Monday Motivation: Never a Perfectly Straight Line

“Drawing, said the artist Paul Klee, is like taking a line for a walk. Try it for yourself. Take a pencil in your hand and let it alight on a sheet of paper. As the tip glides into contact with the paper, a line begins to appear. And it carries on until, with a slight flick of the wrist, you allow the tip to lift off again. What remains on the sheet is the trace of a manual gesture. Depending on how you moved your hand and fingers, it may curve, twist or loop, this way and that. But it will never be perfectly straight. No-one, likewise, ever walks in a straight line, as you can see from the trails of footprints on a sandy beach.”

Tim Ingold, “Lines, Threads & Traces“, Toast Magazine 31 March 2020

When learning to draw, forget about the straight line that so many declare they couldn’t possibly achieve. It’s easily done using an edge such as a ruler, and insisting it has to be achievable freehand falls into the “there are far more interesting things to draw” category. Aim for movement of the pencil across a surface that dances, meanders, explores, jumps over cracks. Then try it with paint or ink.

Lines Shore Black and Orange Ink Drawing
Shoreline drawing. Camus Mor, Isle of Skye

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