My sort of Continuous Line Drawing

Welcome to my Website and Blog.

My style has generated all sorts of reactions, often surprise and delight, and there have been many questions as to how I do my pictures.

There are many definitions of Continuous Line Drawing, and I will look at several of these in future blogs, but I will start with my own basic style.  I developed this style between 1965 and 1974 and then had a break for nearly 40 years.

Here is a sketch I did in 2012 when first attending Stainbeck Arts Club in Leeds.  It was one of several 10 minute sketches that we did, taking it in turn to be the “model”.  This sitter, Barrie, did all the composition for me and I was fortunate with the viewpoint.  I did very little shading and no shadow, but was not considering a continuous line follow up at the time. 

Stainbeck Artist. One of several 10 minute sketches from one afternoon. Mick Burton, 2012.

Stainbeck Artist. One of several 10 minute sketches from one afternoon. Mick Burton, 2012.

At home later, Joan particularly liked this sketch out of the several I had done. She suggested that I do a Continuous Line of it as she had not seen a new one since we had met. In fact I had not done a Continuous line portrait of a person since 1966 when I drew Harold Wilson.

So, on a copy of the sketch, I have penned in Red the marks which I used as a start point for developing the key features and overall structure.

Marks for single line on Artist sketch.

Then the key identifying features were done with groups of continuous lines.

Connecting up the initial feature areas was by using lines matching the structure and texture of the subject where possible. Some changes had to be made to make it work.

A general “tuning up” completed the whole Continuous Line Drawing effect.

Stainbeck Artist, a Continuous Line Drawing from a 10 minute sketch. Mick Burton, 2012.

Stainbeck Artist, a Continuous Line Drawing from a 10 minute sketch. Mick Burton, 2012.

I have always enjoyed the final stage, which includes the flowing decorative effect of the line, which has entranced me since I first saw Art Nouveau pictures when I was 9 years old.

I also show the picture after I have applied colours. My style of colours will be explained later, but this picture helps to demonstrate why I prefer to do a complete continuous line rather than starting at one place and finishing at another. The colours only work naturally if there is a complete continuous line where each crossing of lines is a clear junction.

Stainbeck Artist in continuous line and colour sequence. Mick Burton, 2012.

Stainbeck Artist, single continuous line drawing and colour sequence. Mick Burton, 2012.

This is my basic style. I have many related styles which have grown out of this, mostly related to my observations of how nature operates.

I hope that you found this first post to be useful and are looking forward to more from me.  Any comments, observations, questions or requests will be very welcome.

2 thoughts on “My sort of Continuous Line Drawing

  1. emily key

    Hello Mick,
    I am currently studying your work as part of my art course and was wondering if it would be possible to answer a few of my questions. I understand you are most likely a busy man so if you don’t have time to reply I will understand .In regards to your artwork, what would you say inspires you to create this pieces and is their any deeper meaning within them. From my research I understand that many of your pieces are based on the four color theory and wanted to know why you wanted to incorporate that into your art.
    Thank you very much for your time and I wanted to say how much I admire your work and its magnificent use of line and color.
    Kind regards
    Emily K

    1. mickburton2 Post author

      Thanks Emily for your kind comments about my art. I will be pleased to answer you more detailed questions if you use my website e-mail address.
      What mainly inspires me is that, from the start, I have found that the continuous line seems to have a creative force of its own and the results almost always exceed my expectation. The deeper meaning from these loose continuous lines started with my discovery of alternate overdraw and colour sequence.
      I drifted into the four colour theory, in the 1970’s, when I first started to apply my continuous line knowledge to existing structures. I found that I could use the lines on a planar map (required by mathematicians) to split the maps up into two sorts of channels, both of which had alternate areas. I now had maps completed in four colours. Mathematicians introduced me to tricky exceptions, some of which I could not deal with at the time.
      I have since applied my continuous line knowledge to other existing structures, eg. an Islamic tile in the Alhambra and the Haken Gordian knot.
      Examples of my pictures which involve aspects of four colour theory are Broken Window (1971), where you can see the alternate areas in the white channels (but cannot see them in the black channels), and Star Burst (1971) where I have applied colour sequence to the channels you can see, but left the alternate channels as spaces between.


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