Line

The first thing to talk about when discussing line is not line at all but point. Point is the simplest element of art and is frequently forgotten about. Point exists in two senses. A point can be a dot. Or a point can refer to a location in space and time. I have placed one at the end of this sentence for your consideration.

Line is the second simplest element of art.  Here's one now: ___________________________

A point is the smallest coherent bit of a line. A line is a path spanning the distance between two points. It might be thought of as a drawn out point, or a point that went for a walk and might possibly include some detours. 

http://vipdictionary.com/img/Scribble.jpg
Multiple lines can be grouped together to create a tone or a sense of volume.  

http://www.linnmeyers.com/images/etching_2011.jpg
Line can also be implied. An implied line is a non-continuous line that seems to be continuous, like a series of dashes; ---------- or - - - - - - - - - - or -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     -     - and so on, you get the idea.

http://www.jillgallenstein.com/drawings.html#005b-time-became-less-modern-Detail.jpg

Lines define shapes, boundaries and edges but edges where two colors or shapes meet are also lines. Here there's a line where the black and yellow meet:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/contemporaryartgroup/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Unforeseen_09.jpg
Here there's a line where the blue and green meet and there's another line where the blue and yellow meet. And the line where the blue and yellow meet is a notably obvious case of a line being used to  forming a shape.
https://qph.is.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-f8ede147f260a8b4895458390168be7a?convert_to_webp=true

Lines can be used to create positive or negative spaces.
http://www.learning-to-see.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/hollyhock-leaves-3.jpg

The path your eye takes through a composition is a line. In the case of the Matisse collage below, the line your eye follows through the image is re-enforced by the yellow line. However, your eye would take the same essential path even if that yellow line weren't there.
http://www.artsconnected.org/media/b2/fe/c37850a7ebbaa32fd7e081866182/1024/768/112618.jpg
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Making your own lines

One of the definitions of line is that they describe the boundaries between colors. You're not working with that here. Your lines should be clearly identifiable as lines and not shapes. If they're becoming more shapes than lines you need to make some changes. 


http://bestesworkz.blogspot.gr/2010/05/architectural-diagrams-types-and-usage.html



You'll be making simple lines based on descriptive words. Some words that commonly describe lines are fluid, delicate, bold, elegant, rugged, taut, playful, thick or thin, severe, frenetic, quiet, light, spontaneous, heavy, broken, strong, etc. Start with these and add any more that you can think of. 

Next, in your journal, on the left side of the page, write down as many words as you can describing things you're interested in. For the moment don't be concerned with words that particularly describe line. Instead, write down any descriptive words that describe emotions, physical characteristics such as fat or thin or weak or strong, states of mind, stages of life like young and old, times of day and so on. Then make a line all the way across your page for each one of those words. Make them as distinctive as possible. It's ok if some of them cross each other as long as you can tell them apart.

Now look at your lines. You should have a lot of them. Pick out the twelve that you think are the best match to their verbal description. This time look back at the examples and find some examples of your own too. Think about your examples and be influenced by them. Think about how you might use their characteristics to help your lines be more visually interesting and to make them fit their verbal descriptions even better. 



Start on a new page and remake those twelve lines.  Make them bigger this time. And give them some room to breathe and spread out, make no more than three to a page. Make them move around more. Think about the description you're trying to match as you give them movement. Give them some width and body. Fill them in with your colored pencils. See if you can make them recede into space or come toward the viewer. Push their characteristics as much as you can. But, remember, as you finish them, give them a flat even color; avoid shading or texture. Make them the strongest visual statement of their verbal description you possibly can.  

When your lines are as good as you can get them take out a piece of mixed media paper. On it create very lightly in pencil 8 equal 7"x 4.5" rectangular boxes. You should have one inch margins around all of your boxes. Your bottom box should have a 2" margin underneath it. Inside each of your boxes recreate one of your lines very lightly in pencil. There just needs to be enough graphite there for you to barely see it.

Finally, as neatly as possible, fill in your lines with paint in primary colors only. Do whatever you need to keep your lines absolutely perfect, use rulers and French curves, use craft tape. When you're finished the only pencil lines should be the outline of your boxes. There should be no erasure marks. There should be no finger smudges. Everything should be neatly inside the boxes and inside the lines. There should be no dings in your paper or bent corners. Everything should be exhibition quality, in other words it only has to be perfect.  

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