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Four Methods Of Making The Background

The background can be made first, with the crayon sauce and the use of
the large gray stump and rubber eraser; second, with the cotton and
rubber, by using the cotton in applying the crayon sauce to put in the
dark places in the background, and then finishing with the rubber;
third, by the use of the line effect; and fourth, by the stipple
effect, produced by the use of pumice stone. This last I consider far
superior to any of the others, as it changes the appearance of the
surface of the paper entirely, and produces an effect altogether
different from that ordinarily shown in a background. It is also free
from the mussy, dirty appearance which is produced by the use of the
cotton and crayon sauce alone. I have been repeatedly asked by both
amateurs and professionals what kind of paper I use in free-hand
crayons. The inquiry arose from the fact that treating the paper by the
fourth method changes the appearance of the surface of the paper and
also its color. I have never before, however, given to the public, nor
even to my pupils, the secret of this process. When the pupil has
mastered it so as to once produce the satisfactory effect of which it
is capable, he will find that it has all the advantages I claim for it
and is a secret well worth knowing, in fact, what would be termed one
of the tricks of the profession, and a very valuable one. I must
confess, however, that I discovered it by an accident. I had been
experimenting for years in making backgrounds in order to produce an
effect that was entirely satisfactory to me, and had failed to reach
just what I wanted. One day, however, I was at work on a portrait that
I was very particular with, but the background of which proved quite
unsatisfactory to me. In despair I threw on a handful of pumice stone,
intending to entirely remove the background by its aid, when, to my
surprise and delight, I found I was producing the very effect that I
had been seeking for years, namely, one rendering the background of a
different color from the face and giving it a clear, transparent
appearance, so that the eye seemed to penetrate it, quite different
from the opaque, almost dirty backgrounds, resulting from the use of
other methods.

I will treat each of these methods in separate chapters further on.

Next: Free-hand Crayons And Those Made From Photographic Enlargements

Previous: The Pantograph

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