Line Drawings- Drawing your hands

Five hands drawn on the same page slightly overlapping each other.

We begin the year with the very first element of design – Line. Definition: A line is defined as a moving dot. It is the first tool in the young artists’ toolbox. We can use lines to describe edges and contours, lead the viewers eye, emphasize things, or create the illusion of texture or distance in a drawing. There are many different types of Line. Please write down the following kinds on the left side of your paper:

  • lost and found line
  • contour line
  • cross contour line
  • straight line
  • curved line
  • implied line

Notice how everything in this ink painting is made up of lines, thick and thinner to depict bamboo and leaves.

Notice the use of lines in the Rembrandt drawing below. The contours and texture of his hair, skin, clothes all of these are defined by his use of Line.

The portrait is built completely of lines, and begins to have texture, as if you could touch the surface.

In the photograph of the Robert Smithson earthwork “Spiral Jetty” below notice how the artist leads the viewers eye using lines of  dirt and rock.

Now you will try seeing the edges of your hands and drawings them as simple lines. Notice the drawing below only uses lines to show the edges of any contours found in and outside the hand. Practice not picking up your pen or pencil once you touch it to the paper.

Here is another contour drawing of  hands.

Just lines that describe edges and contours, no shading yet…

Look at this study of the contours of a hand. Now watch this amazing video of an artist demonstrating how to use a pen to make a great contour drawing of his own hand.

Now we will try this exercise in class. Pose you non-dominant hand and keep you eye glued to it as you draw all the contours of your hand.

5 hands drawing

Check out this video tutorial on contour drawing.

Here is another teacher’s video tutorial on Modified Contour Drawing.

Here is another example of a teacher demonstrating a modified contour drawing of a hand.

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