Tag Archives: Geometry

Drawing lines or line drawing what?

Drawing lines, is not quite as simple, as you might think because the weight and thickness, of the lines we make, have an impact, on the effectiveness of our drawings, to add to this, is the hardness of the line, which I will explain later, is also of importance.

The meaning to thickness of line, should in essence be obvious, it means what it says, how wide or narrow, the line actually is, has an impact, on how our brain, relates to that line in context, of what is surrounding it and the tonal value of the line, also has an impact, on what is seen, when I say tonal value, I am talking about how light or dark, the line is in tone.

If you draw a circle, with a wider, darker line along the bottom area, it will look like it is, the bottom of a sphere and will start to look like, a ball shape, rather than, simply just, looking like a circle. This also gives, the bottom half of the circle or sphere more weight because the wider line, is more substantial, especially, if it is also darker in tone, it will attract the eye, giving more emphasis and importance, to it, this also creates the illusion, of light and shadow, that is often used, to emphasize, the under areas of shapes, we draw, suggesting, the shape, is three dimensional.

Please take a look, at the drawings, of the two circles, 1 & 2 below, to see an example of what I am trying to explain, also take a look at, 3 & 4, these lines and circles, have been made with a 5 mm, a half cm, flat pencil, notice how the line varies in width, giving it the look of a twisted ribbon. Number 5, shows, how lines can go, from a hard, definite edge, to a more subtle, less definite edge, that can be used to great effect, in your line drawings.  These different types of line, can be used to create light and shadow, so as to suggest the illusion of form and shape but still maintaining, the quality of being a line, using this, within your line drawing, can start to bring, your line drawings, to life.


Image of different line types numbered to help.The dragon drawing below, was created with pen and ink, it puts very little emphasis on line quality, it is a line that is consistent, in thickness, giving little or no quality, other than just being a line but even so, it does create the image of a dragon, through the use of drawing lines, with nothing more.

Quick bsic drawing of dragon outline.

Outline drawing.

In the process of drawing images, we often start out with a basic outline drawing, as the foundation, for learning where everything else goes, in relation to the outline and each other. The problem I find with many beginners and well practiced people alike, is they do not always, understand outlines very well, also as in the case of beginners, they do not understand at all, in many instances.

The easiest way to draw and understand outlines, is by using tracing methods of drawing because when you trace an image, you can only, realistically make an outline, as tracing doesn’t lend it’s self to shading. Tracing also gives you a better understanding, of how pictures work, especially when trying to understand, construction drawing.

Wheel images showing perspective distortion.
Car wheel images showing distortion when seen in perspective.
Wheel images showing perspective distortion line drawing.
Car wheel images showing perspective distortion in a line drawing format.

Let me explain, by using a car wheel as an example, we all know that wheels are round but they are only round, when we look at them directly face on, because when we turn them, at an angle, they become, more and more oval, in shape.

The correct term to call this oval shape, is an ellipse and is something many people have problems with, when trying to draw them accurately, to find out more about this, please take look at single point perspective and two point perspective, you will find the both helpful.

Get yourself some pictures that you might like to draw and trace them, so as to be able, to take a look at these images, as only line drawings, you will notice when tracing these outlines, that they are most often, not as you might have thought they are.

Doing this, will help you to understand, that shapes are not often, the shapes we think we see and that wheels, are most often not circular but oval, along with many other shapes we see but actually, only think we see. This is because our brains tell us that wheels are round or that a shape is this shape or that shape, when in actual fact, many shapes are not what we think they are because our brains are telling us what we see, rather than actually, seeing what we see.

How to practice using a pencil, without boring yourself to death.

Most people don’t know how to draw, they don’t really know what they are looking for, let alone be able to draw it and why should they?

Why would you know anything about practice using a pencil if you had not been using one regularly?

Most people think that they have to draw an outline but can’t actually see one because they don’t know what they are doing.

Most people get better and learn quicker if they trace pictures but most people also think tracing pictures is cheating and so never use tracing as a learning method, what a shame. When you trace a picture you can only realistically trace out lines, you are not able to do the shading as well when tracing and so drawings that are traced are unfinished looking, very uninteresting because they are uniform, without tonal variation or quality of line.

When tracing pictures, you get your outline very accurate, so the rest of the drawing is more likely to be more accurate and it enables you to see the outline, more easily so it will look good and you will feel good about it.

Constructional drawing is the foundation of all drawing, get it right and you will have saved yourself half of the struggle but doing the other half of a drawing, the shading is a much more enjoyable and a great way of learn about construction drawing, so you learn the difficult stuff by doing the easy stuff first.

Design sheet of ideas for potential further development.

The easy way or the hard way, it’s completely up to you?

If you want further information about why and how tracing works scientifically, then take a look at this interesting article (How to draw easy an extraordinary tail of two brains) or do some research about the functions of the left and right brain. You will learn about the benefits of drawing and how the dominant left brain activities, actually make it difficult to learn drawing but also stunting your thinking power, along with your creative abilities.

Don’t make it hard, make it easy.

Enjoy learning to use a pencil at the same time as learning about how to do construction drawing the easy way first, not the difficult way round, like everybody else teaches, easy way first is the way to go but it astounds me, why the hard way is always practiced. There is a great book by Betty Edwards called drawing on the left hand side of the brain, that many people have used to help them learn to draw and draw well, so well, that many have been astounded by their own abilities, after using the methods given in the book, one of the main methods is tracing because it reaches the parts, other methods cannot reach.


Dragons head drawn with graphite pencil 3b & 5b
Dragons head drawn with graphite pencil 3b & 5b as an idea for another picture.

They don’t teach geometry in primary school because the children wouldn’t understand it but they give them pencils to play with, the geometry comes much later when they know what a pencil is, they also teach tracing which has got to be one of the easiest ways to practice using a pencil by drawing because when you trace pictures, you can draw any outline for any picture you want easy.