An excerpt from the Introduction:
In these days, when daily prophecies are made concerning the art work required in the near future, in the shape of pattern and costume designing, poster and advertisement work, illustration, etc., when one sees in the press a great campaign of correspondence teaching with the promise of remunerative employment to every student who "completes the course," with the implication that no long training in art study is necessary, and that there is a royal road to art, it becomes necessary to insist upon the importance of draughtsmanship in the classical sense, as understood by Holbein, Velasquez, Ingres, Menzel, and Degas. This technical power or faculty, call it what we will, is not a conjuring trick, a mere sleight-of-hand to be learned as a series of "tips," but must be acquired, if at all, by severe training, and by intellectual visual effort. It must be searched for rather than picked up, and learned from one whom the student trusts, putting himself in his teacher's hands with confidence, not regarding him as one standing behind a counter ready for a fee to cut off a small snip of the fabric of art teaching, to show, say, how tricks with a water colour brush are performed, or how to draw a pretty face.
When the student has arrived at some measure of the knowledge of art, he will press into his service all the refinements of technique which he can acquire from any one who can teach him, but without that, he is the more a charlatan, the more dodges and manipulative processes he can command.
The chapters in this book, therefore, are concerned with drawing as a study, and an attempt is made in them to emphasize the importance of a student-like attitude of mind, and a wise docility in carrying out tasks not perhaps in themselves very interesting, but necessary if the draughtsman is to be well equipped. Nor should readers cavil at such a term as "tasks," for though the emotional side of art is now-a-days insisted upon, and rightly so, yet it is all the more necessary that the artist shall be absolutely the master of his instrument, if he is to possess the souls of his listeners. And if this striving and study is necessary in music, still more is it in pictorial art.
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