Sometimes all you need is a clean black and white illustration. No color. No shading. Just clean, crisp black lines that accurately represent what you want to show. Line illustrations are great for technical manuals and instructions because they reproduce well when photo copied and are capable of showing great detail – more intricate than a photo in many cases. Line drawings are used in coloring books and craft projects. Restaurants use line drawings on their children’s menus. Tattoos are often line illustrations. Whenever you get something silkscreened, etched or embroidered, the art needs to line art.
There are ways to emulate shades of gray – cross hatching or stipple pointing, which includes the use of small lines, or dots, to create the illusion of shading. Not long ago, line illustrations were done using a pen and ink, but today, the illustrator’s tool of choice is the computer and vector drawing programs like Illustrator or CorelDraw. The vector illustrations these programs produce are infinitely scalable, which means you could enlarge them as big as you want without worrying about pixelization, or loss of quality. The line edges always remain smooth, crisp and sharp.
A good source for line illustrations is customlineart.com.