Lines are not only those we draw with pens and pencils. In art they can be positions of bodies, objects or images and even a glance seen in someone’s eyes.
For example, can you see the invisible line coming from this girl’s eyes? Where does it point? See how your eyes follow along this glancing line. There are three major categories of lines: VERTICAL, HORIZONTAL, and DIAGONAL.
Our responses to them in art are often related to when our bodies are in those positions, or to things we see and experience in nature. For example, we understand the rigid feeling of a strong vertical line when we place our body at attention, or the calm, restful feeling we have when we lie down horizontally.
Scroll over the image above to see how a line can be created by a glance.
DIAGONAL lines are the most active. They imply movement, tension, sometimes violence. Imagine a jogger whose legs and arms are formed into zigzags by diagonals. The whole thrust of a runner’s body is forwardon yet another diagonal.
Remember these qualities of the three types of lines as you view works of art. They’ll help you get more in tune with what the artist is trying to express.