Lines to Things

Marks to Meaning


Lines are a powerful tool as a visual communicator. Drawing lines that express ideas are a great way to hone your communication skills. Lines that are bold and decisive communicate something very different than a line that is light and wanders across the page. For examples of this in action, leaf through a few comic books or graphic novels, where lines are put into action to communicate everything from terror to joy.
It is recommended that you warmup for this activity by filling a page with lines of different weights. Practice getting different results by varying the pressure and angle of your pen. Try tilting your pen so that is is almost perpendicular to the page, this will help you achieve different line widths. Practice by having a line start out at its absolute boldest and be almost disappearing by the time you reach the other side of the page. Being able to achieve thicker and thinner lines and to vary thickness as you are drawing, will improve your overall quality and expressiveness of line.
Set up
8½ x 11” paper,
thick markers or any implement
Brainstorm a list of emotion words
Draw abstract lines and shapes that capture the spirit of each word.

Tag: Lines, Play,Warm-up, easy
Methods: To extend this into a group activity, draw on stickies and write each emotion word on a whiteboard. Have people stick their drawings under each word to create clusters. As a group discuss any themes, similarities or differences that you see arising under each for each word.
Add-on: An entertaining example of this activity (as well as several other good visual thinking exercises) can be found in the introduction to Rapid Viz: A New Method for the Rapid Visualization of Ideas, by Kurt Hanks. Text such as “he learned the amazing ability from his brothers dog” and “how long it had been there, was impossible to determine” where matched with the following shapes.



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Drawing in Class by Jason Toal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book