What’s in a line? What’s it function? What qualities does it express?

Lines are mental constructs. It’s an imaginary border created by the contrast of lighter and darker values. However, when it comes to drawing, lines are essential. You can say so much with a line. Lines have different qualities; soft, fuzzy, hard, brittle, jagged, bumpy, staggered, tight, sharp, wavy, rough, etc. All of these of lines express different things and are a way for an artist to express themselves.

Speaking personally, I love line work. Sometimes when I’m looking at an inspiring drawing one of the first things that catches my attention is the line. There are so many ways to create lines and all of them express different things. A soft fuzzy line will make a feminine drawing feel dreamy and ephemeral. That same drawing done with a thick hard line can feel solid and enduring.

As you’re starting out in your artistic journey you should be working towards mastering your sense of line. Look at the artists you admire and really look at how, when and why they use a certain kind of line. The better you understand your sense of line work the better your drawing and ultimately the better your art will look.

The drawings above are an example of how I play with line.