Written by: Sol Amstutz

Here are a lot of ways an illustration can be ruined, and a big one is line work. The line work is almost like the skeleton of an illustration, because you build everything else from it.

There are a few very simply steps you can take to take your line work to the next level.

I’ve started off here like I do any drawing, with just a basic rough sketch where I lay out the form and maybe some shading. Sketching is a very important step because it helps you determine placement and gives you something to reference when you’re doing your lines.

Okay, so I’ve traced over my sketch with some lines. Now obviously, this is my example of some bland line work. The widths don’t change, which leaves it looking flat, and there isn’t really much detail. So lets take it to the next level…

Above is an example of a few things that you can do to spend just a little more time with your lines. Varying line thickness makes the piece more interesting to the eye. You also want to use light and dark spaces to you advantage to give the illusion of depth, like with the eye sockets and nose cavity on the skull above.

Adding details is another good way to sell the viewer. Even if you aren’t going for photorealism, making the subject believable will make it that much better.

The more time you spend with your lines, the better you will become at getting a feel for how things should look to keep it interesting. Cheers, hope this was helpful!

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