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objects; it is the principal means by which we express ideas in regard to the appearance and decoration of objects ; so that the subject considered as a whole may be regarded as embracing three fundamental divisions:
Construction-Drawing as applied in industrial construction, the making of objects.
Representation—Drawing as applied in representing the appearance of objects and of nature.
Decoration-Drawing as applied in ornamentation.
Sound instruction in drawing means teaching a knowledge of form and its application in these three divisions.
Subject-matter to be Taught.-We have seen that the subject has a threefold division into Construction, Representation, and Decoration. These three are but two kinds of drawing, so far as execution is concerned, that done by the free hand, and that done with instruments,-under these three general divisions of the subject we may teach the various kinds of drawing known as freehand, dictation, memory, object, geometrical and mechanical drawing; but with a double value, inasmuch as the varied work, whether it be freehand or instrumental, may be so planned that it will tend toward one or more of the three general divisions of drawing.
Let us consider briefly the details of these three divisions, and first in educational and practical importance must we place the division of
Construction.—I think that drawing has failed to receive just recognition because of the failure to recognize the great importance of the constructive division of the subject. This forms preëminently the educational and practical side, and yet it is the one which has usually been ignored, while the pictorial and decorative sides have been given undue prominence. The fact that drawing is so often spoken of as an ornamental study by well-informed persons is proof that its educational and practical value has not been at all compre. hended. A great many say, in support of the matter, that drawing is important; but why is it important? When these æsthetic advocates of drawing are brought to the point of defending the practi cal importance of the study, they cannot tell why it is important; they are at a loss for good and substantial reasons. They aim to give what they call training to the hand and the eye, but this, though very important, is very indefinite in its results, and does not touch one of the most practical reasons for making drawing an important branch of education. We must recognize that it is the practical usefulness of drawing in adult life that warrants its introduction into the public schools, and we have only to examine how it is made use of in our constructive industries to see that the constructive division is not only the most practical division, but at the same time the most educational one.
When drawing was first introduced into the schools, one of the chief reasons given why it should be taught was, that children might learn how to make and to read working-drawings before passing from the school to the workshop; but nowhere could be found a system of books that brought the subject down to the grammar schools; and, as a teacher, I felt somewhat afraid I would be questioned upon the matter. Not a book had I to show which held between its two covers one single drawing that represented the simple projections of a common object so arranged as to give a pupil, or teacher, any idea how such drawings are made use of by the artisan.
And when I first suggested to a gentleman, who is now doing very much to develop this feature in the public schools at large, that in our middle schools this subject must be taught, I received this answer: "I see its great intrinsic value, and I hope soon to see it introduced into the lower schools; but at present it cannot be taught; teachers would cry out against it as a subject too difficult to teach, and the opponents of drawing would say we were endeavoring to teach orthographic projection, and would thus frighten timid people with the very word.”
Allow me to add, that this subject of constructive drawing, or the making of working-drawings, has been taught for several years in the schools of Worcester. I have found it a feature that develops from primary object-teaching of form without a break; that is readily comprehended by teachers, and the one subject in which the pupils are the most interested.
Why has Construction not been Taught ?—I believe it has not been taught in the grammar schools hitherto because it has been thought necessary to treat it scientifically, as laid down in the regular textbooks on orthographic projection, with the various planes of projection, etc. I have in my possession a small book, intended for grammar-school use, written by one who holds a prominent position as instructor in one of our leading institutions, yet I cannot believe the author ever taught a class of young pupils for five minutes. He begins with the projections of points, lines, planes, etc.; projections of things which cannot be presented in solid form, and the treatment of which does not appeal at all to the perceptive faculties of pupils. Now working-drawings are simply drawings that tell the facts about objects, consequently, to teach such drawing in the schools we have only to teach pupils to observe the facts of objects, and then to express by drawings in the simplest way, by the free hand or otherwise, what they see; and I hold it to be an educational absurdity to require pupils at this stage to learn about planes of projection, and all that is usually first presented under the head of orthographic projection, and a great wrong to the pupils to omit this feature till they are of an age to comprehend such a scientific treatment of the subject.
Geometry forms the basis of all drawing. This point is so well established that it needs no comment, but in answer to those who claim that pupils, when they begin the study of working-drawings, should learn just what is meant by that projection which is made by drawing lines, from every point to be projected perpendicularly to the plane of projection, and learn to work to scale, etc., it may be asked, Is it necessary that pupils should learn to demonstrate theorems in geometry before practising geometrical construction? Indeed no, and so I say that drawings expressing the facts of form, executed, they may be, roughly by the unaided hand, may be made to convey unmistakably the relative dimensions and positions of all portions of an object. And this kind of freehand work is as valuable as any other, as regards the training of the hand and eye, while it possesses an educational value not to be compared with that attained through the mere copying of abstract forms,
How is Construction to be Taught ? --Inasmuch as in this paper I must give my own methods of instruction,-knowing full well that they offer many opportunities for improvement,-an outline of the work in this division is presented with the accompanying illustrations, in order to bring the nature of the work clearly before you, that it may be readily comprehended by those who will take part in the discussion.
A cylinder, a square prism, a double cone, and a piece of paper oblong in shape, and in size about equal to the upright view of the cylinder or block, are taken into the school-room. It is explained to the pupils that they are to learn to make just such drawings of the first three objects as a carpenter would require if the objects were to be constructed from drawings; and after a much fuller explanation than can here be given, a drawing is made on the board to represent the side or upright view of the cylinder, and at the same time, the pupils are questioned in regard to the various lines necessary for its construction. An upright view of the square prism is then made in the same manner, and afterward one of the paper. The three drawings are yet all alike; they are oblongs, though made from different objects. If now the pupils are requested to observe the thickness of the objects, they see the necessity of other representations to fully describe and to distinguish them. If they are asked to state what should be drawn to represent the other view gained in looking directly at the end of the cylinder,—the other fact of the solid, -the true shape of the end is perceived, and the answer is “A circle.” Now by continuing the vertical lines of the oblong upward, by dotted lines or lines of projection, and drawing the circle to touch these lines, all the facts of the form of the cylinder are expressed. This much being done, pupils will see at once what is necessary to express the facts of the square prism and piece of paper,—the adding of a square and a straight line. By proper questioning the pupils are led to see that something more is needed, that the length and breadth are to be shown in feet and inches, and the manner of indicating feet and inches by the signs in use may be explained.
Following this, in a similar way, working-drawings are made of other simple objects, from directions elicited from the pupils.
Children are exceedingly interested in this, their first lesson in making working-drawings. It is a revelation to them, a practical illustration of drawing being used as a language to communicate ideas; and besides the practice in drawing which the pupils have, is not such work most valuable in training the powers of perception and comparison, thus daveloping the thinking-power? And just here may be mentioned the great differeuce it makes in the interest, and I may say value, of the exercise if the pupils are required to make the drawings as though they were the working-drawings for a carpenter, to be used for practical purposes, rather than the simple representation of dry facts.
Foreshortening in Construction.—Owing to the foreshortening of lines and planes, there may be found some trouble at first in teaching the geometric views of some objects. Take the steps for illustration. Pupils see at once what the end view should be, because all lines to be represented are in the same plane, but with the front view it is different. If, however, we cover up all the steps of the model with our hands, except the first or lower step, and ask what should be drawn to represent that alone, there is no hesitation,—the answer is, “An oblong." By covering all but the second and leaving that exposed, the answer is the same in regard to that; and so with the rest. The pupils are led to see that the combined height of all these oblongs cannot be more than the height of the steps as seen in the end view,—that the steps can be no higher when seen from the front than from the end ; and so, with fuller explanations than this paper admits, they are led to see the proper height and position of all the oblongs, and the best way to draw them.
Similar explanations might be made of the manner of drawing the triangular prism, the top view of the square pyramid, the top view of a common bell, and the different geometric views of other objects.
In What Year is this Work to Begin?-At the present time in Worcester, where children spend nine years in the schools below the high school, and begin their school-life at the age of five, this particular kind of drawing, of representing intelligently two or more views or facts of a solid, is begun in the fifth year. It might perhaps be commenced earlier with profit; but in the years previous the work is of that nature in the representation of one view that this is only a continuation or further development; and considering all the other things to be attended to in the first two years that children use books, and as the subject matter extends over the period of five years before the pupils graduate from the grammar schools, it seems to me it is quite early enough.
But you may ask, “How is this subject to be continued? Is this matter of making working-drawings to be carried out by free hand through all these subsequent school years?” Pupils throughout the whole course in drawing have much practice in free-hand work. I think that in about the sixth year this particular division of the subject should be placed on a more thoroughly geometric mechanical basis. Geometry, as has been said, forms the basis of all drawing. The children in their early training become familiar with all the principal geometric forms. They make use of them in many ways, and in their first work in construction they represent free-hand the geometric views of the simple objects used.
Now in about the sixth or seventh year of school it is customary to introduce geometric problems in addition to the various kinds of free-hand work; and what are these problems? They mainly relate to the drawing of lines in all their geometrical relations to each
Note. A teacher in one of our schools has found this cons-ructive drawing of great assistance in teaching arithmetic, when surface areas are to be determined. For instance, if the surface measurement of a box is required, the plan, and side and end elevations are drawn to scale, and the measurements marked on the drawings. Having these drawings before the eye, the pupils readıly work out the problems. In looking over a set of arithmetic papers, I observed on each paper, drawings which represented the four sides of a room, with the doors, windows, and base-boards correctly located, and with the various measurements indicated on each. The pupils were required to find how many yards of wall paper it would take to cover the walls.
The teacher informs me that in every case, where the work deals with objects, drawings to scale are first made of the objects, and, as a consequeuce, the pupils understand much better the problems, and much better results are achieved.