“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ― Leonardo da Vinci
After Basic Descriptions and Shapes, the third tutorial of the Graphic Design Basic Element Series covers Basic Directions.
Lines in graphic art essentially incorporate four main descriptions. They are also further broken down into a subset utilizing these four main distinctions.
We can see lines in art expressed as a single line or series of lines that define an entire design, a part of the design, or something as simple as its border.
Another term an artist may use to describe a line is a continuous contour.
Four Basic Line Descriptions
The Parts That Create The Whole
At the top of the page is an example illustration. The visual in its simplicity demonstrates how an artist can use the basic line and shape plus opaque and tonal colored hues to create a visual statement.
By learning to see these basic elements, an artist makes important creative distinctions. They are opening their eyes to a new way of seeing and recreating their world. Even the newbie artist can begin to transfer their ideas and feelings to a canvas or paper so they may tap into the joy of creating.
Small, Medium, and Large
Like lines, shapes also add interest when their size and shape are varied.
Even in complex designs, basic elements can build the intent of the art piece while seeming simple and yet elegant.
An artist mantra:
“Small, Medium, Large, Line, Plane, Tone”
I like to view each image I create and ask if I have incorporated the mantra’s qualities. Sometimes the small element acts as a treat for the viewer who closely views the art piece.
To practice learning graphic design, incorporate the basic descriptions you are learning in each tutorial by creating a piece of art and recording it in an art journal.
You can create a simple sketch or you might enjoy illustrating a more detailed drawing or painting.
A great exercise is to pick a season of the year then illustrate elements that are unique to that time of year using the mantra.
Here is a simple example illustration expressing the idea of leaves blowing in the wind. Line, plane, and tone, small, medium, and large are all incorporated along with linear movement.
Two Easy Exercise Examples
Watch two videos of simple art exercises. The first is called the Quick Draw Exercise and is based on line art. The second art video example uses basic doodles, scribbles, lines and color overlayed on a landscape photo. Most of you can easily find in a perfect photo on your camera stream on your phone for both exercises.
A wonderful beginner art play exercise > The Quick Draw Technique
Check out an exercise description and video by clicking > Anyone Can Create Art: Doodles, Scribbles, Lines and Color
Downloadable Tutorial Images
Now that we have covered the basic element descriptions, sizes, and directions I hope you stop back and visit for the next tutorial. This series on design basics will include fourteen lessons.
Our next tutorial will describe the Basic Surfaces found in design and free downloadable tutorial images.
Please visit the Art & Design Table of Contents to follow each series in its order.
Luise Volta says
Thank you, Sandy. I’m not retaining much of this beyond a deeper appreciation of the artists in my life.
Sandy Breckenridge says
It’s really wonderful that you consistently stop by! Thank you so much. I’d say that the thought that you are growing greater appreciation for other artists is really awesome.