Home work assignment/Drawing "game" - line economy bingo

Home Forums Practice & Advice Home work assignment/Drawing "game" - line economy bingo

This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Aunt Herbert 7 months ago.

  • Subscribe Favorite
  • #30431

    OK, here is a little challenge, that I mostly developed for myself to keep urban sketching interesting. I always dreamt about playing it in a kind of friendly competition with other people and compare results, but I never got a group of people organized to play it with, so I mostly did it kind of solitairy game mode.

    Here are the rules:

    #1: Chose any simple object or point of view around you, but don't tell anyone which it is.

    #2: Draw it with as few lines as possible. Count the lines you use.

    #2a: For purpose of this game one line only counts as a single line, if it follows the CSI rule: It has to be either a straight line (I), a simple curve (c), or a bent curve (S) with no more than one change of direction. If a line changes curvature more than once and starts to squiggle around a lot, it counts as a series of lines, which have to be counted separately.

    #3: When all are done, everybody compares drafts. Each object, that can be identified by all participants counts as a "bingo". The person, who's "bingo" was drawn from the least amount of lines can feel themselves as the winner and celebrate/be celebrated appropriately.

    #4: In new rounds of the game, all objects, that have achieved a bingo are excluded from further rounds (at least for the day or session), to keep everybody on their toes. I found it necessary to include this, from my experience of urban sketching. Roads are part of every city, roads are always marked with traffic signs, and sketching a traffic sign is a cheeky way to make sure you win the first round, which is totally within the rules of the game. But if everyone just kept sketching traffic signs on further rounds, the game would become boring quickly.

    As I said, since I invented the game, I only played it in solitairy mode, but I do feel it helped my development as a artist quite a bit.

    a)Drawing with few and simple lines helps focusing on drawing clean lines.

    b)To find stuff to identify with few lines, you have to start watching your surroundings for simple and expressive shapes. This helps overcome the tendency to get lost in unnecessary details when sketching, and also develops clearer, more stylized results.

    c)The goal of the game is not to achieve photorealism or any other specific artistic goal, like mastering perspective (although skills in drawing from perspective defintely help) but to communicate clearly with visual means. This does open the possibility of inventive ways to "cheat the system" without breaking rules, (I never forbid symbolism for example, although written letters should probably be excluded, or the game might divulge into an assembly of four-letter words) and bending rules can be an excellent way of overcoming monotony in daily practice.

    Noooow, the most obvious way to start a forum game would be for me to take the first step and post a few examples. Here are the true reasons, why I don't do it for now: a) It's getting dark outside in Hamburg right now, the thermometer shows -2° Celsius and it occassionally snows, and I don't feel the drive to put on warm clothes to go do a round of urban sketching right now. Not even a short one. b) I could probably start searching through some of my old sketchbooks and scan some examples from there, but I don't want to get lost in memories right now. Also, the spirit of the game is to produce new art, not re-upload old stuff.

    Maybe I will post some still life sketches of furniture or household objects in a bit later this evening. Tomorrow I got an early shift, and I will take pen and paper with me and at least draw a few bingos on my way home and post them here.

    Sadly, the activity in this forum seems to have died down quite a bit, since I was here regularly in march, so I don't expect a lot of responses in a short amount of time. But if someone reads this and has a first go, before I post again, it would make me extremely happy.

    Students get 33% off full memberships to Line of Action

    Support us to remove this


    Sure thing, Aunt, but where is your study group? Please direct me to it, if I haven't joined but haven't really posted the link to me already??


    What a really cool idea! I don't hang out with many people in my area who are learning to draw but I think I'm going to try this out myself if I go to a nearby park.


    OK, here are my first 3 bingo entries: (i hope the link works)

    bingo 1: 15 lines

    bingo 2: 8 lines


    bingo 3: 13 lines


    So, the # of lines are noted on the drawings, I would say those are bingo 1, bingo 2, and bingo 3, for everyone who is willing to take a guess at what is depicted, and the next person posting a bingo here, for us to guess, should therefore name its artwork bingo 4, etc.

    Polyvios, I don't even exactly know, what a study group is. Is that a forum feature, that could be useful for this type of exchange?

    From doing it again this morning, and from past experience, one of the challenges after having found a good motif and the right lines, is stepping on the break. A good bingo, i.e. an interesting shape or pattern that conveys a lot of information with sparse means, is also always a great center piece for a drawing, and begs to be expanded. So telling myself, "Nope, that is enough to convey the information, stop it with the embellishing" is really hard.

    On the other hand, the actual drawing portion is done really fast, with about a dozen lines or a few more or less, so it is good to keep the motivation for drawing started on a low energy day.


    Bingo 1: Traffic Lights

    Bingo 2: Head Light

    Bingo 3: Mailbox


    Aaargh. 2 and 3 would have needed more lines for clarification. 2 is actually a car tire, and 3 is one of the historical window frames in Hamburg, so no actual bingos, there. But now, that you mentioned it, I see, why they aren't as clear, as I thought. Getting actual feedback IS better than playing solitair and just guessing, what is enough to define the visual idea, and what needs more information.

    I'll post some new attempts tomorrow.


    OK, got 3 more.

    Bingo 4 is almost cheating. If that doesn't work I will have to reconsider some life choices:

    13 lines, and there probably could have been fewer:


    Bingo 5 should be clear, I think,... 21 lines


    Bingo 6 I saw on the way to work, but only drew it on the way home. It looked a lot simpler, than it turned out to be. I pondered the old problem of when there is enough detail added, and whether more was necessary to clear up the context at around line 30, then I lost concentration on line placement and orientation and added a bit of a mess on the very left side. 35-ish lines total:



    Some general observations about finding simple shapes/pattern in urban environments: The simplest ones all seem to be either technical or architectural.

    There are ofc also people and some animals in cities, but they usually aren't willing or able to hold interesting poses long enough to make good motifs for a stylized drawing. Unless you catch someone sleeping in a public transport or in a park, it is less a question of drawing from observation, and more a challenge of drawing from memory, which seems to be the next harder task after mastering the drawing from observation task.

    With warmer weather the chances to actually find someone in a relaxed pose outside is better, but at -1 degrees Celsius with light snowfall, there is no chance at all.

    And then there are plants, usually trees or brushes, and they pose a special problem: Being essentially fractal structures, it is very hard to find good shortcuts to actually draw them as individual entities. The usual solution is to jump to some level of symbolism to depict them, starting from the old classic child drawing of a brown vertical line for the stem, with a green circle for the crown on top. Architectural schematics usually don't go beyond that level of detail either, and the question of how deep to explore and depict their fractal nature seems completely arbitrary, and therefor not really well suited to go competitive in regards of line economy.

    So, back to technical and architectural motifs, and one pecularity thereoff, that does have an impact on line economy, and that is repetition. There are tons of repetitions in both types of motifs, identical rows of windows or bricks, columns in a roster, etcetera, and while they cetrainly drive up the line count like crazy, (and make the draft process extremely hard, as you have to be extremely disciplined to echo the identical repetition, without inserting noise) on the reception side they do not make the motif look a lot more complex. To a viewer 3 columns of 4 files of identical window frames look hardly more complex than a single window. Don't know exactly, why I find this thought intriguing, but for some reasons it bothered me today.

    A very related thought: If you zoom in just at the centre of the upper part of a modern glass window, complete with its integration into the stone wall of a house, you basically see nothing but almost a dozen of perfectly parallel lines, with only the shades, textures, colours and angles (the angles of the planes in between, relative to the point of view) between those lines varying.

Login or create an account to participate on the forums.