Pen Drawing eBook

Charles Donagh Maginnis
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 50 pages of information about Pen Drawing.

CHAPTER IV

VALUES

[Side note:  The Color Scheme]

After the subject has been mapped out in pencil, and before beginning the pen work, we have to consider and determine the proper disposition of the Color.  By “color” is meant, in this connection, the gamut of values from black to white, as indicated in Fig. 23.  The success or failure of the drawing will largely depend upon the disposition of these elements, the quality of the technique being a matter of secondary concern.  Beauty of line and texture will not redeem a drawing in which the values are badly disposed, for upon them we depend for the effect of unity, or the pictorial quality.  If the values are scattered or patchy the drawing will not focus to any central point of interest, and there will be no unity in the result.

[Illustration:  FIG. 23 C. D. M.]

There are certain general laws by which color may be pleasingly disposed, but it must be borne in mind that it ought to be disposed naturally as well.  By a “natural” scheme of color, I mean one which is consistent with a natural effect of light and shade.  Now the gradation from black to white, for example, is a pleasing scheme, as may be observed in Fig. 24, yet the effect is unnatural, since the sky is black.  In a purely decorative illustration like this, however, such logic need not be considered.

[Illustration:  FIG. 24 D. A. GREGG]

[Side note:  Principality in the Color-Scheme]

Since, as I said before, color is the factor which makes for the unity of the result, the first principle to be regarded in its arrangement is that of Principality,—­there must be some dominant note in the rendering.  There should not, for instance, be two principal dark spots of equal value in the same drawing, nor two equally prominent areas of white.  The Vierge drawing, Fig. 25, and that by Mr. Pennell, Fig. 5, are no exceptions to this rule; the black figure of the old man counting as one note in the former, as do the dark arches of the bridge in the latter.  The work of both these artists is eminently worthy of study for the knowing manner in which they dispose their values.

[Illustration:  FIG. 25 DANIEL VIERGE]

[Side note:  Variety]

The next thing to be sought is Variety.  Too obvious or positive a scheme, while possibly not unsuitable for a conventional decorative drawing, may not be well adapted to a perspective subject.  The large color areas should be echoed by smaller ones throughout the picture.  Take, for example, the Vierge drawing shown in Fig. 26.  Observe how the mass of shadow is relieved by the two light holes seen through the inn door.  Without this repetition of the white the drawing would lose much of its character.  In Rico’s drawing, Fig. 11, a tiny white spot in the shadow cast over the street would, I venture to think, be helpful, beautifully clear as it is; and the black area at the end of the wall seems a defect as it competes in value with the dark figure.

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Pen Drawing from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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