A line can be the entire drawing, showing the gesture of a figure, or a contour of a shape. It can be the same value and width throughout, such as most cartoons. A line can also be inferred, such as the horizon line, when no actual line is drawn, but colors and values change to show the sky versus the earth. Michelangelo and DaVinci mastered the use of line, and each used it differently. Michelangelo’s passion for the figure showed in his undulating lines from thick to thin and back again. DaVinci’s work was more delicate, his even application of line reflecting his more cerebral approach to his images. Printmakers such as A Durer scribed beautiful lines to create the illusion of multidimensional forms. One of my favorite artists was Aubrey Beardsley, whose lines were placed so exactly they imply color in between them. In our time, take a look at the work of Bridget Riley, a British artist who uses line to create op art, and the work of Keith Haring, lines that create patterns to expressed feelings.
Here is an example of one of my recent line drawings, using red chalk line to create a male torso. I like the way I show stress on the muscles and pressure on the arm and hand, just through the varied use of line. Leaving breaks in the line (lost line) implies space and volume, very important to any drawing. Just like silences between sentences give us a break from the sound of our own voices, leaving room for others to speak.
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