Line Drawings of Different Masters

Drawing is the most basic form of art and it is living from eternity. Basically, it is the simplest way of expression. With minimum tools and simple lines, an artist can express more than enough about any subject or situation. This article will put light on the different master artists’ drawings.

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)

Turner was initially a topographical painter and draughtsman. In his initial career, he made living by creating precise recognizable drawings of places. He learned to draw landscapes and every detail that can give the information of that particular place.

Even when he started painting loosely on his imagination and emotions his skills remained with him. There were not many details in his canvases but their underlying knowledge and appearance remain powerful. He was an expert in executing topographical drawings with minimum effort.

When we look at the ruined abbey drawings of Turner, we see very little effort on the tottering pinnacles of the ruined abbey but they are enough to produce the effects they are made for.

The outlined arch and other parts of the ruins could be seen in perspective. 

There we find enough details to learn that the masonry is decaying.

Loosely drawn lines in drawings are not as casual as they look. They carefully drew with enough precision and details that they offer the feel of building and foliage.

Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863)

Eugene Delacroix

Eugene Delacroix was a great romantic painter; he had the ability to brilliantly with very minimum effort. He believed in showing the characteristic of the subjects than actual details: A kind of notion that concern about the quality or ability of the characters rather than their detailed features.

He was a master in capturing life in the drawing with very few lines. He used only as few as necessary details in his drawing work to convince the viewers about the state of the subjects.

For instance, when he draws an arm- he shows the sense of life and movement in it. Although his drawings show very little to no anatomy of the limb nevertheless it gives us a feeling of strength and loaded muscles in those arms.

Aristide Maillol (1861-1946)

Aristide Maillol (1861-1946)

Aristide Maillol was a great French sculptor. His drawings were smooth, clear, and they give the feeling of soft textures. The chalk lines drawings of women give us the feeling of a fleshy and curvy body. The limbs are perfectly drawn in the right proportion.

These kinds of drawings are hard to perfect because it needs more or less right directions of lines in the first attempt. Artist used the soft and hard lines to show the amount of light falling on the body surface of the model.

Aristide shows the fleshy body of the subjects unlike the conventional representation of the well-built and muscular body.

Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

Without the aid of bright rich colors, Matisse could create his works with great sensuality. He got great fluidity of line although he is understated for it. There is awkwardness in his drawings but we can never doubt that he can successfully offer insight into the drawing.

There are no extra lines or error marks in his drawings to confuse the eye or diffuse the image.

As he got older and suffered arthritis in his hands, he started drawing with a long stick with charcoal in its end. Despite, his handicapped hand he created simple images with great power.

We can look at the way Matisse draw the arms of the subjects where the outside of the upper arm becomes the inside of the forearm. In simple words, it is an optical illusion that works very well in achieving its aim. The simplicity of the line is creative and straight.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

pablo picasso

Picasso was famous for the ease of drawings and his works are full of turning complexity to simplicity. His ability to draw the subjects to the simplest forms is the example of the technique of Greek vase drawings that is about 2000 years old.

These drawings are hard to master because of their single-line composition. But it is worth the time and practice. It gives a clean and solid structure to the subject.  

Picasso’s line drawings are amazing in showing movements, emotions, as well as spatial dimensions. The rubbery illusions of the subjects’ bodies give us a glimpse of vivid emotions. They are strong enough to offer the drama and energy preserved by the artist’s works.

Jean Cocteau’s (1889-1963)

Jean Cocteau’s drawing

Cocteau was a French artist, art critic, and filmmaker. He was one of the few people who have a great relationship with the artist Pablo Picasso.  

The wavy lines in his drawings were soft of the subjects. These lines offer a direct medium to follow that indeed needs a lot of patience and practice to master. His careless looking 

drawings are actually mastered with patience and in the years.  

The subjects capture the viewer’s attention and we can see the absence of tone and conscious lines that show the artist’s endeavor in the brilliant drawings.

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564)


One of the most influential figures in the history of art, Michelangelo was a master in creating drawings that depict motions. When we look at his works and the works of people of his time we find his great influence on them.

In the pen and ink drawings, the styles are very free and shapes are very basic in nature. His knowledge of anatomy helped him to create more detailed drawings of human bodies in motions. His depictions of simple leg movements and hand gestures, facial expressions do not take much energy off the artist but freely conveyed the message.

Guercino (1591-1666)


Line drawings of Guercino are brilliantly executed. They look economical but at the same time, they were drawn rapidly. These lines are effective in producing a figure in the space as well as lyrical in looking.  

This technique used freestyle but take care of the details even the subtle and most small ones. When we look at the face of Guercino’s drawings w get the dark lines to give a solid shape to the chin. The torsos of the subjects are clean and with very few lines yet we are able to get the swell of the stomach and chest.

The garments and the materials around the subjects are easy to understand but hard to learn. They are freehand drawing with precision from practice and time.


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