This involves playing one line against another. I stress the
dynamics of opposition; lines working against lines, pointed
curves against flat curves or straight lines, activity against
static, large to small, etc. Curves should not repeat within
the line, and scale and line elements must vary. One curve
should not butt against another creating a bottleneck. A sharp
pointed curve works against a flat curve. Activity in one
line plays against a static area in another line, generally
it is best to not play activity against activity as it tends
to result in unstable shapes.
Avoid parallels such as a flat curve against another flat
curve or straight line creating nearly parallel shapes. In
these instances, modify the curve to a sharp pointed curve
so that the shape between the lines is continually decreasing
Students must examine each line in relationship to all
lines in terms of shape, not just the shape created between
two lines but the various shapes made between one line and
all other lines.
It seems to work best if the number 1 line is not used next
to either side edge because in effect it is putting two inactive
lines together creating a relatively static and dull shape.
Activity in the composition should be somewhat balanced so
that all the activity is not on one side or limited to bottom
or top of the composition. The most active line with implied
shapes creates the focus. Consider carefully where in the
composition you want to put the focal point.
Students should do a number of trial compositions in pencil
lines,numbering each one sequentially, and they mark the three
they think are best in a 1,2,3 order with 1 being the best.
When I concur with the student assessment of the composition,
the student moves to the next step.
that you are working on compositions, you are getting sloppy
and line quality is terrible! I dont care if you are
sketching everytime you draw a line, take the time to do it
right and as well as you possibly can. Believe me, you need
all the practice you can get!
two lines are parallel. The shape between lines must always
be changing by either expanding or decreasing but never parallel,
creating a static shape.
activity in this line against the activity in that line is
making a very unstable shape. Perhaps you should either turned
one line upside down or redrew part of one line. Try sliding
one line up or down and adding to the length of the static
triangular shape with a neck at the bottom (or top) is too
symmetrical and not particularly interesting. Try playing
a curved line against the straight line. Why not try containing
the activity of the line 4 by playing it against an edge line.
line is too parallel with the edge line. Try tilting the line.
combination of lines does not seem compatible. Put in the
three lines that work and design an entirely new line in relationship
to the three lines.
enough distinction between major and minor shapes. Make the
difference more pronounced.
it would work better if you eliminated some of the activity
in this line. Play around with it.
tracing paper working at the 10-inch size using a fine line
marker and a broad nib marker, students explore all the black
and white possibilities. They can have a combination of black/white
shapes and black/white lines. It is absolutely essential that
all lines be very fine and sensitively rendered. A heavy,
poorly drawn line destroys the entire composition. Fine, sensitive
lines work much better! Exploration of black and white possibilities
usually involves eight to ten compositions.Students should
be made aware of the figure-ground qualities of the compositions,
the ambiguity of spatial readings, which are most interesting.
Also, tensions between lines and shapes are noted and become
part of the student evaluation criteria. When compositions
are filled in, there are a variety of shapes, and students
make comparative evaluations of these shapes from one composition
to another. Spend time with students discussing the various
shapes as to which are visually most interesting and how the
ones that are not can be improved. Point out to them not only
shapes between two lines but the shapes between one line and
each of the other three lines. Try and get the student to
articulate their evaluations and objectives for improving
the composition. Students periodically pin-up and study their
compositions. At the end, they mark those they believe are
the best with a 1, 2, and 3 priority with 1 being the best.
These are discussed with me and when agreement is reached
on which is the best, the student moves to the next step.
I do not permit students to reduce the size or to make photo
copies of the composition to fill in during the exploration
stage. Students need the practice of drawing, and they tend
to get sloppy at this stage with both the drawing and filling
in with marker. I stay demanding of craftsmanship in every
are really sloppy! Use the marker carefully so not to lose
line is terrible. For a line to work in the composition, it
must be done as a thin, sensitive line. You cannot do it with
a broad tip marker!
outline the square with a marker. Use the pencil.
that you have filled this in, the shape is ugly. You might
try redesigning that line.
the compositions you have made and figure out how they might
be improved or make new ones.
dont think you have found one that works well. Try some