A look at the element of art, line and its relationship to drawing. Concepts covered include contour, blind contour, line quality, and cross contour lines.
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Is welcome to the first video and the secrets to drawing video series in this video we’re going to explore the first element of art line. But before we do that let’s take a look at a quote. A man paints with his brains not with his hands. This is a quote by the artist Michelangelo. Think about that for a minute. And what do you think it means what Michelangelo is saying to us is that drawing and painting is not necessarily just making marks. There’s more to it than that. In fact it’s a cognitive experience that happens between your ears. It’s an understanding that can only come from gathering information and putting that information to use. And this is how we’re going to approach drawing. You see drawing is a skill that can be learned and developed by anyone. And it all starts by understanding the elements of art. That’s why we’re going to start with the elements of art and explore each element just a little bit and its relationship to drawing the first element of art. We’re going to explore Islam then we’ll move on to shape form then value then we’ll move on to space then color. And then lastly texture. It’s important to understand the elements of art and it’s a good idea to approach drawing. Like baking a cake if you’ve ever baked a cake before then you know you have a list of things that you put into the cake. And these things are called the ingredients. You see the elements of art are like the ingredients. If we have good quality ingredients we’re going to have a great cake. Well the same thing is true to a drawing if we understand the elements of art and treat them like the ingredients in our drawings than our drawings are going to be successful. So let’s start looking at the elements of art. And the first element of art that we’re going to talk about is line. Now what exactly is a line. Well in terms of art line is a moving dot. You see if you take a dot and you move it you’re creating a want. It’s really that simple line is the most fundamental element of art. This is why we start with light. And a lot of people think that line is the only way to draw. But you’ll see that’s not necessarily the case. But let’s take a look at line. So if I take a dot and I put it on the paper and I move it I’ve created a line. Obviously you can create a variety of different types of lines. I can put more pressure on my pencil and make a dark line or less pressure and make a light blonde. Of course I can make a wavy line. I can make a spiral line. I can make a line that looks like it’s far away and it comes closer by putting more pressure on it. So I would encourage you here at the beginning is just to create a variety of different lines. In fact try holding your pencil a different way and see what happens to the lines that you make when you hold your pencil in a different way. We’re going to be creating all kinds of marks when we’re creating drawings. So it’s important to understand the medium that you’re using. Right now we’re using graphite and we’re using a pencil. So use the pencil to the maximum potential and try to make as many different marks as you possibly can with that pencil. Now let’s talk about specific types of lines. The first type of lines are contour lines contour lines or outlines. They can indicate where one object ends and another begins. This is probably the most basic way that we think of line. If I take a drawing of an apple here just using lines the outlines that I create are the contour lines they show us basically where the apple is where the Apple ends and where the background or other objects begin. Again these are called contour lines. Now a lot of people mistakenly believe that whatever material you use and is the only thickness of line that you can create That’s not true. You see line quality is the thickness or thickness of a line. It can be used to indicate shadow and create the illusion of form in a drawing just by using a line . So it’s really important to use a variety of thickness thinness is a lot in your drawings. Let’s look at this Apple for example. I have a light source come in from the upper left hand corner. I’m going back now in this drawing and I’m enhancing the line quality where my Apple gets thicker. And making the pod just a bit thicker. Wherever there might be Shatto whether it’s cast a shadow or core shadow on the apple and making that line a little bit thicker You can see where I’m making the line thicker by doing this and making the drawing more interesting. And I’m also creating the illusion of form and shadow only with Line now a blonde contour line drawing is an exercise and this is an exercise that I want to do in practice with a Blonde contour line drawing is created with one continuous line without looking at your paper . In fact you are looking at the object 100 percent of the time. It’s a great exercise to help you get in the mode of observation. Here’s an example. I have a little salt shaker here. And what I’m going to do is I’m going to look at this salt shaker and I’m going to try to move my eye at the same speed that I’m using my pencil over the surface of the paper. I’m not going to look at the paper at all. I’m going to really resist looking at the paper and only look at the object. And again I’m going to move my hand at the same speed that I’m moving my over the surface by doing this . I’m looking at the object 100 percent of the time and I’m learning to observe the object you see drawing is really about observation. If you understand how to work then you’ll understand how to draw. Remember that quote by Michelangelo. This is where we begin that cognitive process of drawing understanding what we see and putting that information on our paper. That’s really what drolling is about doing a blind contour line drawing like the one you see here will help us get into that mode. It’ll help us learn to observe. Now if you do it correctly and look almost nothing like object. In fact it’ll look like you did a drawing in an earthquake but that’s OK. Remember it’s an exercise you see draw waying is at least 50 percent observation. In fact in the Blon contour line drawing we spent 100 percent of our time looking at the object. Now just imagine if we spent half of our time really observing the object and the other half of the time drawing this is how you should approach drawing so many people don’t look at objects when they draw. And that’s a mistake. Now I’m going to revisit the salt shaker. Except this time I’m going to look at the object 50 percent of the time and make marks on my surface . The other 50 percent of the time. Now what I mean by that is not just stare at the object for about three minutes and then take the next three minutes to try to remember everything that I’ve seen and make those marks on the surface that would be crazy. Instead I’m going to look at the object gather information small bits of information and then put that information on my paper. In fact all the answers that I need are own that object. All I have to do is look at the object look at the relationships that happen on the objects and then make those marks on my surface. All the information is there for you. All you have to do is look for it and find it. Now that I’ve got my contour line drawing completed I’m going to go back and I’m going to enhance the line quality. Remember one quality is the thickness or thinness of the lot. So I’m going to look at the object and decide where the object gets thicker and where it gets thinner . I may choose to make the line thicker where the object gets thicker. Another way that I’ll evaluate where to add more thick lines and enhance my line quality is where there might be shadow. Whether that’s cast shadow or core shadow on the object wherever there is shadow on the object I might make that line a little bit thicker to create that illusion of shedder . Now there are more types of Lund’s besides contour lines. These are called Cross contour lines and cross contour lines or lines that cross over the contours of the object. In fact it’s almost a theoretical line. Adding media in a drawing in the direction of the cross contour lines can further create the illusion of form in a drawing. This is what I mean. Let’s take four spheres for example and let’s say they all have the same light source in the first sphere . I’m going to create cross contour lines to indicate shadow on the sphere. In fact I’m going to make these lines go directly horizontal. They’re not going to follow the cross contours of the object. Instead they’re just horizontal lines. We’ve created the illusion of shadow but we haven’t created the illusion of form. Instead a sphere is a circular object. So the cross contour lines that we create should have some spherical qualities about it. They should be a little bit rounded. They follow the cross contours of the object. A good way to think about this is if you picked up an object like let’s say an apple and you started moving your finger around the apple you’ll feel areas where the apple extrude is and where the apple recedes these lines that you’re creating with your finger are called Cross contour lines you can see here in the second sphere that have created more of the illusion of form as well as the illusion of shadow. By making these cross contour lines follow the form of the sphere. Now when we add media to a surface or a material to a surface when we’re drawing we need to consider these cross contour lines. In fact when we’re doing straight shading we need to make sure that we think about the form of the object . This is illustrated in the spheres below. In the first fear I’m just doing straight horizontal lines to add the shadow. It does an adequate job of creating the illusion of shadow in a light source but it does little to indicate the illusion of form . If however we follow the cross contours of the object when we add our value in shadowing we can go further in creating the illusion of form. Remember drawing is the creation of an illusion. We’re creating the illusion of a three dimensional object on a two dimensional surface. So we need to use everything in our power to create that illusion using cross contour lines will go a long way in creating that illusion of form for you. Now in this example I’m using graphite in a pencil but this is true in any other medium. In fact it works in painting as well. Cross contour lines are very important in creating the illusion that you are. Yet so many people don’t even know about it but you do now. So make sure that you use cross contour lines when you’re adding any type of value or any type of shadowing or media to your surface. So what exactly did we learn today. Well first we learned that line in terms of art is a moving dot. Secondly we learn that contour lines are outlines. They can indicate where one object ends and another object begins. We also learned that line quality is the thickness or thinness of a lot. It can be used to indicate shadow and create the illusion of form in a drawing. We also learned that a blond contour line drawing is an exercise and is created with one continuous line without looking at the paper. In fact you’re looking at the object 100 percent of the time. Do this to get better at observation. We learn that drawing is at least 50 percent observation so observation is very important in being able to draw well. And lastly we learn that cross contour lines are lines that cross over the contours of an object. When we add a medium in a drawing in the direction of the cross contour lines we can further create the illusion of form in a drawing. In the next video we’re going to take a look at shape the next element of art. And we’re going to learn how we can put shapes together to draw anything we design
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