Element of Design: Line

Line is probalby the most fundamental of all the elements of design. It is the starting place for most artistic creation whether one is starting a fine draing or painting or even sketching ideas for a sculpture. most design begins with line. So what is line?

A math teacher would say that line consist of only one dimension, length. In the real world of creating art though a one dimensional line would not be practical. A more usable deifnition might be that line is the path of a dot, point etc. through space and that is always has more length than thickness. Lines are not all the same, especially in art.

Types of Lines

• Vertical lines: are straight up and down and perpendicular to horizontal lines
• Horizontal lines: are straight up and down and perpendicular to vertical lines
• Diagonal lines: are lines that straight in any direction except vertical or horizontal
• Zigzag lines: are a series of diagonal lines joined end to end
• Curved lines: are lines that bend in any amount of degree; they may be gently wavy to tightly wound spirals

Variations of Lines

Lines come in many varieties. They may:

• be long, short or anything in between
• be thick, thin
• be smooth or rough
• be continuous, implied, dotted, dashed
• change direction
• change in degree of curve (curved Lines)
• be any of the above combined
• Some ways Artists use line

• to outline; a starting place for many drawings or paintings
• to suggest moods or emotion; lines can appear calm, nervous, angry, etc.
• to lead the viewers eye through a work of art
• to create lightness or darkness; lines placed close together appear darker than those placed further from each other
• to create texture; roughness or smoothness

Common types of line drawings

• contour line drawing; drawings that use a fairly continous line to represent the edges and surface detail of shape or objects being drawn
• gestural line drawing; drawings that use quick pencil strokes (or other darwing instruments) to capture a scene. gestural drawings imply action and movement
• hatched anc cross hatched line drawing; drawings that consist or parallel lines (hatching) or crossing parallel lines (cross-hatching) drawn to create changes in lightness and darkness and texture.