Drawing the Line

Whether you are drawing with pens, pencils or even charcoal, lines are the building blocks of your drawings.   A line drawing is, quite simply, a drawing made with lines – short lines, long lines, curved lines, straight lines.  It’s the simplest type of drawing and the easiest way to start drawing.

Students often ask if they need to do smooth connected lines or if they can make sketchy lines.  Either is fine.  It’s really a matter of style.  The more you draw, the more your own style will develop and you’ll naturally find yourself drawing a certain way.  Sketchy lines  – short, repetitive lines -may seem easier when you’re just starting to draw.

If you like the look of ink drawings, don’t be afraid to start right in with ink.  “What if I make a mistake?” is a question I hear a lot.  First, you’re going to make mistakes, it’s OK.  How else can you learn?  Second, if you find you’ve drawn a line that’s not right, simply add a line in the right place.  It’s called restating.  Artists do it all the time.  And actually, if you look at a drawing full of restatements, you’ll find it has more life and energy than a “perfectly” drawn image.

For my demo drawing today, I’m going to do a line drawing of a boot in ink.  I’ll start by sketching the basic shape, then add the details starting with the shoelaces because they’re in front of the boot and I will want the other lines to be behind them.  Then, I move around adding the laces, the layers of leather and fabric until it’s complete.  Finally I go back and firm up a few lines to make them heavier.  This adds a bit of depth.   Take a look.


Here are two sketches of the boot – the sketchy one I did for the video, and a simple, smooth-lined one to compare.  Which do you like best?


Boot- smooth

In the gallery this week, I’ve posted several line drawings.  If you’re just starting out, find simple objects to work from.  Then, as you become more confident, try more challenging subjects.


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