The Science of Drawing: Being a Progressive Series of the Characteristic Forms of Nature by Frank Howard is a series of drawing instruction titles that focus on trees, animals, and the human form. The first two parts are in the public domain. The first part is The Science of Drawing: Trees.
The book begins by explaining the usefulness of drawing:
It tells a chapter at a glance, and throws whole pages of a narrative into a single view. Forms, situations, proportions, and character, actions and passions, are alike by Drawing condensed, distinguished, and made intelligible in a moment. Ideas, experience, facts, may all be described but scarcely more intelligibly by words than by forms,—in many instances decidedly less so. Machinery, whether new inventions, or such as have been long established, cannot be fully explained without Drawing, in addition to description. But in every thing that regards form, as of animals, plants, &c. or the general character of a country, or its inhabitants, Drawing is indispensable to writing, whilst it is sufficiently explanatory alone. Nothing but abstract reasoning is confined to writing.
Rather than focusing on drawing as a fine art, this book focuses on its usefulness as “a means of communicating ideas” and, as such, accurately describes the character of classes of objects.
The method used to achieve the above is to draw attention to the obvious characteristics, have them drawn, rudely perhaps at first, but increasing in detail until the whole is identifiable.
After the introductory remarks, the book is broken into two parts focusing on the general forms of trees and then the details.
The general forms or shapes of several trees are covered with illustrations. Then the characteristics of trees are addressed as though taking a closer look for the finer details and understanding what it is that makes one tree look different from another. At this point the author covers:
The final notes will help in assuring better form when drawing.
The Science of Drawing: Trees is really a method of instruction that focuses on being able to (at least in the end) make a perfect representation of what one sees in nature. A skill that is very helpful to nature studies!