Line is one of the most basic, and yet most powerful, elements of art. With just a few strokes, an artist can communicate a person, an object, an emotion, a place, or just about anything else. And with many, many lines, and artist can create an image that looks like a photograph.
Sir Kenneth Clark remarked, "The difference between what we see and a sheet of white paper with a few thin lines on it is very great. Yet this abstraction is one which we seem to have adopted almost instinctively at an early stage in our development, not only in Neolithic graffiti but in early Egyptian drawings. And in spite of its abstract character, the outline is responsive to the least tremor of sensibility."
And Lance Espland remarked, "Line is a rich metaphor for the artist. It denotes not only boundary, edge or contour, but is an agent for location, energy, and growth. It is literally movement and change - life itself."
It's amazing how something as simple as a line, a mark, can convey the weight, the feeling, the emotion, and the identity of a subject. It can make the viewer think and feel if executed well. And it can be created with almost any object imaginable.
Line work has the power to stand on it's own, and yet it also plays nicely with others. You can fill it in or paint over it and create a completely different and yet equally successful work such as in book illustrations, scientific illustrations, comic books, graphic novels, and fine art.
The drawing above is the line work of a Halloween illustration. I do plan on coloring it, but the line work worked so well it can stand on its own. So I'm letting it. I drew it with a Copic pencil, a Bamboo brush with Sumi ink, and added a few finished in Adobe Photoshop.
Let me know what you think!