by Erin Nolan
The line is the first visual element of our series. It is the foundation of all drawing and is extraordinarily versatile. Did you do the homework assigned at the introduction of this series? If you missed it, or forgot, take a moment and get caught up right now. All you have to do is grab a piece of paper and draw every type of line you can think of. Ready? Go! (I’ll wait.)
Ok, how do you think you did? Did you draw straight lines? Curvy ones?
Line in artwork can be used in many different ways. It can be used to suggest shape, pattern, form, structure, growth, depth/distance, rhythm, movement, and emotion.
Line as shape
Line as depth/distance
Line as pattern
Line as movement
Line as form
Line as growth
Line as rhythm
Line as emotion
Line as structure
We have a psychological response to different types of lines, such as:
- Curved Lines: comfort & ease
- Horizontal Lines: distance & calm
- Vertical Lines: height & strength
- Jagged Lines: turmoil & anxiety
The way we draw a line can convey different expressive qualities:
- Freehand can express the personal energy and mood of the artist.
- Mechanical can express a rigid control.
- Continuous can lead the eye in certain directions.
- Broken can express the ephemeral or the insubstantial.
- Thick can express strength.
- Thin can express delicacy.
Shapes will be covered in part two. Homework for next time: look at everything in the world as a shape. How many shapes can you see in a coffee mug? A car? A cloud? What about people?