Outline is used to represent the boundary of any given object, and as the extent of a solid body is definite and precise, so also must be the line that represents it. However modified its appearance may become under the influence of partial light, its definition must be certain and positive, and he that cannot represent form by outline will not be able to do so by light and shade.
The Pupil is warned at the commencement from acquiring a habit of loose drawing, or of allowing lines to remain on his paper which he knows to be incorrect. In training the eye we must guard it as much as possible from the influence of false lines, and endeavor by every means to render its susceptibility acute. This cannot be done as long as form is represented by more than a single line, for as one line has a strong counter- acting influence on another, the eye cannot possibly make any decision : if therefore two or three lines, which are made to represent one, together look correct, it is certain they must all be wrong, nor will it be possible to draw the right one until their false influence be removed. In a drawing which is intended to remain as a rough sketchy multiplicity of outline and uncertainty may give the appearance of finish, and serve to hide ignorance or haste, but these are no object to the student, and in his endeavors to obtain correctness they will lead to no result.
The pupil's previous experience in drawing need not prevent his commencing the plan here recommended, as the accuracy required in drawing the figure is so great, that no pains taken in acquiring facility of outline will be a matter of subsequent regret (The plan here recommended is similar to that adopted by Mr. Carey, in the Bloomsbury School of Design. This mode, although long practiced by draughtsman, was first reduced to a system by Mr Sase).
A black lead pencil of moderate hardness, cut to a fine point, and common cartridge or Imperial paper are the best materials with which to commence.
Before drawing a line, make one mark to indicate its beginning, and another its termination, then holding the pencil with the fingers bent and rather loose, about an inch and a half from the point, draw the line at one stroke, slowly but firmly. It must not be painted, dotted or ruled, to which resources the nervous beginner often applies. The use of these marks is the more insisted on because it is a habit which may very soon be lost, and yet one which is of great assistance even to the best draughtsman, as it saves time, gives firmness and decision, readily allows of alteration, while at the same time it prevents the paper from being injured. (Plate 1, fig. 1.)
When the Pupil can draw a line thus with decision and firmness, he may proceed in the same manner to practice triangles, squares, curves, ellipses, &c., never omitting to make his marks, and correct them if necessary, before drawing the lines. (Plate 1, fig. 2 & 3.) K he has not been in the habit of sketching from nature he would find much advantage in studying from solid blocks of various forms, which are made for the purpose, or in want of these from boxes or books, confining himself at present to simple lines. (Plate 1, fig. 4.)