Line Variation

I was originally going to do a video on how to make more polished lines for comics but ended up with talking about line variation. Sometimes, I do like ideas that develop organically. 

When I was comparing drawing tools that give me a mono line width (eg. a 0.5 gel pen) vs tools that give me line variation (Calligraphy markers, flex pens, brushes), I found that I could not say that lines with a mono line width were less polished. They can produce some very polished and spectacular artwork. Paired with a colouring medium like watercolours, acrylic or gouache or even digital mediums, the final artwork can look amazing.

When my mono line is thin it doesn't really help much with making focus areas stand out and other areas recede into the background. All it does is provide small bits of contrast around all the shapes, making every item in the picture stand out. So when it came to the colouring/shading, I find I need to work harder in getting the tonal value contrasts in the colouring right to make certain areas of the pictures stand out. This job falls heavily on the colouring/shading part.

Conversely, when I have lots of variation in my lines, the lines actually do part of the job in making certain areas stand out in my drawing. Thicker lines around certain objects will make those objects stand out. Thinner lines around certain objects will not stand out so much. Therefore, my colouring doesn't need to work so hard in using tonal contrast to control emphasis. In fact, if it does too much in that area, the lines itself may seem redundant. After all, outlines don't exist in real-life scenes. They were created by us humans to add bits of contrast around all the shapes in our drawings. So if the colouring itself create emphasis using careful tonal value contrasts (as seen in paintings by old masters), no outline is needed. And that takes time. But when we want to record scenes quicker, outlines do allow us artists to record a scene quicker.