Andrew Loomis was an American illustrator, author, and art instructor. He is best known as author of a serious of instructional art books. These rare, out-of-print books are free to distribute! Click here to download your own copies!

In Creative Illustration, Loomis investigates LINE. One of the very helpful understandings that I have taken way from this section was the importance of the line to inform composition and action. 

The Workout

The Action Line or Line of Action within a drawing establishes the theme of the work. It creates the clarity of a single voice and will provide unity within a composition. On page 25 of his book, Creative Illustration, Loomis provides a grid of sketches, all of which are defined through key action lines. Observe how one line establishes the main theme and other lines are introduced to counter the angle or arcs, providing further information about the subject without reducing the power of the line of action. 

For this workout you will need to download and print page 25 from Creative Illustration, by Andrew Loomis. 
Study the illustrations presented by Loomis. For each thumbnail drawing there are 2-3 lines that define the main compositional forces. Notice that they 1). usually intersect, 2). move left to right or top to bottom, and 3). curve and bend gracefully. Find and trace each line in the drawn thumbnails. 

Then, in your sketchbook draw some rectangular thumbnails about 2" x 3". In each thumbnail lightly sketch some simple actions lines. I am still a learner with this method of drawing, but find it very helpful when I need to create a dynamic, interesting composition I have not explored before. In the example to the left, I quickly sketched a letter "C" in the thumbnail. Then, I waited a bit for the drawing to come to me. Sometimes that takes a minute, sometimes 5 minutes. Try not to take it personally if your drawing doesn't show itself. It's not your fault! This is a great workout to do as you think through a new idea for a composition. You can even create a library of compositions to pull from when you get stuck! 

Share your results on Instagram using #drawfitactionline

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