Make Some Waves

I love seascapes. I’m not great at painting them, and I’ve never really tried drawing crashing waves with graphite or ink, but for my practice sessions this morning, I’m definitely making a few waves. Wavy lines, that is.

Talk about a need for pen control! I thought yesterday’s cross-hatching exercises were difficult, but today’s wavy line practice definitely requires a lot of patience and a lot of control.

One of my first questions when I’m learning a new skill is “How will I use this?” I’ve found that many times it’s easy enough to do little practice squares or circles, but that developing that ability doesn’t necessarily carry-over to practical application. So, I quickly went searching for information about where I would need to use wavy lines in drawing.

To create rippling effects in water would seem to be the most logical use for long, flowing lines, but I’m not sure, really, how useful wavy lines are. They may also be used to make waves, but the examples I’ve found online seem to use curved lines more than wavy ones, and maybe I’m being a bit picky, but they really aren’t exactly the same.

I did find a little information on using wavy lines for water at My Pen and Ink Drawings by Rahul Jain, and with a bit more browsing, I came across this:

Wavy Lines are associated with the ocean or water which can be highly calming and spiritual. A wavy line can represent a flowing nature and a natural rhythm. 

More on this later. First, let’s look at a few other ways in which we might use wavy lines in ink drawing:

  • Tree rings
  • Tree fungus
  • Weathered wood
  • Tree bark
  • Hair

wavy-lines-claudia-nicePersonally, I doubt I’ll be using wavy lines much in drawing because they’re best suited for very precise details such as those you find in botanical art. Just look at this magnificent illustration by Claudia Nice. She has added a bit of a color wash to the lower drawing.

I admire botanical art, and yes, I envy artists who are able to create it. I don’t even think about it! I could never draw anything like this.

I had trouble just putting a few wavy lines together in my sketchbook. Needless to say, my wavy lines look nothing like the ones shown here.

As I browsed around in search of wavy lines, I did come up with another use for them, one which is, indeed, quite popular. I speak from experience here, because wavy lines are great for doodles! Which brings me back to that quote above. It comes from a site called Doodle Art Alley, which offers a lot of fun things for doodlers like me. 

First, there’s doodle interpretation! I’ve often looked at my doodles and wondered what — if anything — my subconscious is telling me. I’ve noticed that I tend to use more curved and wavy lines than straight ones, that I rarely ever use colors in my doodles, and that I do like putting in the odd triangle here and there. According to the site, doodles can reveal a lot about the personality, and I’m inclined to agree.

The site also includes coloring pages and lots of fun “doodle” activities. If you enjoy doodling — and really, who doesn’t? — check it out.

All in all, I’m not concerning myself too much with neat, precise wavy lines, long and flowing, rippling, peaceful or whatever! I’m content to make waves however I see fit as I doodle. I probably am searching for some sort of inner peace, and I hope I truly do have “a flowing nature”. That sounds nice. I like that.

Have fun doodling, drawing, or making waves in whatever way you choose! 


    1. I’ve learned that “doing the basics” always helps me improve my drawings. These “ink basics” are especially helpful right now since Inktober is coming up. I’m still not sure what I’ll do. Right now Inktober feels very challenging. But, yes, basic skills are always good to practice!

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