On the Value of Choosing Lines

One of the reasons I show people how to draw a Dragon starting with only four lines is because putting four lines in the proper places to start drawing a Dragon is incredibly difficult to do badly. The more slowly you take care in placing each line only increases the odds that the overall drawing will come out better. And it begins with that first, vital line, which is the most important one, for this reason:

It is impossible to draw a single line badly.

Drawing a thousand lines properly is very hard; drawing a hundred properly is not much easier. Drawing four lines? Not too difficult at all. And drawing a single line is easy, because there’s no way to draw a single line wrong.

Where it becomes a bit more tricky is that lines in a drawing, as with choices in life, are cumulative. How carefully you make that first line will inform how successful the next line is in relation to it – and the more carefully you make that second line, the better the odds are that the third will be even easier – if you also draw that line carefully, too.

This is how it works. Single lines are easy; but the multiple lines which make up a drawing can be harder, because the lines you’re making have to take all of the others into account. So how do you make a great drawing? Just make lots of single lines – which we already know is impossible to do wrong – but choose how you make those lines carefully enough that each one improves the whole. That’s the key, in both drawing, and in living your life. And if you’re worried the drawing is going badly, slow down and ask yourself why – after all, you made all those choices; you drew all those lines.

Take your time. Reconsider the choices you made – then make the next choice of a single line as carefully as you can. Make better choices. Make better lines. Make better drawings. And make your life extraordinary.

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About caveo

James has written and illustrated six books in the bestselling series The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica: Here, There Be Dragons; The Search For The Red Dragon; The Indigo King; The Shadow Dragons; The Dragon’s Apprentice; and The Dragons of Winter. The series is now being published in more than twenty languages. A seventh volume, The First Dragon, will conclude the series in November 2013.

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