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What is a Line Drawing? September 5, 2013

Posted by anagasto in drawing, history.
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Below is an Egyptian drawing from http://maherartgallery.blogspot.com.es/2012/03/ancient-egypt.html

Ancient Egypt - (105)

The ancient Egyptians believed that after death they would be judged according to a ritual called The Weighing of the Heart . To give their heart the best chances of passing the test, they sometimes weighed the heart against a feather, and so the ritual was also calledo The Weighing of the Feather.

Their drawings were meant to be read, and each figure was conventional and remained the same throughout hundreds of years. The colours are clay, lime, coal, and their art developed slowly over hundreds of years. Each new artist had to learn how to draw a man or a cat or a masque to convey a message.

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The clay tablet is Egyptian and the picture is from the Moma: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/.

Because the drawings did not change, their meanings also became standard and they turned into signs representing words. They are called hieroglyphs. Still later they  became the letters of our alphabet:

The complete origin of the  alphabet is at http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/alphabet.html

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The Greek used lines to decorate their pottery.

330px-Bell_idol_Louvre_CA_573 Released to public domain by Jastrow according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bell_idol_Louvre_CA_573.jpg

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Rock carving of an elephant. — Photographed by Luca Galuzzi – http://www.galuzzi.it published at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Libya_5041_Petroglyphs_Tadrart_Acacus_Luca_Galuzzi_2007.jpg  under the CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

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Contemporary

At present the most famous line drawings are Picasso´s.

Unlike his colours, Picasso’s line drawings  are breath-taking.

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picasso circus family

Look to the right of this drawing, the boy balancing on the ball. He is barely drawn, but you see the sequence of his movements almost as if Picasso himself had tried them out.

And on the left: how could he suggest the roundness of that belly with lines only?

Line drawing is taught and encouraged in all art schools.

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Peridis desahucios(c) Peridis at El País Spain : an eviction

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the wizzard's cat (c) jaro Madrid, Spain

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Most  drawings are line drawings. There is no shading and no colours, only lines. It is a type of abstraction and  in fact it is preferred by artists who use their intellect more than their perception.

me explico (c) Forges Antonio Forges at El País, Spain : “With so much media noise I don’t know if this is clear”

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Lines show what has been figured out or what is known about the shapes and funcions of an object. That is very different from colours which show more intuition or emotional response to an object.

Picasso for instance quite clearly was a line artist; Chagall was a colour man; Michelangelo also may have been more given to lines and shapes.

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K i d s

Why do they all start the same way? Why do children who live in a city apartment draw a  little house  with a chimney stack and smoke coming out, the same now as they did 100 years ago? Including the sun in the upper right hand corner?

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los dibujos de los niñosThe drawings are from a specialist’s collection for his book at http://www.dibujoinfantil.com/index.asp

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house man and cloud

It is typical for little children to draw a head with various attachments like hair, arms, legs, ears. It could be ritualistic as an idea that one first has to do a circle and then we’ll see what else might be needed.

In the drawing below the distribution of shapes and colours is very happy. That boy there has BIG hands and very small feet, but I don’t think that should be used to psychologize, because it could also be that this boy is a demonstrator of those that are on TV now.

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house sun tree

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Below it is raining and maybe it is night, for there is a moon and stars, though relegated to the lower left hand corner, maybe as an after-thought.

There are many buildings and they are tall, twice as tall as the flowers. Lots of clouds. The lady’s arms are not figured out as well as her earrings.

skyscrapers man and flowers

Whereas the smoke-stacks and the little house have outlasted the immense cityscape changes, children no longer draw all women with skirts, maybe because little girls now wear a skirt only on festive occasions (and then do it with all sorts of poise).

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Define “line drawing”:

delineation: a drawing of the outlines of forms or objects
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

A black-and-white drawing with no graduation of gray tones; usually done in India ink.
www.bctsouthflorida.com/BCT_Help_Center.php

A graphic representation made with lines and solids, as opposed to one made with tone gradations.
www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/buildingdictionaryl8.htm

Drawing based on line, rather than brush or wash, in which hatching effects provide
faculty.ksu.edu.sa/aljarf/Research%20Library/Technology%20ERIC%20Abstracts/ART%20TERMINOLOGY.doc

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