Artists use different line types to convey the weight, sizes and shapes of objects in space. In this activity, you will create a series of line drawings by tracing the photographic count ours of a 3D object and arrange them in space in a satisfying and dynamic composition. You will use layers, drawing tools and colors to create a unique image.


Student artwork. Lincoln High School. San Francisco, CA


In this video, painter David Huffman explains how to choose a personal object as inspiration to create an abstraction.


  • Photograph an object of personal importance or significance (a possession that is symbolic of hopes, dreams, memories, or identity) from different perspectives (points of view).
  • Open images in a program/app such as Photoshop Elements, GIMP (“Open as Layers”) or Sketchpad 3.5 (Clip art: create your own).
  • On new tracing layers, use the path, line or pen tools to draw different line weights or line styles by tracing the contours (inner and outer lines) of the photographed objects.
  • Make photographic layers invisible (or delete them), move drawing layers around, arranging and scaling them to create a dynamic, balanced final composition.
  • Add a simple background color.
  • Save as a JPEG or PNG.
  • Title your piece by using adjectives (descriptive words) assigned to the characteristics of the lines you used.


PhotoShop Elements


Sketchpad 3.5


  • What kind of lines would you use to create a self portrait?
  • How do lines affect your feelings about an image?
  • Take photos of your drawings, post online and tag #ArtSchoolElements.