I'm taking a figure drawing class at a local community college and our first sketchbook homework assignment is to do contour line drawings of our hands in ballpoint pen or ebony pencil, focusing on using line weight to indicate volume.
I don't know if I'm overthinking this or something, I've done assignments that focus on using lines to create volume, and line weight to indicate value, but I can't seem to figure out how my line weight can indicate volume unless I do something like wrap the entire shape in lines and have the line thicken as it recedes into space. Am I just looking at this too hard and overlooking a simple way to do this?
Originally Posted by StarBelly View Post
... but I can't seem to figure out how my line weight can indicate volume unless I do something like wrap the entire shape in lines and have the line thicken as it recedes into space.
If I understand the project correctly, there may be two problems with the above statement:
1) you don't have to necessarily wrap the entire form with lines.
Lines can be used for creases and wrinkles that wrap around the form slightly.
2) In general distant lines are thinner than closer lines if you are talking about actually using line weight to indicate distance (for example drawing a person 2 feet away and another person 10 feet away.) Maybe you are just talking about thinner lines in the skin that's facing you and thicker around the silhouette of the form. in which case the distance is as much of a factor as the lighting or the surface/outline relationship.
I hope that makes some kind of sense. It's easier to discuss in person than in text.
In comic art, line weight can be used in the following ways to indicate volume (both the volume of the object and volume of the space it inhabits.)
a) when drawing two identical objects, both may use a variety of line weights but the closer object will have thicker lines
b) Larger objects get thicker lines to indicate greater size volume and weight
harder objects sometimes get thicker lines (for example a huge steel ball might get thicker lines than a huge cotton ball)
c) An object that is lit by a light source generally has thinner lines on the side facing the light source, and thicker lines on the opposite side this can be a a subtle indication of shading.) Lighting from above is very common so it is common to see thicker lines on the underside of objects.
d) Outlines/silhouettes often get thicker lines than inner details.
e) Creases and concave angles often get thicker lines than straight lines and convex angles.
f) All of the above principles (and probably some I haven't thought of) can work in various combinations that reduce or increase the line thickness you choose.
attached is a quick and sloppy hand drawing that I hope will help illustrate a very simple lineweight variation based on volume and top-lighting.
Last edited by PsiBug; September 28th, 2009 at 12:47 PM.