In a previous post, I shared a few line control exercises for straight lines. This time around, I’m focusing on drawing exercises with curving lines.
The following exercises will help you improve line control with curving lines, spirals, circles, and arcs. Improving these skills helps you layer color with directional strokes, as well as make more accurate line drawings.
You might expect curving lines to be more difficult to draw than straight lines. That hasn’t been my experience, and may not be yours.
But drawing a curving line, and drawing a curving line that accurately represents your subject are two different things. That’s why these curving line drawing exercises are just as important as straight line drawing exercises.
5 Drawing Exercises with Curving Lines
Rather than throw a bunch of exercises at you, let’s take a look at two main types of curving lines: Spiral curves and concentric curves.
Drawing Exercises with Spiral Lines
This is a simple, straight forward exercise. Put your pencil on the paper and begin drawing a line that curves around itself. Keep going as long as you can, making the circle ever larger.
This exercise is good for a number of things, including improving your ability to draw parallel curves, long lines with consistent pressure, and long lines with consistent weight.
In the sample below, pressure and line weight control were good, but those parallel lines…. I need a lot of work in that area and am not afraid to admit it!
Fixed Point Oval
This exercise is similar to the previous exercise except in one important area.
Rather than drawing a curving line that enlarges on a central point in the center of the circle, the fixed point is at one side. It doesn’t matter which side you choose. Make every loop larger than the previous loop, but make every loop overlap at one point.
With this exercise, still do the entire exercise without lifting the pencil.
But start with heavy pressure, reduce pressure to the lightest you can manage, then darken it again to the darkest.
This exercise puts a little spin on the previous exercise and on the first exercise in this post.
Drawing Exercises with Concentric Lines
Broken Concentric Circle
Begin with a small circle drawn in the center of your paper.
Instead of drawing a parallel circle outside the first circle, draw arcs as shown below. You can vary the length of each arc, but make them as parallel to the inside line as possible.
You can also work on line weight and pressure control with this exercise.
Of course, drawing complete circles parallel to the center circle is also a good idea.
Start with a dot or very small circle either very light in value or very dark.
Draw the next line outside the first line and continue. Make each successive line lighter or darker than the one before. Also work on keeping them parallel. The goal is to create a full value range light to dark or dark to light, then work back in the opposite direction.
I was walking the cat when I did this exercise and standing with the pad of paper in one hand, the pencil in the other, and my end of the leash looped over my wrist. The line started out fairly circular, but it didn’t take long to become misshapen.
However, I rather like the topographical look. It fires the imagination, doesn’t it? What sort of topographical formation would look like this on a topographical map?
These are just a few of the many drawing and line control exercises available. Whether you use these specific exercises or something else, the important thing is that you find something that’s helpful to you.
You can even make up your own or customize these exercises to fit your particular drawing style or the area you need to work on.
Whatever you do, remember the main rule. Above all, have fun!
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