Page images
PDF
EPUB

correct form will not be obtained. Dictation Drawing is of exceeding value simply as a language lesson, as the pupil must weigh carefully the words used, catch the thought and translate it promptly into form. It presupposes a knowledge on the part of the pupil of the terms used. Pupils are always interested in Dictation Drawing if it is properly conducted. The teacher does not draw a line till the pupils have finished, then she places the figure on the board and calls for the hands of those that have it right. Often, if the teacher is careful in her expression, not one will have it wrong. The first year then, pupils draw from copy in outline from the blackboard, from memory and dictation, and commence the study of design. They work mostly upon slates, occasionally on the black board.

The second year they pursue these same subjects farther, drawing about once a week on paper. They also have drawing cards and make their flat copies from those; in this they have to enlarge; in drawing from the blackboard they reduce. The third year blank books are used, reviewing the card exercises previously drawn and taking new ones. The other exercises are continued, advancing in difficulty. The pupils have now learned how to draw fairly on paper. In the fourth year a drawing book is used containing neatly-printed copies. Th forms, whatever system of drawing is used, should be good. They should be beautiful, pure in form, of definite outline, and such as to teach the pupil something of historical ornament. The selections should include pieces of standard ornament that have stood the test of years and centuries, and being still in universal use, have been proved to be good. The various styles should be represented, as the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Gothic, Moresque, etc. Children drawing from such copies will recognize a form as belonging to this or that style and will neither make nor buy a design composed of a conglomeration of half a dozen different ones. Many people do not know it, but such ornament represents as much knowledge and taste as would the dress of an individual made up of a half dozen different colors or shades of the same color. Drawing should be fundamentally based on geometry, and in the simpler or lower books the first forms should be geometrical figures and forms based upon them. Much care should be exercised in deciding upon the system of drawing books to be used, as all after results will depend on this.

We have now followed the pupil through the four primary

years. In connection with his other work he has learned all of the plane geometrical figures.

In the fifth, or, in some cities, the first grammar year, a higher book should be used for the flat-copy work, the three other subjects being taken on the blank pages. The copies should be drawn of the same size, enlarged and reduced. In addition to the four studies, Flat Copy, Design, Memory, and Dictation Drawing, the pupils commence the elements of drawing from the solid, or from the real object, sometimes called Free-Hand Perspective to distinguish it from Scientific or Mathematical Perspective. It is held that no person can draw well, until he can represent correctly any object placed before him. In model drawing, three dimensions are to be shown, whereas he has been representing but two. The latter is far easier and by its pursuit he has learned hand-practice, how to go to work about a drawing, has acquired a fair knowledge of form, and is ready to undertake the greater difficulties attending the representation of three dimensions with a fair degree of understanding. Had he commenced much earlier with this branch, much of his work would have been a failure as it would have been beyond his comprehension. There are a few persons, however, who think model drawing is the all in all, that it covers all points, and is the root and branch of Drawing. Let us beware of these people, for they are false prophets. Geometrical solids, as the cylinder, cone, prisms, pyramids, and vases of good outline from the antique, etc., should be the objects to be drawn from in earlier work, being represented first singly, then in groups of two or more. Model drawing from geometrical solids forms the basis of drawing irregular forms, as chairs, tables, buildings, and leads finally to sketching from nature. It is pictorial drawing. The work in the grammar schools should be in outline. It is foolish to attempt light and shade, which is a science in itself, till the pupil can represent outlines correctly. He will not have time to give the proper attention to light and shade till he reaches the High School.

To come back to the fifth year. The pupil, in connection with the other subjects, has time to fix but a few principles underlying object drawing and to make a few drawings. This, with the other subjects, is continued through the higher grades, a different Free-Hand book being used in each grade. In the sixth, seventh, and eighth years, the pupils, in connection with the other subjects, study mechanical drawing, including

[ocr errors]

the construction of the geometrical problems which are in almost daily use by carpenters, machinists, cabinet-makers, tinners, architects, engineers, etc. They are here taught the use of rule and compass, how to work to scale, and to make plans and elevations of rooms or buildings. In these higher grades not so much time is given to Memory and Dictation Drawing, but more to Flat Copy, Design, Model, and Mechanical Drawing. In three lessons a week, one might be given to Mechanical Drawing, two to Free Hand, which includes the model and flat copy work. The designs might be required in place of either, once in two, three, or four weeks. The pupil, before finishing the grammar-school course, will be able to make good designs for such things as the ornament for book covers, vases, wall papers, centre pieces for ceilings, borders, oil-cloths, etc.; be able to copy with ease from the flat, draw any simple groups of objects, and interpret and express readily on paper any written or verbal description. He will have some knowledge of the characteristics of different historical styles of ornament. He will know Egyptian, Greek, Roman, or Gothic ornament when he sees it, and will not when older be likely to build a house in the Gothic style, putting in a Norman window here, erecting Greek columns there, and using a Roman pilaster in some other place. By his study of Geometrical Drawing, he will have learned the use of instruments (and, remember, the draughtsman always uses them in making his working drawings), and will be acquainted with fifty or a hundred problems which are of daily use to the artisan and draughtsman, and which underlie all higher branches of mechanical drawing. The pupil will now have a good broad foundation that will be an invaluable help to him in whatever occupation he undertakes. He will have an educated taste, his perceptive faculties will be quickened, and he will be master of another language, that of form. It is said by a great German scholar, that whatever comes into the mind through the eye and hand is never forgotten.

In the High School, the pupil draws from large flat copies in outline and light and shade, ornament, animal forms, foliage, and the human figure. He commences drawing from plaster cast, pieces of historical ornament, masks, heads, hands, etc., from the antique. He works from the models and afterwards from the plaster cast, in light and shade, using the crayon point, stump, and brush, as media. He learns something of the different kinds of Projection Drawing (that drawing which is used by draughtsmen in making working drawings), of Architectural Drawing and of Mechanical Perspective. draws plants from nature, learns something of harmony of color, paints in water color, flowers, landscapes, and still life, from copy and from nature, and designs in color both forms and ornament. For example, he may be required to design a Greek vase and decorate it in the manner of the Greeks. He draws the form on paper, coloring to represent the material, whether clay, stone, or metal, and uses the colors and forms for ornament that were used by the Greeks. He will be able to make designs for carved or engraved woodwork, stone-work, ornamental ironwork, encaustic tiles, decorated china ware, damask table linen, lace, etc. In fact, when he graduates from the High School, he will have such a knowledge that he can do away with from two to three years of apprenticeship, if he undertakes a trade or profession requiring great knowledge of the subject. He will have a finely-educated taste, will furnish his house in an intelligent and tasteful manner, making it more attractive to his family, and this does not imply greater expense, for it costs no less, in most cases, to make an ugly thing than to make a beautiful one. It is a fact the higher price is often asked and given for the uglier. If he is a merchant, goods will be selected that will sell; if but a salesman, he will, by the proper juxtaposition of colors, make his windows and cases attractive, be quick to detect the taste of his customers, and will readily suit them. If a manufacturer, he can oversee his draughtsmen, or perhaps do his own draughting. His products will command a ready sale. If a farmer, he can be his own architect and engineer. When he wants a new house or barn he can make his own plans. He will have no crooked fences; his house and connecting buildings will not be painted in seven different and in harmonious colors, as I saw a house lately in a large city of this state. This man's place will be more attractive and command a readier sale and higher price than that of his neighbor who has not had the same advantages. The girls will find new occupations opening to them, far more remunerative than school-teaching or dress-making. Speaking of color, we Americans are woefully deficient in a knowledge of it and its laws. We unconsciously surround ourselves with colors that are so violently opposed to each other that our friends are annoyed and we are seriously troubled, yet do not know thə cause nor remedy.

I would like to speak of Drawing in Normal and Technical Schools, also of the great aid Drawing is in the proper pursuit of other studies, especially Natural History, but space will not allow.

We shall now consider briefly the ways and means of introducing the subject into the schools. It must be remembered that a thoroughly-graded course of study has been laid out that will take the pupil through his twelve years of school life.

Also, a city in putting Drawing into its schools, cannot, as if by magic, produce all these fine things at once nor take all of these studies the first year, because both teachers and scholars, in all grades, are new to the subject. It takes time for it to grade itself, as all have to commence with elementary work. For example, in a city commencing three years ago, Grammar work would still be going on in the High School, and, at first, all grades above the fourth or A Primary year, would use the same material and do about the same work that would now be done in that grade only.

Now how shall this subject be introduced into a town where teachers and pupils are ignorant of it? In the first place, the regular teachers must do the teaching in the primary and grammar grades. At first they can do the High-School work, but after the subject has been in the schools for two years or more, the studies will become too advanced for any but a special teacher. If the town can afford it, the best way is to engage the services of some able person who is master of his subject, to take full charge of the High-School work and to instruct the teachers so they can, with his supervision, do all the teaching in primary and grammar grades. Beware, here, not to engage some person who has pursued a narrow course of study, who is simply an ornamental penman, a crayon or water-color artist. He will only involve you in a hopeless muddle that has no beginning nor end. Such teachers are to be had at every turn; their price is cheap, but the article is cheaper. Undoubtedly if they comprehended how broad a subject Art Education is, what is required where it has been long and successfully taught, and knew where to fit themselves, they would make themselves worthy a higher price, and would not worse than waste their own time and the time of the schools under their charge. Often inquiries are made as to where to obtain persons fitted to teach Drawing and superintend it in the Public Schools. The only professional training school in this country,

« PreviousContinue »