How did you go with your straight lines? Have you been practicing observing length and direction? You may find that most of the lines you need to draw aren’t straight lines, but will have some amount of curve to them. When lines start to curve it introduces the next level of difficulty. Now we need to really understand the importance of direction of a line. In the case of a curve the direction is going to change over the course of the line and we need to observe how gradual or sharp the change in direction is and where the change occurs along the line.
Once we determine the length of the line in our mind, we can look at the start of the line and determine a starting direction the same way as we did with our straight lines. How much does it vary from vertical or horizontal?
Now we need to do the same at the end of the line to look at the end direction. How much does the line curve in between? What direction does the curve go? Does it change direction sharply or is it a gradual curve? The more we can analyse and understand the curvature of the line, the easier it will be to draw it.
Most beginners will take this concept for granted and think that they understand the curve before they really analyse it. If this seems to you to be ‘over-analysing’ the line, just remember that the idea of this is to train the mind to see things in a different way. We need to understand and recognize even slight changes in the direction of a line.
With enough practice this method of thinking and analyzing will become automatic and easier to judge.
What about complex curves?
Lines may change direction several times and snake back and forth. We can deal with these more complex curves by breaking them down into several single direction curves. Where the line is only curving in one direction, we can treat that as a section of the line. If the line starts to curve back in the opposite direction, this would be another section. This way we can use the same method of analysis as the single curve lines that we did earlier. Its important that we check the direction of the line at the start and end of each section, and remember to check the length of each section as well.
Now its your turn, curves will need more practice than straight lines.
Practice drawing curves as often as possible until you are comfortable that you can reproduce them. Start by copying simple curves and gradually work your way up to more complex lines. Don’t worry if your pictures aren’t looking right just yet, there’s heaps more that we need to learn first. Next lesson we are going to start putting the lines together as shapes.
Have a try at drawing the picture above, paying close attention to the direction of each curve as you are going.