One liners



15 min

What you need:

Coloured Pencil Goldfaber
Many of the modern artists explored one-liners as a way of playing with line. In this lab, you will create a series of drawings made without lifting your pen. These are great sketchbook exercises or quick drawings to do while waiting at the doctor’s office.
Notice the subtle variations in each of these drawings, even though the artist endeavoured to repeat the same design each time. Once you find a one-line drawing that you really like, you can render it several more times until you get one that “hits it.”

Subject Suggestions

Here some ideas for your exercises and artworks with one-liners: vase of flowers, bicycle, car, guitar, elephant, cat, human face, light bulb, horse, house, tree. You can apply the one-line technique to drawings from life or photographic reference as well.


Choose one of the subjects and draw it from memory, using one line only. Do not lift your pen from the paper. Try not to think too much, but just let the pen flow over the paper. Remember it should look like one line. You should be able to follow the path from beginning to end with your eyes. Think loops! Repeat this subject two or three more times, then move on to a second subject. Repeat until you have drawn five or six items in this manner. Now look at your drawings. Is there one that you like more than the others? Are there ones that surprised you? Choose the one you like best and then colour your one-liner motif with Goldfaber colour pencils.

More ideas

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The new Faber-Castell colour pencil range Goldfaber is ideal for this technique.
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Sgraffito is the technique in which an underlying layer is revealed by scratching or scraping the top one away.
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Excerpt from “Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists,” published by Quarry Books, a division of Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. All rights reserved. Artwork © Carla Sonheim. Visit