drawing - many short strokes vs single long


I have a concern with my drawing style. I find myself doing many short strokes when drawing, about a quarter of an inch in length. Lately I have been trying to draw more with longer lighter strokes. Seem like when I use short strokes my focus becomes too narrow and I can see the whole picture which leads to cramping. Longer lighter strokes seems to widen my focus and has more of a free feel to it.
I think when I use the short stroke I am trying to draw the object exactly as it is the first time around. When I use longer strokes I’m seem to be going for the basic shape, size and location of the object first before detail.
What are your thoughts on strokes when it come to sketching or rough drafting?


I usually try to draw with long lines instead of short sketchy ones. I like how I am able to get my ideas on the paper in a holistic way. The drawing is more consistent if I am able to keep everything at the same level of detail. Usually when I sketch using smaller lines, I am unable to motivate myself to complete the drawing. It all comes down to whatever works, works. Long lines seem to work for many professional artists I’ve seen so it’s at least worth a few weeks of experimenting to figure out if it’s really for you or not.

Great topic to discuss by the way. It makes you think in depth about how you go about drawing.


Drawing in short, scratchy strokes is how most novices tend to draw. It’s a pretty simple habit to break with a little practice. Just draw dots on your paper, and attempt to connect them in one stroke.


Another tip is to not place your hand on the paper. Draw as much as possible with your arm, or even your body if you a drawing big. Just because you are using longer lines, that doesn’t mean that you have to forgo detail. You can rough things out with light lines and then go over with stronger ones later.


Quick Sketch!

You’ll stop making short sketch marks if you take a class solely dedicated to
quicksketch, and you have to do it for at least a good 6 months of classes.

Quicksketch are poses 5 minutes or less. It based on putting down the most simple
and continuous line first.

There’s no real short cut to it.


well, convincing sketches I say, reaally nice. You’re the second or third to say that it’s insanely useful. So I simply must try too.:thumbsup:

I do it slow because I have a huge tablet, If I can’t stretch far enough thoug I’ll continue the line until it hits a shading area different then the start and then start in the same line again but increase decrease pressure. I can’t really say one’s better than the other though.



The weird part is, I don’t think you want to draw like Vilppu though.
Because Vilppu still draws in short strokes.


I think that it has more to do with the materials he chooses for his students.

You should use 18X24 newsprint.


thx! It’s gonna be a weird experience to be drawing and not hear the hum of my pc, lol.


These are real good replies and helpful tips. I think the quicksketch is a good excercise.


…and what should one do if they don’t have the coordination to be able to even hit the paper, let alone the general area where the line’s supposed to go? :smiley:


Some artists get stuck in place and seem too uncertain about where they want the lines to go. I think there’s also something about the marks being more like writing to them than drawing. There’re those that insist on holding the tool in your fingers and not on your hand like when writing, but sometimes that’s not practical. Look at Vilippu’s site above at his Tone drawings, and study how he combines a few short strokes in some spots to work out where how he wants to define the edges, then has some soft long elegant lines for the arms or the back. It shows how the artist is thinking on paper.




Basically, I asked why I do what I do and got a response from some of the alumni/teachers from Watts.

Basically, I’m being taught the Reilly Method:


i think the confidence of the line is more important than it’s length (this may or may not also be true for penis size)



I used to draw with short to medium strokes and is able to get good results especially while using references. But as I started to learn to draw from imagination…I found that working on long strokes helps you find out the balance and rough out the sketch quickly.

For me… both works. Long strokes for initial stages of defining volume and basic structure while small strokes when working on details.


I use ultra long strokes. when I gesture from life or imagination, A lot of time I do not even lift the pencil off of the paper. If longer strokes are used, the time spent on drawing the final picture is cut in half most of the time.

Use what ever makes you confortable. All that matters is the end result…Art.


I tend to use a combination of both. Long strokes for the initial drawing and shorter ones, as I go into more detail, particularly shading. I also use short strokes to cover up any mistakes or changes I want to make. I really don’t think there’s a professional or amateur/novice way to draw. For me, it’s simply a matter of preference. I’ve seen lots of good work with short strokes and others just as good with long strokes.


I prefer looongg strokes myself :wink:

Such a silly question, it’s not about size is it? I think every stroke should be just long enough.

Silly, silly

Next thing you’ll ask who our favorite artist is, lol!


Or saying that Trix are for rabbits. :smiley:


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