I am learning to draw on my own by drawing and watching Youtube tutorials. I would like to improve the quality of the lines in my drawings. What drawing exercises would help me improve this?
Sitting down with a piece of paper, and drawing continual lines. Over, and over and over again. Filling up a whole paper with just lines. Sometimes I will sit down and just make loop shapes on pieces of paper, to exercise the fingers, or zig-zag patterns, for short consistent lines. Practicing cursive handwriting has helped with line control in a similar manner, and able to get the flow of motion in the fingers, wrist and arm.
How to create lines, you are using different parts of the arm.
Drawing a line might seem easy, but determining what part of the arm to use can create different lines.
Line a) which is significantly longer line. Would require the muscles in the elbow.
Line b) which is half the size of line a. Would require the wrist.
Line c) Which is short simple lines. Would be using the fingers.
Elbow and wrist lines would be focused more on contour, while fingers would be more for hatching(shading with closely drawn parallel lines), or fine details. Having control of the arm, wrist and fingers. Will help with practicing drawing lines.
An exercise that I liked from my art classes at school was to draw a series of random triangles all touching and various sizes and irregular in angles, then fill each one with a pattern. Any kind of pattern. Lines, scallops, dots, wiggles - anything you like! This we did in pen and ink. And everyone's was different. Just play with it, have fun making any kind of different pattern in each triangle. Forget about the 'quality of your lines' - and then see.
Often the 'workings' in art are what makes it seem alive. Look at Matisse's drawings - you'll see many reworked lines. And remember that we are conditioned to seeing the uniform perfection of things produced in factories and sold in the supermarket - and that is not organic, it is not really alive. We see the 'finished result' not the 'work that went into it'. Strive for imperfection, learn to stop on your art just before it is 'finished' is my advice, if you want it to still be breathing. And look at a tree in winter, if you want to see how 'imperfect lines' are found in nature.