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What’s in a line? A line is a continuous path through points with a beginning, middle, and end point. Lines can be: thick or thin, solid or dashed or dotted, straight or wavy. Lines act alone or in relationships to other lines. Vertical lines run up or down. Horizontal lines run from left to right or across. Diagonal lines run at an angle. Parallel lines are lines that never meet. Intersecting lines are lines that cross each other. Perpendicular lines are lines that meet at a right angle (90 degrees). Lines can also be expressive and can show feelings as well as communicating properties. Look around you. Jets leave lines in the sky. Straws in sodas are an example of lines. Toothpicks are short straight lines. Your shoe lace is an undulating line! You have lines on your fingertips. Highways and roads and rivers are lines on a map. Lines communicate ideas without words. Lines are suggestive. Lines can speak! Lines can measure.

Lines are everywhere!

Activity 1 – Contour Lines

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Find several small objects such as coins, buttons, rubber bands, erasers, etc. Drop them randomly on an 8 ½“ x 11” piece of paper. Starting at the top left hand side, draw a line parallel to the top of the paper. Continue to repeat until you approach the first object. Continue to draw, but draw around the object following its shape. The next contour should echo the changed line. Continue to draw parallel lines until a second object is approached. Draw lines which deflect and show the changes caused by the objects. Fill the page with lines, then remove the objects. You have created a contour drawing! Another way to draw with contours is to ‘wrap’ the object with parallel lines. Select a three dimensional series of objects such as fruit, school supplies, or furniture. Try starting at the top of the object and draw parallel line segments whose beginning and end points edge the shape of the object. After practicing on several objects, try ‘wrapping’ your hands, or another person’s face or figure. Challenge: Never look at your paper!! Use your eyes and concentrate on connecting what you see to the your hand. Try drawing other objects and people’s faces. Give yourself 30 seconds first, then a minute, then 30 seconds.

Connect with the paper!

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Activity 2 – Geometric Line Drawings

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Take a blank piece of paper and a drawing tool of your choice. Draw a line from left to right that is parallel to the top of the page at a distance of 1”. Keep your connection with the paper confident from left to right. Now drop a second line ¼” from the first. Draw 10 more lines practicing your parallel skill. Next, do the same parallel line drawing with another drawing tool. Notice the difference in pressure and drag or pull on the pen to keep control of line weight and parallel measure. Now draw perpendicular lines. Copy the perpendicular lines until they come easily. Next draw intersecting lines. Draw several intersections at different angles, oblique and acute. Now look at something close at hand. Draw the outside edge or silhouette of the form with short straight line segments and angular lines. Try a second object using this same technique. The edges of objects are points, connecting two points is a line. Lines outline shapes and forms.

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Activity 3 – Lines of Feeling

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Take a piece of paper and draw a line for each of the following: happy, free, sad, angry, surprised, agitated, young, old, strong, feeble, ragged, curly, spiky, sinister, tranquil, triumphant, monumental, timid, flamboyant, frightened, spooky, silly, speedy, springing, exploding, stuck. Draw your lines with marker and label them with small print in pencil. On another piece of paper, draw lines in the following relationships: symmetrical, bowing, attacking, growing, jumping, circling, in love, quarreling, on a walk, running, going up stairs, settling in, barking, singing, nurturing, booming, sinking, floating, moving, sitting, competitive, static, active, energetic. On a third piece of paper, draw the lines that come to your imagination. Label them. Congratulations.

You are communicating emotions with lines!!!!

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  • Perpendicular lines are lines that meet at a right angle (90 degrees).
  • Lines have a beginning point, a middle point and an end point.
  • Lines are always straight.
  • Lines can never intersect.
  • Lines are at different scales.
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