Taking A Line For A Walk

“Drawing is taking a line for a walk” – Paul Klee

I’m an urban sketcher and this blog reflects that fact with a steady stream of sketches done on location as I wander around the city.  If I do “art” at all, this is it.

But I’m also a baseball fan, a Toronto Blue Jays fan to be precise.  This is baseball season and that means I record near daily Blue Jays games and I watch them in the evening.  While watching I generally have a pen in my hand, cheap sketchbook on my lap.  I doodle.  I practice drawing parallel lines, drawing ellipses, circles, etc.  I consider it the equivalent of a pianist playing scales and I do need the practice.

I was doodling away and the Jays were doing well.   One of my few active neurons fired and I remembered seeing faces drawn by artists who let their pen wander around, spending more time in dark tone portions of a face than elsewhere.  In doing this they create a face.  I thought I’d try it and I have to admit that it was fun to take a line for a walk.  Have you ever done this?

Pilot Metropolitan, J.Herbin Cacao de Bresil

Pilot Metropolitan, J.Herbin Cacao de Bresil

6 thoughts on “Taking A Line For A Walk

  1. I have done this, and it’s a lot of fun! Relaxing in a weird way. I also love the look of it — this face looks abstract and at the same time very accurate. I have done this when I’ve gotten a new pen to “break in” the nib. I’ve also had fun with a soft pencil.


    • The new pen idea is a good one. I’ll have to try it. I had fun doing it as it reminded me of Marc’s one-line, one-minute drawing exercise. I need to do a bunch more of those. — Larry

  2. I have an intention to do it more often, particularly when I haven’tbeen able to sketch for a while. It is great warm-up. Really inspiring post!

    • I hope to do more of this as well, though as a drawing style it’s not for me. I think, though, it could be help me improve my ability to see ‘form’ rather than contour. — Larry

  3. Great post Larry. Fun to see this experimentation. This is the way we develop hey? Willingness to try any thing and see what we learn from each:)

    • Hi Marc. When I did it I didn’t see it as an experiment, though I suppose it was one. Experiments, for me, have been “draw something like Marc” or “sketch a building like Liz does.” Trying to walk in the shoes of artists I admire is both frustrating and illuminating all at the same time. I love your latest post on drawing a scene while moving the view location is interesting. The thought of it is a bit scary but, like your one-minute and 5-7 exercises, it opens my mind to possibiliities. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to do this stuff 🙂 — Larry

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