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Drawing Without Lines

April 7, 2010

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and we can only see a thing in one way. When we think of drawing an object, most of us automatically think of the contours: the lines.

line contour drawing

Today we’re going to focus on drawing shapes, not lines.

Challenging yourself to see things in a new way is beneficial for several reasons:

  1. it keeps your brain flexible and open to new ideas
  2. it can help get you out of a rut you didn’t even realize you were in
  3. it can give you another technique to use in your other art pieces.

For this kind of drawing it’s best to use a piece of charcoal turned on its side. This gives you a larger drawing tool, making it easier toshade in big areas and reducing the temptation to draw lines.

Always start by drawing the biggest shapes. Work from the general to the specific, adding details only at the end.

drawing shapes

Another way to approach this exercise is to look at the negative space. Negative space is what surrounds the object your’e drawing. Focus on drawing the shapes of the areas around your subject and see how the object starts to form.

negative space drawing

As you practice and become more confident in drawing without lines, you can start to integrate the technique into the rest of your work. You might even find that you like using a combination of different drawing techniques. This kind of variety can add another layer of interest to your work.

drawing with a combination of techniques


An artist has two tool boxes: the physical one that holds his pencils, brushes, etc, and the mental one that holds his ideas and techniques. Try this drawing technique and add another tool to your mental tool box!


From → Drawing

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