Drawing Lines

Drawing Lines

Lesson 4


Lines don’t exist in reality. Everywhere you look you can see various forms bouncing into other forms, but no lines. This is the first thing to understand about a line. It is completely a creation of the human mind. We understand lines and pictures because we know how to read them. When a line is drawn on a piece of paper it’s intention is to depict the three dimensional world on a two dimensional surface. You are the magician deciphering what you see in reality and transforming it onto a two dimensional surface.

In the following drawing assignments you are going to be exploring contour lines. That means no shading. You are going to be focusing only on the edges of forms and shadows. It is on these edges where your line will wander.

Assignment #2 Contour Line Drawings

Drawing #4 Blind Contour Drawing of your Hand

Sit at a table where your arm is lying comfortably on the surface. Turn to a clean page in your sketchbook. Now I want you to pose your hand. Try to be a bit creative and scrunch up your fingers and position them at interesting angles. Hold your hand in this position. With your other hand place your pencil on a clean page in your sketchbook. Now I want you to begin drawing it. But here’s the catch. You are not going to be looking at your paper. You are going to keep your focus on your hand, and do the drawing looking only at your hand. That’s the “blind” aspect to this drawing. I want you to imagine that your pencil is touching the outward contours of your palm, winding in and out of all those wrinkles, and sliding down those slopes. As your eye moves: Your pencil moves. Think of yourself as Luke Skywalker when he’s on the Millennium Falcon for the first time. And he’s got to use his light saber to fend off lazer shots with his blast shield down. Use the Force! The urge to glance down at your paper will be strong. But don’t fall into the dark side. Just keep your focus on your hand. The good thing about this drawing is that you have absolutely no responsibility to try and make it look “right” at all. Just let the lines wander all over the page as your eye traces the outside contours of your hand. As you can see in the example below, if the drawings look “correct” then you’re not doing it right. You have 20 minutes to make 5 blind contours of your hand. Go!


Drawing #5 –   “50% Blind 50% Looking”

In this drawing I want you to continue to draw while looking at your hand. But you can cheat. With that being said don’t allow yourself to fall completely back into how you would normally draw. Do an outside contour of a finger blind, then regain your positioning, and start again. So half of the time you should be looking at your page and the other half you should be drawing while looking at your hand (blind contour). You have to really slow down in order for this to work. One hand should take you at least 10 minutes. You have thirty minutes to make at least two hands.


Drawing #6 “Finished Contour Line Drawing”

For this drawing you will be positioning your hand once again and drawing it however you wish. Try and remember everything you’ve learned from the last few drawings and now incorporate those ideas into making the best completed drawing of a hand you can do. Don’t worry about shading. It’s still about the contour lines. You can outline areas of shadow if you wish, but please refrain from shading them in. We’ll get to that later. You have 20 minutes.


Rock on.

Drawing #7 “Mucha Copy”

For this drawing you will be copying a master artists work (Alphonse Mucha). I choose Mucha because it’s hard to find anyone with a more elegant and crisp line. Get as much done as you can in an hour. Look at how Mucha varies the thickness of his lines in different areas. This Mucha drawing is extremely difficult, however one must remember that as a student you are training and practicing. You are not obligated to make gorgeous drawings yet. Do your best. You have 1 hour.


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This post was written by Jer

Educator and creator of Painting-Course.com. I look forward to watching your progress!

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