of the graceful limbs, the 
exquisite curves. 

The large open eye, the large upright ear, these are very 

Fig. 37. TiMMY 

characteristic of the cat tribe. Mark the width of the 
cheeks, the short blunted nose, the receding under-jaw. 
Note also the stretch of the cat's mouth when open ; the 
muzzle pulls up and reveals the gape at the back of the mouth, 
and the upper and lower jaw square one with the other. The 
tiger, the puma, and all the cat tribe share these peculiar 

Robin the puma (sketched in the London Zoo, to which 
he was presented by a friend of ours, having outgrown his 


Drawing for Beginners 

pethood) is a distant relative of Mufti's, and for all I know to 
the contrary may be as familiar to you as Mufti. 

Make a few comparisons between the household pet and 
the ' American lion.' Robin is of course many sizes larger, 
and of a stronger and more powerful breed. His limbs are 
thick, long, and sinewy, his head small compared with the 
muscular neck, his ears rounded. Note the great pawt 
and note also the large extension of the jaw when R^bin is 

It is curious to reflect that for one study of a bird we shall 
see fifty of a cat, and more curious when we consider that 
with birds we have usually a fairly close association. It is 
true that birds are difficult studies. They are the most 
elusive models, and it is impossible to glean more than quick, 
snap-shot impressions and rough notes, and in that we prob- 
ably fin^ the real reason for neglect. Birds are not easy, but 
they are inlensely interesting. With all their wealth of 
beauty in form and colour, they are a rich harvest for the 
pencil and the brush. 

Who, for instance, could be more attractive than the perky 
little robin with his brown coat and scarlet waistcoat, his 
sleek, neat plumage, the cock of his bright eye, and the flick 
of his pointed tail ? A most characteristic little gentleman ! 
Search your memory, and try to sketch him out of your head, 
and preferably with your brush. 

Make a bold dash at catching his likeness. Mark the long 
slope of his back, the clean, sharp swelling curve from the 
bill downward, the intersecting lines of the tail and wing, the 
short bill curved above, flattened beneath, the eye close to 
the bill, the slender strength of the tiny legs, the perfect 
balance on the long talons. 

By contrast, too, we learn much, and drive observation 

Compare the singing canary, his slim golden body and 
dainty limbs, with the raucous-tongued parrot, his powerful 
beak, thick talons, and muscular thighs. Contrast the sky- 
lark, the exquisite lightness and buoyancy of his movement 

Fig. 38. Birds at Rest and in Flight 


Our Pets and other Animals 

and form, with that clumsy, soft, noiseless bird of the night 
— the owl. An owl is a good introduction to the study of 
birds ; he has one invaluable asset — tracked to his lair by 
day, he can be observed quite closely. His is a simple and 
comparatively easy-to-observe shape, as he sits huddled on 
his perch, blinking his eyes, a quaint compact oblong form, 
from which depends a soft blunted tail ; with shoulders 
humped up to his neck, head large and square, and talons well 
tucked under the soft breast feathers. 

Mark the large hood-like shape of the head, the curious 
mask effect of the face from which the tiny beak emerges, and 
the eyes, large, round, and heavily lidded, and encircled by 
rays of softest feathers. Mark the rich dark shadows of the 
eye, beak, and talon with a firm touch. Because — and this 
is an important fact when we are drawing birds — it is by 
insistence upon such shadows, the soft depth of the eye, and 
the strong curve of the beak, and the lines of the tail and the 
wings, that we obtain our effects. 

When drawing birds try to keep your touch crisp, firm, and 
light. Birds suggest delicacy more than strength. The bird 
on the wing has something of the buoyancy of the air through 
which he flies. 

Consider the bony framework of the bird. The small head 
and pointed beak with which it cleaves the air, the long neck 
(having twice the number of bones of a human being's), the 
oblong boat-shape of the breast-bone, ribs, and back, the 
length of the legs, back curved, and, above all, the large arm- 
or wing-bones somewhat resembling the zigzag shape of the 
last letter of the alphabet — a large Z. 

When sketching birds take a broad observation. Embrace 
the whole shape in a glance, and sketch that shape. Sketch 
the slimness of its body ; if it is a bird such as the swallow, 
perching and at rest, sketch the balance of its legs and feet, 
the angle of its head ; notice the way in which the wings 
fold across its back and the tail depends. Then mark the 
position of the eye with regard to the beak, the shape of the 
beak itself, the short curve of the upper bill compared with 


Drawing for Beginners 

the lower. Look swiftly from the beak to the eye, from the 
eye to the beak. Notice the shape of the head. Mark all 
these positions lightly before settling down to the careful 
drawing of each particular feature. 

When we draw the head of a girl or a boy we draw first the 
cranium, then the face, and lastly the features. We check 
one thing with another, as we have discussed very fully in 
an early chapter. We must apply the same methods when 
we are drawing our pets, animals or bipeds. 

Compare (and of course with the pencil) the beaks of birds : 
the beak of the seagull with that of the swallow, or with that 
of the parrot. In the last-mentioned bird the beak seems to 
predominate and form the greater part of the skull. Sketch 
the curious square shape of the parrot's upper and lower 
beak, together with the wrinkled skin, and the sharp cunning 
little eye. 

Birds' feet and legs exhibit astonishing variations of 
form. What, for instance, could be more dissimilar than 
a stork's leg and an owl's, the duck's web and the swallow's 
claw, the eagle's talon and the sparrow's ? We are very 
much inclined to be careless about the drawing of birds' 
feet. How often do we see the leg drawn in one long line, 
from which fork three long strokes (purporting to be the 
claws), and the talon behind the leg, corresponding to the 
heel of a human being, forgotten — or, if not quite forgotten, 
almost negligible ? 

Note, also, that when the bird with the taloned feet moves 
along a flattened surface, the feet rest on pads, and the pro- 
jection of the long talons pushes the feet in curves from the 

It is true that the webbed foot of the wading bird lies flat 
on the surface of the ground, but never the foot with the 
talons and claws. 

Note the fluffiness of the feathers on the thigh of the birds, 
then the thick muscular skin of the leg itself (wrinkled often 
on the forepart). Try to sketch the joint, the spread of each 
toe, the curved talon and the pointed nail, with strength. 

Our Pets and other Animals 

Do not be fearful of exaggerating muscle. Mark the grip of 
the talon and the clutching strength of the tiny claw with 
equal decision. 

The wing of a bird is sometimes likened to the arm, wrist, 
and thumb of the human arm. The joint of the leg, which 
has the appearance of the human knee (bent backward), 
resembles the ankle of the human being, for the knee-joint of 
a bird is higher and hidden by the plumage. 

No doubt you have often remarked that the neck of the 
bird resembles the letter S. This is especially noticeable in 
the swan when proudly ' floating double ' with his neck 
carried in beautiful curves ; the stork and the ibis elongate 
their necks — the S is more drawn out, while in the case of the 
flamingo, cassowary, emu, and ostrich the neck more closely 
resembles an interrogation mark. 

But we must not linger too long over details. We must 
return to a more general survey, and we have not yet touched 
on the most attractive aspect of the subject — birds in flight. 
Here, indeed, is a fascinating subject for our pencils. 

How entrancing are the impetuous rush of the tiny body, 
the fluttering spread of the buoyant wings ! Yet no sooner 
do we whip out a pencil than the bird is gone beyond 

Think of the wonderful non-resisting shape of the body 
that slips through the air as a fish glides through water, the 
rudder-like shape of the transparent tail, and the tremendous 
span of the spread wings ! How often do we draw wings 
that would be of no real use to our birds ! The length of the 
wing outspread is prodigious in comparison with the size of 
the body. 

Observe the seagull with wings folded to its side, and the 
way in which the wings are incorporated with the slender 
length of the body. Then look closely at a wing extended, 
note the clean-cut delicacy of the pointed quills, the vigorous 
muscle, and the strength of the shoulder. 

When we draw the bird in flight we should first sketch the 
angle of the body, then the angle of the wings. 


Drawing for Beginners 

Make a rough cross indicating these angles, then, having 
marked the tilt and swing of the bird, define the shape of the 
body, the wings, and the tail. 

Whatever the position of the bird on the wing may be, 
whether swooping toward you or flying away, whether the 
wing be upraised, or down curving, you must aim ^rst at 
getting the angles of body and wings. 

Have you ever seen a kestrel fall like a plummet from the 
sky, and marked the forward thrust of the head as it hangs 
suspended ? Have you noticed the seagull whirling and 
circling, dipping first one wing and then the other in the 
fringe of the foam ? If so, you will understand how neces- 
sary it is to grasp the bird's position at a first glance. 

Take up a place of observation in an open field, pencil in 
hand, and make jottings of your little feathered friends. An 
exasperating task I know ! But your patience will be re- 
warded if you can sketch the fluff of two little folded wings, 
the tiny coiled-up claw, the perk of a glossy head, the saucy 
round eye peering through the leaves, minute but invaluable 

We need not go far afield ; the ordinary poultry-yard will 
afford plenty of interesting study. 

For choice I should pitch on a young cockerel to sketch. 
Of all restless creatures I would give him the palm. But 
wait until he sinks into a dusty corner and his jewel-gold 
eye is closed. The shapely body and the wondrous com- 
plexity of head, beak, comb, and wattles are something at 
which to marvel ; it is only by the closest observation, by 
utilizing the various suggestions we have already made, that 
we shall feel we are ready to cope with the problems they 

First sketch your sparrows, robins, owls, swallows, and 
tiny feathered friends, later try the more difficult subject — 
and for all these sketches you might well take with you your 
brush and water-colour box. Sketch with your brush, 
instead of with your pencil, for a bird without colour is most 
strange and unnatural. 

Fig 39. The Frog 

Drawing for Beginners 

From birds on the wing we might pass to the reptiles on 
the ground, and those homely little gentlemen the toad and 
frog are not to be despised. 

When drawing these small people you must get close to 
their level. Try to pose them on a bank or raised surface. 

There is something so solidly square about the shape of a 
toad that it is not surprising that it lends its name to many 
curiously shaped rocks. 

The European frog, shown in Fig. 39, of glistening eye and 
shining back, is more elegant in shape than brother toad ; 
his toes are slimmer, his nose more pointed. 

Mark the upward tilt of the back, the slant to the top of 
the head and nose, and the long sweeping lines of the curiously 
shaped hind-legs. Note the forward and outward thrust of 
the strong little elbow, and the bandy-legged straddle of the 
front limbs. 

Of all things a frog's mouth is the most curious. Look at 
the gape and the length of it, and the muscles which extend 
from beyond the grin to the eye-cavity, and down again to 
the tiniest dot of a nostril piercing the blunt nose. 

And if you should wish to portray the frog in action, you 
will be surprised at the enormous stretch of his hind-legs, one 
second folded in a close curve over the long-taloned feet and 
the next opening in a large sprawling S shape. 

From the frog at the foot of the tree we might pass to the 
sprightly squirrel on the branch above, cracking nuts and 
distributing shells over the heads of the passers-by. 

Squirrels are almost as difficult to study as birds. The 
only stationary ones are stuffed and in museums, and no 
matter how beautiful and natural stuffed things may look, 
there is always present the fixed glassy appearance that we 
invariably exaggerate when drawing. Therefore draw in 
museums only when debarred from drawing straight from 

When you are drawing a squirrel do not let yourself be 
diverted by the magnificence of his tail from more important 
things. (Is he not called Sciurus — ' Shadow-tail ' ?) 

Our Pets and other Animals 

Begin by sketching the definite shapes — the small mouse- 
shaped head, the long curved back, the small but strong 
hind-legs with which he shins up the trees like a flash of 

Fig. 40. Rabbits 

lightning; his eye — the dark, bright piercing eye, set 
diamond-shaped in his head ; the small pointed nose ; the 
rounded curves of whiskers ; the shapely ever-moving ears. 
Note also the dainty feet and paws, the delicate strength 
of the claws and talons. 

The squirrel, together with the mouse and rabbit, form 
<^ 3 S I fe 99 

Drawing for Beginners 

part of that large family known as rodents. The word 
' rodent ' means ' gnawing.' This is helpful to remember 
when we are drawing these animals, for it explains at once 
the characteristic shape of the teeth, mouth, and head. 

When we sketch mice or rats the long, narrow, pointed 
muzzle and long, narrow, overhanging teeth are very 
noticeable ; once we have marked these, and added the 
long sloping f^^rehead, the small under-jaw, the wide up- 
standing rounded ear and bright dark eye, we have the main 

Squirrels and rabbits have shorter snouts and more blunted 
muzzles, but the teeth are long and pointed ; this we must 
carefully note in our drawings. 

Rabbits are endearing but difficult models, for they seldom 
stay long in one position and are easily startled by a sudden 
noise. Nevertheless, if you sit by the hutch and keep very 
still, pencil and paper in hand, Master Bunny will eventually 
creep from his straw. 

Then note the three-cornered shape of his head, with the 
long ears closely placed on the very apex, and the beautiful, 
wide-open eye with its long lashes. The nose, always twitch- 
ing, is blunt and short and pink, the nostril very small but 
of a very decided shape, and the muzzle rounded and full. 
The hind-legs are of an extraordinary size, but gathered 
together in a hunched position as Bunny sits in a hutch 
nibbling morsels of food they are not so noticeable ; the spine 
rises from the head in a long steep curve from the neck to the 
top of the thighs. 

There is nothing more soft and fluffy than the tail of a 
rabbit — ' Cotton-tail,' as he is called in America. So soft 
is it that we must indicate it with the most delicate touches, 
noticing the way in which the hairs grow from the root of the 
tail and spread outward and upward like the down of a 

By drawing our small friends, rabbits, squirrels, frogs, 
birds, and cats, we shall be aided in attempting, presently, 
the more ambitious creatures, dogs, cows, bulls, and horses. 

Our Pets and other Animals 

Horses are of all animals the most difficult to draw. To 
their exquisite proportions, the wonderful delicacy of their 
slender limbs, the spirited grace of their beautiful bodies, we 
feel, despairingly, that only a Rosa Bonheur, a Lucy Kemp- 
Welch, or an A. J. Munnings can do justice. 

Let us study first the heavier breeds, the big dray-horses 
with their kindly frank faces, their great fetlocks, their splendid 
massive bodies. These will give fascinating subjects which 
need not overwhelm us. 

If you have no opportunities of sketching the cart-horse in 
the farm-yard, you may possibly make a rapid sketch from a 
window, or track your subject down in a side-lane, as I have 
done in this drawing. 

The positions of my two cart-horses are foreshortened. 
The long bodies are hidden by the hind-legs, and the finished 
sketch is nothing more nor less than a square, from the upper 
part of which extends the neck and crest of the head. 

As I have said before, when drawing things foreshortened, 
sketch the nearest shapes first, and the receding shapes later. 
If we mark the angle of the flank, the angle of the large bones 
of the back of the knee, the shaggy fetlocks, we shall perceive 
that the fore -legs — having the length of body between — are 
shorter than the hind-legs. The body, too, dwindles. 

Drawing the horse approaching toward us or as seen side- 
ways, we must run the eye from one point to another. 

Look at the angles of the limbs, the ' slew ' of the haunches ; 
glance from knee-cap to knee-cap ; from the massive deep 
chests to the beautifully rounded hindquarters. Note how 
the curves and muscles of the arched neck compare with the 
muscles and curves of the thigh, and the silky thick flow of 
the mane with the long wavy ripples of the tail and the shaggy 
clustering of hair round the fetlocks. 

Try to make separate studies of the separate parts of the 
body, head, and legs. When you are sketching the head in 
profile remark the great length of it (the skull of a horse is 
an amazing size, almost as long as the body of a human being), 
then mark the greatest depth from the eyebrow to the outline 


Drawing for Beginners 

of the bones of the cheek, trace the long nose, the rounded 
nostril, and the curve of the soft mouth, the lips, and the 
swelling curves beneath the under lip, then reproduce the 
softer portions, until you reach the cheekbone again. Mark 
the position of the beautifully shaped ears, and drop a line 
from the ear-socket to the socket of the eye, checking this 
position with that of the brow and cheek. Get the angle of 
the eye, the lid, the shape of the beautiful eye itself ; then 
give attention to the nostril, which we are apt to inflate too 
much in our drawings. Notice the softness of the muzzle 
and the shape of the nostril, and the way in which the fore- 
part tucks behind the sides. 

Having sketched the main features, you can revel in the 
drawing of the different textures, the luminosity of the eyes, 
the soft delicacy of ear, nostril, mouth, and muzzle, the 
muscles and veins seen beneath the skin, the forelock, and the 
rippling waves of the mane. 

Take a full brush of colour and, wiping it to a point, try 
to sketch a pony galloping, a horse rearing over a fence, or 
cantering across a grassy meadow. You can do much interest- 
ing work by your remembrance of horses in action. Obviously 
you cannot draw a horse in action from anything but close 
observation wedded to memory. 

Study, too, pictures of horses. Look well at photographs 
in the newspapers, and copy those with the brush, remember- 
ing always the one great handicap of the camera, that the 
near things are distorted and made to appear too large. 
(This fact you have doubtless proved often for yourself when 
photographed with your feet crossed and pointing at the 
camera, giving the astounding impression that you have the 
proportions of a well-nourished giant.) 

And behold ! we have travelled all this way with but a 
passing glimpse at our most favoured pet — the dog ! The 
study of dogs is a whole world in itself, from the tiny shiver- 
ing black toy terrier to the magnificent English mastiff. 

Sketches of dogs are inclined to be scrappy, as indeed are 
all the sketches of our active little friends. But first we 

Fis. 42. Dogs 


Our Pets and other Animals 

must decide in our minds the chief characteristics of our 

What with the distorted short legs and long body of the 
dachshund, the length and grace of the deerhound, the 
stocky sturdy build of the wire-haired terrier, the prodigious 
muscle and width of the bulldog's body, we have ample 

We must bear in mind the general build of the dog. If 
not, we are apt to give the Cairn legs as long as the pug, the 
schipperke ears as starkly pointed as those of the Alsatian 
wolfhound. It is easier, of course, to draw the breeds that 
have short and silky hair than those that are clothed in 
long plumes of fur, for then we can see the shape of 
their limbs, the symmetry of their bodies. A bull-terrier is 
easier to draw than a sky-terrier, a greyhound easier than 
a borzoi. 

Here we have the head of Benjamin (an old English terrier) 
with ear cocked and eye alert. 

Observe first the long barrel shape of the head, then the 
blunt muzzle and the rounded nostril. Having marked the 
position and angle of the head, we can next note the breadth 
and slope of the round forehead, the angle of the eye, the 
position of the far eye (indicated and accentuated by an eye- 
lash), and the curve of the muzzle. 

The mouth is partially hidden by the soft white hair (and 
there is nothing softer in Nature than the mouth of an animal). 
Look carefully at the receding — slightly receding — nose and 
jaw. The protruding under-jaw gives at once the suggestion 
of the bulldog strain. The massive, protuberant under-jaw 
is characteristic of that breed. 

Ben has a full eloquent eye. The overhanging triangular 
flap of the ear lends a sharp and useful accent to the rounded 
shape behind the eye, and behind that we can perceive the 
full lobe and root of the ear. 

Sambo (Fig. 42), mystified by a frog, is yapping away in a 
crouching but vigorous position — in which you may be sure 
he did not remain very long ; hence the absence of the other 


Drawing for Beginners 

two legs. (But this is the way I wish you to tackle your 
doggie friends. Dash at any position, even if it is fleeting.) 

Sambo's body is somewhat contracted, and so is his neck. 
Roughly, he represents a triangular shape, as shown. The 
big muscles have fair play ; the thin flank of the hind-leg 
and the shoulder-bone of the fore-leg are very noticeable. 
Also the shadows behind the upper part of the front leg and 
back leg force the rounded shape of the ribs. 

Next comes beautiful Bracken (so named because of her 
glorious golden-brown and red coat). Her back is curved 
and her fore-legs coiled ; on these rest her muzzle, now, alas ! 
growing grey. The position suggests a perfect curve — out of 
which trails the long tail and left leg. Aim first at sketching 
the large coil of the big body, then the flat angle of the hind- 
leg, and the fullness of the trunk. The extended leg pushes 
up the position of the left shoulder-blade ; also we can see 
the inner line of the neck. Between these two shapes trace 
the curve of the neck itself and the triangular shape of 
the head, and the soft flat line of the chest against the 

We should now examine the curious curve of the hind-leg 
and the way in which the muscles and sinews draw back, also 
the shape of the bone as it touches on the ground, and the 
great paw as it comes forward and lies limply at rest. 

How different is Bracken's ear from Ben's — long, soft, 
pendulous ! And the brow is more benevolent and more 
deeply indented between the soft brown eyes. 

A word of warning about muscular creatures at rest. 
When muscles are lax and sinews free from strain we are 
inclined (in our drawings) to forget them altogether, and a 
finely built dog sleeping will look, if we are not careful, far 
too limp and flabby a creature. We must always remember 
the muscles ; note and draw them carefully, they will keep 
our drawings up to pitch. 

Dogs leaping and jumping, dogs running — the jog-trot of 
the terrier, and the easy gallop of the deerhound — here are 
interesting subjects for your pencil and brush. 

Our Pets and other Animals 

We might take up a brush fairly full of paint and sketch 
a little fresco of dogs in action. I say advisedly ' brush.' 
We can't stipple with a full brush. We must make up our 
minds, and draw, without hesitation, the thin or plump body, 
the long or thick legs, the short or pointed nose, the flowing 
or stunted tail. The fresco may not be very true to Nature, 
but it will certainly teach us a good deal. 



Colour^ and how to Find it 

COLOUR is the most deceptive thing under the sun. 
No two people see colour in exactly the same way, 
no two people reproduce — or paint — colour with ex- 
actly the same blending of tints. 

If a colour-group is placed before several young artists 
with paint-boxes in their hands, we shall not find — providing, 
of course, that they are not copying each other — the artists 
choosing the same tints wherewith to paint the same objects. 
In all probability every painting would be quite different. 
Which proves that colour appeals to all of us in varied degrees. 

Painting is not a mere matching of tints, or placing one 
tint against another tint. 

We might begin our picture with a conscientious desire to 
match every colour exactly and yet produce something 
horribly wrong. Because we began with a wrong idea in our 
head. We started from an entirely false basis. 

We must not begin by asking ourselves, " Is that an orange, 
blue, or green tint ? " but, " What is the colour that pervades 
and envelops the whole ? " 

Have you ever walked in the meadows or down a street in 
a city and remarked to yourself how different everything 
looked when last you were there ? 

Perhaps it was then a brilliantly sunny day, and on the 
day on which you made the remark the same street was 
dripping and shining from recent rain-storms. It would 
indeed be different. Then the sun filled every chink and 
shadow with golden warmth. It played on the fronts of the 
houses, it sparkled on the window-frames, it picked out the 
red flush of the bricks, it spied the orange peel in the gutter, 

Colour^ and how to Find it 

the jewels of a lady walking along the street. It was a gay 
scene, beneath sunny blue skies dashed with warm clouds. 
And the charm of the country scene would be even more 
intensified by the brilliancy of the clear air and bright sun, 
which emphasizes the lichen on the cottage-roof and walls, 
the yellow in the old flagstones, the gleaming of the ricks, 
the rich shadows flung by the soft green foliage of the tall 

Then — the next time ! 

Heavy rains swept the streets or drenched the meadows, 
clouds hung dark and threatening, pavements gleamed 
coldly, the muddy lanes were glittering, heavy foliage drip- 
ping, thick soft mists arising, all was wet, grey, and cold. 
There were dull shadows where the people walked the streets, 
the tops of the houses were shrouded in murky fog, and in 
the country lanes the cows moved between the heavy hedges 
wrapped in a moist cold air. 

Do you realize that there must always be one general hue 
that envelops, and blends, and harmonizes ? 

Have not you sometimes said of a painting, " I don't know 
what is the matter with that picture . . . but I don't like it " ? 
You have a very definite reason, but you cannot put it in 
words. You don't like it, and if you lived to be a hundred 
you feel you would never like it more or hate it less. In 
other words, you feel there is something that jars upon you. 
If we tried to analyse your feelings about that picture, we 
should probably discover that a crash of discords upon the 
piano bore a strong resemblance to the jarring colours of the 

The man who painted the picture did not try to discover 
the general colour that ran through his picture, and blend 
it harmoniously together ; but, like a simultaneous crash of 
all the notes on the piano, he banged every tint thick and fast 
upon his canvas. 

On certain islands in the South Seas the native mothers fill 
hollowed-out trunks of trees with water and in this water 
boldly place their infants, and the babies swim. 


Drawing for Beginners 

From this example some people argue that all babies will 
swim as naturally as they will later walk and talk. 

On that particular point I am not prepared to give an 
opinion, but this I do know, for it has been often proved : if 
we put a box of chalks into the hands of a small child of four 
or five, the child will as often as not use the colours rightly 
and naturally. I have seen paintings by tiny children as good 
as any done by practised artists. Give the child a string 
of beads, a coloured ball, a bunch of cherries, or a twisted 
morsel of coloured thread, and Baby will chalk these colours 
with astonishing ease. The shape may be funny, but the 
colour will be pure, fresh, and sweet. Which proves that the 
sense of colour is a natural sense. 

It is a very stimulating thought that we are born with this 
delightful gift, which only needs a natural development. 

As we grow older, and more diffident of ourselves, we seek 
out rules and hamper ourselves with stupid regulations. But 
if we merely ask ourselves a few simple guiding questions, 
such as, " What is the general colour of the thing that I wish 
to paint ? " and keep our mind focused on that one thing, 
our troubles will melt away. 

Each colour depends to a great extent on its surroundings. 

There's Timmy, the tabby cat, for instance. What colour 
would you call his coat and eyes ? "A buff fur striped with 
sharp black lines, and yellow eyes," you would most probably 

But look at Timmy lying on the summer grass. His buff 
and white fur reflects the green of the grass ; his glossy black 
stripes fade in the sun like old silver, and deepen in shadow 
like the rich dark colour of the tree-bark ; his eyes, most 
curious of all, empty into round pools of colourless light. 
Thinking of Timmy's colouring suggests another subject on 
which we have not time to dwell — the protective nature of 
colour. It also reminds us that colour is influenced by other 
surrounding colours. 

" What is colour ? " cries the young artist. 

We say that black is black and white is white, that snow is 

Colour^ and how to Find it 

white, the clean Hnen handkerchief is white, the ermine fur 
that you wear round your neck is white. Drop your hand- 
kerchief upon the snow, lay your ermine on its unbroken 
surface, the one will look murky and grey and the other 

Black is just black, you say. But is it ? Objects are black 
because they come in contrast with other colours. 

Search about for black things in the room. You will see 
that there are as many shades in black as there are in other 
tints, according to the light in which the black object is 
placed, and also according to the colours with which it is 

Look at the black coat of a man in a subdued light, when, 
for instance, he is sitting in a room ; and look at the same 
black coat when the man is walking out in the streets under 
the blue sky. 

The black coat under a subdued quiet light is deep and rich 
and warm, but in the open air the light strikes on the shoulders, 
the arms, and the skirts of the coat, and if a cold blue light is 
reflected from the sky, then the black coat will reflect that 
colour and tint. Obviously, being a dark material, it will 
absorb ; but light and shade there must be, and the black 
will mingle with the general colouring of the street. 

' A sense of colour ' in the mind of an artist is simply the 
faculty of choosing tints. 

One artist may revel in exquisite golds, reds, and blues ; 
another may prefer silvery greys and blues, warm fawn, and 
dull reds. But it is not true to say that the latter has not 
as much sense of colour as the former. His choice of tints is 
different. He sees Nature in more subdued hues. That is 
all. His theme of colouring is quieter, more subtle. 

If your taste inclines to more delicate shades, do not be 
discouraged because by that choice you are told you haven't 
much sense of colour. That you know in your heart of 
hearts is not true. The beauty of twilight, or the delicacy 
of a misty landscape, or the sombreness of the grey old 
woman in her dark frock have fully as much ' colour ' as 


Drawing for Beginners 

the gorgeous sunset, or the meadows rioting with gold and 
crimson blossoms. 

It is worse than useless to plaster your picture with brilliant 
reds, yellows, and blues because you think by so doing you 
display a fine sense of colour. 

It is perfectly true that we must use the colours as fully 
as we feel justified. But we must feel justified. 

The great colourists of old used their crimsons, and golds, 
and blues, and purples lavishly, they revelled in rich silks 
and brocades, in brilliant skies ; in short, in the dazzling 
mixture of many tints. Out of these gay scenes of streets, 
piazzas, palaces, and market-squares floated the brilliant 
colours, blended and made harmonious by the dazzling light 
of the sun. 

Nature always harmonizes, and blends tints unerringly. 

When we with our miserable little colour-boxes would 
paint crude tints. Nature takes us by the hand and shows 
where we go wrong. 

Imagine a subject composed of nothing but clashing colours. 
Could anything, we ask ourselves, right that wrong ? 

Once I saw a girl standing in a field not far outside the city 
of Madrid. She wore a purple handkerchief on her head, a 
crimson and purple skirt looped over her petticoat. She had 
in her arms a huge sheath of blue cornflowers and she stood 
knee-deep in scarlet poppies. Not one red agreed with 
another red, the purples were vivid, and the blue was crude. 
Yet the whole scene was pleasing because it was bathed in a 
brilliantly clear air. The purity of the atmosphere made all 
the crude tints harmonize. 

Painting does not mean placing all the paints upon a sheet 
of paper. That any foolish person can do. 

But painting is selecting the right tints, and playing our 
tunes with those tints harmoniously. 

Suppose we take a simple object, a small Flanders poppy, 
scarlet hued, with folded petals of silk, and look at that with 
a view to painting it. 

Then we will ask ourselves, " What is the colour that flows 

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IT sHul'LIi Xo|- KK PAINTED, {b) Two CiiUlin; SCHEMES, 

AND Fllisl' iMl'llKSSKtXs (iF linTlI 

Colour^ and how to Find it 

through the poppy-blossom, stem, and leaf ? " The poppy 
is composed of red and green tints, and yellow there is in 
both red and green. Therefore, if we wish to paint the 
poppy, and we are of course drawing with the brush and with 
colour, we could safely decide to sketch it in a pale yellow 

On painting the scarlet petal the yellow will melt and 
become one with the red, and again on painting the stem and 
leaf the green will absorb the yellow. 

If we had not taken the precaution to ask ourselves that 
question and had simply sketched the poppy in any tint, say 
Prussian blue, then the result would have been a dirty cold 
blue creeping into the purity of the scarlet and destroying 
the vivid glow. 

Or, if we had waited for the blue to dry before applying 
the red, we should not have improved matters. Our poppy 
would have had a harsh blue outline, and who ever saw a 
poppy so decorated, except on a china plate or on an old tin 
mug ? 

Possibly you might argue that the subject is a simple one 
for the brush, that the problem will be very different when 
more complicated subjects are attempted. 

Gather together several colour-groups and test the problem 
of colour for yourself — a stick of asparagus, a leaf of rhubarb, 
apples on a dull painted platter, a sprig of honesty, or a spray 
of Ted or yellow (single) chrysanthemums in a copper-coloured 
vase, a coloured straw hat decorated with a prettily shaded 
scarf, a Japanese lantern, lighted, and a few objects placed 
around it. And, having settled upon one of these subjects, 
ask yourself the same question : " What is the general colour 
of the subject ? " Is it cold ? Is it warm ? Does a yellow 
tinge prevail, or a cool grey-blue ? Has it a flush of red, or 
is it suffused with pale pearly tints ? 

When you are painting groups it is just as well to place 
them before a plain background, a wall-space, or an angle 
formed of two plain boards of wood joined together, thus 
concentrating light and shade and preventing your attention 


Drawing for Beginners 

from being distracted by movement in the background. 
Backgrounds should be plainly tinted. Some neutral tint 
(neutral meaning ' neither ' in the sense that it belongs to no 
very definite colour), fawn, buff, or grey. Then your colour- 
group will have every chance of asserting itself. 

When using water-colour always work from light to dark. 
That is, sketch your painting with a light colour. If you 
sketch it with a dark tint, then that tint will either run, and 
spoil your delicate tints, or else it will outline the edges with 
a harsh dark tint like the edges of clouds in a stormy sky. 

Also avoid ' body colour ' — or flake white. White paint 
is thick and opaque. Once white paint enters our painting, 
there it must continue. We cannot make dabs of white paint 
without a patchy effect. White gives a different texture, 
and, being thick, takes away all clearness and sparkle, all 
richness and depth. 

A common fault into which young artists often fall is to 
paint the white clouds in a landscape with white paint. But 
the delicate colouring of the clouds should be sketched with 
the faintest tint (the prevailing tint of the landscape), and the 
white paper left to give the effect of the white clouds. 

Never be afraid of using pure colour. To enrich or deepen 
shadows, to sharpen high lights, to lend sparkle or brightness, 
place the pure tint straight on the paper without mixing or 
putting it first on the palette. 

To soften and blend your tints take a full brush and flood 
the water on the paper and let the colours mingle on the 

Should you have an unpleasingly harsh effect, do not 
tinker at your painting. Let it dry. When it is quite hard 
and bone-dry take a brushful of clear water and pass it over 
your drawing, and work on the drawing when it is moist. 

Small children find it amusing and instructive to map 
out discs or squares and fill these spaces with colours. By 
blending, mixing, and playing with a few tints you realize 
the immense variations that can be obtained by judicious 

Colour^ and how to Find it 

A few petals plucked from a brilliantly coloured flower (a 
geranium, say) will give one's colour-box a great stimulus. 
Try to paint the petal ; paint a number of petals, and notice 
their dazzling tints. 

For purity, depth, richness of tint, the breast feathers of 
a brilliantly coloured bird (parrot, macaw, or parakeet) are 
perhaps unrivalled. Lay one down on a small sheet of white 
paper — an envelope — and try to paint the shape and tint. 
Try also to mix the tint and lay it on the paper with the 
burst of freshness that is the chief charm of the feather. Fill 
your brush generously full, and apply it quickly, lightly but 
firmly. When it is drying define (or draw) with a few sharp 
shadows and strokes the tiny stem, the fluff about the stem, 
the broad vane. 

Leaves, too, lend a delightful variety, leaves with their 
gorgeous autumn raiment. Small children revel in painting 
their varied tints and shapes. Nature is very lavish with her 
bright colours and she uses the widest range of tints. 

Again I must insist, at the risk of appearing wearisome — 
bear always in mind the general colour of the object. Which 
rule applies with equal force to a lemon or a landscape. 

Of course you will make mistakes. We all do that. You 
may begin your drawing as a cold scheme of colour when it 
should be warm, or vice versa. It is quite possible that you 
may veer round and find yourself finishing in direct opposition 
to your starting-point; in which case your picture will be 
far from successful. 

If you are painting from Nature and out of doors, you may 
be betrayed by Nature herself, for the weather has a habit 
of changing suddenly and so complicating matters. 

But provided you do make up your mind and nothing 
prevents you from persevering in your choice, you will have 
accomplished something pleasing because you will have 
achieved a pure harmony in colour. 



Measuring and Perspective 

THERE is no general way of doing things," says a 
great writer on art. " No recipe can be given for 
doing as much as the drawing of a bunch of grapes." 

If there are no known recipes for drawing things success- 
fully, there are, nevertheless, several methods by which the 
young artist is helped out of difficulties and started on the 
right path. 

The application of a few rules of perspective, the use of 
plumb and parallel lines, the measurement and comparison 
of one part of a drawing with another part — all these things 
contribute toward the training of the eye and the quickening 
of the brain. 

Provided that you honestly desire advice, there is nothing 
to be ascertained but the direction in which that advice 
should be followed. 

In short, what do you wish to know ? What is the special 
difficulty that perplexes your mind ? Does your drawing 
look out of proportion ? Is it too bulky for its height, too 
short, too thin, or too tall ? 

Then we will measure one part against another part. 

Perhaps it seems to you that the object or objects in your 
drawing are falling forward or inclining backward. 

Then we will apply a plumb-line. 

If you have embarked on an ambitious subject such as the 
drawing of a house, or a street, and you cannot ' make it 
look right ' — " It won't go back," or (equally possible) " It 
won't come forward " — then we must delve into the mysteries 
of perspective and apply common sense and plain argument. 

Perspective is sometimes called the grammar of art because 

Measuring and Perspective 

it assists us to draw correctly, as the grammar of a language 
helps us to speak and write correctly. 

In the first place let us consider proportions. 

If you are sitting at your work, lean back in your chair and 
face the object that you are drawing, and hold a pencil or ruler 

loitfr * 


Fig. 44 

up at arm's length and level with your eyes. Close one eye 
and measure from one end of the ruler, or pencil, to the thumb, 
then swing the hand — still at arm's length — and compare 
the measurement with another portion of the same object. 

Look at your drawing. 

Compare the same proportions in your drawing. The pro- 
portions must agree. 

Let us presume that you are drawing a simple subject such 
as a small basket and you are in doubt as to whether the 
depth of your drawing of the basket is too great for its width, 


Drawing for Beginners 

Hold your pencil at arm's length and mark the depth with 
your thumb. Swivel your wrist, keeping your thumb in the 
same position on the pei;icil, and place it in mid-air on the 
outside edge of the basket, measuring the width and counting : 
" once," then shifting, " twice," again shifting, " thrice " 
(probably not quite three times). 

Drop your arm and look at your drawing. 

Measure the depth of the basket itself with your finger 
and thumb on your pencil and place the measurement against 
the width. 

In that manner you can prove for yourself whether the 
proportions of your drawing are right or wrong. 

The reason why we close one eye and extend the arm is 
this. By closing one eye we concentrate our vision. We 
see one object, minus all its distracting surroundings. When 
the elbow is straight the arm is extended at its greatest 
length. Without taking this precaution we might cheat 
ourselves and unconsciously alter the position of the hand, 
and confuse measurements. 

By straightening the elbow we keep the hand at the same 
distance for all measurements. 

Do not make a fetish of measuring. Use it merely as a 
check, as a corrective. Draw first, measure afterward. The 
obnoxious habit of measuring first, and ticking off the 
measurement on the paper, is a trick unworthy of an artist. 
Moreover, it is a trap. The more we measure the less we 
prove. It is quite possible to measure until we stupefy our- 

If you are in doubt — measure. 

Ask yourself, " Have I made the nose too short ? " Take 
a measurement of the nose and compare it with the length of 
the face. " Have I drawn the house too tall in comparison 
with the poplar- tree, or the fence too high for the barn ? " 
Measure the house against the tree, or the height of the fence 
against the height of the barn. 

Possibly the proportions of the house, tree, fence, or barn 
are fairly satisfactory, but you are not quite satisfied with 

Measuring and Perspective 

the lines that run parallel with your eyes, the top of the roof, 
the top of the wall. 

Then put up your pencil or ruler, holding it at one end and 

Fig. 45 

parallel with your eye, and at arm's length. Close one eye. 
Raise or lower it until the roof or wall is almost but not quite 
covered. The pencil or ruler has a smooth unbroken edge, and 
every divergence from the straight line will be apparent. 


Drawing for Beginners 

Parallel lines of roof, wall, box, or house can thus be 
easily corrected. But what of the upright lines — the 
lintel of the door, the frame of a window, the sides of a 
wall ? How shall we prove whether we have drawn these 
correctly ? 

Take a piece of thick silk or cotton, preferably of a dark 
tint, and weighted with a lump of lead (or some similar 
heavy substance), and you have one of man's oldest tools, the 

Hold this at arm's length and between the finger and thumb 
and before the object of your drawing. 

The plumb-line will prove whether the door or window is 
perfectly upright (or perpendicular). Pull your drawing- 
block, or drawing-board, forward and let the plumb-line hang 
before the doubtful line of your sketch. The plumb-line 
always finds the true perpendicular. 

When, however, you are drawing complicated subjects such 
as a large box, pieces of furniture, a portion of a room, house, 
or a street, you are faced with greater difficulties. 

" How are things in a drawing made to go back ? " is a 
question that requires a little more elucidation. 

Probably as a small child you began to appreciate that as 
objects retire or recede, so must they become apparently 
smaller — a first rule of perspective. 

Did you not sometimes play at the game of hiding from 
your sight a house or a tree by putting your fmger, or even a 
single hair, close to your eye ? 

You must have noticed that the boat becomes smaller and 
smaller as it nears the horizon ; that a man climbing a distant 
hill or mountain is reduced eventually to a mere speck ; that 
a huge aeroplane looks no larger than a tiny fly among the 
clouds ? 

Therefore you have fully convinced yourself that objects 
must become smaller as they recede. 

In other words, as objects retire, or are farther from the eye, 
they occupy less space upon the field of vision. 

The objects in the nearest part of your picture — that is 

Fig. 46. Objects become Smaller as they Recede 

Drawing for Beginners 

to say, in the foreground — are largest ; the things in the 
middle, or middle distance, are smaller ; and the things 
in the far distance, or background, are smallest. And to 
explain these apparently simple facts we must exercise our 

You know that when you stand on the seashore and look 
seaward the extent of your vision is bounded by the meeting 
of the sea and sky, which boundary is called the horizon. 
The horizon is the line that follows the line of your eyes, the 
boundary line. The word is derived from the Greek horos, 
a limit or boundary. 

When you stand on the beach and look at the sea your 
position is low, and your horizon is low, because it is on a level 
with your eyes. 

But climb the cliffs and turn seaward ; the horizon is the 
level of your eyes. 

Ascend to the very top of the cliffs. Now you are high 
indeed. Look again toward the horizon ; it has extended ; 
again it is the height of your eyes. 

The line of the horizon is not always visible because of 
intervening objects, but as the horizon is the height of the 
artist's eye its position must be clearly understood, and in- 
dicated — for a time at least — in your drawings. 

It is possible that you are still unconvinced. Perhaps you 
live in a city where roofs and houses block a distant horizon 
from view. Then we may apply another illustration and 
explain matters differently. 

Suppose you descend to the street in a lift and look up 
at the buildings. What do you see ? Every window, every 
cornice and roof, coming down to the level of your eye. 

Now take the lift to the top story of your tall building. 
What do you then see ? Everything reversed. The eaves 
of each lower building, the roofs and cornices, rising to meet 
the level of your eye. 

And the level of your eye is the height of your horizon. 

" Is the thing below the level of my eye, or is it above the 
level of my eye ? " is the inevitable question. 

Measuring and Perspective 

You sit in a chair and look at the cornice, the beading, the 
top hne of the picture frames, the mirror over the fireplace — 

Fig. 47. Above the Eye-level 

are they not above the eye-level and do they not come down 
to the level of the eye ? 
Cast your eye downward, still sitting on the same chair. 


Drawing for Beginners 

What do you see ? The outer edge of the carpet, the rug, 

Fig. 48. Below the Eye-level 

the wainscot, fender, the rail before the fireplace — all rise to 
the level of your eye. 

You stand on a railway bridge and look at the long level 

Measuring and Perspective 

stretch of the lines and you note that the rails — wide as they 
are below your feet — seem to narrow down to a point in the 
far distance on the horizon. That point is called (what else 
could it be called ?) the Vanishing Point. And perspective 
says : All retiring lines have vanishing points. 

Have you not observed the long straight street and its 
rows of lamp-posts or electric-light standards and noted that 
they diminish in size as they recede, though you know for a 
fact that they are all uniform in size ? 

As the lamps lessen in height, so does the pavement narrow, 
and the houses on each side of the street diminish. For all 
lines that lie parallel disappear to the same point on the horizon 
— the vanishing point. 

The lines of the long esplanade by the sea, of the long 
buildings, of the long passage or tunnel, all recede, and if con- 
tinued in our imagination meet at the level of the eye, which 
is the horizon. For the vanishing point is that point on the 
surface of the picture where retiring lines if continued would 

A large picture in a frame is perhaps the easiest example of 
parallel lines diminishing. 

You are well aware that the sides of the picture are parallel. 
They are equal. Measure with an inch measure if you have 
any doubts on that point. 

Now hang the picture on a wall ; stand aside and at one 
end, several paces away, and make a quick sketch of it in its 
frame. Does not the near end of the frame appear larger 
than the far end ? In other words, the picture-frame appears 
smaller as it recedes. 

Measure the farthest end against the nearest by holding 
the pencil at arm's length. Continue the diminishing lines 
until they meet. Again we get the vanishing point resting 
on the (imaginary) line of the horizon at the height of our 

Let us procure a cardboard-box, and placing it on a table, 
three-quarter view, and about the height of the eye, take up 
our pencils and proceed to sketch it. 


Drawing for Beginners 

In all probability you will say, " I can't tell whether the 
lines are running up or down." 

Can you see the top of the box ? If you sit about the same 
height as myself, you will say, " Yes, I can see a little bit of 
the top." 

If we see even a small portion of the top, the eye is above 
the top, and if the eye is above the box, what must the lines 
do but rise to the level of the eye ? 

The top of the box is nearest to the level of the eye, and 

Fig. 49. Can you see the Top of the Box ? 

the lower part of the box is farther away (the depth of the 
box is between). Therefore the top lines of the box rise a 
little, but the bottom lines rise a great deal. 

If we have two lines which go gently on, one at a slight 
angle and one at a stiff angle, what must be the final result ? 
They will meet at the height of your eye, or at your horizon. 

The higher you sit on your chair, the more you can see 
of the top of the box. The lower you sit, the less you 
can see. 

Place the same box on the floor, sit on a chair, and make a 
drawing of it. 

Then place the box at a height — say on the top of a cup- 
board about 6| feet high — and draw it again. 

In the first drawing, up come the lines to meet the level of 
your eye. In the second sketch, down come the lines to the 
same level. In other words, your horizon in the first drawing 

Measuring and Perspective 

is higher than your object, in the second drawing it is lowfer 
than your object. 

Some things have more than one vanishing point — for 
instance, this same 

cardboard-box. A box Horizcrv ov hei^hto^eye 
is an angular object. 


It has two sides which, 


iL nas two siaes wnicnj . , ' 

11 1 1 ^ vaiiish.ia§ 

run parallel, and two o 

ends which also run 
parallel one with an- 

Place the box so that 
two sides can be ob- 
served, and sketch it 
lightly and without 
measuring. Roughly 
sketch its position, and 
decide whether the eye 
is above or below the 
top of the box, i.e., 
whether the horizon is 
low or high. Then draw 
the line of the horizon 
right across the paper, 
because hoth vanishing 
points must be on the 
same level — at the same 

Young artists find it 
difficult to accept this 

fact. They are exceedingly prone to provide a different 
horizon for each different angle. 

The horizon at sea runs straight across the line of vision ; 
as you know, it runs level with the eyes. Then why try to 
reach several horizons in the same picture ? 

In other words, it is not reasonable to assume two horizons in 
drawing one object. 


Fig. 50. The Rising Lines 

Drawing for Beginners 

If more of one side of the box is seen than the other, then 
the side of which we have the broader view will have its 
vanishing point farther away. The side of the box presenting 
a more acute angle will have its vanishing point nearer. 



Hortz-of\) ov hei^h't o^ c^e 

Vanishing voi'fl-t 

Fig. 51. The Falling Lines 

The vanishing points will be near or far apart according to 
the angles. 

The farther the vanishing points are apart, the farther we 
are from the object ; and the nearer we are to the object, 
the nearer together are the vanishing points. 

We may now feel justified in drawing something a little 
more ambitious and a little more interesting than a box. If 
we select something the shape of which bears a general re- 
semblance to that of a box and place it in the same position, 

Fig. 52. VAJitsHiNG Point close to Spectator 


Measuring and Perspective 

we shall have the same perspective. A toy house standing 
on a little platform will serve our purpose excellently. The 
parallel lines of the projecting chimney-pot, the upper line of 
the roof, the lower line of the roof, the lower line of the roof 
on the far side of the house, the near line of the platform, 
and the far line of the platform — these all run parallel and 
meet on the horizon, the eye -level on the left of the diagram ; 
while the front angles, the two overhanging points of the eaves, 
the base of the house, the front base of the platform, the 
windows, shutters, and doorways, all lie parallel, and disappear 
at the other vanishing point on the right of the diagram. 

When you are sketching houses, boxes, or other objects that 
demand clear perspective, do not begin by drawing a mere 
plan of the lines. Remember you are trying to be an artist. 

Sketch your house first, then puzzle out your perspective. 
Check the drawing by the perspective, never the perspective 
by the drawing. You will find, as time goes on, that you 
will rightly register the perspective with more and more ease. 

Rules for perspective might be cited without end, but a 
few diagrams well studied will obviate many questions. 

Receding lines that are not parallel to the earth, says a per- 
spective rule, do not meet on the horizon, but either above or 

The sloping lid of a box, the sloping flap of a cellar, and 
the sloping roof of a house do not lie parallel with the earth. 
This rule is clearly demonstrated in the diagrams shown on 
pp. 130 and 131. 

The student often meets in examination papers the state- 
ment : " The drawing of a direct front view, or a full side 
view, will disqualify a candidate." 

" Why is this ? " students invariably ask. 

Think for a minute. 

A box, a table, a wall, that faces your vision exactly has 
lines that lie parallel, and never meet. They cannot meet 
because they do not recede from you. 

A full front view, or a full side view, has no vanishing point 
right or left. 

I 129 




u — 

Drawing for Beginners 

Therefore it must be crystal-clear that such views offer no 
test of accurate perspective drawing. 

Then we have this rule : 

'Parallel lines that do not recede never have the appearance of 
meeting anywhere. 

Look at the diagram of a village street. 

The nature of the ground prevents the building of a long 
straight street, and the houses are dotted about. Although 
they present a diminishing effect (they are receding from the 
vision), yet they diminish to the horizon at four different 
points. Observe this well ; it will demonstrate that : 

// there are ten retiring lines and all parallel, there will he 
only one vanishing point for all ; hut if among the ten there are 
not two parallel lines, there will he ten vanishing points. 

Perspective comes to our aid when we are perplexed with 
curves of arches, bridges, and doorways — beautiful objects 
that tempt the pencil and deceive the eye. 

First sketch the arch or window, marking the direction of 
the base, the thickness of the wall ; then, if you are in doubt 
about the rightful position of the curve, and the highest 
point of the arch, enclose the base lines in a square, drop a line 
from each corner, and at the intersection (or meeting-place) 
draw an upright line ; that should find the centre of the arch. 

In other words, enclose curved shapes in rectangular shapes. 

Although a single arch, or even a couple of arches, might 
be sketched fairly correctly without such aid, a cluster of 
arches presents a more complicated problem, and we should 
feel justified in using this method of checking perspective. 

Circles, we know, are exceedingly difficult to draw correctly. 
An artist, of course, should draw circles without resorting to 
mechanical means, but a beginner, on occasion, may wish to 
check his drawing of a circle by enclosing it in a square. 

In Fig. 57 we have an upright circle in a square, also a 
circle enclosed in a square and in perspective — i.e., receding 
from the spectator. 

Strictly speaking, many perspective problems belong to 
geometry and not to art, and provided that we understand a 

Measuring and Perspective 

few simple rules, we need not worry ourselves with intricate 

But there is one deduction to which we must pay attention. 

Fig. 56. The Fobeshorteking op Curves and Arches 

Every receding line or surface must necessarily be fore- 

What is foreshortening ? 

A coin seen upright and straight in front is a perfect circle ; 
a coin seen lying down is a coin diminished and a coin fore- 
shortened. In the first example the circle is complete. In 


Drawing for Beginners 

the second example the surface of the coin is receding and the 
coin appears to be thicker in the part nearest the spectator. 
It does not appear to be a perfect circle. 

Every object or thing that advances toward the spectator 
is foreshortened. For instance, some one points a finger 
directly at the artist. What does the artist see ? He sees 
the tip of the finger, the tip of the thumb, the width of bent 
fingers, knuckles, palm, and arm, but the planes or surfaces 
that recede — such as the shaft of the finger itself, the fore- 


Fig. 57. A Coin Upright and a Coin Foreshortened 

arm, and the upper arm — all these are seen in a foreshortened 

Put up your own hand and clench your fingers, but with 
the thumb erect. Now lower the upper part of the thumb, 
inclining it away from your vision. Your thumb is now fore- 
shortened, the upper part is receding. 

The human figure, being a rounded object, must always 
present some parts foreshortened. 

In the head, the width of the shoulder, the width of the 
hips, the smooth rounded limbs, the curves of foot and hand 
— nowhere do we find an absolutely flat surface. 

If you wish to find the human figure depicted without any 
foreshortening, you must refer to the drawings and carvings 
of the ancient Egyptians, In Fig. 58 we have a copy from a 
carving produced about the year 1490 B.C. (For the laws of 

Measuring and Perspective 

perspective were all but unknown until the fifteenth century.) 
And what do you find ? 

The head in profile, the shoulders squarely and flatly pre- 
sented (front view), the legs apparently tacked on to a flat 
surface instead of a rounded body, for they do not recede 
one behind the other, but present knee against knee-joint, 
ankle against ankle, and foot against 
foot. And to add to the peculiarities 
of early Egyptian art, the front view of 
the eye is inserted along the profile view 
of the forehead, nose, mouth, and chin. 

Does this not bring home that unless 
you absorb a few laws of perspective, 
proportions, and foreshortening, you will 
find yourself heavily handicapped ? 

You can provide yourself with a good 
deal of amusement and useful instruction 
by searching for perspective, not only in 
your own paintings and drawings, but in 
the work of other people. 

Study pictures in books and magazines, 
and photographs in the daily papers, 
and you will find endless examples of 

By tracing parallel lines and finding vanishing points of 
planes and surfaces, much that bewildered you in the past 
will become clear and reasonable. 

Planes, horizontal planes and perpendicular planes, are 
terms constantly used with regard to perspective. 

A horizontal plane is a plane parallel with the earth ; a per- 
pendicular plane is one perpendicular to the earth. The top of 
a table and the ceiling of a room are horizontal planes ; the 
walls of the room are perpendicular planes. 

It might, very reasonably, be concluded that in using the 
words " tracing parallel lines " I intended to convey that 
lines should be drawn across the pictures. But that certainly 
was not my intention. There is no necessity to commit the 


Fig. 68. Egyptian 


Drawing for Beginners 

crime of scribbling with pencil or ink on the printed pages. 
A thread of white or black silk or cotton laid upon the sur- 
face will serve your purpose. 

To explain more clearly. Lay a thread of cotton on one 
of the perspective diagrams, hold one end on the vanishing 
point, and from that angle swivel the thread on to the 
various parallel lines. Remove the thread to each vanishing 

Test any of the perspective examples in this way by merely 
laying the thread on the paper, holding the right thumb on 
the thread at the vanishing point. An old reel with a small 
quantity of cotton is, perhaps, easiest to handle, then the 
thread does not slip out of the left hand. 

Use black thread if the drawing is lightly sketched on 
white paper, and white thread if the picture is in a dark 

Let me presume that you wish to analyse the perspective 
of the accompanying photograph of a picture-gallery, which 
is a very simple example. 

Lay the thread first against the lowest line of the left wall, 
and find the inclination of the floor ; then lay it on the top 
line near the ceiling. You will easily discover the point 
where these two lines meet. Hold the thread on that place 
and test the right-hand side of the picture by laying the 
thread first against the base and then against the summit of 
the pillars. 

By careful adjustment you will soon fix the actual position 
of the vanishing point, which lies, does it not, between the 
two dark frames on the facing (far) wall and the light frames 
of the two adjoining pictures. 

All the pictures on the left-hand wall lie parallel with the 
wall and diminish as they recede. All the pillars on the right 
side diminish both in height and bulk. Is not the nearer 
pillar a great deal larger in girth than the next, and the 
second pillar larger than the third ? 

Although the pictures are grouped at different heights from 
the ground, yet they all diminish to the same vanishing 

Measuring and Perspective 

point — the vanishing point which Hes on the horizon, this 
being the height of the camera lens. 

The pictures on the far wall exactly face the spectator, 
therefore they do not diminish. 

You were told to lay the thread first on the floor, then on 
the ceiling. This is always the wisest plan. If you find the 
boundary lines correctly, then all within those lines falls into 

When you are drawing from Nature always check the out- 
side lines. If sketching the whole of the house, find the top 
line of the roof, and the base of the walls ; then the rest of 
the roof, the windows, doorways, lintel, and porch will all 
fall into place and save you an enormous amount of needless 
bother. If the outside lines are correct, then it stands to 
reason that everything within those lines will agree. 

It matters not whether it is only a box or a house, a barn 
or a chair, a boat or a book — always, always check the extreme 

By the very simple aid of a thread you can discover many 
things. You can trace the low horizon of pictures that repre- 
sent the low-lying ground. You will also discover that the 
low horizon gives ample space for the sky, and that clouds 
also conform to the laws of perspective and disappear as they 

Pictures of interiors of houses are extremely interesting. 
There you note that the walls, floor, and ceiling (or rafters 
of the roof) diminish to the same vanishing point (because 
they lie parallel one to another), but that the chairs and 
tables, unless they are arranged parallel with the walls, 
have each a separate vanishing point, though each vanish- 
ing point must, of necessity, meet on the same horizon. (See 
Fig. 53.) 

By making a friend of perspective and interesting our- 
selves in its various little problems, looking not only for 
the perspective in our own drawings, but for the per- 
spective in others, we shall soon acquire a useful amount of 


Drawing for Beginners 

Shadows and reflections both bow to the law of perspective. 
Reflections in water, we are told, are geometrical but not 
pictorial. Objects are repeated in water geometrically. 

All reflections of lines parallel with the surface of the water 
vanish on the horizon at the same point. 

For example, we sketch two upright posts supporting a 
beam of wood. 

The beam diminishes as it inclines toward the horizon ; 
carry on these diminishing lines till they meet on the 

The lines in the beam of wood reflected in the water are 
parallel with those in the actual beam above ; these too must 
incline to the same vanishing point. 

If a bridge is sketched with the curve of its arch reflected 
in the water, the reflection must incline toward the same 
horizon and the same vanishing point. 

It is quite possible that you are a keen observer, and that 
your quick eye has already noticed these facts. Nevertheless 
there is no harm in impressing them upon you. Water is 
exceedingly deceptive. The rippling play of the winds on 
the surface and the break of the waves are apt to lead the 
eye astray. Which point was realized by many of the Old 
Masters, who safeguarded themselves by omitting reflections 
and painting sky and water with the same colour and the 
same brush. 

Now for a final observation ; perhaps you have not noticed 
that the reflection of the sun and moon, the stars and the 
clouds, are the same distance below the horizon as the 
originals are above. 

It is by no means uncommon to find a young student 
neglecting shapes and proportions of shadows ; and here 
perspective holds out a helping hand. 

The extent of the shadow is ruled by the position of the source 
of light. 

When the sun is high in the heavens the shadows are com- 
paratively short. When the sun is sinking the rays elongate. 
That is a matter of pure observation. Even a baby will 

VIoYlZ o(\i 

of. lines parallel vutfi th^ 

Vanrsh, on the iioi'J7or\. 
■to the- sawe poLfii 

a re the, -""- 






Fig. 60. Reflections 

Drawing for Beginners 

sometimes notice the long shadows cast by a stone, the 
flickering ribbon of shade thrown across its path when the 
sun is low on the horizon. 

By comparing diagrams of sun and shade you can make 
your own deductions. 

The sun is so far removed from the earth's surface that its rays 
are 'parallel. But the rays from lamp or candle radiate on all 
sides and cannot be considered parallel. 



Sketching Out of Doors 

To the keen, enthusiastic young artist there is nothing 
more fascinating, more enthralHng, than sketching 
out of doors. 

A walk abroad among foreign scenes and strange people 
or a walk at home among one's own familiar haunts can be 
equally fruitful. 

There are one or two points which need explaining, and 
one or two pitfalls of which the novice might be warned. 

For the ardent young sketcher frequently digs a pit for 
his own feet. He begins a ' sketch,' but he pursues it into 
a finished study. 

A sketch, it must be remembered, should he a sketch and 
nothing more. It is a trifle, an impression. 

" How unfinished ! " remarks some one, looking over the 
young artist's shoulder. Do not let the remark influence you 
against your better judgment. 

Did you begin the sketch as an impression of a particular 
thing — the wind swaying a spray of flowers, a branch, or a 
tree, a cloud passing over a distant hill and blurring its con- 
tour, a scrap of rugged masonry, a sunny portion of a terrace, 
a garden seat, a toy flung on the grass, a fragment of a 
flower over which a bird or butterfly hovers ? Then do not 
try to finish it. All the spirit of the sketch will vanish if 
you ' finish ' one tiny portion at the expense of another 

Experience, that hard taskmaster, and experience only, 
will teach you how far to carry your sketch. 

But the main thing to remember is this. If you wish to 
sketch — sketch. Leave the finished study for other times. 


, % 

Drawing for Beginners 

And never, never tinker with your sketch when you take it 


Now, having given fair warning, let us proceed to details. 
The secret of successful sketching is to arrive at your 

chosen place fresh and eager for work. 

If you burden yourself with a lot of sketching paraphernalia, 

you will arrive with 
aching arms, hot and 
tired, and possibly cross. 
" Travel light when 
sketching " is a good 
motto. Take with you 
only essential sketching 
materials. A block or a 
book, and, if the book 
has limp covers, a piece 
of board or stiff card- 
board on which to rest 
it, a pencil, india- 
rubber, paint-box, 
brushes, and a bottle 
of water are necessities. 
An easel, a camp-stool, 
a sketching umbrella, 
personally I should re- 
gard as superfluous. 
It is usually possible to hold your book in such a way that 

your paper is shaded by your shoulder, your hat, or the 

opposite page. 

A stile, fence, stone, stump, or bank more often than not 

offers a convenient resting-place and saves you the trouble 

of carrying a camp-stool. 

If the weather is damp, an ordinary newspaper carried 

under your sketch-book and folded and used as a cushion is 

a good precaution against catching colds ; should the weather 

be very hot the same paper, folded and held fan-wise, shields 

the page from the glare of the sun. 


Fig. 61. An Impression 

Sketching Out of Doors 

A great point is gained by starting in a business-like frame 
of mind. It is a mistaken idea that an artist drifts into 
painting a picture as a cloud drifts across the sky. To 
obtain practical results you must start with practical inten- 
tions. You must be firm with yourself. You must choose 
your subject quickly and settle down determinedly, and you 
must not he too ambitious. Young people balk their efforts 
by attempting subjects that are so ambitious that they might 
well make a practised artist hesitate. 

" I should love to paint a field of corn, with poppies and 
convolvuluses . , . and perhaps a little dip of the sea — 
and a glimpse of the village church beyond," one will exclaim. 

And another will say : 

" Let's go on the beach and sketch the harbour, and the 
boats, and the cliffs. It would be simply topping ! " 

I admit the attractiveness of such subjects. The very 
suggestion quickens one's pulses. But the difficulties ! 

Once upon a time there was a man of most eloquent tongue 
who wrote about art, and more especially about pictures. 
He advised artists to take a stone and study that. There's 
something very interesting in the drawing of an old lichened 
stone, though it is far from easy. A wise principle of selec- 
tion, however, is — choose one simple subject rather than a 
dozen complicated ones. 

From the field of corn choose a blade of wheat with per- 
haps the tendril of a convolvulus creeping up its stalk ; a 
cluster of poppies, a tall grass. If a butterfly flutters near, 
watch intently the angle of his wings, the exquisite poise of 
his body, the clutching, delicate strength of the tiny legs, 
and draw your remembrance of him. 

In a meadow-land of gold and silver, where cows are " forty 
feeding like one," choose a spray of buttercups, a single fine 
marguerite ; take one cow under your observation ; make a 
sketch of a portion of a tree, a gnarled branch, or some 
twisted roots with an over-curling plume of a fern. Sketch 
the stile, or the fragment of a paling round which a spray of 
ivy is climbing. 


Drawing for Beginners 

Should you wish to sketch a cottage, be careful not to sit 
too near. If you do, your perspective will be very violent 

Fig. 62. When sketchinq a Cottage do not sit too near 

and look exaggerated. Sit half a meadow away rather than 
at the front gate. 

And if the cottage is complicated (that is, filled with detail, 
the thatch deep and overhanging, the creepers thick and 
concealing the shape of the wall, and the little lattice-windows 
nearly hidden from view), draw a portion of the cottage — a 

Sketching Out of Doors 

corner of the eaves and one window, a portion of the roof 
and the queer old chimney, the porch with its potted plants 
and window-seat, or the well-head with its dripping rope and 

Fig. 63 

shining pail. And a word of advice about a garden. There 
is nothing more difficult than garden scenes. The subjects 
are many, the lights are often broken, the shadows are con- 
fused. Content yourself with a woodshed, or portion of a 
summer-house, a few mossy steps, a garden roller, a corner of 
the terrace, a wheelbarrow, or a cluster of pots and a trowel. 
At the outset ask yourself whether the object you intend 
to draw will best fit an oblong or upright sheet of paper. 

K 145 

Drawing for Beginners 

If you wish to draw a tall subject, such as a tree, a narrow 
building, an upright flower or figure, hold your sketch-book 
in an upright position. If you intend drawing a long-shaped 
subject, a reclining figure of a person or animal, a wide- 
spreading building, a 
stretch of low-lying 
ground, hold the book 
open at the full width 
of the page. 

Beginners are prone 
to dash at a subject, 
and, finding they have 
drawn it on a smaller 
scale than they intended, 
add other details until 
the page is filled. 

But why fill the whole 
page ? An artist's 
sketch-book is a book 
of scraps. He seldom 
carries his sketches up 
to the margin of his 
paper. One page may, 
and often does, carry 
an amazing variety of 

If you decide to do 

Fig. 64. The Well-head nij.ii . 

^ a small sketch keep to 

that intention. Should you feel unhappy because a wide 
margin surrounds your small sketch, frame the sketch with 
a lightly drawn pencil line. 

It is astonishing how important are these apparently trivial 
matters, how much they influence the sketch for good or ill. 

We will presume that you have arrived at your destination 
and are sitting in a shady place, faced with a bewildering 
number of beautiful things. After fixing and unfixing your 
mind many times you at length decide to draw something 

Fig. 65. Flowering Rushes 

Drawing for Beginners 

that is close at hand — a tiny clump of white flowers with 
feathery foliage, golden disks, and silvery petals growing 
humbly near the shorn stubble of the cornfield. It is a wise 
selection. Being of a lowly habit, the flowers will not be 
tossed and stirred by the wind, and so worry you at the very 
outset of your task. Moreover, the flowers have simple 
forms. They resemble tiny umbrellas with long handles. 
Draw first the shape and curve of the slender stem, then the 
circular gold centre, then the ' mass ' shape of the petals, 
dividing up each petal later, noting their wayward manner 
of growing. 

After this your eye probably will be attracted by the 
gorgeous berries of the woody nightshade twisting its jewels 
round the ash stump and fence. 

Draw the post and paling before the entwining tendrils and 
stalks. Wide-flung circles and rampant growth such as 
these lead the eye astray. But if the upright post and the 
cross-piece are once fixed on paper, then we have two simple 
and solid shapes lending contrast to the delicacy of the 
twining stem. If you began by drawing the stem of the 
plant, your eye might be misled by its strength and sinews. 
The foliage is vigorous. There is no feeble indecision in the 
sweeping curves and twisted heart-shaped leaves. Sketch 
the looping curves of the stem, then place the leaves, drawing 
from tip to tip on the outside edges. The berries gem the 
post in fanciful clusters, hanging from thread-like stems. 
Make the post firm and strong and shade it broadly. The 
richest tone, however, is reserved for the berries, and the 
leaves have a high polish. 

It is undoubtedly a tempting subject for the brush. Mix 
your colours clearly. The berries will probably attract your 
first attention. Try to get the rich tints glowing and bright, 
then the colour of the leaves, allowing for their transparency 
by laying the paint freshly and broadly, and, when dry, 
adding some of the deep greens and browns of the back- 

In all probability you will be disappointed with your first 

< f/ 

Fig. G6. Sketching Plants. Thumbnail Landscape Sketches 


Sketching Out of Doors 

efforts. The open air is one of the most exacting of con- 
ditions. The pure clear atmosphere reveals every blot and 
blemish. Your model challenges your poor attempts with its 
incomparable beauty. 

Nevertheless, do not be discouraged, for you have this great 
encouragement, that if the painting or drawing looks at all 
passable out of doors it will look infinitely better within 

A clump of brilliantly coloured fungi is a delicious subject 
for pencil or brush, and one that is often found in the wood- 
lands on a summer's day. What could be more simple in 
form than a toadstool, with its curved top and ridged surface 
beneath, and the bulbous-shaped stalk ? Being a rounded 
surface, one part will be lighter than another. Try to place 
the shading correctly. The edge of the fungus may be 
broken, chipped, splotched, or stained. Do not neglect any 
of these happy accidents. Dame Nature springs the most 
extraordinary surprises upon those bent on discovering her 
secrets, and if we are lax in small matters we shall miss the 
beauties in larger objects later on. 

A trailing spray of blackberry is a charming subject for 
brush and pencil alike. Sketch the direction of the spray, 
then the mass of each spray, then the direction of each leaf 
in the spray. 

When the sun is high in the heavens and the colours are 
faint and sickly, use your pencil instead of a brush. 

A bit of a fence overhanging a piece of rock or sandstone, 
or a fence topping a grassy bank, or a stile dividing two fields, 
are equally interesting subjects for a sketch. 

And here I must repeat myself at the risk of appearing 
wearisome. In no case do I wish you to choose necessarily 
the subject that I have discussed. My examples are chosen, 
first, because they are simple and direct ; secondly, because 
they are within reach of the majority of young artists ; and, 
thirdly, because they represent variations of themes found 
over a broad area. 

Draw the nearest upright post, get the direction of the 


Drawing for Beginners 

farther ones, and the bars that link the three. If you are in 
doubt about the angle of the bars hold your pencil at arm's 
length and then you will note their direction. If you desire 
to check the perspective, lay your book on the ground and 
seek for a long piece of slender grass. Hold one end of the 
grass on the right of your drawing and above the top bar — 

Fig. 67. Choose Simple Subjects 

for that is the height of the eye in this little sketch (Fig. 68). 
The palings are curved and bent, and overhang the rock. The 
rock is a thick crumbling substance, its rounded edge pro- 
jects, and its flat surface is slightly cleft and cast into shadow. 
Always draw the largest and most important parts first, 
such as the fence, and the rock, then add the grass tufting 
the summit, and the bramble swinging down into space. An 
oak-tree stands close by. Its roots have become welded into 
crevices of the rock, and it rears a twisted and graceful trunk 
bending slightly backward in its efforts to reach the sun. 
The rock and tree have characteristics in common. Sketch 
the mass of the projecting boulder, then the root of the tree, 

^»S^Y\ ""^ 



Fig. 71. The Twig of a 


Drawing for Beginners 

mark the girth of the trunk, and draw the tree, building up 
with big curves, and noting the snake-hke twist of the 
slender branches. Mark the richest and deepest shadows, 
how the shadows break into shadow shapes of twigs, leaves, 
and grass. 

Trees are difficult — that much is admitted even by Ian, 
who is devoted to his pencil. 

" Oh, yes," said Ian, " I can draw horses, and men, and 
houses — but trees " and he paused thoughtfully. 

To draw a tree from life, we must aim at the main structure. 
First draw the trunk, then the biggest branches, lastly the 

There is a curious fact about trees that is worth recording, 
for it is often helpful when we are faced with the difficulties 
of grasping such a big subject. A branch of a tree will have 
all the characteristics of the tree itself. 

Examine a small branch of an oak-tree — just a spray of 
leaves. Are they not sturdy, stout fellows ? Does not each 
twig strike out in an independent fashion — spreading 
strongly ? And is not the branch from which the twig is 
broken gnarled and twisted, stubborn and strong ? Walk 
some distance away from the oak-tree, then turn and observe 
it carefully. 

Has not the tree the same characteristics as the branch, as 
the twig ? 

Compare a twig of the poplar-tree with the tree itself. Is 
not the twig the same pyramid shape as the parent tree ? 

It is a good idea to draw some twigs of a tree before trying 
to draw the tree itself. And this is an excellent subject when 
the weather is too cold to stand out of doors. Gather some 
bare twigs and carry them home and make careful drawings 
of the twigs. When spring is approaching you will find 
delightful little subjects in the swinging green and red catkins 
and the soft down of the pussy willows, and autumn provides 
us with a wealth of clustering nuts. Which studies will help 
you with your drawing of the tree. 

When drawing the branch of a tree look from one side to 

sketching Out of Doors 

another side, from one angle to another angle. Build up the 
tree, as if it were growing under your pencil, with its rough- 
ness, nodules, and irregularities. Do not draw it too smoothly. 

Fiff. 73. Twigs in Early Spring 

like the polished leg of a table, but try to give it a natural 
sturdy growth. 

Trees of a striking peculiarity are easiest to draw, as are 
people with strongly marked features. Such are Scotch fir- 

Fig. 74. Twigs of Trees without Leaves 

trees with spiky needles, bony branches, and spiked trunks ; 
thorn-trees, small and twisted with the winds ; oak-trees 
that have braved many a storm, with lopped branches and 
thin foliage. 

You will find it interesting to sketch clumps of trees with 
the brush, either in black or white or colour — a few tall elm- 
trees in a distant meadow, or a fringe of fir-trees against 


Drawing for Beginners 

the sky. This teaches 
you to observe trees 
as a whole, and also 
impresses upon you 
the varied silhouette 
of each type of tree. 
Before we embark 
on the subject of 
landscape — for our 
horizon is broadening 
rapidly — we might 
spend a few moments 
discussing the sketch- 
ing of ruined castles 
and old houses, which 
so often form an ex- 
cuse for an excursion 
or a picnic, and of 
which we usually 
desire to carry home 
some little memento 
in the shape of a 

Do not attempt 
complicated subjects. 
If the ruin is large 
and there are many 
turrets, many towers, 
flights of steps, and 
long passages, choose 
a modest fragment. 

An angle of a wall 
against which twist 
the bony stems of 

ivy, one little window framing a patch of blue sky, a morsel 

of broken masonry, or a few steps — any of these will give 

you the materials you need. 



Fig. 75. 

A Tree drawn with a Tv/ig 




Fig. 76. A Silhouette of Treks. Sketches of Ruins 154 

Sketching Out of Doors 

A ruin invariably presents a crumbling, and softened, and 
somewhat elusive outline. 

Rough in the whole mass, the general structure. Look 
for the highest point, compare the position of each thing 
with that point, then, having settled on the principal forms, 
look for the darkest dark and brightest light. Try to give an 
impression of the roughened surface. Draw the near shapes 
with care. If you sketch the masonry in the foreground with 
accuracy, then the parts that lie farther away can be more 
slightly drawn. The little bit of knowledge acquired by 
sketching something with care has a very solid value. Young 
sketchers faced with picturesque ruins are often tempted to 
try a tricky way of drawing. 

We have all seen ruins ' touched in ' with sharp and telling 
bits of light and shade (apparently with ease and quickness), 
and we are fired with a desire to do likewise. 

Believe me when I say that this is yet another pitfall for the 
unwary. The tricky methods of drawing never advance us one 
step. We must sketch only what we see, and that with care. 

Look also for the perspective (another thing that is often 
ignored when sketching out of doors), check the top angle, 
and the base of the arch, also the fragment of carving, 
and the window in the wall with the near and projecting 

Once we are fairly embarked on the subject of ruined 
buildings and trees, we feel more capable of trying real 
landscapes on a larger scale. 

As an introduction to this more ambitious task, try your 
hand at thumbnail sketches. By thumbnail I mean tiny 
impressions of fairly large things, small houses, small trees, 
and the broadest indication of the curve of the ground, of 
fields, hills, and hedges. Not scribbles, but honest though 
minute sketches marking the chief characteristics : the lie 
of the ground, the position of the houses, the shape of roof 
(whether pointed or flat), the comparative size of the trees 
or shrubs, the tint or tone of trees, grass, roof, and walls. 
(See the examples in Fig. 66.) 


Drawing for Beginners 

Needless to say, distance does lend enchantment to the 
view in these thumbnail impressions, and they are far easier 
to draw when seen from a long distance. They are useful, 
too, for the few minutes' wait at a railway-station, or the 
short space of time spent at places when motoring. We can 
seize on a few of the salient or chief characteristics of the 
landscape and jot down tiny little pictures of houses and 
trees, hills and valleys, cliff-end and sea. The concentra- 
tion necessary for these sketches will help us to grasp the 
chief characteristics of larger sketches. 

A barn on the top of a sloping field, with a horse cropping 
the turf, and a morsel of a fence is as simple and direct a 
subject as one could find. Begin by sketching the slope of 
the ground, on which erect the shape of the barn, with its 
pointed roof, then the upright palings and short bushes, the 
horse with bent neck and the barrel shape of its rounded 

Then as to the colour. A soft yellow light pervades sky, 
barn, grass, and horse, and on this float the rounded misty 
shapes of the grey clouds. The golden-brown roof is touched 
with cooler grey shadows on the near side, and the grass 
mingles with the reddish soil, something the same tint as the 
barn. The hedge is olive deepening to brown, and the flank 
and neck of the horse is a richer brown and olive sharpened 
with darker tints. 

Light and shade out of doors is often most bewildering to 
the young student. The light is suffused, the air is clean 
and penetrating, shadows flicker and change. 

Before beginning a sketch try to decide on the most de- 
finite bits of light and shade. Make a thumbnail sketch in 
the comer of your book if you will, in pencil or charcoal. 
Say to yourself, " The sun was out, the rays shone from 
that particular angle." Should you find the shadows and 
rays vanishing before the approach of large clouds, wait 
till the clouds pass. If, instead of passing, more clouds 
appear, then begin another sketch, for those clouds change 
the whole effect of the landscape. And how much they 

Fi^-. 77. A Si-\iri.K La.mi.-m'apk 


Sketching Out of Doors 

change it can be proved by referring to your thumbnail 

Sketching on the seashore raises a fresh crop of difficulties 
and delights. 

Boats are not easy things to draw when lying on the 

Fig. 78. On the Seashore 

beach. " And that is the reason," Audrey explains, " why 
I prefer to draw them in the water." 

Audrey is wily, but she doesn't altogether avoid her diffi- 
culties. If we are spared drawing the curve of the keel seen 

Fig. 79. The Shape that is hidden by the Waves 

when the boat is exposed on the pebbles, there is all the 
rigging to lead us astray when the boat is in the water. 

Moreover, we must know something about the shape that 
is hidden by the waves. As it is necessary to know the 
shape of the limbs covered by the clothes, and the branches 
covered with the leaves, so is it essential that we should 
know something of the build of the boat. 

Should our artistic eye be attracted by the rich tints of 


Drawing for Beginners 

the sails of fishing smacks or long-shore boats, we must be 
careful not to neglect the rigging and shape of the sails. 

I have a distinct remembrance of five drawings by five 
little ladies of a fishing smack with sails exactly the same 
shape fore and aft. Compare one sail with another sail. 
Begin by drawing the long sweeping curves of the hull, and 
then the angle of the mast. With these two facts carefully 
noted you won't go quite so far astray. 

A beach, however, has a lot to offer besides the boats. 

There are the capstans, and the high black houses where 

Fig. 80. Study of a Boat 

the fishermen store their nets and tackle, and the lobster 
pots, and the heaps of coiled ropes. There are the rocks 
with their brown and mossy sides reflected in limpid pools ; 
crabs; shells of all descriptions; starfishes most obligingly 
lazy and quiet ; sprays of deliciously coloured seaweed ; 
sand castles, wooden spades, and scarlet buckets. 

The beach is full of interesting little colour subjects. The 
air is clear, and the water reflects the light ; bright caps and 
frocks, sails and seaweed, and the striped tents and scarlet 
buckets are all most attractive. 

All our former discussions, our thumbnail sketches, pencil 
and chalk studies, and small landscapes in colour will render 
sketching by the seashore easier. 

If we wish to sketch people sitting on the beach, or children 



"^"^"is 4§a 

."'* 3f.-^ 

Fitf. si. On tiik Hkach 


Sketching Out of Doors 

playing, we shall have to be very rapid. It is wisest to sketch 
the stationary things first. If we desire to sketch Mollie or 
Rosemary by their tent or climbing the breakwater or rocks, 
do not let us waste time waiting. Sketch a bit of the tent, 
the breakwater or rock, then when Mollie or Rosemary 
appears you will be prepared. Also, and I speak feelingly 
on the subject, they may dart away before you have painted 
the colour of their shoes, belt, or even dress — if so, write the 
colour tint in the margin. 

But with the distant promontory and the glossy procession 
of rocks stretching into the sea, you will happily find some- 
thing at rest. Only, remember this, never begin a sketch 
in the morning and finish the same at night. The light will 
be wholly different. Sketch a morning scene by morning, a 
noonday scene at noonday. If you have not done all you 
desired to do during those periods of time, put the sketch 
away until those hours recur. It is highly improbable that 
you will see the same effect again, for that is at once the 
bane and delight of sketching — its never-ending variety. 



How to Catch a Likeness 

THE word ' portraiture ' has an awe-inspiring sound. 
Portraiture is something that we may possibly 
attain in the far-off days when we are grown up. 

Granted that the art of portraiture may be too ambitious 
for our humble pencil, yet there is every reason why we should 
train our eye, hand, and brain in the devious ways of catching 
a likeness. It will be a big help to the portrait-painting of 
the future. 

The gift of catching a likeness, of transposing a recog- 
nizable drawing of a face to paper, is a very wayward gift. 
It does not follow that because we are artistic we shall have 
a jiair for portraiture. 

There are some people — far from artistic — who can catch a 

There are many amateurs (by which I mean those artists 
who do not take the artistic profession seriously) who have 
a wonderful facility for drawing a likeness ; also there are 
very clever artists to whom the gift of portraiture is denied. 
All of which demonstrates that this peculiar gift lies apart 
from other branches of art. 

Whether we have this gift, or whether we have merely a 
feeling that we should like ' to try our hand ' at sketching a 
likeness, it is our plain duty to make a few efforts, for it 
stimulates three very valuable qualities : it promotes care- 
fulness, accuracy, and reasoning. 

Now we might consider a few methods by which we may 
become proficient in this very elusive art. 

Possibly at some time of your life you have amused your- 
self with sketching the shadows of your friends. You placed 

How to Catch a Likeness 

a candle or some other light at such an angle that the shadow 
of the profile was thrown on a sheet of paper pinned on a 
wall ; then by tracing the outline of the shadow with a soft 
pencil, or piece of 
charcoal, you secured 
an outline sketch. 
The size of the pic- 
ture is its disadvant- 
age. Who wants a 
life-sized outline of 
even their dearest 
and their best ? 

But in a sizable, 
careful little outline 
drawing of a friend's 
features filled with 
black ink or paint 
we have an old- 
fashioned method of 
portraiture — the sil- 

Silhouette drawing 
is not such a difficult 
art as it might at 
first appear. It is, 
moreover, an excel- 
lent stepping-stone to 
the broad highway of 
portraiture. And it 
has two very popular advantages : it is quickly done, and it 
is pleasing when done. 

Armed with a smooth card or a firm-surfaced paper, a 
pencil, a fine brush or pen, ivory black paint or black drawing 
ink, we have all that is necessary. 

Ask your model to move his head aside till he presents his 
profile, then take up your pencil and lightly sketch head, 
face, features, neck, and hair. 

L 161 

Fig. 82. A Light Sketch and a Silhouette 

Drawing for Beginners 

Look critically at the proportions of your drawing. Com- 
pare your sketch with your model. Is the face the right 
size ? Does the forehead creep too high to the crest of the 
head ? Examine the curve from the brow to the bridge of 
the nose. Is it sufficiently indented ? Carefully note the 
length of the nose, the shape and projection of the upper and 
lower lip, the curve of the chin, and the moulding beneath 
the jaw. 

Do not make the neck too thick. You can add bulk to 
your silhouette, but you can't take it away. Carefully note 
the shape of the head. 

There are various methods of ' finishing ' the neck. For 
our first essay the neck may be finished in a sloping curve 
beginning at the nape of the neck and sloping thence in a 
sharp curve downward to the forepart of the throat. 

Always sketch the shape and position of the eye, also the 
nostril, ear, jaw, and corner of the mouth. This will help 
to check proportions and keep the features in place. 

Having drawn the general shape of the coiled, floating, or 
clipped locks, the stubby moustache or beard, we shall find 
it easy to indicate the shape and character by the fine hairs 
projecting beyond the outline. 

When the outline is ready to be filled with ink or paint 
(and supposing that paint will be your most likely medium) 
mix a good quantity of ivory black or sepia on the palette, 
and lay it on smoothly and evenly. 

The silhouette filled and the outline firm and clear, you 
will note any projection of hair, frills, collar, lace, and 
ribbons. Draw these with a delicately fine line. 

A word about the size of your silhouette. Do not make 
the drawing too large, but, on the other hand, do not aim at 
making it minute. If you sketch it no larger than a postage- 
stamp you will find it difficult to correct in the early stages ; 
and if you draw it very large you will lose the dainty effect 
that is the chief charm of the silhouette. One and a half 
inches high is a fairly reasonable size. 

If you are not satisfied with your first attempts at a 

How to Catch a Likeness 

silhouette, do not despair, try again. Make another start — 
sketch a fresh model. Do not expect to succeed without 
practice, for remember you are up against a difficult problem. 
You are not merely trying to depict ' a nose,' ' a face,' ' a 
head ' ; but a very special nose, face, and head. 

Moreover, there is another excellent reason for many 
attempts. There is no satisfactory 
method of correcting a silhouette. 
If we make a false step and give 
too long a nose, too thick lips, too 
square a jaw, we cannot afterward 
amend our mistake. It is of course 
possible to take a brushful of thick 
white paint and fine down our 
outline. We can also use a scraper 
(a very sharp knife) and scrape 
at the surface of the paper. But 
neither method will be satisfactory. 
The pure, hard, sharp outline is 
the hall-mark of a good silhouette. 
The one unforgivable sin is the 
ragged edge. 

It is a thrilling moment when 
we can trace a likeness between 
our model and our silhouette. And 
I can truthfully say that, given 
a little patience and intelligent 
application, there is no reason against, and every reason for, 
that happy result. 

The drawing of likenesses in silhouette (for there are many 
other subjects to which we can apply this fascinating little 
art — sprays of leaves, birds, or fluffy animals, grotesque and 
quaint figures, landscapes of fantastic description, to quote 
but a few) has this advantage. It hides defects. 

The double chin, the dragged lines of eye, mouth, and 
nostril, the wrinkles of forehead and face, the untidy head 
of hair — all are softened and veiled with the kindly brush. 


Fig. 83. A Spray of Leaves 
IN Silhouette 

Drawing for Beginners 

Once your interest is aroused in portraiture the art of the 
silhouette will not wholly satisfy your cravings. It is a 
charming but, it must be admitted, a limited art. 

Now we are prepared to pass on to more ambitious sub- 
jects, and here I must offer a word of advice, for I do not 
want to make this difficult business of portraiture unneces- 
sarily more difficult. We must go warily. The fascinating 
task of drawing likenesses is sometimes apt to give offence. 

" That — my portrait ! " said an old lady, ruefully regard- 
ing a drawing of mine. " Ah, well ! " — following up with a 
sigh — " I was considered rather nice-looking in my day." 
The sad result was that the old lady refused to pose again, 
and the rest of the holiday was wasted, so far as further 
endeavours at sketching a likeness were concerned. 

It is just as well to bear in mind what was written of 
Sir Joshua Reynolds, the great portrait-painter of the 
eighteenth century : 

His pencil was striking, resistless, and grand ; 

His manners were gentle, complying, and bland ; 

Still born to improve us in every part. 

His pencil our faces, his manner our heart. ■<* 

Compare our beloved Sir Joshua with the Chinese painter 
who, like most Chinese artists, was excellent at copying a 
likeness, defect and blemish complete, and to whom one of 
his sitters objected that he had not made him handsome 
enough. The painter replied, blandly but firmly : 

" No hab got handsome face, how can hab handsome 
picture ? " 

Supposing that it is your intention to sketch the likeness 
of a person who has what is sometimes called an unfor- 
tunate profile, you should not pitch on the particular position 
of a profile for choice. 

The pencil says that my model has a small eye, snub nose, 
receding chin, and it records these facts remorselessly. It 
may not mean to be unkind. But the outline is such and 
down it goes. 

Fig. 84. Expression in Portraits 

How to Catch a Likeness 

In such a case a three-quarter view, or even a full face 
would be wiser — and kinder. 

Some people run away with the idea that portraiture is 
merely seeking out defects and exaggerations — but that is 

We should look for the pleasing characteristics. We do 
not, it is true, wish to draw the ' pretty pretty ' face — the 
chocolate-box style of beauty — but there is no reason against 
recording pleasant rather than unpleasant facts. It takes a 
very big man to rise above facial defects, and an Oliver 
Cromwell to wish to be painted ' warts and all.' 

We will presume that a group of girls and boys are waiting 
primed ready to sketch portraits. And one has been selected, 
or very good-naturedly volunteers, to sit as a model. Some one 
remarks, not very politely and a little despairingly, " There's 
absolutely nothing in Rachel that isn't just ordinary ! " 

Ordinary ; what is ' ordinary ' ? ' Common, customary,' 
says the dictionary (among other things). 

Is Rachel ' ordinary ' compared with the rest ? 

Look swiftly from Rachel's lips to those of Patricia. 
Rachel's upper lip is ' ever so short ' compared with Patricia's 
rather pouting mouth ; and her eye — she has a fine-lidded 
eye, with clear, open pupil. John's eye is slightly hidden by 
his brow, and his iris is dark. And compare the three pairs 
of eyebrows. Rachel's extend thickly from the nose to the 
outer edge of the eye, Patricia's are thin and silky, and John's 
are queer little dabs of hair, one of which gives a humorous 
twist and expression to his face. 

Expression, ah ! — now we are getting to the root of this 
portrait business. . . . 

Let us break off for a moment. 

When we have seen a portrait by a famous artist — or the 
reproduction of one — what lingers most clearly in our minds ? 
Does not the expression haunt our memories ? 

To quote a few of the greatest portraits in the world : 
Think of the gentle austerity of Titian's Doctor, the shy 
grace of Velasquez's Baby Princess, the demure questioning 


Drawing for Beginners 

of Reynolds' Strawberry CHrl, and the tragic dignity of 
Rembrandt's Old Woman. 

I doubt if you could give the faintest description of the 
features of one of these portraits. 

And now let us look at our portrait of Rachel or Margery. 

That may be Margery's eye, nose, mouth, chin, hair, and 
ear, but if we have missed Margery's mischievous look, the 
wicked twinkle in her bright eye, the twitching curve of her 
lips, and the jaunty tilt of her glossy head ; in short, if we 
have not captured her expression, Margery's portrait is no 
portrait at all. 

When we draw likenesses we must not labour first with 
one feature and then with another, but try to grasp every- 
thing together. 

We begin by noting any peculiarity, such as the poise of 
the head on the shoulders, afterward roughing out the angles 
of the features, or the arrangement of large masses such as 
a woman's hair or a man's beard ; then we confine ourselves 
to the drawing of the features. 

There is no sense in racing along if by nature you are a 
plodder. We must all ' gang our ain gait.' 

Personally, however, I have a feeling, or rather a con- 
viction, that if I cannot capture something of the likeness 
in the earliest stages it will always elude me. 

From the very first attack the angle of the head, the 
placing of the neck on the shoulders, the cock of the eye, 
the droop of the lip. 

There is another point to bear in mind. Do not get too 
easily discouraged. Don't be depressed if your efforts do 
not gain immediate success. You must try many times 
before you can hope to be proficient. 

After all, you do not expect to play a sonata of Beethoven's, 
or to write a thesis on an abstruse subject, or to compose an 
exquisite lyric — without practice. 

And remember too that you are in search of the unex- 
pected. It is your business to find and record facts usually 
unnoticed by persons who are not artists. 

Fig. 85. Likenesses 

Drawing for Beginners 

Naturally some people are more easy to draw than others. 
Those with marked characteristics are the easiest of all. If 
you have any choice in the matter, choose some one with 
striking features, the drawing of which you cannot miss. 

Take your subtle and 
more delicate studies 

When I was a child 
I was very fond of 
copying photographs 
of celebrities from 
papers and magazines 
— not such a bad 
method of training 
the eye and hand in 
the curious ways of 
catching a likeness. 
And I remember copy- 
ing a charming profile 
of a certain little 
princess (her daughter 
is now as old as the 
picture to which I 
refer), and her Royal 
Highness' s ear was of 
a prodigious size. If 
■^ '' some one looked at 

Fig.86. PEX-POKTBAiTO^LomsAM. Alcott ^^^ drawing without 

recognizing the subject I would say indignantly, " Oh, but 
you must see who it is by the ear ! " That I knew to be 
right. I was quite annoyed when a friend said with an air 
of surprise, " But I have never noticed the Princess's ear was 
so large ; surely you are mistaken." 

You must be prepared for that sort of criticism. If you 
make it your business to observe things that are out of the 
way, you are certain to meet with such remarks. 

It is not only with eyes, nose, ears, mouth, expression that 

How to Catch a Likeness 

we must be observant, but we must note and compare the 
little unobtrusive characteristics and traits which distinguish 

One sits erect, another lolls in a languid manner, another 
slouches into awkward attitudes. Some perk up their chins, 
or incline their heads slightly to one side. All of which are 
valuable helps to the getting of a good likeness. 

It will lessen your difficulties if you remember to leave a 
space between yourself and your model. It is a sheer im- 
possibility to see such a large object as a human being in 
proportion unless we remove ourselves a good many paces 

If you place yourself close to your model, as young artists 
often do, you will see the top of the head, the top of the 
shoulder, the upper part of the body, and the feet. You will 
have the curves of the features very much accentuated, and 
it will be exceedingly difficult to get the whole picture ' in 

Artists when painting full-length portraits invariably pose 
their models a good distance away from their easels, and 
sometimes the models are placed on a low platform. We can 
dispense with platforms, but we cannot dispense with distance. 

Naturally, when drawing the head you can sit near your 
model with safety. But when the object is large then you 
must move away until you get a good and comprehensive 

I would not discourage you from drawing people who 
happen to be near if you feel a strong desire to attempt it. 
Do not resist the impulse to sketch some one who is bending 
over the same table as yourself, for example, but bear in 
mind that you are close to your model and make allowances. 

It may be that you are not able to procure many sitters, 
that you live where there are very few people, and your 
opportunities of observation are therefore very restricted. 
That need not prevent you from drawing portraits. You 
must study the few. Even the greatest artists have contented 
themselves at times with a moderate range of subjects. And 


Drawing for Beginners 

some of the finest portraits are the portraits of the artist's 
relations and friends. Gainsborough painted his own 
daughters. Some of Rubens' best portraits are those of his 
wife Helena ; Rembrandt was for ever painting himself, and 
his clever rubicund face eyes us shrewdly from many a 
canvas ; and there is the painting of Van Dyck himself 
with the sunflower. 

And so we narrow our portrait-drawing down to ourselves. 
If you are driven to the drawing and painting of yourself 
(and it is always easier to draw other people, because one 
cannot back away from one's self and so get a good ' general ' 
view), and you are presumably standing before a looking- 
glass, remember this — you are drawing yourself not actually 
as you are but a size smaller. 

A mirror reduces and makes us appear smaller, and this 
reduction forces the little things upon us at the expense of 
the more important. 

It is very easy to prove this. Stand a few paces away 
from the looking-glass and ask some one to dab with a colour- 
brush the reflection of your head, the crest of your head and 
the tip of your chin, and measure this space with the brush 
against your own face. You will find that the looking-glass 
face is about a third the size of your own. 

The art of catching a likeness, then, brings us to this 
point. We must first of all have good ground-work. We 
must practise drawing faces and features of various people 
in various positions. 

We must draw with knowledge, not guessing at things, 
sketching at random and trusting to luck. 

We must be prepared to catch the fleeting look ; we must 
hold ourselves, as it were, on the very tiptoe of expectancy 
for the smile, the glance, the pout, the thoughtful or mirthful 

A line well expressed will send our hopes soaring high, and 
a line faulty and wrong will dash all those hopes to the 
ground. Never be daunted by mistakes, but take your 
courage in both hands and persevere. 


Action and Composition 

WHEN I was very young I cherished intense admira- 
tion for a certain httle friend who was fond of 
drawing birds — not single studies of birds, but 
birds in flight. Flicks flick, flick — so many swift touches of 
the pencil and the birds sprang into sight, crowds of little 

Fig. 87. Birds in Flight 

birds with curved wings against solid chunks of rolling 
clouds. Have you not drawn them yourself ? Have you 
not sometimes watched the birds crossing the sky and tried 
to follow their flight with a pencil ? 

Fishes are not so easily studied, but sometimes they can 
be observed in tanks, or in the wonderful Nature pictures of 


Drawing for Beginners 

the ' movies,' and fishes swimming in water bear resemblance 
to birds flying in the air. 

We are inclined to neglect our opportunities of studying 

Fig. 88. Pattern formed by Children playing a 
Round Game 

things in action. Now that most of us can see in the cine- 
matographs things moving as they never (seemingly) moved 
before, we should be all the better primed for this very 

fascinating study. 
ffi \ When crows caw and circle round tall trees, 

I /'I or pigeons rise in great sweeps and eddies 

from the ground, it seems as if they were 
weaving patterns against the sky, and if each 
little beak held a gossamer thread there would 
be an exquisite pattern floating against the 

Given sufficient motives or reasons for 
gathering groups together, then the result 
must be patterns shaping and reshaping. 

Consider — from this particular point of view 
— a group of children playing a round game, 
a ring of swaying bodies from which one or 
two units separate and dart to and fro, inter- 
Patte'rn FORMED wcaviug aud making another variation of the 
BY A Country same shape. 

Or old country dances and games in which 
two long rows of people face each other, and become linked 
by individuals coming from opposite ends and meeting and 
dancing in the centre. 

Or again : a crumb dropped in a bowl of water containing 
fish, and tiny glistening bodies moving in star-like shapes. 

Fiff. 89 


Fitj. 90. Ai'iiiiN AMI Riniii.M in ( 'mmi'iki tion 

Action and Composition 

Birds in the air and fishes in the water form shapes by the 
grouping of their bodies. 

Children chasing a butterfly or a ball ; children playing 

Fig. 91. Pattern formed by the Movement of Fish in the Water 

with kites ; children rushing along a flat surface bowling 
their hoops ; a flock of startled geese rising from a marshy 
mere ; a cluster of grubbing 
sparrows among the puddles 
of a muddy street ; a flock of 
sheep chased by a dog ; a 
slow procession of cows mov- 
ing along a lane — all and each 
move in a certain pattern. 

You will ask, is it possible 
for anything to move with- 
out making some continuous 
pattern ? The answer is that 
there is no end to movement. 
We dance, and our arms and 
legs follow the curves and 
actions of our body. We 
run, and the same thing 
happens in a different degree. 
The dog wags his tail, not in one, but in many continuous 


Fig. 92. We Dance 

Drawing for Beginners 

When we wish to plan a drawing or painting we must put 

this sense of movement into our picture. Obviously our 

figures and objects will be 
stationary, but there must be 
a sense of movement that 
carries the eyes pleasantly 
throughout the whole. We 
must make patterns, and 
evolve action or rhythm be- 
tween each object. 

If we pick up a book, at- 
tracted by the first page or the 
first few chapters, and we find 
that there is nothing further 
to hold our interest, what do 
we do but discard the book ? 
So it is with a picture. We 
must arrest the eye. But we 

must also hold the interest pleasantly within the picture. 

We must not put something down which says " Stop ! " and 

then treat the subject in such a barbarous manner that 

the eye wanders dis- 
satisfied out of the 

picture. We must, 

like the writer of the 

book, give something 

more than a first 

attraction. Take as 

an example the 

simplest instance, 

that of a sheet of 

paper containing an 

upright line. 

If we have one 

Fig. 93. We Run 

Fig. 94. Improving an Empty Space 

sharp line in the centre and no more, the space appears 
empty on either side, but add a few natural lines and the 
space is pleasantly broken. 

Action and Composition 

If we sketch a cottage on a plain and put it down squarely 
on our paper, the cottage in the centre with a tree on either 

side and a stretch of _ 

flat country beyond, 
how foolish and 
empty the flat plain 
appears ! 

But shift the cot- 
tage to one side, 
and search for some 
little ' incident ' (or 
action), though it is 
but a pathway, to 
impart an interest Fig. 95. An ' Empty ' Picture 

to the larger space. 

Then the sketch becomes at once more satisfactory — it 
holds the eye. Firstly, we are attracted by the cottage 
and trees massed pleasantly together; secondly, by the 

Fig. 96. An Interesting Rearrangement 

pathway, which brings the eye back again to the centre of 
the picture. 

Nature has her compositions ; we merely select from them 
with a little care. We do not aim — the Fates forbid ! — at 
rearranging Nature. But we do aim at choosing a happy 
time, or, rather, sketching a good subject at a happy moment. 


Drawing for Beginners 

Landscape, figure, domestic pictures, historical scenes — 
whatever the subject demanding our attention — this problem 

Fig. 97. A Single Figure Poorly Composed 

arises — ^what arrangement, plan, or movement will you give 
your picture ? 

Let us assume for the sake of argument that you wish to 

Fig. 98. The Effect of Composition 

draw the single figure of a girl. We sketch her in a simple 
position, standing with her arms to her sides, and more bulk at 
the head than the base ; how silly she looks — how meaning- 

Action and Composition 

less ! But give some reason for this particular picture— 
the flowing of a scarf, the widening of the design at the base, 
an uplifted arm holding a basket, clouds floating behind her 
head, and sloping banks on either side. Then the eye is 
caught first by the central figure, next by the shawl, arm, 
clouds, and led at last to the banks and trees. 

Possibly you might object to that particular pose. You 
want something quieter and more 
restrained ; in fact, you wish to 
keep to the original pose of the 
slim upright figure. Very well; but 
would it not be wise to place your 
figure in an upright space, and in- 
troduce either a misty effect with 
delicate lines, or else something 
that will help your figure ? 

I have seen it stated that arrang- 
ing ' pictures ' is a very different 
affair from arranging simple studies 
of ' ordinary ' subjects ; that one 
could not possibly apply the same 
ideas to both. 

But this is a false notion, and 
precisely where many people go 

After all is said and done, your so-called ' ordinary ' sub- 
jects, your pots and pans, your flowers and books, may be 
the subjects in which you excel. For everything to which 
we direct our attention should result in a picture, must result 
in a picture. It may be a bad picture if we do not take the 
laws of Nature into consideration, but a picture nevertheless 
it will be. 

We will take the subject of three pots, one large and two 
of a medium size. 

These we place in a row, the large pot in the centre and 
the two smaller pots on either side (Fig. 100). 

You can see for yourself that this is an unsatisfactory 
M 177 

Fig. 99 
Another Arrangement 

Drawing for Beginners 

arrangement. The eye lands on the central object and then 
slides out of the picture. Better to group the pots together 

Fig. 100. A Group of Pots 

in a less mathematical manner, making a more irregular 
pattern (Fig. 101). 

Had the two small pots been of different heights, the first 
arrangement would have balanced itself better. 

Or, if we strongly desire an oblong 
instead of an upright composition, 
we could place two of the pots to- 
gether and the third a space apart, 
linked by a fragment of ribbon, a 
feather, a spray of leaves (Fig. 102). 
The study of a simple subject, 
such as a flower with some leaves, is 
an easy introduction to composition. 
First choose an oblong, circular, 
or square space, and say to your- 
self that in that space you will 
sketch the flowers or the leaves. 
Try to fill the space pleasantly. 
The word ' fill ' must be taken 
with reservation. I do not mean that you should aim at 
crowding a varied number of flowers or leaves together, but 
at arranging a spray, a very slender spray with a few leaves, 
and selecting its characteristics, 

Fig. 101. An Upright 

Action and Composition 

Having sketched your study with pencil or brush, consider 
it well. Is the composition lop-sided ? Have you crowded 
too much into one place ? Have you left a space crying 
aloud for some attention, though it l)e but a few short strokes 
of the pencil or brush ? 

Turn your drawing upside down. Look at the picture as 
a pattern, regardless of other interest, and try to consider it 
as such. Or, again, collect a number of small objects, a 
few vases, ornaments, shells, ribbons, books, hats, balls, 
gloves, candles (and 
candle-shades), and, ar- 
ranging those which 
harmonize together in 
groups, make swift 
sketches merely for the 
sake of arranging 
patterns, of practising 

Whether we wish to 
push on our studies and 
become eventually pro- 
fessional artists, or 

whether we only intend to amuse ourselves by sketching now 
and again, we shall certainly have to give attention to these 

If you are a professional artist, the space that you intend 
to fill with pen or pencil bulks very largely on your horizon. 
If you illustrate stories for magazines, or for books, then the 
arrangement, or composition, demands a great deal of 
thought. The editor or publisher specifies the number of 
square inches allotted for your picture, and it is by no means 
an easy task to fill that space satisfactorily. 

If portraiture is your special forte, then it is essential to 
arrange the composition so that it fills the canvas and paper 
pleasantly. Sometimes I have seen portraits arranged with 
so little care that the unfortunate subjects seem to be slip- 
ping out of the picture. 


Fig. 102. An Oblong Composition 

Drawing for Beginners 

The biggest spaces should be given to the most important 
part of the picture. 

Several young artists gathered together would find it 
helpful to enter into a friendly competition in a particular 
subject to be drawn in a specified space. They would work 
independently and would eventually compare their sketches 
and discuss the various points. 

It is remarkable how seldom similar sketches agree. Our 
neighbours' interpretation of the same thing often arouses 
great astonishment in us, and gives us much food for thought. 

As time goes on our minds will naturally incline toward 
good composition. 

Nature's beautiful ' arrangements,' her ' composition,' her 
' rhythm,' her ' action,' will strike your eye at every turn. 

A group of tossing elm-trees against the clouds and a few 
dark wings streaking the sky ; a tumble-down shed round 
which cows are grouped, standing or lying, lazily chewing 
the cud ; a shuffle of chimney-pots against a city sky and a 
trail of smoke ; a boy flying down a long, narrow wet street, 
with a bundle of papers beneath his arm ; a swan ' floating 
double ' past a tuft of reedy grasses ; an old man leaning on 
a thick stick or with a bundle on his back and climbing a 
steep path ; a woman sitting under the light with her sewing 
grouped at her elbow ; boys and girls gathered about a game, 
or fire, or a gate — all these are natural ' compositions,' and 
charming ones. 

You might turn your attention to advertisements, for these 
are arranged with a view to attracting the eye and gripping 
the attention. Look at them as so many patterns, and ask 
yourself if the allotted spaces have been filled pleasantly. 

Look at reproductions of the Great Masters. The wonder- 
ful way in which these painters grouped their subjects is an 
education in itself. The extraordinary simplicity of the 
arrangement, action, and composition will often surprise you. 

The shapes of some pictures have given rise to quaint 
legends, and probably the most famous of all is that of 
Raphael's Madonna della Sedia, or Madonna of the Chair, 

103. Thk Madonna uella Sedia 

Photo Anderiion 


Action and Composition 

The story goes that Raphael was passing through a village 
at vintage time, and seeing a mother and child sitting in a 
doorway was filled with a desire to paint the beautiful group. 
The only materials to hand were empty wine- vats. On one 
of these Raphael seized, and began this picture on the up- 
turned bottom of the vat. 

Then Raphael snatched a half-charred ozier stick, 
And on the wine-cask at that moment drew 
That Child and Mother, just then glorified 
By the last sunshine's deepest, softest hue. 

The picture is treasured as one of the world's most beautiful 
paintings, but whether the wine-vat legend was invented to 
explain the peculiar shape we shall never know. As a com- 
position pure and simple, look and judge for yourself. 



Light and Shade 

WHAT constitutes light and shade ? " is a question 
more easily asked than answered. 
Briefly, all objects on which light falls present 
light and shade. 

Twist a piece of paper into a cone and look at it with half- 
closed eyes. What do you see ? One side is light, one side 
is dark, where light and shade mingle there is half light and 
half tone. 

In Nature all tones and tints are gradated. Light blends 
into half light, half light into half tone, half tone into shade, 
dividing and subdividing indefinitely. 

There are no outlines in Nature. ' Outlines,' or ' edges,' 
are merely names for the particular parts thrown into promi- 
nence by light and shade. Certain parts present sharply 
defined shapes ; but shadows dissolve into light, and light 
dissolves into shadow. 

An outline drawing is a drawing that represents the out- 
side or extreme edge of a person or object, as the contour line 
in a map is the extreme outline of a country. There is no 
visible outline to a leaf, vase, or hand. 

Outline drawing merely represents a shape without shading. 

Therefore when we speak of ' drawing light and shade ' we 
mean drawing broad masses of light and shade, giving the 
right balance — neither too much nor too little value to each 
light, each shadow, each cast shadow. Drawing objects in 
light and shade with a pencil point is a tedious business. It 
is best to adopt some means by which we can cover the 
ground quickly. 

There are many methods of tackling this very interesting 

L.ight and Shade 

subject, but I should advise (at any rate as a beginning) 
drawing with black and white chalk on a tinted paper as the 
quickest and most straightforward manner of drawing broad 
masses of light and shade. Besides, it has one great advantage 
over ordinary stump or chalk, charcoal, pen and ink, or wash : 
it reverses the usual style of drawing. The method of drawing 
with light and dark chalk upon tinted paper exactly reverses 
the method of drawing with pencil, stump, and charcoal on a 
white ground. Then we draw middle and darkest tones and 
leave the white paper to express the light. But if we draw 
on brown, grey, blue, or otherwise tinted paper, we draw 
the lights with white chalk, the shadows with chalk (or 
charcoal), and leave the tinted paper to express the middle 
or general tones. By these means we build up the shapes 
quickly. We look for the shapes of the lights — which 
are too often undefined — no less than the shapes of the 

As it is easier to draw broad, simple, and strong masses 
of light and shade, choose several simple objects of a uniform 
colour and place them on a table and in the bright and con- 
centrated light of lamp, candle, or (shaded) electric bulb. 
Bring the light fairly close to the level of the table. A small 
piece of candle or a low lamp will give a better, because a 
less diffused, light. 

Choose a white ^gg, a table napkin in a white ring, a white 
paper-covered box, a white paper flower, or other such 
things. A newspaper folded in a white wrapper, a white 
cup, or cup and saucer, white enamel bowl, white glove — all 
these will be equally suitable. 

First ask yourself where is the brightest light, and draw 
the shape of the light with white chalk. Then look for the 
darkest shadow, which will naturally be the part that is 
farthest away from the light, and probably where the object 
rests on the ground. Draw the shape of the dark shadow. 
Next look for the middle (or binding) tone and blend with 
white chalk if in the light, and shade with black chalk if it 
forms part of the shadow. 


Drawing for Beginners 

When the surface is highly polished, as, for example, on 
the curve of the napkin ring, there will be a ' high light.' 

The general colour of the tinted paper will give the general 
prevailing tint of the background and the middle tints of 
the models. 

Keep a wary eye on the shape of the shadows cast by the 
various objects. Beginners find it difficult to realize that 
cast shadows bear a resemblance to the objects by which 
they are cast. Not only do objects project their shadows in 
a major or lesser degree according to the distance of the 
light (as we have already noted in perspective diagram. 
Fig. 60), but they reflect their chief characteristics. For 
example, the ^gg, you will observe, casts a smooth, even, 
oval-shaped shadow. Beneath the shaded objects the box 
and napkin are roughly sketched with white chalk, giving a 
slight indication of the position of the shadows. 

When we have absorbed some of the lessons to be learned 
from drawing objects in a bright and artificial light, we 
should proceed to draw objects in the more subtle light of 

A few ordinary models, such as a couple of books and an 
old silver candlestick, placed on the edge of a table will serve 
our purpose very well. 

The books, one bound in light cloth, the other in dark red 
leather, the unlit candle, and the candlestick present three 
different tones. 

Note first the brightest lights and the darkest darks. 

Seen through half-closed eyes the silver is a shimmer of 
lights and soft reflections, and requires a few careful strokes 
of white and black chalk, following the shapes as closely as 
possible, making good use of the definite lights and shades 
on the rim, the barrel, and the twisted support. The light 
catches the edges of the dark book ; also there are slight 
reflections on the polished table. You may now suggest the 
middle lights, leaving the paper itself to express the middle 

Other articles will, of course, serve the purpose. Choose 

Light and Shade 

a few near in shape and in three shades — hght, dark, and 
middle — and place them in a simple light and clear of their 

If you have not the ordinary bread-knife depicted in my 
drawing, choose another, but let it be a large knife rather 
than a small one, and do not select a clasp-knife. The latter 
is not so simple in form, nor so shapely, as an ordinary 
cooking- or carving-knife. The French cooking-knife is an 
excellent study for light and shade, for it has invariably a 
straight, smooth, and pointed blade, and a shapely handle. 

The bread-knife presents a simple plane, a flat blade and 
a rounded handle. The brightest lights leap at once to the 
eye from the edge of the blade and the square-shaped hasp. 
The rounded handle throws an oblong shadow ; the blade also 
throws a de-cided shadow on the tray. 

The wooden handle shares the tone with the background. 
It is a middle tone, and only requires a few slight touches 
to ' lift ' the light shape away from the background. The 
shadows on the rounded handle are strongly moulded (or 
shaped) ; the groove in the wood catches both light and 
shade, and can be drawn with a dark streak against light 
strokes of chalk. 

The little Japanese figure of papier mache in my drawing 
(Fig. 105) has a face almost as white as the white edge of 
the stand. She turns to the light and presents a narrow 
upright shape. The glossy hair has dark shadows, not quite 
so dark as the dark folds behind the sleeve and sash. A 
broad white shadow lies over the upper part of the back. 

There is little variety of colours and tints in these groups. 
They are neutral, with the exception of the lady's grey-blue 
dress, and the mauve silk flower in her hand, and the small 
book with the dark crimson cover supporting the candlestick. 

And the objects gathered beneath the bright artificial light 
are all of a uniform whiteness, chosen for this very reason. 

Colour confuses the consideration of tones. Whether 
colour represents dark tones or light tones depends to a 
great extent on the light which falls upon it. 


Drawing for Beginners 

Naturally, however, rich colours retain the shadows and 
lighter colours reflect more light. 

Look through half-closed lids (not for colour, but for pure 
light and shade) at a large armchair upholstered in one 
uniform and unpatterned material. Note how the colour 
varies under the play of light and shadow. Cannot you see 
the difference between the colour in the shadows and the 
colour in light ? And a contrast between the back and the 
seat of the chair, the tops and the sides of the arms, the 
edges of the arms and seat and the edges of the back ? The 
sofa, settee, and table covered with a plain piece of material 
offer the same object-lessons of light and shade. 

Observe — in a bright light — a cream-coloured jug or cup 
decorated with a broad band of pale colour. The pink, blue, 
or yellow band merges into the shaded side of the jug, and be- 
comes almost indistinguishable from the cream surroundings. 

Place a pale blue, pink, or yellow enamelled mug, or 
tumbler, upon a white plate and in a strong light. Do you 
not find that the mug or tumbler — though a shade darker 
than the white plate — mingles with the cast shadow thrown 
on the plate ? 

The contents of a small table — a man's smoking table no 
less than a lady's toilet table — ^will offer innumerable objects 
for the study of pure light and shade. A cigar-box with its 
gilt and gaily tinted labels is a very good object-lesson in 
light and shade, and seen in a shaded position the light 
label blends with the polished dark wood on the shadow 

A cigarette, like a cigar, presents a tubular shape, light on 
one side, dark on the other. The gold or cork tip of the 
cigarette merges into the shadows of the shaded side ; the 
crimson and gold band of the cigar mingles with the rich 
brown shadows of the cigar itself. 

If you arrange several objects of contrasting colour closely 
together and in the same light, the contrast helps to force 
the effect. 

Draw a cluster of purple grapes and light green grapes 

Fig. IOC). Light and Shade on Coloured Objects 


Light and Shade 

side by side. The purple grapes catch the hght and hold 
rich shadows. The light grapes should be as firmly but more 
delicately drawn ; they require light touches of chalk, and 
shadow-shapes drawn with a gentle hand. The depth and 
shade of the grapes vary very little. There is a slightly 
heavier tone beneath the dark round globules. 

A white or cream bird's wing leaning against a dark green 
bottle with a shadow projecting over the feathers makes 
a very interesting contrast of light and shade. Only the 
stopper of the bottle reflects pure light. The rest of it is 
submerged into shadow, and, half closing your eyes, you will 
find that the bottle loses itself in its own shadow cast on 
the ground. 

The whole of the wing is a light tone, the lightest portion 
being that which is nearest. Draw the triangular shape with 
firm touches of white chalk, then shade down with black 
chalk where the shadow lies. There is a rich shadow in 
the foreground. The wing, though deeply overshadowed, still 
remains many shades lighter than the ground. 

If the bottle and wing are a thought too difficult, draw 
something a little less complicated. 

Arrange several objects of contrasting tints in a strong 
light, either with or without a cast shadow (which is easily 
arranged by intercepting the light with a few books, or a 
piece of cardboard). If it be a woman's hat with a con- 
trasting plume or wing, either the hat should be dark and 
the feather light, or vice versa ; or you may place together a 
man's black hat and a pair of light kid gloves, or some yellow 
and white flowers in a dark vase. A sunshade of brilliant 
colours lying open on the grass, half in shadow, half in light, 
provides an excellent model. 

A coat, a cloak, and a hat, or three hats, all of a similar 
colour, placed on chairs several paces apart, present a more 
fascinating and more difficult study of light and shade. 

The reason why the separation of the articles makes 
the study more interesting and a hundred times more diffi- 
cult is that there is space between each object. And this 


Drawing for Beginners 

introduces a new problem which requires very careful 

If you had three red apples of a bright and more or less 
uniform colour and shape and placed them one on the near 
end of a form, one in the centre, and one at the far end, and 
you took up your pencil and drew the light and shade of the 
three apples, would you draw each apple with the same 
degree of light and shade ? 

If you put the apples on the ground in the playground, or 
garden path, or open field, five, seven, and twenty paces 
away, and tried to draw or to paint them (the question of 
light and shade applies with equal force to drawing and 
painting), would you draw them exactly the same ? 

Would you not give the near apple more distinct light and 
shade, more accent, more strength than the apple farthest 
away ? Of course you would ! Even if you drew without 
thought you would instinctively draw something a good dis- 
tance away in a broader and simpler manner. 

For the sake of argument let us presume that we are 
painting a picture representing three ladies in black velvet. 
One in the foreground, another in the middle distance, and a 
third in the far distance. If we painted the black velvet 
dress in the far distance as richly, as strongly, as definitely 
as the black velvet dress in the foreground, we should paint 
an untruth. 

Things in the extreme distance must not be as strongly 
depicted as those in the foreground or middle distance, as I 
demonstrated when stating the first rule of perspective. 

If we draw or paint a picture of a street with its diminishing 
houses, railings, lights, pavements, drawn correctly in per- 
spective, but ignore the air that intervenes and blots details 
from view, then we shall draw something that is not true 
to Nature. 

The policeman on his beat at the end of the street is merely 
a dark uniformed figure ; as he approaches we note that he 
wears a high helmet ; nearer still, we see his silver badges 
and buttons and shiny boots ; as he passes under our window 

Light and Shade 

we distinguish the tint of his complexion and the shape of 
his features. 

But it would be untrue to Nature if we painted or drew 
details in his face when he first appears. His face is a blur 
— because of the space that intervenes. 

Things in the distance cannot be as strongly drawn as 
those in the middle distance. For between the artist and 
the distant object floats a veil of atmosphere. 

Some young artists will argue that they have seen pictures 
drawn with firm lines and details even to the very horizon. 
This is perfectly true. But we must bear in mind that we 
are discussing the subject from the point of view of pure 
light and shade. It is quite correct to say that details can 
be drawn with firm outlines and the effect of space more or 
less ignored. That represents a certain style of drawing or 
painting, a conventional kind of art. But, if we are honestly 
trying to draw light and shade, if we are drawing varied tones, 
painting not merely flat washes of colour, but gradated tints 
to represent the light and shade of colour, then we cannot 
ignore the truth. And it is by these observations, and the 
recording of these observations, that our work becomes 
artistic or otherwise. 

Such facts, like all simple laws of Nature, we cannot avoid 
even if we would. The newspaper with its photographs of 
ordinary events confirms them daily. Look, for instance, at 
a photograph representing crowds gathered together in the 
open. In the foreground are large strong masses of light 
and shade, broken up into details — clothes, hands, faces, and 
features ; in the background are misty effects, either of trees 
or other details of a landscape ; in the middle distance are 
groups of people, some sitting and some walking, their 
clothes of dark or uniform tint, their faces misty blurs, their 
features indistinguishable. 

The clearer is the atmosphere, the more distinct is the dis- 
tance. The more brilliant is the sun, the richer and deeper 
are the shadows. The rich shadows of a tropical scene will 
be richer in the foreground than in the distance. It is purely 


Drawing for Beginners 

a matter of degree. From simple objects grouped on a 
table to complicated scenes in a landscape, all will present 
their own peculiar and fascinating problems of light and 

No doubt you will wish to try other methods of drawing 
light and shade than drawing on tinted paper with chalks 
of black and white. 

There is the much vaunted method of rubbing on powdered 
chalk with a stump of twisted paper or kid in varying tints 
upon a white paper. With this method we can obtain very 
subtle gradations by erasing with rubber or bread and by 
stippling in with the stump. Provided that we attack the 
study with vigour, sketching it in the first place with char- 
coal, and rubbing on the chalk speedily, and not spending 
too much time smoothing the surfaces, it may help us 
to learn a good deal about light and shade. Nevertheless 
there is a very great danger of expending too much time 
over the surface at the expense of the structure. It is quite 
possible to stipple in a head or an arm with such beautiful 
shades of light and tint that the essential shape of the nose, 
head, and arm is forgotten. In other words, the drawing 
is lost. 

Have you not seen old-fashioned stipple-drawings of 
bygone days so lacking in definite shape that the gentle- 
men and ladies are dropping into a sugary, boneless state ? 
And that constitutes one great danger of drawing with the 

There is another method. By covering a sheet of Michelet 
or other grained paper with charcoal lines lightly rubbed to 
a fairly even tint, wiping out the lights with rubber or bread, 
and drawing the shapes with charcoal, one can achieve a 
very artistic study of light and shade. 

Another method strongly advocated by one very famous 
art teacher is drawing with pen and ink on a smooth white 
surface. It is certainly a very direct method. Pen and 
ink, however, is not for beginners a very good method 
of drawing light and shade. In the first place, it is an 

Fio;. 107. Stump-drawing of Old Man's Head 


Light and Shade 

extremely difficult medium because it requires a considerable 
amount of experience to alter and correct a false bit of tone 

Fig. 108. Light and Shade drawn with Pen and Ink 

satisfactorily, but, above all, broad smooth masses of light 
and shade, unless done by an experienced hand, have a very 
mechanical effect. 

Light and shade can be studied with the brush by mixing 
sepia and flake white, ivory black and white, or charcoal 


Drawing for Beginners 

grey and white. This method is more akin to pen and ink, 
inasmuch as it requires a practised hand to apply clear fresh 
washes of colour. 

For the beginner a ' dry ' method is certainly the wisest, 
and he will gain valuable experience by constant experiment 
with it. 



Correcting our Drawings 

How many times do we cast our pencil down and 
exclaim, " Oh for a little help ! " Or we take up 
our drawing and despairingly rend it in half. 

If we have landed in a hopeless morass of difficulties, we 
had far better tear up our drawing or fling it aside — and 
begin again. To begin again, however, on the same object, 
round which clings the flavour of defeat, is dishearten- 
ing. Personally I prefer to start on quite another subject. 

On the other hand, if you are pluckily determined to dis- 
cover your mistakes you should put your pride in your 
pocket and seek out your nearest available friend, who, 
though ignorant of drawing, may detect the something that 
is wrong. He or she will probably laugh (how easy it is to 
laugh at the mistakes of other people ! ) ; but try to find the 
reason for that laugh. 

" Why laugh ? " 

" Oh, I don't know why, but it is so screamingly funny." 

" Where does the scream come in ? " 

" I don't know." 

" You must know. Is it the face, or the eyes, or the hand ? 
I am sure the hand is quite good." 

" N-no, but, oh ! " — another explosion of merriment — 
" oh, dear ! did you ever see such a leg in all your life ? " 

And in all probability you have taken more care with the 
drawing of that leg than with the rest of the drawing put 

Now that your attention has been drawn to the leg, look at 

it carefully ; something may strike you as peculiar. It may — 

you possibly concede — look a trifle ' out,' but where is it 

N 193 

Drawing for Beginners 

wrong ? You may pounce on the doubtful drawing, but how 
will you correct it ? You might even make matters worse. 

Hold up your drawing before a mirror. The picture will 
be reversed, and seeing the unfortunate detail from an entirely 
different point of view sometimes — if not always — flings the 
mistake in your face. 

Should you find it to be so in this instance, try again. 
Put down your drawing and erase it gently. Never use the 
rubber viciously or revengefully, as you may be tempted to 
do, for you must always treat the surface of your paper 
with respect. 

Supposing, however, that you are still unconvinced ; that 
you believe your drawing to be right and your critic wrong. 
Try another test. 

Hold up your drawing to a strong light — of a lamp, or at a 
window — and look at the back of it, when your drawing will 
be seen reversed. Can you now perceive anything wrong ? 

He-who-cannot-draw sometimes fancies things are wrong 
— ^that I will admit ; and he-who-cannot-draw can be just as 
obstinate in his opinions as the artist. 

Should you honestly feel that your drawing is a correct 
interpretation, stick to your opinion. But try to keep an 
open mind, and never despise advice because it is humble. 

Some of the greatest people have sought the advice of 
simple folk. Wasn't it Moliere who read his plays to his 
cook ? 

Try to get an expert's opinion. ' An expert ' does not 
necessarily mean an expert artist — that we cannot often hope 
to find — but one who is expert in the particular subject that 
is engaging our pencil. 

For instance, if I made a study of a cow or sheep, I should 
preferably take that drawing to a butcher or a farmer for a 
criticism. The criticism might be shattering, but there is 
this to be said for it. The man who is familiar and more or 
less an expert with such animals will instinctively pounce on 
glari g mistakes. 

A doctor has a sound working knowledge of the human 

Correcting our Drawings 

frame, and I shall never forget the laugh of a doctor when 
his eyes lit on my first attempt at drawing the figure with 
the surface muscles exposed. I learned a lot from that laugh, 
or rather from the remarks with which he tried to excuse 
his merriment. 

A builder might let fall a few helpful remarks concerning 
the drawing of the steeple of a church. " Rather a steep 
steeple," said one when looking at a sketch of the village 
street made by a young friend of mine. 

And the carpenter might possibly remark that there was 
something very peculiar with regard to the chair on which 
the lady (of your drawing) is sitting. 

When drawing a vase on a table, the glass round which a 
model has clasped his fingers, the tankard on the sideboard, 
the porch under which mine host is welcoming or dismissing 
the guest, turn the paper upside down and regard it from an 
* upside down ' point of view. This is a most useful way of 
correcting things with two sides alike, and probably you will 
notice that the vase bulges rather lower on one side than 
the other, that the glass veers to one side and its stem is 
not quite straight, that the handles of the tankard do not 
balance, that the posts of the porch are leaning acutely in 
two different directions. 

Another method of correction. If you have drawn a vase 
and feel that it balances badly, draw a line down its centre 
and measure from the central line to the outside edges, then 
note whether the measurements agree. 

Bear in mind, however, that these are corrective devices. 
Never begin drawing with mechanical aids of the kind. 
Always draw freely. Make your correction afterward. If 
you are not very severe with yourself on this point, you will 
find yourself depending on these measuring systems. And 
overmuch measuring maketh an artist brainless. 

Another excellent corrective is to hold the drawing at 
arm's length, or, better still, place it near the model (on a 
chair or on the floor), then resume the position from ^ /hich 
you are making your study. 


Drawing for Beginners 

Glance quickly from your drawing to the model. The 
strong, and often cruel, contrast of drawing versus Nature 
' does the trick,' and emphasizes faults of light and shade, 
construction (or framework), balance, and proportions. 

In the drawing of the " human form divine " there are 
many things tp deceive the eye and make the task difficult. 
Clothes are the greatest offenders — skirts, wide trousers, full 
sleeves, thick leggings, large bonnets, baggy tunics, cloaks, 
robes, hats, wigs — anything, in short, which is bulky is de- 

How often do we see the lady's feet emerging from her 
pretty floating skirt in a position which is a physical im- 
possibility ! 

The Tudor and the Early Victorian costumes are great 
temptations to the novice, who greedily seizes upon the 
picturesque ample robes and skirts to hide the difficult 

They may save a little trouble in the small matter of 
drawing arms and legs, and even feet, but beware lest they 
plunge you into worse difficulties ! 

A young artist of my acquaintance loathed the drawing of 
hands. She used the most ingenious devices to hide the 
hands from view. Winds blew, aprons flew, cloaks floated 
and concealed, but if the hands had of necessity to appear 
then she was utterly lost, and found that she had no know- 
ledge wherewith to inform her drawings. Dutch men, 
women, and children — what favourites they are ! And there 
again do we find the lure of the dress in the wide trousers of 
Jan, and the big sabots of Jan's pretty sister. The wider 
the trousers, the fuller the skirts, the less shall we see of the 
difficult legs, says the young artist. But no matter how 
thick and frilly are the petticoats and how wide are the 
trousers, those difficult legs are not to be ignored. They 
must be traced lightly beneath the garments. 

We cannot disguise the fact that if we are drawing human 
beings, two legs, two arms, and a head and body of reason- 
able proportions are essential for each. 

Correcting our Drawings 

Should you have an uncomfortable feeling that there is 
something not quite correct in your drawing, that the feet do 
not come in the right position, that the hand protrudes from 
the frilled wristband at an angle not quite in harmony with 
the elbow, take your picture to the window, lay it against a 
pane of glass, and trace the head, hands, fee^, and all parts 
revealed on the back of the paper. Then return with your 
drawing to the table and (still with the back of it uppermost) 
connect your tracings by sketching in the rest of a human 

Ere you have finished your sketch you will possibly appre- 
ciate that you have made the limbs play queer tricks ; it is 
highly probable that you will have made the farther limbs 
longer than the nearer ones. We have sometimes noticed in 
sketches of persons sitting with legs crossed that the limbs 
are inextricably mixed ! 

Should the paper on which you are drawing be of too thick 
a substance for this test, take a piece of tracing paper, or a 
smooth piece of ordinary tissue paper, and on this trace your 
drawing. Then remove the original drawing, and, laying the 
tracing paper on a white surface, link up the head, feet, and 
hands as suggested above. 

In all these methods of checking ourselves, it is the fresh 
view of our drawing that reveals its weaknesses. 

When painting, if you feel that your colours are not what 
they should be, that your tones are dark, or too uneven, 
that your highest light is not ' in tune ' with your middle 
light — take a piece of smoked glass and look through this at 
the reflection of your painting. Gone are the pretty colours, 
the subtle tints. Your painting will be merely a prosaic 
black and white affair, and with everything reduced to black 
and white, to high tones and low tones (light and shade), in 
all probability the wrong tone will shriek at you. 

But if, after all these various methods, you still can see 
nothing wrong, though a horrid feeling prevails that all 
cannot be right, if neither advice nor the devices described 
give a clue — then, lock up your drawing, put it away for a 


Drawing for Beginners 

few days, or a few months, until you have entirely forgotten 
the circumstances in which it was drawn. When you again 
examine it the chances are that you will see at once what is 

Either you will say, " How could I miss seeing that mis- 
take ? " or (and, believe me, the chances of this are very 
remote), " Why ! there is nothing wrong — after all." 




A LARGE stock-in-trade is a mistake. If you provide 
yourself with a lavish quantity of materials, you are 
probably handicapping, not helping, your studies. 

Far better use a few tools, a few materials, than fly from 
one paper to another paper, from one pigment to another 
pigment, from chalk to charcoal, and charcoal to pastel. 

To begin with, buying many expensive materials has the 
great disadvantage that it is likely to check your most 
valuable instinct for experiment. 

If you stop to consider whether you are wasting good 
material, and the question arises, " Have you anything ' to 
show for ' the expensive paper and paints ? " the probabilities 
are that you will decide to finish a poor piece of work instead 
of flinging it aside in favour of a fresh start. 

A few materials well chosen, a few tools well handled, are 
worth a whole shop-full used irresponsibly. 

Buy a paper that will serve several purposes. Cartridge 
paper will ' take ' pencil, chalk, or water-colour. It is a 
useful all-round paper. Therefore, I would advise a cart- 
ridge-paper sketch-book. Do not begin at the wrong end of 
this, or on the wrong side of your paper. Lay the tip of 
your finger upon the surface ; you will soon detect that the 
right side has a smooth and satiny surface. Michelet paper 
is suitable only for charcoal and crayon, and thick hand-made 
water-colour paper is rather unnecessarily expensive for the 
early stages. 

If your mind is definitely settled on brushwork invest in a 
medium Whatman or O.W. paper, in sketch-book or block 
form. The block should not be smaller than 5| by 7 inches. 


Drawing for Beginners 

Nothing cramps the style more effectually than block or book 
of a minute size. 

Buy pencils of a medium quality — HB, B, or BB. BBB's 
are useful for soft and sympathetic studies, for rich shadows 
and textures. 

Rubber of soft crumbly substance is preferable to hard or 
gummy rubbers ; ink-eraser should never be used, it destroys 
the surface of the paper. 

A sketch-book, a pencil, a piece of paper, and a knife — 
these are all that are required for a start. 

If you wish to draw on a larger scale, you must buy paper 
by the sheet, which necessitates a drawing-board, drawing- 
pins, and an easel. Easels are stocked in every quality, 
size, shape, and description, and listed in all the colourmen's 

For water-colour painting you require a small colour-box 
(japanned boxes are lighter and more useful for sketching 
purposes than wooden boxes), a moderate range of colours, 
and a couple of good camel-hair or sable brushes. 

Good brushes are essential. You can trim your pencil, 
your chalk, your charcoal to suit your various needs, but 
you must abide by the brush. A brush that spreads and 
splits, or that moults its hair over the paper, will be of little 
use. A large full brush and a small brush will suffice for every 
purpose. Or, if preferred, one full brush of a medium size 
(number five or six) with a fine point will do the work of two. 

When choosing a brush dip it in a pan of water and roll 
the point on the hand, or on a piece of paper, to make certain 
that it has a good point. 

The old-fashioned hard cakes of paint had many excellent 
qualities ; the colours were lasting and good, but the rub- 
bing process was certainly tedious, and they are seldom seen 
nowadays. The half -pans of moist paint have taken their 
place ; they are not wasteful, provided they are used with 
ordinary care. On the other hand, tubes of paint — bearing 
in mind that we invariably squeeze out more colour than is 
necessary — are, most decidedly, extravagant. 


We can trust any reputable colourman to fit a box with 
paints, and we strongly advise buying the best paints and 
leaving those of a cheaper grade alone. It is by far the best 
economy. The small boxescontain eight to fourteen half-pans. 
Group your colours together carefully. Nothing hampers 
a young artist more effectually than sprinkling paints hap- 
hazardly in a paint-box. When cobalt jostles vermilion and 
lemon yellow flanks ivory black your paint-box is unbusiness- 
like. Group together blues, reds and yellows, browns and 

A box to hold twelve pans should contain the following 
colours : 

Chrome yellow Vermilion 

Yellow ochre Vandyke brown 

Raw sienna Ivory black 

Burnt sienna Prussian blue 

Light red Ultramarine 

Crimson alizarin Cobalt 

For a box of fourteen colours the following is a good 
selection : 

Lemon yellow 
Chrome No. 1 
Yellow ochre 
Crimson alizarin 

Light red 
Raw sienna 
Burnt sienna 
Ivory black 


French blue or French ultramarine 

Prussian blue 

A tube of Chinese white 

For a beginner a small range is better than a large number 
of colours. A multiplicity of tints is apt to bewilder the 
mind. By experimenting with a few paints we can obtain 
a surprisingly wide range of tints. We must learn too the 
good as well as the bad qualities ; how one tint will permeate 
others, how the liquid brilliance of one will neutralize the 
dull opaque quality of another. 


Drawing for Beginners 

Now and again indulge yourself in a new paint. 

Moist aureolin, cyanine blue, orange madder, are all a little 
dangerous — a little expensive and delicious to handle. 

Before leaving the subject of water-colour paints I might 
mention the water-colours in tubes known as ' slow-drying.' 
These are recommended for hot climates. 

One stipulation more. 

Whether you have a lavishly stocked box, or whether you 
content yourself with a modest range of colours, you must 
always treat your box respectfully. 

Keep the paints clean and dry, the palette clean. 

It is a good rule to start a fresh painting with a fresh 
mixing of colours. 

Before putting your box away see that no paints are sub- 
merged under water. Colours soon deteriorate, and it is 
astonishing how quickly mould will accumulate on certain 
tints. A tiny piece of sponge is useful, and pieces of soft 
rag, freed from fluff, are almost a necessity for cleaning 

Chalks or pastels are often used as an introduction to 
colour-work, and an excellent beginning they are. They are 
not so messy as paints. They train the eye quickly. We 
must abide by the chalk or pastel ; it is difficult to correct or 

Chalks are the cheapest of all colour mediums, and a box 
of twelve pastels costs a very small sum. 

The large boxes containing a range of beautiful tints are 
necessary for more advanced work. 

Pastels require pastel paper, but this is not expensive and 
it is easily procurable. As a substitute for pastel paper use 
brown paper, the ordinary packing paper with a not too 
smooth or shiny surface. This will serve excellently for 
chalk, both black and white. 

White (unsized) sugar-bags are useful for water-colour 
painting. The inside of a thick white envelope provides a 
choice paper for pencil or black chalk. 

Michelet paper, or imitation Steinbach, is useful for char- 


coal studies. A grained paper is more satisfactory than one 
with a smooth surface, for the latter tends to exaggerate the 
brown instead of the rich black shades of charcoal. Vine 
charcoal is sold in small cheap boxes and the Venetian char- 
coal in larger quantities. 

Plain wooden easels last a lifetime. On the other hand, 
the hinged easels — of which there is an enormous variety — 
made to pack in a small valise or to carry in the hand, are 
equally serviceable for indoor and out-of-door study. 

If an easel is not at hand a chair can be used as a substitute. 

Sit on one chair and place another chair with its back 
toward your knees. Put your feet on the back rail of the 
second chair and the drawing-board will then rest on your 
knees and (at an angle) against the back of the chair. The 
seat of the second chair can be utilized for your various tools. 

For charcoal studies a bottle of fixative and a sprayer are 
almost a necessity. Charcoal rubs with the slightest impact. 
Scent-sprayers can be used in place of the ordinary metal or 
glass sprayers sold for the purpose by the artists' colourman. 

Once more I advise the young student to dispense with all 
unnecessary paraphernalia and buy only necessities. 

Ponder well what the Scottish mechanic said when his eye 
fell on Turner's painting of Modern Italy : 

" Eh, mon, just see what white leed and common paint 
can dae in the hand o' genius." 




Animals, drawing, 98-105 
Ankle-bones, position of, 55 
Atmospheric effects, 107, 109, 156, 


Baby, proportions of a, 61 , 79 
Birds, drawing, 92-96 
Boats, drawing, 157-158 
Bonheur, Rosa, 101 
Brush-drawing, 17-18 
Brushes, choice of, 200 

Cartridge paper, 14, 199 
Chalks, coloured, 202 
Chalk-drawing, 14-17 
Charcoal-drawing, 18-19, 190 
Composition, 171-181 
Cottages, sketching, 144-145 

Ears, drawing the, 73-75 ; of 

animals, 99-104 
Easels, choice of, 200, 203 
Expression, importance of, 165- 

Eyes, human, 65-69 ; of birds, 


Figures, drawing, 37-43; balance 

of, 39-40 
Foot, drawing the, 52-59 ; of 

birds, 94 
Frog, drawing a, 97-98 
Furniture, proportions of, 84-86 

Gainsborough, Thomas, 170 
Giotto, 20-21, 22 

Hands, drawing, 44-51 ; propor- 
tions of, 83 
Heads, drawing, 60-62 
Horizon, in perspective, 120 

Indiarubber, choice of, 200 
Interiors of houses, in perspective, 

Kemp-Welch, Lucy, 101 

Landscape, thumbnail sketches 

of, 155 ; painting, 156 
Light and shade, studies in, 182- 


Madonna della Sedia, 180 
Man, proportions of, 80-82 
Measure, how to, 115-116 
Michelet paper, 19, 190, 202 
Mouths, 71-73 
Munnings, A. J., 101 

Necks contrasted, human, 62-63 ; 

birds', 95 
Noses, human, 69-71 ; animals', 

98-99, 104 

Outline drawing, 182 

Paints, water-colour, choice of, 

Papers, drawing, 14, 16, 17 
Parallel lines, the use of, 114-118 
Pen-and-ink drawing, 190 
Pencil-drawing, 13-14 
Perspective, 114-140 


Drawing for Beginners 

Plumb-line, the use of, 114-118 
Powdered chalk, drawing with, 

Proportions of inanimate objects, 


Raphael, 181 
Rembrandt, 166, 170 
Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 164, 166 
Rubens, Peter Paul, 170 
Ruins, sketching, 154-155 

Shade, studies in light and, 182- 

Silhouette portraits, 160-163 
Sketching outfit, 142 
Sprayers, 203 

Steinbach paper, 203 
Stump-drawing, 190 
Subject, choice of, 20-27 ; contrast 
of, 24-27 

Thumbnail sketches, 155 
Tinted paper, 183 
Titian, 165 
Tracing paper, 197 
Trees, drawing, 152-154 

Van Dyck, Antony, 170 
Velasquez, 165 

Wash-drawing, 191-192 
Wings, of birds, 95-96 

•.T-'Pl''""'^ * ?