Back to Basics: Line

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You probably don’t even remember it. I certainly don’t. Still, the first time our chubby toddler hands clumsily gripped a Crayola marker and scribbled on a piece of paper (or maybe the wall… or the floor…) we were unknowingly executing the most fundamental, essential element of art: the line.

Drawing with line is instinctual and important. It is the first artistic tool we employ as children, and the first step in many celebrated works of art throughout history.  In our classrooms, we aim to foster that instinct and teach students why and how different types of line can be used to describe shapes, express emotions and, ultimately, tell a visual story.

This week, our Start with Art class (JK/SK) completed a watercolour and oil pastel painting of a whale in the ocean using several types of line to represent different elements in the scene: wavy lines run horizontally across the page to represent water, spiraled lines of water shoot out of the whale’s blow hole and curved lines make up the whale’s rounded body. All our kinders knew roughly how to execute each type of line we discussed, but our lesson encouraged them to consider how different varieties of line are used strategically to illustrate a drawing. 

Oil pastel and watercolour paintings done by our "Start with Art" Kindergarten Students. These were inspired by the book "Lines that Wiggle" by Candace Whitman. 

Oil pastel and watercolour paintings done by our "Start with Art" Kindergarten Students. These were inspired by the book "Lines that Wiggle" by Candace Whitman. 

In our Drawing and Painting class (grade 3-5), students used the same basic principles to create a more complex composition. In these ‘Line Landscapes’, curved lines on a mountainside throw the peak into 3 dimensions and jagged, zig-zag lines on a neighbouring mountain suggest a rocky surface. Every section of each picture is filled with a unique type of line, making the picture look lively and each element distinct. It’s hard to come away from this lesson without a clear understanding of how line influences form, texture, depth and interest in a drawing.

Line landscape drawings done by some of our Gr 3-5 Drawing and Painting students in Week One of our Fall classes.

Line landscape drawings done by some of our Gr 3-5 Drawing and Painting students in Week One of our Fall classes.

 

We’re only a week into our fall term and already our budding artists are adding fundamental skills to their artistic toolbox. With a mastery of line under their belt, we’ll move on to explore the other elements of art: shape, form, value, space, texture and colour. We can’t wait to get creating!

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If you’d like to sign up for child/youth or adult classes, it’s not too late! Go to freehandart.ca or call 416-487-2533 for more information and to register.