Drawing Furniture & Sketches
The secret of successful study is the knowing what to select, and how to use the material at hand. To know what not to do is almost as good as knowing what to do. It cannot be expected that a draughtsman will make a good sketch for an article unless he knows what he is trying to draw. The object should be as clearly defined in the mind as if the completed work was before him, otherwise his drawing will be vague and uncertain.
As the purpose of the sketch is to show someone, usually a person ignorant of conventional methods of draughtsmanship, the appearance of the completed furniture, too much care cannot b-.e taken in making the sketch accurate and showing the detail in a way that will leave little doubt in the mind what is intended, that there may be no cause for dissatisfaction with the completed article because the drawing was not understood.
The sketch should represent the article correctly, and sufficient skill to make such a drawing is obtained by practice. There is no better preparation for designing than drawing from existing examples of good furniture. By sitting in front of a chair, for instance, and drawing it as it appears a knowledge of the way its curves and lines should be represented in a sketch are learned. It should be drawn as it is seen, not as it is known to be. That is, if the curve of the arm looks like a straight line draw it so. If it is necessary that the curve appear on the sketch, change the position of the object so as to present the line as it is wanted, but do not make the drawing incorrect for the sake of presentation. A position can usually be taken that will show all that is necessary; if one drawing does not suffice to do so make others rather than draw incorrectly.
The completed sketch should be as perfect a picture of the article as the draughtsman can make it in the time available. This is preferably a perspective drawing, though not necessarily one constructed mechanically. In fact, a freehand drawing made without the use of the conventional scales is better. Of course a knowledge of the principles and rules for making mechanical perspective is necessary to draw in this way, and if this knowledge is applied as the drawing proceeds the result will be satisfactory.
The object may be drawn of any convenient size and in a position that represents it to the best advantage. Certain articles may be drawn larger than others and yet appear relatively of the proper dimensions. For instance, a chair may be drawn quite large to show all its details, while a cabinet is better sketched at a smaller scale, as otherwise it appears too large.
It is curious that to the uninitiated a large drawing, or photograph, represents a large object; and, vice versa, a small drawing a small object. So, when a light, delicate piece of furniture is to be represented the sketch should be small and delicately drawn.
Chairs look well drawn so the front is at an angle of about 45 degrees to the picture plane, and with the corner nearest to the eye at a scale of one and a half inch to the foot.
It is not to be expected that a draughtsman can always have his ideas sufficiently formulated to enable him to draw a picture at once. Some preliminary work is required. A scale study may be made in orthographic projection to determine the proportion of the whole and the arrangement of the parts; and occasionally rough full size drawings of parts requiring special study are made.
These projection drawings may be of any convenient scale, but most draughtsmen use one inch or one and one-half inch to the foot. With drawings made at these scales before him the draughtsman has little difficulty in making his sketch correctly.
As any design becomes more attractive by a neat presentation, it is well to make, first, a study of the sketch with pencil, obtaining the general proportions and outline. Then, to save the time of making erasures and corrections, lay a piece of tracing paper over this rough study and make a more careful drawing. Repeat the process of making tracing copies, correcting the drawing each time until a satisfactory sketch is obtained. This may then be transferred to bristol board for the final rendering or the last tracing copy is mounted and used as the final sketch. This is, indeed, a good way to do.
It is advisable to keep the rough studies, tracings and notes made when working up a design, either by pasting in scrap books or classifying in portfolios. They will often be found convenient for duplicating sketches, suggesting ideas, etc.
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