because i am a painter, i usually work tonally on figure drawings. the eye does not see contours around forms; the eye sees masses of shadow and light. for this reason, when drawing from life, many painters choose the tonal approach to drawing over the linear approach. while i agree that learning to see the light as opposed to delineation of separate objects is helpful for painting, after many years of working tonally, i have begun to feel that my work overall has a certain emotional disconnect. ultimately, what the artist is creating is work that expresses his or her own uniqueness, so do i really need to continue along a path in perfecting accuracy?
American Artist Magazine on the subject:
As prevalent as it has been historically, the contour remains an artificial construction. We don’t see in lines, no matter how accustomed we are to delineating objects with them. When I look out the window and see the edge of a building against the sky, I do not see a line, per se. I see a mass of dark tone juxtaposed against a mass of much lighter tone, and the point at which they meet creates an edge. This edge relationship might be described in an abbreviated fashion with a line, but it might also be more fully described by re-creating the tonal relationship between the two masses whose congruence makes the edge. In tonal drawing, there are edges to masses, rather than lines between them. To substitute a line for the edge of a value relationship is to substitute something that is not there for something that is. That is why linear drawing seems more abstract and intellectual. A line seems intellectual not because it lacks feeling—for what could be more emotive than a Leonardo silverpoint line—but because we don’t actually see in lines and therefore they have to be decoded or interpreted. Juxtaposed tones, being so much closer to vision, seem much more immediate.
i actually like a combination of the two, lines and tone. i hope to develop my drawings much further with the hope of emphasizing expressiveness; less literal, more experimental.
my lines are brown china marker and white conte pencil on pastel paper