Lines

Some qualities of a drawn line (in no particular order and not necessarily distinct):

 

Thickness/fineness/weight

Intensity/tone/strength

Curvature – straight/simple/wavering

Speed of gesture

Precision

Regularity of tone/variation of tone

Scale of variation in curvature (see speed)

Softness/hardness

Angularity

Continuity/brokenness

 

Possible combinations of qualities:

 

A straight fine, dark line

A simple smooth curve, varying from dark to light

A soft pale wavering line

A hard, dark, jagged, fast scribble

A complicated curve of varying intensity

 

Each combination suggests/implies a different bodily action or feeling: a tight or a loose grip of the drawing tool, a fine movement of the fingers or a large movement of the arm, a slow or a fast gesture, considered or unplanned mark-making, a gentle stroke or an angry scrawl …

It’s a good thing we aren’t consciously thinking about all these things when we draw. Here are some recent abstract-ish drawings, starting from fairly random lines and seeing what happens:

ripples.jpg
Ripples – lines generate surfaces – surfaces imply depth
fissure.jpg
Fissure – pencil and Chinese white on tinted paper
UFO.jpg
Unidentified fragmentary object
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