Outlines vs no outlines. I have concluded that sometimes illustrations work better wit defined outlines and other times the more realistic “no outline” approach is best.

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  • I agree and it depends on your style or the variety of styles you have. I do like Loish's work, she sometimes outlines in a colour she is using.

    For your second work, I'm not sure if your aware or if you did so on purpose but the background looks like it is in motion and is distracting. It make more sense if they were running but their stationary.

    🙂 @Larry-Whitler

  • SVS OG

    I have been thinking about this very thing myself! I've been experimenting with outlines vs not. I really like linework but there's something charming about the no-outline look. I can't decide which I prefer. It would probably depend on the project.


  • SVS OG

    I've been experimenting with this as well! Here is a recent piece I did with less outlines than usual--only where needed to define a form, but not around the whole figure. I like how it works and think I'll do more like this going forward. Really, it just depends on your style and preference. Its definitely a good thing to experiment with!


  • SVS Team SVS OG

    I am with everyone here, for many years I worked on painting over my lines. But the past few pieces I messed with I left the lines and inked them. I get a better response from people with it. I like both styles so now I am trying to merge them into one style that I enjoy to work with. I think that is the key, as long as you are happy doing it, then its the right way.

  • As @Heather-Boyd mentioned it's completely up to your style. Both work really well, but it depends on how you put down your lines. I avoid heavy lines in my work, but I like to keep a glimpse of the underlying sketch sometimes. The main question is which style do you feel the most comfortable in? You can always mix and match though, but try be consistent, @carriecopa's images show a good example of using 2 different style, without been too different, whereas your own images are too different in their approach.

  • SVS OG

    Apparently lots of people play with line vs no line because it’s something I’ve also been thinking about. Jake Parker said something helpful in one of his videos — in essence, if you have line, it should be interesting and contribute to the character and design rather than just being a static outline.

  • I have thought about this one for years (shows how boring my life is) I sometimes keep the lines separate and switch the layer off to see which I prefer I think it depends on the piece, and would probulary be an advantage to be able to do both.

  • Pro SVS OG

    Agree with what everybody has mentioned - sometimes it´s nice to see the lines, sometimes it´s nicer to hide them. I tend not to outline but sometimes leave the sketch visible and sometimes I use lines in isolated places to avoid overrendering details. One artist I admire a lot and use as inspiration on this is Shane Prigmore, particularly his work for the film „The Croods“.

  • @larry-whitler New to this forum thing. Sorry, I didn't realize my entire text was included in the headline area. Oy. Live and learn.

  • @heather-boyd Thank you, Heather. Yeah, outlines or not is really an opinion thing I guess (unless you're doing a portrait). The softfocus effect is intentional. Just a leftover old habit from old photo processing days.

  • @sarah-luann Yes, that is perfect. I think, especially in illustrations, that there is an interesting way to approach this that you have demonstrated which is to use outlines some of the time but not all of the time. Great work, by the way.

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