Art Unboxed,  Thoughts

Art Unboxed Line Drawing

For this week’s Art Unboxed, our fresh look at familiar tools and concepts, I’d like to consider the classic line drawing. Whether you are planning a painting, a digital piece, or an old fashioned coloring book, it usually starts with a line drawing.

How can you use this in a different way? I would suggest using it almost as a window. First, pick a subject, and draw it, but from a different angle than normal. If your first thought would be to draw a busy scene, draw only one or two elements.

If you typically focus on a minimalist drawing, go the other direction, and add more detail. Notice I said detail, not shading. I would suggest keeping it as a line drawing, resisting the urge to do anything otherwise.

Next, place it in front of you, and without doing anything but looking, allow your mind to imagine everything from an oil to a sculpture of the idea. Even if it’s a medium you do not use, imagine it. This exercise will help you to see an idea with fresh eyes.

Whether you put it in a drawer, or snap a picture, keep a copy of the line drawing. Build a library of idea pieces, this way the next time your brain is finding it hard to come up with an idea, you have an idea bank. If you do nothing else but practice the same picture you did a year ago, it will show your improvement.

Line drawing can do so much more for you, as many artists find success with a series of images on the same subject. It serves the same purpose as sharpening a knife in the kitchen. This will improve your drawing skills, as well as helping to maintain them.

It may not have the pizazz of a watercolor, but it will improve any artistic piece you attempt. You won’t be focused on the instrument, the color, or the medium, you’ll be focused on your subject. If you’ll pardon the pun, seeing your subject better, will line up all kinds of possibilities you may not have taken the time to consider lately.

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