LINE- Varieties

Elements of Art

Describing Line- An Element of Art

Line art or line drawing is any image that consists of distinct straight and curved lines placed against a (usually plain) background, without gradations in shade (darkness) or hue (color) to represent two-dimensional or three-dimensional objects. Line art can use lines of different colors, although line art is usually monochromatic. Line art emphasizes form and outline, over color, shading, and texture. However, areas of solid pigment and dots can also be used in addition to lines. The lines in a piece of line art may be all of a constant width (as in some pencil drawings), of several (few) constant widths (as in technical illustrations), or of freely varying widths(as in brush work or engraving).

Line art may tend towards realism (as in much of Gustave Doré's work), or it may be a caricature, cartoon, ideograph, or glyph.

Before the development of photography and of halftones, line art was the standard format for illustrations to be used in print publications, using black ink on white paper. Using either stippling or hatching, shades of gray could also be simulated.

One of the most fundamental elements of art is the line. An important feature of a line is that it indicates the edge of a two-dimensional (flat) shape or a three-dimensional form. A shape can be indicated by means of an outline and a three-dimensional form can be indicated by contour lines.[1]

  1. ^ Sayre, Henry M. A World of Art. Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ: 2010. Pg. 56-57.

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Beautiful time-lapse of a giant collaborative drawing from Aleksandra Mir's solo show

Aleksandra Mir, Drawing Room, 2014
A Sequence of Lines Traced by Five Hundred Individuals

Jim Denovan- Sand Man



  • Divide two facing sketch pages with five spaces each.
  • Use pencil only for 5 and use a variety of media for each of the remaining samples.
  • Use different densities of line, more compact, bold, thin, open, wirey, coiled, zigzag, random, planned, symmetrical, radial, nervous, smooth, playful, serious, awkwardly crowded, single, textured, and more.


A Collection of Resources by Adrienne Graham on PINTEREST