Hard lines do not exist in reality hence learn to draw lightly
It is tempting to think that pure lines as once pure thoughts were the soul of reality. Mathematical fantasies. Lines are beautiful mental creatures but only live as tools to help us survive. As such, we should draw them only in our mind’s eye.
Quoting Roger Penrose : “relating the Platonic mathematical world to the physical world – that I am allowing only a small part of the world of mathematics need have relevance to the workings of the physical world.”
1. All charcoals are not equal when it comes to soft lines
That or try learning the lightest touch possible.
2. Hard lines are beginners’ “favourite mistake”
It is curious that the shivering sensation of drawing a hard line is not acknowledged by beginners. Once they are told how light they should be, some will even retaliate with the utmost in anger to this fact. If our lines are so harsh, imagine what our other perceptions might be!
Useful skills : “ghostiness” of line ; resting your hand on the paper for careful movements that need support ; joints acting as pendulum means you need to lock some joints for straighter lines and may have to move the whole hand-arm/shoulder in space accordingly.
4. Drawing lightly is a physical feat
Try drawing a very light gradation holding the pencil at the end. Make it as light as can be. Do it many times. You will experience a strange feeling. Your heart will beat suddenly much faster, you will hold your breath and you will experience an unbearable dizziness of the senses as if you were standing on the edge of a cliff.
Musicians overcome this sensation by continually reducing pressure in their fingers and wrists. To relax my hands for drawing (and for music), I practice the hand gymnastics of Alfred Cortot’s Rational Principles of Piano Technique, a book about finger elasticity and independence. Any other method of relaxing fingers, hands, wrists and elbows as well as breathing exercises can be used to improve your drawing and virtuosity.