Looking at book covers may not tell you everything, but they do tell you something. A collection of leather-bound ‘how to draw’ books of the nineteen twenties exudes
confidence, the expertise of the masters handed down. The titles indicate attention to technique, referring to ‘pencil drawing’, ‘lead pencil drawing’, or ‘pen and ink’, and speak of the ‘art’ of drawing. Some of these had been in print for fifty years. There are idealised classical figures, nature studies, but also stirrings of a more liberal approach. By the nineteen forties and fifties the books are less formal, less symmetrical, and more Do-It-Yourself: ‘I wish I could draw’, ‘Drawing at Home’, ’The Natural Way to Draw’, ‘Drawing Without a Master’. Some are slim volumes running in series devoted to subjects such as ships, cats, trees, even tanks. You draw the world around you.