Are you obsessed with line? Or are you are more painterly mark maker? There is some meaty substance on the subject in the paper by Tara Gear, extract and link to the full article below.
‘In the drawings of very experienced artists—Rembrandt, Raphael, Giacometti, Basquiat, Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Seurat, Van Dyck, Parmigianino, Ingres, Degas, Durer, Schiele, Hokusai, Kuo Hsi, Sun Long, Wu Chen, Li T’ang, etc.—the edges are not the only nor the most important lines. To describe seen changes, line per se, is not the overwhelming strategy. Of course most everything drawn on a page is line, but experienced drawers’ lines tangle up, drift off, become textures, shadows, blobs, shapes, and patterns. Their lines do not stick to edges nor bind linguistically defined “things” —there is no necessary contour around head and shoulders, no neat oval of mouth—where the edges of a lip would be a shadow creeps down into a beard. Lines are uneven, twist, modulate, flake into divets and dots, and scratches and fields. The drawn lines are very sensitive to minuscule changes, rather than describing broadly. Experienced drawers also use the emptiness of the page—look at Rembrandt’s nose and neck. They organize the whole space of the page: using inter-locking shapes, negative spaces, overall composition, design, the balance or relationships of texture, color, light and shadow. You can also see emotion, atmosphere, and point of view.’
Extract from a paper by Tara Gear (2011) ‘What We Illustrate When We Draw: Normative Visual Processing in Beginner Drawings, and the Capacity to Observe Detail’. The full paper can be found here.