There are 3 main elements to consider when drawing a line:
- and curvature.
Before we even put our pencil to paper we need to work out what line we are going to draw and where it should go. We only start to draw once we have a reasonable idea of what the line should look like.
For this exercise, we are going to reproduce fairly simple objects and copy from 2 dimensional drawings. Once we can copy these shapes successfully then we can move on to more and more complex arrangements of lines.
(Note: It is important to also draw from life as much as possible so that we can visualise shapes from 3 dimensions without developing a dependency on copying from photos or drawings, but we will do exercises around that shortly. For now we need a starting point and in my experience, this is the easiest way to start)
The single most important element to focus on when drawing a line is the DIRECTION of the line. This is usually the most overlooked or misunderstood element by beginners but is most important to ensure that our lines fit together to make the shape that we intended.
For beginners, it can be difficult to accurately judge the direction of a line so I am going to show you a couple of ways to make it easier.
We are going to draw the book above. Let’s start by picking out the longest line of the shape. This helps us to work out where we should position the line on the page and how much room to leave for the other lines of the shape.
We are starting by determining the line’s direction. We can start at either end of the line, but we need to work out which direction the line needs to be drawn. Starting with the obvious part… Is the line moving up, down, left or right or combinations of left/up, left/down, up/right, down/right? As we can see, this line above (assuming that we are starting in the bottom center of the page) is going in the direction to the left and up.
OK, that’s the easy (and may be obvious) part. Now we need to work out whether the line is equally left/up, or more up than left (and thus becoming more vertical), or more left than up (more horizontal).
Now that might sound obvious but direction of the line can often be deceiving and is consistently the biggest mistake that people make when drawing any line. The easiest way that I have found to work out direction is to compare the lines to either horizontal or vertical to see how far off being vertical or horizontal it is. I imagine a horizontal and vertical line adjoining the line that I am copying (represented by the dotted lines in the diagram).
By comparing the line to horizontal or vertical it can help us to get a better idea of the real angle of the line.
TIP: Instead of imagining the horizontal/vertical line, you can hold up a pencil horizontally or vertically along side the line that you want to copy. Now how far off being vertical or horizontal is that line? Is it close to vertical, or close to horizontal, or almost half way in between? Evaluating the direction of each line in this way is going to make it much easier to reproduce a shape.
The more accurately that you can judge the direction, the better you will be able to reproduce the shape. Look for really subtle differences, for example did you notice that line A is slightly more horizontal than line B? The difference is subtle but really important.
Another way to consider it in more detail is to compare the line direction to a clock face. This can make it easier to determine the direction more accurately.
Direction of the line is super important, but it isn’t the only thing that need to consider when we are drawing lines. In the next lesson I’m going to give you great tips on working out the length relationships of each line.
Don’t forget, the biggest Lesson of all…. practice! Seriously, the only way that your brain will start to rewire itself to be able to do this is to practice. I suggest that you practice each exercise several times before continuing to the nest lesson. Remember that you can close this course and come back to it at any time.
See you in the tomorrows lesson….