Line quality vs accuracy

  • Hi there,

    I find that my line quality is much better if I don't pencil in the idea first but of course the proportions are off. And then if I pencil in my idea, the drawing usually has less appeal.

    Does anyone else have this? I think it's odd I'm capable of decent line quality- just not when it's planned out.


  • @Martha-Sue Maybe sketch your shapes and proportions in a very loose way, just gesture drawings so that you get the proportions right. Jane Parker (Inking video and Inking 2.0) recommends that you don't render too much with the pencil and save some for the inking.

  • SVS OG

    Can you show us samples of your work? I think it would be better to see examples of what you mean so that we can gives more relevant suggestions.

  • Strangely accuracy may not be what you want, watching Stephen Silver videos he talks about not trying to adhere to the first sketch too much because you will lose the gesture and energy of the sketch. Also you could embrace the less smooth lines and make it work for you. When you look at how Jake Parker inks he is very accurate but his lines are less smooth than a lot of artists however his style is very recognizable and looks very cool. If you take his inking videos you will see all the exercises and practice that will help you improve. Maybe you could get a light box to work on so you are less timid of drawing over your initial work.

  • @martha-sue I totally know what you mean!

    I think partially it's a matter of practicing to learn to "let go" when you're inking. It's almost like doing a new drawing in a way.

    I often feel like as I've learned along my art journey that if I have a question of either / or it's usually a matter of practicing until I can integrate both!

  • I've been studying a lot of classic New Yorker artists and cartoonists lately, and this seems to be a common trait — the artists often feel that their "roughs" turn out better than the "finished." That the spontaneity of the linework is lost in tracing or inking the final drawing. Someone like William Steig (who won a Caldecott) abandoned pencil and prep work later in his career/life in favor of allowing for the spontaneity of drawing directly in ink. Of course, his style supported that style of working, in my opinion.

    So you're in good company in feeling that way. 🙂

  • @chrisaakins Thank you!

  • @nyrrylcadiz oh thank you, so here is one that has the super forced line quality, the lines were all shaky and it just felt sort of lifeless
    0_1539373438591_Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 12.42.49 PM.png

    1_1539373438593_Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 12.42.43 PM.pngand here is one that has a more alive/genuine line quality (maybe?)

    These might not be the best examples, the bad ones are way worse and I've done better line work too. Appreciate your thoughts!

  • @rcartwright I struggle with this, I always have done my best work as an improvisation but I want to have the ability as well to do things more strategically and not have them fall flat. I guess it's the difference between fine art and commercial work?

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