I purchased an art instruction book while traipsing through First Monday in Canton last month. I think it cost me a dollar if I remember correctly. I perused it briefly and it contained many of the basics, everything from, "First considerations" and "The Essential Equipment" to instruction in free-hand perspective, cast drawing, life drawing, architectural considerations, methods and lighting, graded tones, decorative treatments and so on.
I learned some of the skill set in my youth but have found need of a reference and a refresher course. The book is like any art book in that there is a need for some pages to be edited but on the whole it offers sensible instruction minus our modern day cultural influences and attitudes.
As I was just reading through chapter III, I came across a timeless lesson; a life perspective, applicable to us in many areas.
When one studies drawing he usually does so because of his personal inclination, --hence when the necessary materials have been selected and prepared he is anxious for his first instruction, and if his early problems prove interesting he is quite sure to become so enthusiastic as to make rapid progress. But this is an age of rush and hurry; perseverance and thoroughness seem to have been almost superseded by impatience and superficiality. Therefore progress, however rapid in reality, often seems painfully slow to the beginner, who is all to frequently so blinded by his desire to hasten on to the sort of thing which is way beyond him that it is hard for him to realize the importance of thorough mastery of the elements. If he is given problems which he considers beneath him he becomes resentful but if he is allowed to attempt difficult subjects of his own choosing and then fails to get the results hoped for he is apt to give up the whole matter in disgust, --blaming the instructor oftimes for his lack of success. Is it not, then, part of the duty of the teacher to point out the reasons why it is necessary for one to advance slowly enough to permit thorough mastery of each fundamental as he goes along? For the student can be made to see the need for first learning to draw simple things well, --if he can be brought to realize that his progress will be all the more rapid in the end for having done so, problems which might otherwise prove irksome will be approached, if not with enthusiasm, at least with patience born of understanding.