Draw Dramatic Line Effects!

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Cheishiru

Cheishiru

Line effects introduce mood and movements to a scene and make it dynamic. It’s a great thing to have in your artistic toolbox.

Video version below contains all the tutorial plus drawing recordings. You might find it useful!

Ruler Basics

Create and Adjust Rulers

Different ruler has different features, but they have similar basic features.

 

You can choose to create the ruler on the layer or on a new layer by turning on/off “Create at editing layer”.

After you create a ruler, an icon will appear next to the layer’s thumbnail. Use the Object tool and click the ruler to adjust. You can move the ruler anywhere with a click and drag.

Every ruler has a white circle with a diamond inside that functions as a toggle to turn it on and off. It makes ruler management easy, like when you have multiple rulers in the same layer or don’t need a certain ruler at the moment.

Ruler that is on will be in purple, and off in green. If you want to change the color, go to Preferences > Ruler/Unit. The colors for rulers are at the very top.

Delete or Hide Rulers

To delete all rulers in a layer, right-click (PC/Mac) or tap and hold (iPad/Android tablets) the ruler icon, then choose “Delete Ruler”.

To hide the ruler(s), click “Show Ruler”, if the check mark is gone, the ruler(s) is invisible. The ruler icon will have a red X on it to indicate that the ruler is hidden.

Snap to Ruler or Special Ruler

To use the rulers, first, make sure to turn on “Snap to Ruler” and/or “Snap to Special Ruler.” You can find the icons on the Command Bar or go to View. The Snap to are very close to the bottom.

Rulers have two categories. Just “Ruler” consists of Linear Ruler, Curve Ruler, Figure Ruler, and Ruler Pen. “Special Ruler” consists of Special Ruler, Guide, Perspective Ruler, and Symmetrical Ruler. For this tutorial, I only use Special Rulers, by the way.

"Enable Snap" for drawing tools and erasers

After turning the Snaps on, choose your drawing tool and check if “Enable snap” is on. Sometimes, it's inside the Tool property window.

If it’s not there, click the icon at the bottom left of the tool property, then choose “Correction”. Enable snapping would be on the right side.

After both “Snap to...” and “Enable Snapping” are on, you can draw with the ruler.

 

On the same layer, Special Rulers can be used only one at a time, except for the Symmetrical Ruler (and rulers in the “Ruler" category). Whenever you create a new special ruler, the previous one will be off automatically.

Show Rulers on Certain Layers

Lastly, you can use a ruler on multiple layers if you wish. Right-click or tap and hold the ruler icon on the layer. There are three options: show the ruler on every layer, only inside the same folder, or just on the layer where the ruler is.

Symmetrical Ruler

Symmetrical ruler can have multiple lines of symmetry.

When the "Number of lines" is even, there’s an option “Line symmetry”.

When on, it treats the lines like a mirror. Whatever you draw will be mirrored by the line next to it.

When off, what you draw will be copied instead of mirrored. Each has its own merits depending on what you need.

Concentration Line

Concentration line, as its name suggests, helps draw our focus to an object or character. Even if you use the same picture, you can shift the focus by centering the Concentration lines on different objects.

 

Also, the density and thickness of the lines affect how intense the scene look. For example, the scene on the right (see below) is more intense than the left.

A Special Ruler called “Radial line” and Symmetrical ruler (“Number of lines” 6 or more) are what I used in the examples in this section. Symmetrical ruler is not necessary but can save time. To avoid the lines having an identical look, I turn the Symmetrical ruler off halfway.

First, draw the Symmetrical ruler, then add Radial line ruler right in the plus sign of the Symmetrical ruler. It makes the lines focus nicely in the middle.

 

In this example, the main focus would be the character’s face. I made the nose bridge the center of the Concentration lines.

I tend to leave some gap between the tip of the lines and the object, but that’s my personal preference.

Concentration line can also enhance the mood while still directing the focus. I used the Concentric circle ruler with “Keep aspect ratio” turned on with its center in the same place as before and erased parts of the lines to make the mood brighter.

 

For a cheerful effect, draw random short lines instead.

Or use a solid color as the “line” to make the scene “loud”.


You can also draw beta flash with these rulers.

 

1. Fill the background with black or gradient.

2. Use the Symmetrical ruler with “Line symmetry” on and the Radial line. (I hid the gradient for ruler visibility)

3. Draw the flash in white.

4. Adjust to fit the scene if necessary.


The same rulers can be applied to background scenes such as rain scenes to make it look like the camera looks up to the sky.

Speed Line

As the name suggests, speed lines usually convey speed, intensity, and/or indicate movements. Even if the pictures are the same, changing the angle of the speed lines can change the perception of the scene.

 

Like Concentration line, the thickness and density of the speed lines can make the scene look more intense or less so.

Adding colors or screentones can enhance the mood you’re going for.


Choose Special Ruler > Parallel Line. Turn on “Snap angle” to make drawing a straight ruler easier.

Then, add a Symmetrical ruler (“Number of lines” 2 and “Line symmetry” turned on). Put it around the middle of the panel. Symmetrical ruler is there to save time. I use a Symmetrical Ruler for all speed line examples.


In this scene, the shoe is moving to the left at high speed.

1. Draw the lines thicker and denser on the right side. The shadow of the shoe cast is also drawn like speed lines.

2. For more intense speed, add small speed lines to the line art of the shoe.


This scene depicts psychological pressure, so vertical lines work well.

1. Draw long lines at the top half of the panel, close to the face. Make the lines thick. Also draw shorter lines at the bottom to convey trapped feeling.

2. Hide the speed line layer. Create a new layer, draw the outlines of the shadow.

3. Fill the shadow with thick speed lines.

4. Unhide the speed line layer.

5. Create a new layer, then add a gradient at the top to make the viewer to focus on the eyes.


Physiological pressure is similar.

1. Block the item's shadow in solid black.

2. Add white speed lines over the solid shadow.

3. Draw shorter speed lines in the background.

4. Draw the ground with short speed lines to show the trapped look, add effect around the knee and foot, then draw short speed lines on the item.

5. I added thick speed lines to the legs for intensity.


Speed lines don’t always have to be parallel. You can use a Radial Line ruler to give depth instead. Unlike the Concentration line, the speed lines aren’t supposed to draw attention to the object but to show the direction.

 

In this example, the character is jumping down. The Radial Line’s center is way up outside the panel instead of focused on the character.

The speed lines also extend behind the character instead of around.


You can mix Concentration lines with Speed lines to make the viewer focus on a fast moving object or character.

In the example above, the concentration line is only on the top half, focused on the character’s face, while the speed line is at the bottom and focused on the character’s knee.

Movement and Action Line

Movement lines in action scenes make the scene dynamic.

 

For curved movements, I like the movement lines narrower at one side and broader at the other. Special Ruler “Multiple Curve” makes it easy to draw.

Multiple curve ruler has control points that you can adjust whenever. What makes it great is that there’s a controller that makes some part of the ruler narrower.

I usually draw it along with Speed lines and/or Concentration lines to add intensity.


In this example, the character is slashing when jumping down.

1. Draw the slashing movement with Multiple curve ruler.

2. Mask part of the character that overlaps with the slash.

3. Draw the movement of the cloak with two other Multiple curve rulers.

4. Then, add Speed lines on the background.

5. Add a gradient in the background.

6. I colored the cloak. Lastly, draw smaller speed lines on the character’s knee and the hem.


I draw multi-jump effects with two Multiple curve rulers.

1. Draw the jumping trajectory lines.

2. Add Concentration lines focused on the character’s body.

3. Add speed lines at the bottom. For the part with gradient, add white speed lines along with black ones.

4. For effect, draw speed lines to the character’s cloak and legs.


Draw creeping movements using the same ruler. Here, the black energy is supposed to creep towards the black circle.

1. Use Multiple curve ruler with the part closest to the circle narrowest and a Symmetrical ruler with (“Number of lines” 6 and “Line symmetry” off).

2. Draw the creeping energy.

3. Add gradient around the panel.

4. Use “Gauze cloud” brush to make it look ominous.

Hope it helps!

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