Toad Hollow Studio's Drawing Tutorials And Classes by Carol Rosinski

Line Drawing - Page 2

pencil line drawing - Hollyhock

The Line Drawing

You can draw any subject this way, but flowers are excellent for line drawing because of their beautiful shapes. This technique isolates the subject from the background, so your photo doesn't have to be a particularly good one.

  • Make a copy of the subject with tracing paper and a sharp #2 pencil.
    • A good way to do this is to tape the tracing paper to the photo and then tape or hold them to a window on a bright day. The outside light shinning through makes it easy to do a tracing.

Even though nature is beautiful, she isn't always perfect. You can improve your drawing by "fixing" and rearranging elements if you want to. For example, I moved a bud or two and re-drew a leaf that had been half eaten away by bugs. (No comments on my gardening technique please!)

pencil line drawing - Three HollyhocksCreate Another Composition

Try using geometric shapes to help compose a new image.

  1. Make two "L" shaped paper frames and use them to frame the drawing differently. Look at the negative and positive spaces around the drawing (negative space is the space not occupied by the subject) and then move the frame until they look balanced.
  2. Draw a circle around the whole thing on tracing paper and see how the drawing "sits" in it. The geometry of the circle might suggest changes. Try this with an oval too.

An elongated oval suggested some additions to me. Here's what I added and how I did it.

  • I used an oval to help place a hollyhock stalk on each side of the main one. To do that, I held the tracing paper and the original line drawing together and moved it around over the photo until I found a place for each new stalk that balanced inside the oval.
  • I drew the side hollyhocks with varied line to add interest.

To create line variation, use hard and soft lines. Here's how:

  • Some edges of your subject probably fade into the background or look less distinct than others. Make the indistinct lines softly with very little pressure on the pencil. Draw the clearly defined edges sharply with more pressure.
  • This technique makes the hard edges seem to come toward you and the soft edges recede into the background, and that creates a subtle three dimensional quality in the drawing.
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Carol Rosinski
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Drawing Made Easy, Getting Started by Carol Rosinski
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Toad Hollow Studio - Teaching how to draw since 1999