Project 1: Auto Parts: Line Studies

August 7, 2012


In this series of projects you will be studying the quality of a line in the act of freehand drawing. The series of exercises will begin with explorations of the line on its own and continue to an investigation of automobile parts. These drawing exercises challenge you to develop critical methods of seeing an object and techniques of representation that focus primarily on the qualities of the line. This series of projects are intended to be conducted in parallel with the first Design Studio project, where the primary focus is on the transformation of a line.

Download Project Brief as .pdf.

Part 1.1: Value, Density, Continuity

In the first set of line studies you are asked to investigate the material relationship between the line and the paper by exploring differences in tonal gradients that can be established through the variation in line weight and density of line.


On a single sheet of 1/2 Imperial size paper (see material list) you are to create a series of gradients that explore different qualities in a line as well as the effects of density and value resulting from a global accumulation. Setup and guidelines:

  1. Divide the paper into four equal quadrants.
  2. Each line drawn must touch the edges of the quadrant.
  3. Consider the spacing between the lines that you draw.
  4. Consider the weight of the line itself. Is it constant or does it vary from beginning to end?
  5. Consider the character of the line in its geometry, velocity, etc and examine the resulting qualities.


At least three sheets of 1/2 Imperial size paper with line studies in each quadrant that explore the qualities of lines in the form of gradients.

Part 1.2: Exteriors

Now, onto an inquiry into automobile parts. This part of the project challenges you to develop ways of seeing and working with lines to discover an object. We will begin to draw exterior views of the automobile parts with continuous lines (contour lines), beginning with three dimensional views and moving towards an understanding of planar projections – elevations.


Each drawing is to be executed on a single sheet of 1/2 Imperial size paper. Groups of 3-4 students will be given an object to draw. The drawings each of you are to produce are as follows:

  1. One Blind contour drawing, exterior view. Take your time and make sure to give yourself enough space by starting your drawing near the middle of the page.
  2. Three contour drawings, exterior view. Each of these drawings is to be made as a continuous line drawing from a different vantage point. This does not mean that you are only drawing the “outline” of the object. You are drawing a volume, examining and developing details, and exploring line weight. These drawings should be made at an approximate 1:1 scale – this does not require measurement.


4 freehand pencil drawings on 1/2 Imperial size paper.

Part 1.3: Elevations & Regulating Lines

Building on the previous exercises, you will now work towards producing 1:1 scale drawings of the objects. This project focuses on developing an understanding of planar projection of exteriors (frontal elevations, side elevations, top elevations, bottom elevations) and establishing a relationship between the drawings through regulating lines. Line weight and regulating lines are key in the development of a set of drawings.


You are to produce four elevation drawings at 1:1 scale. These drawings are to be made on sheets of 1/2 size Imperial paper. The layout of these drawings is important as you will need to establish relationships between the drawings. Regulating lines not only help establish relationships between drawings but also aid in the transfer of information from one view to the next. You may use up to four sheets of 1/2 Imperial size paper.


4 freehand pencil drawings of the elevations of your object at 1:1 scale.

Part 1.4: Sections & Plans

In this part of the project you are asked to draw sections through the given object. While you may not be able to see into the “interior” of the objects, and will literally be able to section (cut through) the objects, you can use your prior drawings to assist in the creation of sections. The section should be drawn using continuous lines. The development and understanding of line weight, depth, and topological continuity will be discussed relative to the concept of a sectional cut.


You are to produce 2 section drawings at 1:1 scale. These drawings are to be constructed on sheets of 1/2 size Imperial paper. The layout of these drawings is important as you will need to establish relationships between the section drawings and the elevation drawings for pragmatic reasons. Again, regulating lines will be important in drawing sections as well.

  1. Using your elevation drawings from 1.3, locate two locations where you will cut a sections. Briefly consult with your professor on the location of the section cut, and make a mark on your elevation drawings where you will cut through the object. This cutting line is important as it will guide you in the production of the section.
  2. Carefully consider the relationship between section drawings and the previous elevation drawings. How are the sections placed relative to the elevations?
  3. Take great care in considering continuity and line weight in this exercise.


2 freehand pencil drawings of sections of your object at 1:1 scale.