The Art of Illustration Part 6

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"_The Miller's Daughter_," by E. K. JOHNSON.

Another very interesting example of Mr. E. K. Johnson's drawing in pen and ink. Nearly every line has the value intended by the artist.

The drawing has been largely reduced, and reproduced by the gelatine relief process.]



[_Royal Academy, 1886._]

(_Reproduced by the old Dawson process._)]

[Ill.u.s.tration: "IN THE PAS DE CALAIS." (JAS. PRINSEP BEADLE.)[14]]


For those who cannot draw easily with the pen, there are several kinds of grained papers which render drawings suitable for reproduction. The first is a paper with _black lines_ imprinted upon it on a material suitable for sc.r.a.ping out to get lights, and strengthening with pen or pencil to get solid blacks. On some of these papers black lines are imprinted horizontally, some vertically, some diagonally, some in dots, and some with lines of several kinds, one under the other, so that the artist can get the tint required by sc.r.a.ping out. Drawings thus made can be reproduced in relief like line drawings, taking care not to reduce a fine black grain too much or it will become "spotty" in reproduction.

[Ill.u.s.tration: "GOLDEN DAYS." (F. STUART RICHARDSON.)

(_Black-grained paper._)]

This drawing and the one opposite by Mr. Hume Nisbet show the skilful use of paper with vertical and horizontal black lines; also, in the latter drawing, the different qualities of strength in the sky, and the method of working over the grained paper in pen and ink.

[Ill.u.s.tration: No. XVII.


(_From "Lessons in Art," by Hume Nisbet, published by Chatto & Windus._)]

[Ill.u.s.tration: No. XVIII.]

"_Le Dent du Geant_," by E. T. COMPTON.

Another skilful use of the black-grained paper to represent snow, glacier, and drifting clouds. The original tone of the paper may be seen in the sky and foreground.

The effect is obtained by sc.r.a.ping out the lighter parts on the paper and strengthening the dark with pen and pencil.

It is interesting to compare the two blocks made from the same drawing. (Size of drawing 7-3/4 4 in.)]

[Ill.u.s.tration: No. XIX.

_Landscape_, by A. M. LINDSTROM.

Example of bold effect by sc.r.a.ping out on the black-lined paper, and free use of autographic chalk.

This drawing shows, I think, the artistic limitations of this process in the hands of an experienced draughtsman.

The original drawing by Mr. Lindstrom (from his painting in the Royal Academy) was the same size as the reproduction.]

Other papers largely used for ill.u.s.tration in the type press have a _white grain_, a good specimen of which is on page 123; and there are variations of these white-grained papers, of which what is known in France as _allonge_ paper is one of the best for rough sketches in books and newspapers.

The question may arise in many minds, are these contrivances with their mechanical lines for producing effect, worthy of the time and attention which has been bestowed upon them? I think it is very doubtful if much work ought to be produced by means of the black-grained papers; certainly, in the hands of the unskilled, the results would prove disastrous. A painter may use them for sketches, especially for landscape. Mr. Compton (as on p. 116) can express very rapidly and effectively, by sc.r.a.ping out the lights and strengthening the darks, a snowdrift or the surface of a glacier. In the drawing on page 123, Mr.

C. J. Watson has shown us how the grained paper can be played with, in artistic hands, to give the effect of a picture.

The difference, artistically speaking, between sketches made on black-grained and white-grained papers seems to me much in favour of the latter.

[Ill.u.s.tration: No. XX.

"_Volendam_," by C. J. WATSON.

Example of white-lined paper, treated very skilfully and effectively--only the painter of the picture could have given so much breadth and truth of effect.

This _white_ paper has a strong vertical grain which when drawn upon with autographic chalk has the same appearance as black-lined paper; and is often taken for it.

(Size of drawing 6 4-1/2 in.)]

But at the best, blocks made from drawings on these papers are apt to be unequal, and do not print with the ease and certainty of pure line work; they require good paper and careful printing, which is not always to be obtained. The artist who draws for the processes in this country must not expect (excepting in very exceptional cases) to have his work reproduced and printed as in America, or even as well as in this book.


_Example of a good chalk drawing too largely reduced._]

[Ill.u.s.tration: No. XXI.

"_An Arrest_," by MELTON PRIOR.

This is a remarkable example of the reproduction of a pencil drawing.

It is seldom that the soft grey effect of a pencil drawing can be obtained on a "half-tone" relief block, or the lights so successfully preserved.

This is only a portion of a picture by Mr. Melton Prior, the well-known special artist, for which I am indebted to the proprietors of _Sketch_.

The reproduction is by Carl Hentschel.]

The reproduction on the previous page owes its success not only to good process, paper, and printing, but also to _the firm, decisive touch of an experienced ill.u.s.trator_ like Mr. Melton Prior. A pencil drawing in less skilful hands is apt to "go to pieces" on the press.

Mr. C. G. Harper, in his excellent book on _English Pen Artists_, has treated of other ways in which drawings on prepared papers may be manipulated for the type press; but not always with success. In that interesting publication, _The Studio_, there have appeared during the past year many valuable papers on this subject, but in which the _mechanism_ of ill.u.s.tration is perhaps too much insisted on. Some of the examples of "mixed drawings," and of chalk-and-pencil reproductions, might well deter any artist from adopting such aids to ill.u.s.tration.

The fact is, that the use of grained papers is, at the best, a makeshift and a degradation of the art of ill.u.s.tration, if judged by the old standards. It will be a bad day for the art of England when these mechanical appliances are put into the hands of young students in art schools.

For the purposes of ordinary ill.u.s.trations we should keep to the simpler method of line. All these contrivances require great care in printing, and the blocks have often to be worked up by an engraver. _The material of the process blocks is unsuited to the purpose._ In a handbook to students of ill.u.s.tration this requires repeating on nearly every page.

As a contrast to the foregoing, let us look at a sketch in pure line by the landscape painter, Mr. M. R. Corbet, who, with little more than a scribble of the pen, can express the feeling of sunrise and the still air amongst the trees.



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The Art of Illustration Part 6 summary

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