What I mean by ‘line’ is exactly that: a single mark, short or long, drawn with a pen, pencil, stylus, or any sharply pointed instrument that is held in the hand and commanded by it, in coordination with the brain, to inscribe on paper, tablet, plate, or any chosen surface exactly that mark and not another.
This last qualification is important. When rubbing a piece of charcoal, pastel, or blunt pencil on a surface, one accepts (even hopes for) a certain degree of approximation, even of accident. The resulting tone is, from an analytical point of view, vague, when compared with line. Line is precise and unequivocal. It is here, not there. Making a line is not about accidents. Rather, it is about contour, edge, shape. It is about where one space begins and another ends. It can be spontaneous or studiously deliberate, but it always carves space in a decisive way. It has a clear ethical, as well as aesthetic, impact. The drawn line is one of the great human inventions, and it is available to all of us, a tool both common and esoteric, personal and universal.