Frequently Asked Questions Visit blog! Contact the artist
Order a custom character portrait
Prints, stationery, and other merchandise
About the artist
Downloads and free stuff

(Drawing Basics)


Lines are the basic components of every drawing. There are thin lines, thick lines, straight lines, curved lines, lines that start fat but get skinny at the end, lines that are so short that they can be called dots....The permutations are endless (Fig 2a). In drawing the human figure, it is particularly important to have a good control over curved lines, as bodies are rather conspicuously short of ruler-straight edges. Consider the ink drawing to the right. It is composed entirely of curved lines, with no traditional solid blocks of "shading" to give it depth. The darker "black" areas were created either by cross hatching lines or by laying down lines so close to each other that the human eye views them as a solid mass.

From Fig 2b shows variation in line thickness, which though a simple thing, can give a drawing a rudimentary sense of depth as well as creating a more interesting overall composition. Fig 2c demonstrates the use of crosshatching to create large areas of solid color. By reducing or increasing the density of crosshatching, an artist can vary the value of an area from nearly white to solid black. The parallel lines of the hair in Fig 2d shows yet another way in which lines can be used. Note especially how the open lines near the crown of the hair become denser as they curve down and left, creating the look of hair highlighted by a strong light source.


Fig 2b. Line Thickness Fig 2c. Cross Hatching
Fig 2d. Parallel Lines



Once you've mastered the fine points of line, it's time to look at shading.

In the picture to the left, you may notice a higher degree of realism than in the example image from the previous section on line. This is due to the use of shading, which, when properly done, will trick the eye into believing that a two-dimensional image actually exists in three-dimensional space.

(Fig 2f) This detail of the man's head permits us to see that a combination of lines and shading were used to render his face and hair. The major lines and features of the face and hair were first sketched in lightly, then the pencil was used to put in the values of the major planes--forehead, jawline, cheek bones, the side of the nose, etc. Several guiding strands of hair were also drawn initially and then blocked in with dark shading while allowing enough lighter areas of the locks to show through to keep the mass sufficiently "hair-like".

(Fig 2g) The torso of the figure is primarily modelled with only tonal shading. There are few actual lines involved in this area. Instead, the musculature of the chest is rendered by seamless shading that attempts to duplicate the smoothness of human skin.

(Fig 2h) Directional shading in this detail shows how shading can be used to simulate the texture of fabric.

Fig 2f Line & Shading Fig 2g Tonal Shading
Fig 2h Directional Shading



Gallery | Commissions | Store | Artist | Links | Tutorials | Download
Home - FAQ - Blog - Contact

All images on these pages are © Copyright 1994-2006 Maggie Wang. All rights reserved. Copyright and Usage Info