Lineart: Techniques and Tools.




Hi! 🐯

Welcome to my tutorial on Lineart and the techniques and tools that can help improve it. Since until this year I always worked analogically, my use of the line follows the more traditional working steps. My focus will be on learning to draw lines with ease and precision. For this reason, up to the section on vector layers, much of the information they see can also be used for artists who work analogically.


❤ Let's see how to improve the link between the hand and the eye, and different types of line that we can use as we please! ❤


I also leave the video of this tutorial at your disposal! Spanish and English subtitles are available.

On pulse, line and practice.


When talking about line and stroke, one of the first things that comes up is the pulse. This is difficult to control and is not about strength but about practice. ✏ ️


Pay attention to the position of the hand first. To improve your pulse and avoid pain, don't force your wrist to bend too much. To make long or very loose lines, it is much more efficient if we do NOT fully support the hand on the paper or the tablet and make wide movements from the elbow. Use hand support and precise movements for when you need short lines.



I recommend doing the following exercises regularly to increase your precision and control over pressure. Also quickly practicing a bit of this before drawing will help you “wake up” your hand and sketch better. ✏ ️

1. Quick curved and parallel lines with pressure variation.

2. Quick crossed strokes

3. Parallel rapid strokes in a straight and homogeneous line

4. Spirals: from the center out, and from the outside to the center.

5. Big circles first and small circles between them. (concentric circles also help).

6. Parallel vertical or horizontal lines with pressure variation (I highly recommend using the “mapping pen” brush in Clip Studio, which varies greatly in size according to pressure). Try long lines and short lines.

7. Quick strokes, with pressure variation and in different directions (ideal for practicing hair). Try long, short, curved, and straight lines.


Find out what type of strokes go best with your work.


Practicing hair is especially helpful as we have a shape in mind and it may be easier for you to train your hand for a particular goal. In my case, I really like to draw hair with movement, with a silky and light appearance. For this, I always find long, fast strokes better than shorter, slow strokes.


Use all the alternatives you have to draw more comfortable !: Turning, rotating or flipping the canvas help to draw lines more easily according to the position of your arm and your hand.


I recommend that you do not enlarge (or get too close to) the canvas to draw, or if you do, you reduce it frequently to review how what you are doing looks like in the entire job before continuing. Getting too close causes you to lose sight of the rest of the work, increasing the possibility that you will lose your sense of proportions, or that you will do too much detail that is later lost or mixed with other lines when viewing the entire work.


Line types

Depending on the look you want to give your work and the tool you use, different types of lines can be achieved. The aspects that modify it can be: thickness, homogeneity, continuity, texture ...


These examples are the ones I have seen the most from different artists:


-Homogeneous line: the line that does not change in thickness or tone in its journey. It tends to go better with simpler work styles.

  • Dashed line: line that does not have a continuous line but still manages to define shapes. It is ideal for when you do not want the line to attract too much attention.

-Modulated line: the one that varies in thickness along its route. it is especially good for giving a feeling of volume.


To give your lines more personality, consider the following factors:


-The difference in thickness is an excellent resource to help convey distance, light and shadow that direct attention. Keep in mind that thicker lines tend to look closer and / or indicate darkness, and thin lines tend to look farther and / or brighter depending on how they are used.


-The difference in value, that is, the difference in the darkness or lightness of the line. To give a simple example, a black line can be seen more easily than a gray line. Remember that color also has value!


-The colored line accompanies not only containing the shapes, but also contributing to the color content. When coloring the line, it is generally a good idea to match the fill tone of the shape it contains, as they blend in better. I also recommend trying different colors to explore the contrasts between the shapes and the line.

All these characteristics can be freely combined to give different finishes.

Look at the following examples and see how different aspects can be combined on the same line.



Tools for Lineart

Each brush modifies the type of line you can make. Study the differences between brushes to see the one that best suits your style. Clip Studio has a special menu of tools designed to make lineart. These special tools seek to imitate the real ones, take advantage of this to quickly identify what type of brush you are looking for! The pen-type brushes imitate the stroke with Chinese ink both with a brush and with metallic pens; These result in strokes with a large variation in thickness based on pressure and can be textured at the edges of the stroke. Markers give a constant and homogeneous stroke in both color and thickness, brushes that mimic the pencil have a lot of texture and the value can be modified according to the pressure you use.

-Attention! Also, there are different ways to erase! Always keep in mind that each brush can be used in transparent mode and in that way when erasing with the same texture and the same parameters as the brush itself.


Here I show you the Lineart tool menus designed by Clip Studio, and a selection of my favorite brushes:


Also, don't forget to check the Properties of each brush! for example, the Stabilizer is especially useful for capturing your hand movements fluently.

Attention also to the brush size. Although it was a brush that regulates the size according to the pressure, if it were too large, the control of that pressure becomes much more difficult.

Try different settings until you find the one that works best.


Try to think about what type of line you are looking for in your drawing so that you can choose the tool that best reflects it. I share examples on this:


But there are also brushes that give other types of finishes, which you may like. Experiment!



Consider well what type of line and to what extent you need it in your drawing. Sometimes it works best when the trace is not complete, even if it does not become as fuzzy as the example I showed earlier on the dashed line.




On the other hand, shapes can be defined simply by contrast (ie difference) between one area and the other. This boundary between one shape and the other is what the line does. This is interesting to note because it allows other types of sketch or definition of volumes in a drawing.

Some time ago I heard an excellent artist say that before defining a line that outlines the shapes of her drawing, she creates the volumes with flat color and even adds some shadow, and then reinforces with line only where necessary. In this way, you use the defined stroke as little as possible, and a compromise is achieved between a drawing with a stroke and a drawing without a stroke. See in the following example how the shapes are still defined thanks to color and shadows rather than lines. It is an intermittent line, and even non-existent in some places, in this way the color and shading take on greater importance.



Observation tips and details

It is very important to seek the reference of other artists to discover different uses of the line and how to convey different sensations with it. Each artist has a particular way of drawing and studying the ones you like the most can help you find your own style.

Part of this study also includes looking for references to the materials that appear in your drawing to try to help represent them through the line. Think about how each material behaves and what type of line would be appropriate to represent it properly in a drawing, or at least to convey some of its properties. For example, if you were to draw a very thin and light fabric, the very loose and thin lines would help give that feeling; on the contrary, straighter, thicker and harder lines would give the feeling of a much heavier fabric. Another aspect that would influence this example is the amount of wrinkles: fine fabric tends to wrinkle more, and thick fabric less.


Other types of materials can also be quite well represented by varying the properties of the line. Look at the examples:


Another very important aspect that you should observe is how the line accompanies the volume in each case. If we continue with the example of the fabric, the clothes and their wrinkles follow the volume of the body underneath. This goes a long way to better show posture and to give a sense of perspective, as appropriate.


In the example below, I marked the body blue. In orange I marked the points that make the most force in each case; These points are the ones that give the guideline to know where they are and which direction the wrinkles are. In red I marked the direction of the wrinkles, following the orange points and the natural direction of gravity.

In the first example, the coat is made of a material with the characteristics of leather, so the wrinkles are thick and very marked. In the second example it is a bulky sleeve made of thin but heavy fabric, so the fabric falls in more folds in the elbow area and near the pink ribbon adjustment. In the third case, it is a bell-shaped skirt; It is in the waist area where you can see more wrinkles and the point of greatest tension, but in the length the direction of the wrinkles follows the hand holding the fabric.


You should also think about how to show the weight of the material and how to accompany the movement of what we are drawing with the line, since they follow the same intensity and direction.


As the intensity of the wind increases, the lines of hair and clothes become faster, straighter and more untidy; Furthermore, the horizontal position of the lines further helps to show the strength of the wind.


Vector layers in clip studio and my work process

I'm going to show you examples of my work process from sketch to finish and the vector editing tools that I use the most:


✏ ️ 1. I recommend you start with quick sketches and with the canvas seen from afar, so that you can draw freely and make mistakes as much as necessary. Use loose lines and quick strokes for a more dynamic drawing and to help exercise your hand. Before starting the final lineart, make sure you have a sketch as close to the final result as possible.


✏ ️ 2. When you have the finished sketch, lower the opacity and create, on top of it, a Vector Layer to make the lineart with the brush of your choice. A vector is a line that connects two points called nodes. The vector layer places nodes inside the lines you have made so that by modifying these points or the way the line connects these two nodes, we can correct the line. This has the added advantage of not losing image quality when cutting, pasting, distorting, enlarging or reducing the drawing. Don't worry if the lines intersect, you go over the limit, they are too thick or too thin! Clip Studio has many tools to correct these aspects.


✏ ️ 3. Use the Vector Eraser Tool to remove intersecting lines. Pay attention to the configuration of this tool if you want it to erase only where it touches, the entire line, or until it crosses another vector line.


✏ ️ 4. In this menu we can find all the vector editing tools that we can use in vector layers:



  • Use the “pinch vector line” tool (B) to slightly move the lines that need it.


  • Use the “Vector Line Simplification” tool (C) to remove unnecessary nodes from the line and use the “Point Control” tool (A) to correct the position of the nodes. Pay attention to the properties of this tool, since you can configure it to add nodes, move them, delete them, change the way the line ends, change the density or darkness of the line, etc.


-Use the “Redraw Vector Line” tool (F) to completely modify the stroke you have made. Note that this mode uses the nodes that the line already has, so depending on what you want to modify, you may need more nodes (add them with the "Control point" tool (A)) or fewer nodes (remove them with the " Simplify vector line ”(C)). Also in the properties of this tool you can tell it to modify or not the starting and ending points of the line, among other options.


Keep in mind that these modifications affect each vector line (that is, between node and node) separately, if you need more continuous lines, you can join them using the “Connect vector line” tool (D) to convert lines that end very close to a of the other or that they overlap, in a single vector line. Attention! Look at the properties of the tool how much tolerance it has to the distance between one line and another, since by default it only joins vector lines that are one on top of the other or with the tips very close. This is especially useful to help those who draw each line as a set of short, overlapping lines.


✏ ️ 5. Adjust the thickness of the line with the “Line width modification” tool (E), taking into account the depth, the point of interest and the light.


-Another way to homogenize the line is by using the properties of the “Line width modification” tool (E) and activating the “Process complete line” and “Repair width” options; whatever thickness is set will be applied to the entire stroke in which you use the tool.



Try different types of lines to find your favorite or to give diversity to your work! Let me show you some examples:


✏ ️ 6. Paint the color of your drawing on a layer below the lineart.


✏ ️ 7. Check the color of the line.


If the black lineart appears to peel away from the base color, it can be tested by modifying the line color.



To correct this, colored lines are often used. The most common ways to use the colored line that I have seen are:


-Paint the entire line in the same color (for example, brown tends to integrate very well with the colors if the line is not very thick).


  • Make a gradient between one color and another that affects the entire lineart. (This resource is also very useful for when you do not want to paint the entire drawing; already with this technique the lines look very good by themselves)


  • Paint the line that surrounds each element of the image with a similar color, darker or lighter, than the shape it contains (for example, in this case, the hair has bluish lines where it is green, and embroidered where is pink in color).


I advise you to try different line colors to evaluate the effects on the final result. The tonal correction modes in the Edit menu can be very useful for changing the color of the line. (I did a tutorial on these tools too!)


You can change the color of the lineart keeping the possibility to modify the line in the vector layer. For that, you have to right click on its thumbnail to set it as a Reference Layer (a small icon of a lighthouse will appear in the layer's thumbnail); then a new layer is created on top of it and, also clicking on the thumbnail, we select "Fit to lower layer" (a pink line will appear to distinguish this layer in the thumbnail). So when painting on this layer the color will only be seen in the area that has a line from the bottom layer.



  • Only if you are sure of the lines you have made, you can also rasterize the layer (right click on the name of the layer) to make it a normal layer and then lock the transparent pixels (icon on the layer list). So you can paint directly on the lines that you want to change color even if you can no longer modify their shape.


✏ ️ 8. Now that almost everything is resolved, it is a good time to add highlights, extra hair, ornaments ... In my case, I added a pattern for the clothes, highlights in the hair and looser and messy hair to help the feeling of suspension movement. The strokes I used for this are very quick and loose.


Thanks and contact

And this is my usual work process!

Thanks for watching this video. It was difficult to simplify this very complex subject. Feel free to leave me suggestions for my next tutorials, or even for this one in the comments!


If you like my work, you can follow me on my drawing Instagram: @barbara_brutti_ilustraciones





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