I’ve been talking about lines for a bit now, but there’s still so much to say. Lines, or as some call them, “marks” are the building blocks of drawing. There are all kinds of lines, short lines, long lines, straight lines, curved lines, hard lines, soft lines. How you use them adds not only interest, but personality to your drawings.
Practice drawing different kinds of lines. See how many different effects you can make with a pencil, pen, or charcoal. Hold your hand loosely around your pen or pencil and relax as you try this. This is simply for practice, there’s no right or wrong to experimentation. Just don’t hold your pen tightly as if you were writing a letter – hold it a bit farther up from the tip. Relax your wrist and draw with your whole arm. It may feel awkward at first, but you’ll soon get the hang of it.
Here’s a sample I did with a 4B pencil on 60 lb drawing paper:
As an example of how this translates into a drawing, I’ve done a quick sketch of Eddie, a wire-haired terrier, also using a 4B pencil. After some light lines to place his shape on the paper, I started in with short, scratching lines to indicate his rough coat. The short lines are even more pronounced since the video is double time. Notice that the lines for his collar are smooth. I finished the drawing by filling in his eyes and adding some dark heavy lines where shadows would be. See how much dimension and personality that adds to the drawing.
Because drawing is personal expression, everyone’s drawing style is unique. Just as your handwriting is your very own, your drawings will be too. Some are very precise and tidy, others are scratchy and loose. Learn to appreciate your innate style. No one else can draw like you. With practice you will develop your technique and produce the effects you want to achieve. As your drawing skills improve, you will also gain a broader appreciation of drawing in general. Try it – you’ll see!