In this chapter we are going to explore continuous-
line drawing—meaning creating a drawing without
lifting your hand oﬀ the page. It sounds easy but it
is a real challenge! The pencil must remain pressed
to the paper until the drawing is complete, creating
an entire drawing with a single line. This means you
need to be very thoughtful about how you move
around the page, as each time you double back to an
area, a new line will appear.
Creating drawings in this way is a deeply sensory
experience, which focuses on capturing the outlines
of objects. Enjoy the looping and the zigzagging to
return to diﬀerent areas of your drawing and create
more detail. Remember that you can add deﬁnition
by using pressure to emphasize some areas of the
drawing and make others less visible. This technique
can encourage a more personal and lyrical approach
than creating a drawing with a series of individual
Sometimes when I am anxious about a looming
deadline, I notice that my drawings begin to look
a little tight and forced; I can actually see the stress
in the lines, which become hard and tight rather
than loose and lyrical. When that happens, I try this
exercise. By creating a few continuous-line drawings, I
can engage in the process of drawing, relax, warm up,
and then return to my commission with a better line.
Okay, grab your pencil as this is all you’re going to
need (put the eraser in a drawer, it is oﬃcially banned
for this chapter!).
54 > Fearless Drawing
I raided the cupboard and pulled out some cups to draw here, so go and do the same
(or feel free to grab something else to draw if you prefer). Now take the challenge of
drawing each item without lifting your pencil from the page. This is easier to do if you
remember to work slowly. Slowly run your eyes along the edges of the cup and mimic
this line with your pencil on the page. Relax and don’t worry about how it looks. Just
focus on the physical pleasure of pulling the pencil across the page and leaving the
mark of where you have been.
Keep practicing these continuous-line drawings. They will not only help sharpen your
observation skills, but they're also a great warm-up exercise.
Continuous-Line Drawing > 55
Before you start to draw, spend two minutes (time it—it’s longer than you think) really looking at
the subject. Having a clear understanding of your object will dramatically improve your drawing.
Look at the object you are drawing more than at the page.
Relax and take your time. You cannot take your pencil oﬀ the page, but that doesn’t mean you need
to be moving it constantly.
Apply more pressure to deﬁne edges of your drawing as you move around with your pencil.