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Chapter 4 Summary—English

Line

Lesson 1: The Element of Line
The world is full of lines, such as tree trunks, spider webs, and wires. Artists use line to lead your eyes through a work of art. A line is an element of art that is the path of a moving point through space. A line has width as well as length, but usually the width of a line is very small compared with its length. In fact, a line is thought of as being one-dimensional. Dimension means the amount of space an object takes up in one direction. Sometimes, the edges of shapes look like lines; so artists often use outlines to define shapes. They can also arrange things in rows to create implied lines. There are five basic kinds of lines. (1) Vertical lines move straight up and down—they do not lean at all. (2) Horizontal lines lay down, parallel to the horizon. (3) Diagonal lines slant. (4) Zigzag lines are made from a combination of diagonal lines. (5) Curved lines change direction gradually. Lines can also vary in length, width, texture, direction, and degree of curve. These variations are caused by differences in the media, tools, and surfaces used. Lines can also vary in value. Value is the element of art that describes the lightness or darkness of an object. Artists can vary the number of lines and the spaces between them to indicate shading. The lines may be parallel, or they may cross one another. Crosshatching is the technique of using crossed lines for shading. Different media and tools create lines with different values.

Lesson 2: The Expressive Qualities of Line
Line is an important element in the language of art because of its expressive capabilities. For example, vertical lines are static and appear to be at rest, expressing stability. Horizontal lines are also static, expressing feelings of peace, rest, and quiet. Since curved lines change direction, they express activity. Diagonal lines express instability, tension, and excitement while zigzag lines create confusion. Three special types of drawing will develop your understanding of line. (1) In contour drawing, you use a continuous line to define the edges and surface ridges of an object. (2) In gesture drawing, you can draw short, loose lines to capture movement. While contour drawing captures the exterior of an object, gesture drawing represents the interior. (3) Calligraphic drawing is often associated with Asian writing and art. The word calligraphy means beautiful handwriting. In China and Japan, calligraphy is used to form characters that represent the language. You can make calligraphic lines with a paintbrush, creating brushstrokes that change from thin to thick in one stroke.

 

 
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