Exercise 22: Line drawing detail
Using a fibre-tipped pen, select an object with interesting detail. On a sheet of A4 paper, create a line drawing of the object. Look at the patterning, thickness of line, texture and shape as well as the overall composition. Don’t do any shading, just a continuous line drawing. Try not to lift your pen from the paper.
For this exercise, I chose a bulb of garlic that had been split open, with lots of papery ‘skin’ to the left hand side. Using a Micro Uni-Ball pen, in the first drawing I was focusing mostly on the proportions of the garlic, relative to itself. In doing this, however, I forgot to take note of the scale of it on the page. It ended up a bit small, so I did a second drawing, which I think filled the page more successfully (although still not the full A4). In concentrating on the scale, though, I lost my way once or twice, line-wise. By observing more closely, however, I found my way back most of the time. It was hard not using shadow or tone, particularly when it came to distinguishing between different parts of the object – the bare clove, for example, as opposed to the papery outer casing. Both had faint lines, which I included, but consequently, they are hard to tell apart without a difference in tone. I used broken line to indicate the shape and form of the garlic. I retraced the lines that most emphatically described form, but on reflection I’m not sure that was a wise move. My intention was to make the shapes easier to distinguish, but I feel that was based on insecurity – the original lines, whilst possibly ambiguous, had more integrity. Despite the smaller scale, I still prefer the first drawing for that reason.
Accuracy varied between the two drawings – each has something better/worse than the other. Any inaccuracies were due in large part to trying to stick with continuous line drawing. Also, using liner pen, once you’ve made a mark, it’s hard to change it. Maybe I should have restated ‘correct’ lines where I thought they should have been? I decided not to, though, as I didn’t want to clutter up the drawings.
These drawings were interesting to do, although I was a bit concerned that they looked a bit ‘wobbly’, and less beautifully ‘finished’, than some by other students, but I think that was a consequence of sticking to the continuous line drawing technique. I only lifted my hand once or twice, when it became stiff, but I went back to the same spot upon starting again. This technique allowed a deeper exploration of form, I found, which compensated for the less than precise result. It encouraged me to focus more on the subject than on a particular image in my head.