Saturday, July 2, 2011

Drawing the Line!

Here we are again in my usual figure drawing mode, - contour line with added highlights, - all with Prismacolor Pencil.  I like it!  In this drawing I particularly enjoy the sense of depth shown in the twist of the torso, - right shoulder faded away, left hand nearer than the right, left leg pushing out toward us. There are some small problems but let's Ignore those for now while we talk about line.

In drawing, line is abstraction rather than reality, a most elegant way to describe a subject, especially the human figure. in contour drawing we concentrate fully on each individual line while reproducing that line on paper. For the most part I'm talking about edges rather than "outlines", - edges as seen from your unique physical viewpoint. Forget for a moment the subject, the model, - in this mode you "know nothing" and see only line.  You may pay some peripheral attention to other factors such as shape and proportion as you progress but line is really it!  A good variation: try drawing the subject in contour mode without ever looking at the drawing until finished. The distortions might be wild but you'd be learning to "see", - not a bad thing! 

For a more practical variation, look back and forth as you draw, but look at the model only when not actually drawing. Make comparisons often as you work.  You can enhance the drawing by varying the weight of the line, -  darkening the line with more pressure as it ends, when it changes direction or where in in shadow. You might go back and carefully strengthen those parts as I did here, still, mind you, keeping an eye on the subject. 

John Sloan said, "Line is the most powerful device of drawing."

Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot by watching."

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