Aim: The aim of this exercise is to open up your mind to new possibilities in terms of understanding what line can be. So often, nature does it better. This is your chance to go out and look at how drawings reflect life, and at life drawings in the observed world

Method: Look for natural processes that produce a drawing, Collect photos and sketches of nature’s drawings..

Reflection: Collect up all your found images and think about how you might use them either to inform your mark-making or as the starting point for a drawing.

Drawings of Found Images

Below there are several drawings which are derived from the photographs further below in this project.

The easy bit in this section was to find the images, they are everywhere.  I have edited the selection to approx. 50 images.  In nature and the environment around you there is ample scope to see spontaneous drawings which occur naturally.  In each of these single drawings the scope will be constantly changing as the light, weather and seasons change through the day and during the year.

the drawing of tree branches on the skylight has a very different impact in the winter with bare branches to the image of the same branch in full leaf.  In the course of an hour or two the silhouette of the bare tree limbs against a cloudless blue sky can change to lighter branches showing against a dark brooding stormy sky.

Reflection: Collect up all your found images and think about how you might use them either to inform your mark-making or as the starting point for a drawing.

Cordlyne drawing
Cordyline drawing – expressing the shapes and tones

The found image can be viewed from several different contexts.  They can be, to highlight a few, :

  • the basis of a realistic view of the image,
  • the starting point to derive a series of lines and shapes
  • it can set the initial point of rhythm and mark making in the drawing.
  • Set a negative shape as an initial starting point.

Starting with the original photo of the cordyline and manipulating with software, a host of suggestions are shown as how you might wish to develop the photo into a drawing.  Using the original and the two software manipulated copies of the cordyline plant the drawing below was completed.

Taking a photo of your surroundings and then slowly examining it careful from both close and far in its entirety of cropped will reveal elements of drawing in nature, ‘found images’ which e be exploited as a source of material and inspiration in your drawing and art practise.

The found image may display too much detail but examining this image you can note which elements are important and which may be supplementary to the found image.  Latter the main elements in the found image may be developed and the extraneous elements omitted.

Autumn Leaves

The negative and positive shapes of the fallen autumn leaves is a source to develop a drawing utilising the positive and negative shapes either as the main element of the drawing or as a supporting element to a subject, maybe based on autumn, leaves etc.

The image may be looked at for its positive / negative shapes rather than the colour.  In the monochrome image the shape has become more important than colour or tone.

Drawing Leaves
Autumn leaves, coloured pencil on white cartridge paper A4


A line walked

The line in the grass made by countless people taking a shortcut from the designated path.  Even mud, wet and the danger of slipping does not dissuade them from deviating and walking along this line made by others.  Who was the first?

Were they an artist? and others have mimicked their steps reinforcing and re-establishing the line every time they take this 10 second shortcut.

Is the (unintentional) artist the first or the last person to was this line?; or is it everyone who has walked this line?

This line in the landscape is very reminiscent of the artwork by Richard Long called “A Line Made by Walking”.  However, the made difference is that Long’s line was made by one person making repeated movements along this one line.  The image photographed by myself is a line made by countless nameless people madding single journeys along this line.

Fig 1: A Line Made by Walking, (1967)

The outcome is similar but the intention that created both is very different.

Long has made other artworks by walking in the landscape, sometimes marking his way by re-arranging what nature has left scattered around, a pile of rocks straightened and aligned into an un-natural straight work.  He sometimes.  Quite often he uses a concept as the basis of his walk : ten miles in a straight line, walking in the landscape a long as the scene remains ‘cloudless’ or just recording the distances in wall text after the event.



Gallery of Found Images

Photographs of images depicting ‘natural or found drawings‘.

Photos by blog author, click on image for larger view


List of Illustrations   

Figure 1. Long, Richard  (1967), A Line Made by Walking, [photograph]. At: (Accessed 26 Feb 2018)