Why The Beautiful Line?

A site dedicated to the art of drawing and painting, The Beautiful Line is an open forum for the sharing of information and inspiration about the drawing and rendering process in digital and traditional media.

This blog is created for all those who share a love of drawing and are enticed by the potential of a blank piece of paper, canvas, or board to create a unique work of art. This space is dedicated to the open sharing of information and experiences concerning drawing. Included here are tutorials on drawing and rendering a variety of subjects in easily accessible media.

Why the Beautiful Line? As a long time professional illustrator, artist, and instructor, I still believe that the most powerful tool for image making is the simple pencil, pen, or brush. In an era of fantastic advances in digital arts with the power to create new worlds of amazing realism, the pencil drawing remains an exquisitely elegant tool for expressing thoughts and ideas. With this in mind, I view it as a personal mission as an instructor to encourage students to draw their ideas first, before developing concepts within a software program.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Developing Spontaneity in Your Drawing

"Oldsmobile 88", digital photo

"Oldsmobile 88", 9x7 inches, Black Prismacolor pencil on Strathmore Bristol Vellum, 2007

Looking at this drawing, you might notice it contains many continuous lines that flow through shapes without a break. This was intentional. I wanted to create a drawing using something close to a single continuous line. I also avoided using an eraser. The idea is to force myself to not to over think or over work the drawing. Once a line is drawn, it must remain in place. Applying this discipline to the drawing gives the work more freshness and spontaneity, allowing me to discover shapes as I create the illustration.

Classic cars like this Oldsmobile 88 can sometimes offer great opportunities to develop abstract forms in your drawing. You can see that I chose to shoot the car from an angle that emphasized the huge flat plane of the trunk and hood. Except for the windows and roof, the car is one large horizontal slab of sheet metal decorated with chrome. This fact suggested a very abstract approach to the drawing.

"Oldsmobile 88", detail

By simplifying the horizontal lines of the buildings in the background, I managed to create a very rectangular division of the picture plane. I was thinking of the landscape paintings of Richard Deibenkorn as I created this drawing. Referencing this artist helped me see how I might use the repetition of horizontal lines in the car to make an interesting visual statement. A good illustration should be a good work of art. Using basic compositional techniques to make a more interesting image only enhances the impact of the illustration. This drawing could make a very successful painting using flat tones and a highly restricted color palette.

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