Continuous Line Drawing? Or Not?

One of the most common questions I get asked (besides “What pen is that?”) is “Do you draw in/recommend continuous line drawing?”

The simple answer is yes: I draw using it, and it’s great fun. But I don’t draw exclusively in it. In fact, most of my drawings aren’t technically continuous line drawing. I just don’t lift my pen off the page too much unless I feel the need to. Here are three drawings made back-to-back at Crema Coffee on the Alameda in San Jose, and the tools they are drawn with.

This is the first one of the morning. It’s a bit awkward, a warm-up drawing.

Fude, Brushpen, graphite pencil and colored pencil

With this next one, I wanted to slow down and take my time, so I switched to a pen that I am less familiar with, a single-width pen, the Derwent Line Maker.

And then there’s drawing three of the morning, made quickly before I left. Perhaps it was that I had had two coffees already. Or, that I had only a few minutes left before I had to leave. Or maybe I just needed a change of pace. I switched back to my favorite pen, the Sailor Fude pen, and did some continuous line drawings.

This is the only one of the three that is deliberately continuous line drawing. I guess you can call what I usually do contour drawing? Or maybe just drawing because labels really don’t matter. And nor does technique, really.

To me, continuous line drawing is one of many techniques and a fun exercise that can do many things: help you loosen up, draw quickly, and see connections and relationships. But when I’m drawing it isn’t about technique, it’s about capturing a feeling, a place, a person, a story…and technique and medium just help me get there.


If you love the idea of drawing people but aren’t confident about sketching them. Or you’d love to try different techniques for drawing people, you might want to sign up for my 4-week online class “People Alive! Sketches Full of Life” which starts in November.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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