Project 6 Exercise 4 Line and Wash

The Aim

Select a range of media. Warm up by drawing a continuous line in different media without looking at the page. Work on creating interesting tones by using just one or two colours mixed as a wash. For the lightest areas you could try a wax resist technique using a light coloured oil pastel. Experiment and enjoy the freedom of drawing loosely with wet and dry materials

The Process

I found the instructions for this exercise a little vague, but having looked at the blogs of several other students (showing a huge variety of interpretations) I decided that the best thing to do was to follow the last instruction and experiment and enjoy myself. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to do washes over my ‘without’ looking drawings or not, in the end I decided not to. I wasn’t able to use an easel for this exercise so I balanced my sketchbook on a chair and sat in front of it.  I chose a different view for this exercise, one from the kitchen (a light room) into a darker laundry that had odd bits of light coming in from a small (shadowed) window. My warm up drawing in pen was very messy (made worse by subsequent drawings transferring oil pastel onto it).

I tried again in oil pastel, but due to my position (balancing sketchbook in front of me) I found my self looking, so in the this was a bit of looking and a bit of not. I found oil pastel not to be particularly useful at drawing line in this context. It was too chunky and clumsy,

The same looking problem occurred with my quick drawing in pencil. Short of actually shutting my eyes it was very hard not to see the paper so I wasn’t very good at this part of the exercise.

For my line and wash study I drew the scene in india ink and dip pen. I put in the some of the darkest areas with ink although I tried to stop myself over doing this. My preliminary sketches had shown me that little bits of light on the washing and the line were very important, so following the idea in the course notes I used a white oil pastel to draw in selected highlights on the washing, and a grey oil pastel for the washing line. I used diluted Windsor and Newton ink (ultramarine) and a mop type brush to wash over the area. I then applied a second layer to more dark areas, before finally dropping in undiluted ink to the very dark areas.

The results

Laundry - line and wash
Laundry – line and wash

The oil pastel did preserve the highlights but not as much as I thought it would. I let the ink run where it pooled and splashed a little. These areas created some interesting tones and on the whole I am quite pleased with the result. There are lots of errors, but it is a study rather than a finished drawing.


I haven’t really used line and wash before so it was good to experiment and as suggested I did enjoy myself! I am quite pleased that I allowed the ‘happy accidents’ to happen. I think I am used to controlling the line and shade (especially with charcoal) in my drawing so that using a wet medium such as a wash which is a little unpredictable took me out of my comfort zone but I found that I didn’t mind. Maybe that is progress. I certain would like to try to use a wash over a drawing again.


Project 6 Exercise 4 Line and Wash

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