Would you take a walk with a line?

by Roberta Pucci and Michele Ferri

In early life, the process of drawing naturally unfolds according to consequential phases: it is an organic, archetypal development that just needs a welcoming environment, respectful of individual paces.
But what about adults, especially those who stopped drawing since a long time? Is it still possible to restart drawing just for the sake of it, without performance anxiety about the outcome?

Here are some suggestions for all adults who think they are no longer able to draw and need a little help. Would you like to play?

Going for a walk with a line

First of all, let’s warm up your hand with a flowing, free movement on the sheet of paper. Draw two small signs of different colors, representing the starting and the arrival point, wherever you want. Then just let your hand go for a walk with a black pen or marker, freely exploring the space of the sheet without interrupting the line, in any direction, at the most comfortable speed and pace. If you no longer know where to go, just slow down, slower and slower… but keep going on.

This activity can be repeated in different ways, for example by changing the travel speed, the drawing tool, the positions of the starting and arrival points. Perhaps a different color will suggest a different pace… And each tool will have its own “walking” qualities. Or you could imagine a line with a certain kind of personality, mood or feeling: happy, sad, angry, curious, bored, scared. How will be its journey?

You can also create more interesting environments to explore, by placing cutouts and small objects hin the sheet of paper. Then explore these paper areas with a line.

Now let’s go through more intricate paths, tracing lines that intersect in many points (preferably using a pen). Interesting shapes are hidden through your random scribbles: look and try to find them… What do you see? Once you have identified some shapes, make them more recognizable, for example filling them with colors or pointing the outline out with a different color or a thicker line.

What about “dressing” your shapes? You can create endless textures combining different signs, points and lines. Then draw your shape on a textured cardboard you like and cut it out. How does it look now?

Each shape can also be transformed by changing its size or proportions, stretching it, crushing it, as if it was of a plastic material that can be deformed as you like. Exploring these variations, you will create a group of shapes that are all a bit different but recognizable as belonging to the same “family”.

At this point, you have various drawing tools for inventing imaginary worlds… Trace your lines, place and move your shapes in the sheet of paper: many stories will come out! Enjoy!

This post is a small excerpt from the book A spasso con una linea, by Roberta Pucci and Michele Ferri, published by Artebambini (in Italian only… for now).

The post is also part of the Grammar of Drawing project about the expressive language of drawing, in a collaboration between Suzanne Axelsson, Nona Orbach and Roberta Pucci.

It is translated in five languages:

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