Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The American Drawing Book

I've found another ebook on the Internet - a digital version of a very old book about drawing called 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 by John Gadsby Chapman.

This is the page introducing Chapter - the section on etching and engraving

John Gadsby Chapman (1808 - 1889) was an American artist famous for The Baptism of Pocahontas, which was commissioned by the United States Congress and hangs in the United States Capitol rotunda.
Wikipedia - John Gadsby Chapman
The book was first published in 1847 and it's basic premise is that......
"Anyone who can learn to write, can learn to draw."
It's an awful lot of text and quite a lot of drawings too although you need to progress through the book to start finding these.  The one digitised by Google comes from the Fogg Museum of Art at Harvard University.

You can also read it online via an edition digitised by the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture. and it's also available on a number of other sites.

I found it easier to download it as a pdf file from Google Books which then makes it much easier to scroll through looking at the different sections because you're putting less strain on your internet connection.
Its contents include:

  1. Chapter I. Primary instructions in drawing., pp. 11-34
  2. Chapter II. The rudiments of drawing. The human head., pp. 35-[57] ff.
  3. Chapter III. Rudiments of drawing.--The human figure., pp. [59]-90
  4. Chapter IV. The rudiments of drawing. Of manner or method--the act of writing, in connexion [sic] with drawing--general instructions, etc.--Conclusion., pp. 91-112
  5. Chapter V. Elements of geometry, pp. 113-124
  6. Chapter VI. Perspective--its principles, rules, and practical application., pp. 125-168
  7. Chapter VII. [Studying and sketching from nature.], pp. 169-208
  8. Chapter VIII. Painting, pp. [209]-252
  9. Chapter IX. Etching and engraving, pp. [253]-278
  10. Chapter X. Modeling, pp. [279]-286
  11. Chapter XI. Of composition.--Hints of methods of original productions, etc. Conclusion., pp. [287]-304 ff.
I've not heard of it before and have been dipping in and out of it so have no view at present about how good or otherwise it might be at present.  You can get a feel for what it covers by reviewing the very extensive Contents page and Introduction.

Do let me know, by leaving a comment, what you make if it.

If you're interested in older text books about drawing which have now been converted into ebooks see also an earlier book I identified - The Practice and Science of Drawing

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