Chapman, J.G. (John Gadsby), 1808-1889. / The American drawing-book: a manual for the amateur, and basis of study for the professional artist: especially adapted to the use of public and private schools, as well as home instruction.
(1870 [1873 printing])
[Introduction], pp. [unnumbered]-10
TNT ROD U C TI ON. 6 Many are deterred from attempting the art of Drawing, from an idea that they lack capacity, or, what the world calls genius. But have they ever made the attempt? Let them recall to mind their first steps in knowledge of every kind, and judge not unfairly of their capacity, until they have tried this also. Before they knew their A, B, C, they could tell a man from a dog, by the picture. The impressions of form are the first made on the infant mind; and were it taught, betimes, or even encouraged to trace these impressions, there would be fewer incapable of expressuig the language of Design. The untaught savage thus records the story of his battles; as the traditions of his fathers have come down to him from generation to generation. He directs the traveller on his way, by marks in the sand; tells him, by his rude outline, of mount- ains and rivers to be passed; and no one can mistake his meaning. Who is there, in civilized life, that may have been familiar with works of art from childhood, that can not do this? If he can, he can do more. He possesses the germ within him, and needs only proper cultiva- tion, for its successful development. As in other arts and studies, all can not expect to be equaliy perfect, so all can not expect to rival the master-spirits in the arts of Design. The work of an artist is that of a lifetime of arduous toil and study. Of the thousands who delight themselves and their friends in music, bow few have composed an opera, or even achieved the composition of a single air? Yet, what would the world lose, were none to attempt the cultivation of this refined and charming accom- 1)lishment, but those who devoted themselves exclusively to its pursuit! Were music neglected as a study by all except those who make it the business of their lives, even they would find few to admire and sympathize with them, in their greatest productions, for want of taste and understanding. In the elementary portions of this work, the smile of the professional artist may be moved, when he finds the author dwelling on what some may think trifles, and giving instruction in the methods of sharpening a pencil and makiYig a pen. But let him remember the day that such instruction might have helped even him. When the pupil in Drawing has attained a proficiency to place him in the position of an artist, his course of study will require a direction beyond the means of these pages to afford him. This he must obtain elsewhere, and pursue, with that fixed determination and singleness of purpose, by which excellence is only to be achieved; and he will find that, could all that he requires be placed at once within his reach, it would be, in a meas- ure, valueless, for want of that strength to appreciate and appropriate such advantages, which is best acquired by patient search and progressive attainment. Short-cuts and easy roads to
Based on date of publication, this material is presumed to be in the public domain.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright