Friday, July 27, 2012

The Music of Line - Harold Speed 12

Another Bargue Plate Copy

This post picks up again in my series on Harold Speed's book on drawing. Here I highlight some points from chapter 11 entitled, "Rhythm: Variety of Line." The entire series can be found on my favorites page.

"A line of equal thickness is a very dead and inexpressive thing compared with one varied and stressed at certain points." -- Harold Speed

In this chapter, Speed recommends varying your lines to give vitality or "life" to your drawings. I can attest to the truthfulness of this. Just today when I was working on a Bargue plate - when I changed the guide lines (straight lines of uniform thickness) into more weighted lines the drawing seemed to come to life. I had been unhappy with the drawing until that point - then suddenly I saw it was a better drawing than I had thought.

This sort of quality in a drawing is difficult to remember at times. I suppose it should be on a checklist when you evaluate your work. It reminds me of that statement of Robert Beverly Hale where he says becoming good requires "driving all the horses at once." Varied lines are just one of the horses that pull the coach along. Just the other day I was getting lost in a piece and thought to myself - the horses have all broken loose and are trampling the drawing. Knowing the elements of a good drawing is one thing, being able to control and implement them in any one drawing is quite another.

"It is impossible to write of the infinite qualities of variety that a fine draughtsman will get into his line work; they must be studied at first hand. But on this play of thickness and quality of line much of the vitality of your drawing will depend." -- Harold Speed

Speed is channeling Yoda there in that last sentence... :-)


Teresa said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful info that you're learning. Love this drawing... and it illustrates your point well.

Rose Welty said...

Thanks Teresa - it's my pleasure, I'm learning alot too!

Jo Castillo said...

Rose, thank you for all you do. You inspire and encourage us to work at our drawing. Beautiful practice here in these recent postings.

Rose Welty said...

Ah Jo, you inspire me with your regular sketching. I've really been thinking I need to pick that up again.