Art - What is a Line?

What is a Line?

Today in our art seminar this was the question our tutor put to us to look into and what this actually means when looking at mark-making with children. We had a class discussion about what we though was a line and through this realised that a line is actually undefinable in a way as it can be different things to different people, to us art students without line we would be lost as all of our sketches and drawings are made up of lines and put together these create our art and make them into pictures.

Through this discussion many different definitions of line came up, things such as 'something that starts at one end and finishes at another', another was 'you can't get anything simpler than a line' and also 'something that creates form, images and pattern'. We then looked further into it and began questioning if a dot was a line? Or if the space between marks was a line? What do you think?


After this initial discussion we began actually creating lines and were asked to draw lines on a pieces of sugar-paper in groups, the variety and approaches to this task varied with some groups filling the page and working collaboratively whereas others each created their own corners of lines meaning that there was a space in the middle which separated the lines, was this in itself another line?


Why do we use lines? We were asked this question by Sadie after having created our big line pieces [like the one above] and through discussion answers such as we use line for 'decorative use', 'communication' or even 'as a representation of things'. I think that these answers are all valid and that for this question there is no right or wrong answer, or as Sadie put it 'you wont find a bible or book that'll they you that your opinion or answer of a line is wrong'

I think that this is very important to consider when looking at mark making with children as they may not have the confidence to put their hand up and say that this is the answer as they might be wrong and with being wrong comes insecurity. For example even in our art class, a class of approximately 28 eighteen year olds we did not feel completely confident answering the question 'what is a line' as we weren't sure. We didn't want to look silly in front of our peers and to have a teacher tell us that we didn't know what a line actually was, especially as we will be teaching others what a line is hopefully very soon! 

But Sadie [our tutor] must have realised this and told us what she does with classes to build confidence so that everyone can put their hands up and give an opinion without looking silly or stupid, she asks three questions:

Do you think this is a line?

Who doesn't think this is a line?

Who isn't sure if this is a line?

I think that this method of getting children to actually put themselves out there and answer is a really good approach and through this children will feel that it is okay not to know, but to ask why. If they think its a line why? If not why? And if your not sure then what is it that makes you not sure?

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