Lines and Outlines

Way back in October I wrote about tracing as a way of learning to see. This year my plan is to illustrate how I use various drawing concepts in my work. So far I’ve come up with 30 topics and I expect the list will grow as the year goes on. So let’s jump in with lines and outlines!

I usually start by outlining the basic shapes of my subject matter. With a 2B pencil, I use those tracing skills mentioned in the October 20 post (here I’ve used a pen so that you can actually see the lines). For this drawing, I begin with the building in front and then locate the adjacent buildings as they relate to the first one.


Once the outline of each structure is established, I can go in and add details within the shapes, like doors, windows and decks.


Lines are the building blocks of a drawing. Look carefully and determine which lines are necessary. You may not need them all. By adding a few more details, I now have a line drawing of this group of homes on a hill. Later I’ll go in with hatching and color, but this line drawing tells the story and could be complete in itself.


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