Module - Topic 1

Introduce | Learn | Apply


Topic 1 | Topic 2 | Topic 3 | Topic 4 | Topic 5

Read the material below and any additional resources listed for this lesson..

Topic 1: What is line?

We are going to look at how a master using simple line can create shape, form depth of space, shadow and detail. Look at Rembrandt's very simplistic pen and wash drawing. He was using many of the methods we still use today to create design drawings. He used them in a fine art environment. We will switch the methods around to suit design drawing. Look at how he uses thick and thin lines, soft and hard lines, direction of line and stroke, hatching, scribble line, dark and light line, fade-in and fade-out lines, and other methods to convey both visual and emotional content.

Brush Line Wash Drawing of a Woman by Rembrandt

Brush Line Wash Drawing of a Woman by Rembrandt

In order to understand line, we need to define it better. Line is the most important method of communication we have at our literal fingertips. A picture is worth a thousand words. Using all the information and definitions below, begin to see line as the most essential tool an artist or designer has in their tool kit.

Once again look at the work of Al Hirschfeld from Chapter 1, for more modern masterful line drawings.

Use of line drawing with tone wash by Rembrandt

Use of line drawing with tone wash by Rembrandt


  • A line is a continuation of a begriming dot.
  • A thin continuous mark, as that made by a pen, pencil, or brush applied to a surface
  • A real or imaginary mark positioned in relation to fixed points of reference.
  • A border or boundary
  • A mark used to define a shape or represent a contour.
  • A source of information.
  • A line is a basic element of art, referring to a continuous mark, made on a surface, by a moving point.
  • A line is long relative to its width. It can define a space, create an outline or pattern, imply movement or texture and allude to mass or volume.
  • Absolutely essential in creating art, line is the most important tool in the artists visual tool kit.

Back of a Woman by Rembrandt

Back of a Woman by Rembrandt

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What Next?

Go to the next topic section of this lesson by clicking on the Topic button below. In that topic section, you will add more information to what you've learned so far in this topic.


Topic 2