Drawing Fundamentals - What is One of the Most Important Ones?

The fascinating thing is that the large majority of people who do this exercise use very similar line types for the different categories. For example, anger is often drawn with sharp heavy diagonal lines compared to Joy which may have soft light lines where the pencil hardly touches the paper, spurting up like a fountain or rising in upward spiraling lines.

Line has its own language, one that we are easily able to interpret. For many years now I have done an exercise with my students in which they have to depict some of the following emotions or states of being, using line only. The emotions used are, joy, anger, illness, depression and human energy.



The fascinating thing is that the large majority of people who do this exercise use very similar line types for the different categories. For example, anger is often drawn with sharp heavy diagonal lines compared to Joy which may have soft light lines where the pencil hardly touches the paper, spurting up like a fountain or rising in upward spiraling lines.


People seem to instinctively understand this language, light, dark, heavy, soft, straight or curved. Line tells a story that often we do not have words for. Below is a basic line drawing of a tree - it is quite two dimensional - not a lot of information there compared with the tree below it which has a lot of shading and three dimensional modeling.




Another interesting thing about line is that the line that we draw often does not in reality exist. If I'm drawing a tree, for example, I will draw a line that delineates the trunk and branches.




However, if I was to go up to that tree I would say that the tree is round and there is no line. Instead, there is a solidity (the tree) that sits in space, I cannot draw it sitting in space without using either line or tone to delineate it. Space is defined when I create a line enclosing that space. I can further represent its volume through the use of clever shading.


Through the use of line in combination with shading, I get a much more emotive image. The trees in 'The Wise Ones' tell me somewhat about the life they have lived. They are missing limbs and look as if they have been ravaged by the elements over time. The first tree on the other hand, tells me nothing about these things. The use of line tells me what it is but the lines don't contain much energy. You might say it is a dead drawing compared to the other one. In the bottom tree I can see a variety of different lines in use: fast lines, slow lines, heavy lines and expressive lines. These things all contribute to the story of the trees.


What is your favourite tree and how might you draw it to show someone else an aspect of the trees life?


6 views0 comments