By Toni Young

“Expressive Drawing” by Steven Aimone


I was first drawn to this book because I LOVE line work. I was so energized by the exercises in the book that I had my husband, Tom, put up a huge bulletin board in my studio. I found a couple of long sticks and I walked and painted my way to a very FREEING and ENERGIZING art journey! I use this most mornings to jump start my painting adventures.


This exercise from the book will open your eyes and help get you in a creative mood. 



Hard pencil, sharpener, broad marker, ruler, scissors

Copier paper or any blank sheet (8 1/2 x 11 will do)

Glue stick


1. Take a sheet of paper and lay down in landscape orientation. On the sheet of paper, draw a horizontal line 1/2″ down from the top of the paper and a vertical line 3″ in from the right side of the paper. These two lines will form an 8″ square. 


2. With your marker or drawing pencil, start near the top and draw a horizontal line that runs from the left to the right edge of the 8″ square. Don’t worry about perfection: your line can wiggle and wobble. Try to vary the line size – thick, thin, etc. Continue drawing horizontal lines as you move down the paper, remembering to vary the thickness of the lines. Keep going until you reach the bottom of the 8″ square and it is filled with varied horizontal lines. 


3. Take your hard pencil and ruler and draw a grid over the lines, 1″ apart. You will end up with 64 one inch squares, eight rows up and eight across. 


4. Cut off and discard the 1/2 border at the top and the 3″ border on the side. 


5. Cut your 8″ square drawing into 64 one inch squares using the grid as your guide. 



6. On a separate sheet of paper, draw another 8″ square. Fill this one with a grid of one inch squares. (No horizontal lines on this one, just the grid.) Make a copy of it  for later use. 


7. Now you are ready to RECONSTRUCT your drawing! Take your cut up squares and play with arranging them on the grid. Use your glue stick to glue them down. Continue until the grid is at least half filled, then look at it. 


Questions to ask yourself:

How are the squares similar? How are they different? How do they appeal to you and why? Does each row tell a story all it’s own? Does it have rhythm? Look at Ellsworth Kelly’s non- objective work. This applies to traditional work as well (horizontal and vertical lines). Look at Rembrandt’s “Jeroboam Interrupted by the Prophet”.

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This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s well worth it!  I hope you enjoy this exercise!