Line Drawing Exercises

Lines in drawing are made in several ways. The smallest lines are made by means of the medium (pencil, crayon, pen, or brush), held so as to be controlled principally by the fingers, wrist, elbow, or even by the arm at the shoulder socket. In a sitting position, the two former are most used; the latter two movements are more frequently used while standing, as at the blackboard. Small details are usually executed by the control of the thumb and first and second fingers.

Broad Effects – More freedom and broader effects are produced by the movement of the fingers and the motion of the hand radiating from the wrist. Still more sweeping effects are’ secured byholcling the hand nearly rigid and obtaining actions by means of the forearm swung from the elbow. A still greater radius may be had, though infrequently required, by swinging the full length of the arm, as, for instance, in describing a circle on the blackboard several feet in circumference.

Scratchy and Unevenly Spaced Lines, with few exceptions, such as when drawing grasses, etc., are to be avoided. The upper lines in Fig. 3 are of the scratchy and uneven kind, while those below are more deliberately and carefully placed. In Fig. 4 the difference between the correct lines and the reverse is made apparent.

Fig. 5 shows practice lines that should be repeated over and over again until the pupil becomes quite expert in their use. To avoid tiresomeness, they are introduced with frequency into other examples in which interest is obtained by enclosing the practice lines in various forms. In A, the lines arc about as evenly placed as could be expected from a pupil after several months of training. In B, the lines are such as would be made by the absolutely untrained hand and eye.

C shows lines enclosed in order to train the pupil to stop the lines within prescribed limits.

In Fig. 6, at D, the lines are drawn backward and forward quickly without removing the pencil.

E consists of lines drawn quickly, but by lifting the pencil at the end of each stroke.

At F the lines are broken, but firmly and evenly placed.

Use Even Pressure – Teach the student that it is most desirable to learn to make a line with an even pressure, from the moment the pencil or crayon touches the paper until it leaves it; that is, the making of a line that neither presses into the paper at the beginning nor drops off at the end.

Fig. 7 gives practice lines that are used in nearly all drawings, from the parallel lines at the top, the graduated lines in the second row, the cross-hatch lines near the bottom and, lastly, the solid shading in which the lines are placed so closely together as to nearly or quite lose their identity.

Repeated Practice – Fig. 6 shows practice lines that should be repeated over and over again until the student becomes quite expert in their use. To avoid becoming tiresome they should be introduced in small doses over a period of time, though the student should study each kind of line thoroughly.

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