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Studio: international art — 1.1893

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Pen-Drawing for Process

tion the " process-men," practitioners of the new

PEN-DRAWING FOR REPRODUC- methods, were mainly responsible. One was en-
TION — COMPARATIVE PRO- joined in those days to make drawings with only
CESSES BY C. G. HARPER. the blackest of Indian ink, upon Bristol-board, the
thickest and smoothest and whitest obtainable,
Ten years ago or thereabouts, the illus- and upon none other. It was impressed upon the
trator was an obscure individual who, so long as he draughtsman that he should draw lines thick and
could draw passably well, was little troubled by his wide apart and firm, and that his drawings should
publisher on the grounds of technique. For that be made with a view to a reduction of one-third ;
which deserved to be called technique was dead, so and so, by reason of these things, the pen-work of
far as illustration was concerned, and "process," that time is become dreadful to look upon at this
which was presently to revivify it, was, though day. If old-time drawings for the wood engravers
born already, but yet a sickly child. proceeded in grooves of convention, working for
A lost convention, which had finally shredded the zincographer was pursued in ruts. There have
out in 1875, had carried with it all that was admir- never been, before nor since, such. horribly un-
able in execution. The fine illustrations of Sandys, inspired things produced as in the first years of
of Simeon Solomon, of Mahony, J. 1). Watson, process-work in these islands. It is incalculable


J. D. Linton, Robert Barnes, and others who made
notable the volumes of Once a Week and the early
issues of Good Words, had given place to a gene-
rally uninspired period of wash drawings made to
suit a newer style of wood engraving than that fac-
simile school which at its best period had given the
world such good work.

Not yet was pen-drawing a profession ; for the
zincography of the time made miserable all them
that were translated by it. Illustration, though
sensibly increased in volume, was artistically at a
low ebb. It was a manufacture, an industry; but
scarcely a profession, and certainly not an art.

Nor was " process " at first a promising method
of reproduction. Men scarcely saw anything in it
save cheap (and nasty) ways of multiplying diagrams,
and the bald and artless elevations of new buildings
issued from architects' offices. For this blindness
to the possibilities of photo-mechanical reproduc-

how much time has been wasted, how many careers
set back, by obedience to the hard-and-fast rules
laid down for the guidance of artists by the process-
men of years syne. At every untrammelled stroke
they shrieked disaster. To those artists who,
with an artistic and altogether admirable reckless-
ness of results, set down their work as they pleased,
we owe more than to any others the progress ot
process; by their immediate martyrdom was our
eventual salvation earned. And in the sure and
certain hope of a reproduction really and truly fac-
simile, the draughtsman in the medium of pen and
ink is to-day become a technician of a peculiar

To-day, with the exercise of knowledge and dis-
crimination, drawings the most difficult of reproduc-
tion may be rendered faithfully; it is a matter of
choice in processes. But in the mass of reproduc-
tion to-day this knowledge, this discrimination, is