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Classic Graphic Design Theory Elements of Design: Line

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Copyright © 1999 by Bonnie Skaalid

Classic Graphic Design Theory
Elements of Design:Line

A line is a form with width and length, but no depth. Artists use lines to create edges, the outlines of objects. A line is created by the movement of the artist's pen. 

Line Direction

The direction of a line can convey mood.

Horizontal lines are calm and quiet,







vertical lines suggest more of a potential for movement,



while diagonal lines strongly suggest movement and give more of a feeling of vitality to a picture.

Pic:horizontal lines

Pic:Vertical lines
Pic:diagonal lines

Pic:contour drawing

Contour and gesture

Lines used to follow the edges of forms are called contour drawings

Pic: gesture drawing



Drawings which seem to depict more movement than actual outline are called gesture drawings.

Line as Value

Lines or crosshatching can also be used to create areas of grey inside a drawing. These areas of darker shading inside a figure, called areas of value, can give a more three-dimensional feeling to an object.

Pic:Marguerite Smith drawing-crosshatching

 Drawing by Marguerite Smith, Saskatoon

Elements & Principles of Design: [Line] [Shape] [Texture] [Value & Color] [Space] [Movement] [Balance] [Emphasis] [Unity]

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