Come on the journey with line. Each day we will study line and then draw lines in a sample sketchbook; as I did for an Art Drawing Project. This how-to-study will help see drawn lines that are around us. 

Get your pen, pencil, crayons, pastels chalk and a sketchbook. If you do not have a sketchbook, we will make one. The paper can be large or small. Tomorrow we make the book, or, if you prefer a piece of paper, or a post-it pad, or any pad for making simple sketches. Remember the larger the size of paper, the more time spent on making simple drawings, unless you use a brush and paints or ink.

When done with our study, you will have many works of ART!

Assignment: Draw 20 different lines (scribbles) we use and see daily. As you know, WORDS are lines.


LINE is basic.

Remember mistakes are gifts to the artist, a way to stretch the mind to generate and motivate inspiration.

To make the sketchbook, take two sheets of 7 by 11, letter size any color paper, I like white. Fold the two paper in half and cut on the fold line, slide the 4 sheets together, fold, and cut on the fold. You have 8 small sheets, slide together, fold these in half, cut, slide together, you have 16 smaller sheets with 32 sides. Notice, scissors cut a line. 

Now, to keep the book together. 1) You can staple along the center fold.  Or, 2) You can sew. Don’t panic; this is a sample book. If you have a needle or any sharp point like scissors, make four large holes in the center fold. Then finding any string, thread, shoelaces, or twine, or thin wire you have handy, push through the holes. Leave a long end to tie. Pull the string through the holes and tie the ends together on the outside the book. I like to leave the strings dangle. We used a 3D  line to hold the pages together.

You can make a cover for this small book. Open book and place on a colorful piece of paper or any paper you have. Cut around the edges of the open book a bit bigger so the cover will fit when folded to cover the pages.

Now the last,  on the cover of the small sketchbook write your title and sign your name; this is a commitment for fun.  Lately, put numbers on your book’s pages in the bottom corners. On page one, again put your title and sign like on the cover! This study of lines is yours to own! Writing and words are lines.

We are ready to draw!

On pages 2 and 3 draw the types of scribbles, you see. The most common kinds of lines drawn are vertical, horizontal, diagonal, parallel, zig-zag, cheese, curves, half circles, circles, scalloped, spirals, curves of force, smooth, rough, thick, thin, straight, meandering, broken, dots.

lines or scribbles

Assignment: take the lines drawn on your page and with your pencil or pen on a piece of paper or pages 4 and 5, PLAY! Make a free-form, non-controlled, abstract, non-objective drawing. Your first work of art.

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C – Drawing line is a creative craft.

Line is an art element that makes possible the crafting of art. We see lines everywhere; carefully observe to what we are seeing. Lines are the shapes and textures, and also depth and volume in our vision.
Look closer, see the lines that make-up the textures on shapes; lines craft squares, diagonals, horizontals, scribbles, circles, etc. like weaving, and quilts; all that we see. Take a depth look at the environment, your environment:  your desk, what is around your computer? When you walk notice the path and surroundings. As you look out a window notice how line creates leaves and flowers so we can see them.
Get ready, we’re going to take a walk with your pencil on your piece of paper in your sketchbook. If you did not make a sample sketch book, a piece of paper will do. Remember, the bigger the paper the more you can draw while the smaller the paper will be the more concise.
Think about the pencil in your hand that holds the line; your power comes through your eyes to your brain into your imagination onto the paper. When you hold a pencil, the energy from the seeing and feeling the scene goes into the pencil and onto paper. All of us have this visual acuity.
With the pencil we are to take a walk with your feet, notice what is touched, the motion, how these feel. Or, take the walk with the pencil through your feelings/emotions as you drawn the lines. Or, as you walk, draw what you see in the environment. Will the pencil to your adventure. Keep the pencil on the paper and move it as you read.
You park your car. Open the door and walk to a bench and sit, observing. Opps! You drop your keys, bending over you to pick them up. You must Kneel. Then crawl under the bench to reach them. Stand. Reach into the  sky.Stretch. Look at the trail. Walk. Jump. Dance. You hop over a creek and only slip into water. Standing, you wipe your self off. Then splash in the water with you feet. Then you bend, pick up rock, and throw into the creek. Splash. Opps! Snag! You see the knobby roots sticking up. Tugging. Tumble. You fall again into the water. You crawl to the edge. Climb up the bank and sit, looking at the creek, sky and trees. Silence. When dried, you walk to your car, laugh, sit inside and start the engine. Back out from the parking space and turn onto the road.

Assignment:  Make this line walk into a drawing on pages 6 and 7, using various lines to fill in the shape, you are telling a story.

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D – LINE is delineation.

Line delineates, describes, presents, outlines, sketches, depicte, represents; specify, show what an artist see.
Trees branch out with lines.
Telephone wires stretch long and thin.
People are composed with many lines
Water flows with lines rippling on the surface.

The lines an artist draws suggest a story the artist wants us to see.
The lines from our walking awoke us to the fact that traveling is line, sometimes straight, or curves, or spirals or a circle, as “running around in circles.” We walk upstairs in a zig-zag. Our body stands vertical to the horizontal or diagonal path, which are smooth, rough, thick, or thin. We step on textures.

When we walk, the air is all around as the space on the page. We swim on top of the water, which is a line dividing water from the air. Water runs in a line as all liquids; gravity pulls us down in a line. We on the top of the earth, which is a line that divides the ground from the sky, which is the space on a flat piece of paper. The ground is a textured shape on the paper. We drive our scooters, bikes, and cars in a line; trains and planes travel in lines. Our time measures a line through time. Looking carefully, we connect with others in through lines, our walking, driving, sitting. I wonder if thinking is a line like a sentence.

Assignment:  Choose one type of line, on pages 8 and 9 draw everything you see, the shapes and textures, in that space.

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E – Line is an abstract symbol, an emotion.

Straight lines emphasis strength, endurance, and power; broken lines violence, chaos, destruction; horizontal lines calmness, serenity gravity, peace; vertical strength, dignity, grandeur, nobleness, support; diagonal lines vigor, action, progress; and a curve line graceful, rhythm, unity, and softness.
Textures added with the line to show tiny – huge, thick – thin, light – dark, smooth – rough, wide – narrow and will help show emotions.
With these emotions in mind, imagine a creature: an animal, person, or monster. Visualize the eyes, mouth, nose, ears, neck, legs, skin or fur. What emotion is on the face of the creature? What do the eyes show, the mouth expressing; and what is the creature doing? Should the viewer be ready to run or hug and pet this creature?
Because your hand is not your mind, there will be differences in the way the hand draws and the way the mind see the lines. This process is like thinking up a story, then writing it on paper and does always change. We see a picture, think how to draw it, and our hand does it best. Remember, the drawing on the paper never really matches the vision in our mind. PRACTICE! And PRACTICE! The mind, hand, and pencil will find their peace. Be fair and patient with your pencil drawing, which is like learning to write letters and words. Finally, each letter in each word constructs a sentence we understand. Writing was learned by doing, and doing, and doing. So drawing is learned by doing, and doing and finally the ‘aha’ moment!  Mind, hand, and pencil work together for your style of seeing.

Assignment:  Keeping this creature in your mind what lines will draw the hair, eyes, mouth, body action and movements. Now, on pages 10 and 11 with your pencils and lines capture the creature.

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F – Line shows feelings.

Lines drawn with feelings are varied and more exciting to view.
Here are a few feelings you can depict by lines: sad, repose, conflict, bold, turmoil, fighting, powerful, sweet, trouble, stocky, slender, happy, light, quiet, angry, narrow, smooth, timid. Many more feelings we see in abstract, non-objection drawings, the simple lines you put in the sample, sketchbook. As in my emotions notice the face on the right in ‘confusing’ blowing confusion, and the hat described as ‘growing.’  I was hoping these were fun and playful.

Assignment:  In the sample book on pages 12 and 13 or a piece of paper draw a horizontal across the middle and a vertical line down the center, which gives you four parts. Draw four of your emotions.

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G – Line Generates.

The line moves and captures us inside a drawing.
When we look at a painting, black or white or with colors and textures, landscapes and portraits, the artist who had fun is now providing fun for us the viewer.
Remember, that walk we took with line, the curves the bumps, the slips, and splashing. Now, use your mind to drive your car. The road is marked showing the lanes, biking lanes, turning lanes, parking spots, we wait at stop signs, and stop light behind lines. Beside lines and more lines, as we drive we move along with textures: bumps, ripples, twisting, usually paralleling other cars. Not to mention all the sounds: clicking of signals, music playing, passengers talking, the windshield wipers scrapping, the rain or snow hitting the car, water or slush from the wheels, and of course, the motor running. Possibly, we remember horror sounds and bumps of a collision/wreck.
The mind decides what is essential for us to hear and see while walking or driving. So let’s use these conceptual memories, using your pencil to record as abstract lines; and if you like, a bit of color from colored markers. Remember, drawing is for fun! From your energy in your mind to the hand into the pencil, draw your lines. And remember, your interpretation will not, and you do not want to record you really see. Lines are symbols as are words – draw, paint, sketch, a vision appears!

Assignment: On a piece of paper or in the sample sketchbook on pages 11 and 12 with your pencil or marker pens. Make three dots or circles anywhere, big or small. These are focal points that lead your viewers around in your drawing. Like the intersection of a signal with 4 or 16 lanes with cars waiting to turn or proceed forward. Or at a train hub with railroad tracks for going and leaving a central station; I think of Chicago or New York. Or, any complicated an airplane port with the plane hubs and lanes for landing and departing; I think of San Francisco or Huston Texas A mega picture of points with radiation lines for cars, trains, airplanes, and people coming and going. From focal points. Use all the various lines that come into your mind with added emotion/feeling to the edge. You will find this be interesting and will see your focal points lead a viewer around and around to the focal points. Focal points are used in all art, from the famous masters, landscapes, advertisements, newspaper layouts, garden and park designs, planned architecture, and functional city planning. You created another abstract, non-objective drawing.

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H – Handicraft

Our hand holds the pencils, markers, the yarns, the paints to create our handicraft, our craftsmanship, our art, our handy-work; drawings completed or not, our achievement shows.

By practicing drawing, we learned skill, as with handwriting and calligraphy. We practice, and of course, at first, we create scrawls and scribbles, recommended in art. Remember, all your mistakes are creative and lead to your next creation. Mistakes are gifts to use.

The pencil is handy, useful, convenient, practical, easy-to-use, well-designed, user-friendly, user-oriented, helpful, functional, and ready for one’s fingers. Our skilled fingers are eager to learn. I love my hands and my fingers which become exceptional at what I intend to do draw, and this takes practice. 

Hold the pencil, touch the paper, feel your control, power, charge, authority, command, responsibility, management, care, if clutching and grasping, relax, you become proficient and capable as you guide your fingers to symbolize your vision with the pencil; nifty.

With fingers holding the pencil, press hard or softly with the point to make details. For thick lines use the side of the point, which makes values. The fingers push and pull moving the pencil into zip-zags, curves, and pressing dots, which create textures that the fingers once felt, eyes saw, and now drawn. From your vision to mind to hand and fingers is control cooperation.

Assignment: On paper or in your sketchbook on pages 16 and 17 with pencil or markers draw four vertical line close to each other from the top of the page to the bottom. The lines parallel to each other. Draw a meandering line very tiny now growing huge across the page. Add several large dots about seven anywhere. Draw a broken line across the bottom. From left to right draw a zig-zag line now a small one for the right to left. Add a large equal scallop and a small, unequal scallop. Now, add one strong thick straight line anywhere, and lastly, add one diagonal line. 

Look at your designed with lines. A MESS, NO! You have expressed freedom and motion with a bit of direction, called non-intentional abstract expressionism. Remember, the fingers were the performers. You mind translated the types of line, the fingers on your hand controlled the pencil and directed the translation on tothe paper. Art is another language. 

Take these abstracted lines and add textures, value, and colors to build into a piece of art. If we could see other drawings, each would be as varied as we are.

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I – Illusion

Impressions from lines are illusionistic.

Lines drawn are appearance, impression, semblance; perception, a mirage, maybe hallucination, actually figments of our imagination, simple tricks by the lines drawn for the mind to see. An artist uses these magical tricks of line to conjuring images with the slight of mind with a hand and fingers to draw on paper: power.

 Impressions of illusions are what lines are. Like letters in a word to read, a spell from the magical trick of sound and symbol to spark vision from a word. In our minds, lines spark magic of resemblance. A delusion, fantasy, just fancy from our consciousness; simple symbols reflect what we see and want to give to others. We draw lines to entrap our viewer into our spells of illustration, painting, printing, designs, gardens and now program for computer generated art: impressions.

As an artist, we draw lines to entice images. With practice and observing for more information, we assembled designs and pictures. We can never copy exactly what you see, and why would we. Drawing conjures impressions from nature, our mind’s imagination, from people, and life around us for the viewer to enjoy.

Drawing is the first art element, the most important; line introduces us to details, textures, color, and spatial relations. Knowing the various kinds of lines helps in all art. After practice after a while, our intuition directs us, and our hand and fingers delineate what we see in our mind or observing our environment.

Assignment: On a piece of paper or in the sketchbook page 16 draw a tree, your impression of a tree, use the lines you like. On page 17, observe a tree looking for lines, now repeat the lines, the best you can with cooperation of mind and fingers. Grow a forest on the two pages using your recall and imagination; drawing magic produces the impressions of trees for the viewer: illusionistic.

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