Description and Potential Objectives for Line Drawing:
During the first class of this course students will be asked to develop line drawings that will depict various optional subject matter that could include either; objects, still-life, people, faces, interior and or exterior spaces. These line drawings should attempt to present a broad range of fluid line weights and descriptive line qualities (PLEASE NO SHADING, or TRANSLATION OF COLOUR, or SHADOWS to GRAYSCALE)
The objective for these line drawing assignments is to develop a trial and error observational drawing process that will emphasise a sense of space, an attempt at accurate proportions, and an introduction to perspective and mark making. It is also expected that each student’s personal sensibility of line will be enhanced by the investigation of line drawing styles, variations of line weight, and descriptive line qualities.
Purpose of Line Drawing Assignments:
The purpose of line drawing assignments are to introduce, review and develop observational drawing skills and in particular to learn how to see. Inevitably this type of drawing involves a process that requires adjustments. In most cases line drawing will be easier to edit than a carefully rendered (shaded) drawing. Line may be an end in itself and for the next week and a half line drawing will be considered the foundation or the armature of most drawing processes.
Line Drawing as a Learning Process (Embrace "Errors" as Part of the Drawing):
Focus on the learning process. Do not judge your drawing as good or bad but instead consider what new knowledge has been acquired from the earlier stage of the initial drawing or from previous drawings in the course and continually apply newly acquired knowledge to the next drawing or the next stage in the drawing you are currently working on. Emphasize observational drawing processes that show adjustments and that demonstrate trial and error processes. Please do not be concerned with the desire to have a clean and perfectly finished drawing. Allow for variations of mark making and engage in the hand made process of drawing and the desired product will eventually emerge.
Thoughts to Anticipate in the Beginning Stages of Drawing:
First get set up with a viewpoint (consider your field of vision) that will have a progression of forms from the foreground to the background. Anticipate initially describing basic shapes with light fluid lines using a sharp pencil. Keep in mind that the subject matter should only be described using line. During this initial stage anticipate that the entire drawing will eventually be mapped out with tentative lightly drawn basic shapes with restated lines. At times the drawing process will involve adjustments to the initial lines or marks by restating line. Mentally be prepared to avoid getting caught up in details and in erasing lines. Instead anticipate that the initial “mistakes” with line will be used as visual reference for the proceeding restated line.
Get into a mindset that line drawing and most other forms of drawing are a layering process (or that drawing is done in messy stages) and not as a neat and tidy product. As adjustments are made, restate lines and think of the drawing as: a record of thought processes in learning how to see, a record of a trial and error process and not some finished masterpiece. Be critical but do not be judgemental of your skills and your drawing. Generally accept that “mistakes” will be made and just learn to allow the mistakes to happen and move onto the next steps of restating, adjusting and layering the drawing.
Ideas about Line Drawing (continued)
Where to Begin in the Drawing:
Ideally start with a negative space and/or positive shape that are medium in size, simple in shape (box like or rectangular in shape if possible) and located centrally in the drawing. Ideally this shape should be large and if possible located centrally in your viewpoint of the subject matter/environment. As well, ideally this shape should be located in the middle ground to foreground area. It is unlikely that the first shape can meet all these conditions but try to have as many of those conditions as possible to start that first shape.
Tentatively describe this first shape with restated lines. In the first layer of the drawing use your pencil (and/or by eye) to measure the proportions of basic shapes. Compare the height and width of the initial shape. Typically the first tentatively drawn shape will be the foundation to the drawing, because that first shape will be used to compare proportions of other shapes. At the beginning stages of the drawing compare shapes that are directly beside each other, so that the drawing is progressively building around and out from that first initial shape. Do not obsess on the first shape, once the entire drawing surface has been lightly and tentatively mapped out, then fine tune the initial shape.
Horizontal and Vertical Alignments:
In addition to measuring and comparing proportions to maximize accurate proportions also consider horizontal and vertical alignments of shapes, and the alignments of where beginning points and end points of straight lines are located. These alignments will be very helpful for determining angles, proportion and space issues.
Later Stages of the Drawing:
These latter stages in the drawing are only meant for the experienced drawer. The strategic placement of detail and the selected areas that de-emphasize detail, will aid in the presentation of space and the over all success of each drawing. Once all of the basic shapes are lightly drawn (considered with some measuring) and you have all of your subject matter covering your paper, slowly observe and depict the subtleties in the shapes with a restated line. It is at this point that you may begin to clarify your shapes by emphasizing a single line over restated lines that describe basic shapes. You may also decide where the darkest line should be placed and progressively allow for lines to become lighter as shapes progress back into the space.
Also when using a single line that depicts all the subtleties of that shape, one should be looking at the the subject matter as much as the paper. There should be a constant back and forth viewing of subject matter and drawing paper. Maintain a single viewpoint by keeping your head in the same position as much as you can. Finally at the later stages of the drawing, consider using a variety of line such as light and dark line, thin, thick, long fluid line, short, curved and organic, rigid and straight, open and closed line. In a single stroke of a line consider quick and slow applications of the pencil onto the paper with varying levels of pressure on the pencil.
Ideas about Line Drawing (continued)
.Subject Matter in Relation to Space:
Also in the final stages of the drawing consider and imply where volumes and planes exist in space from your point of view. In order to convey representational space some shapes may need to be emphasized and other shapes may need to be de-emphasized. Proportions, and in particular depicting certain areas with detail and using variety of line will be major factors in clarifying where subject matter will be emphasized in space. As well over lapping of volumes and parallel lines converging to a vanishing point will all aid in the illusion of space. It may also be necessary to de-emphasize shapes by lightening and or thinning out lines with your kneadable eraser. Consider these issues and techniques when depicting the progression of shapes from the closest areas in the foreground to the furthest area in the background.
Subject Matter when drawing outside:
Include architectural and landscape elements i.e.) parts and or entire trees, buildings, sidewalks, and grass. Selecting and depicting forms that will signal definite areas of foreground, middle ground, and background in the composition of the drawing will also be useful.
Supplies used for line drawing assignments:
Pencil HB and 2B (possibly a 2H, or 3B, or 4B as well)
Cartridge paper 18 x 24 inches
kneaded eraser (use very sparingly)
Clips for attaching paper to support
Drawing board, or foam core, or portfolio to support paper while drawing
*Tracing Paper: For beginners please bring tracing paper (18 x 24 inches) in order for instructor to assist with drawing process of inexperienced drawers. Instructor will draw on tracing paper on top of each student's drawing to assist student with measuring and seeing proportions, finding initial shape to build composition and perspective.