You are starting to know me: minimalism is a style of decoration that I particularly like. So, when I discovered “one line drawing” (or also called “line art”) a few months ago, I was immediately won over!
It is a drawing style that, as the name suggests, uses only one continuous line to form a silhouette. We obtain a very refined, monochrome, and airy result. It’s very stylish! We can achieve with this technique faces, bodies, animals, elements of nature. Finally, when I say “we can”: in the end, it’s pretty complex, and it requires a good mastery of line drawing to achieve an aesthetic result, proportionate and successful (yes, it took me a few tries foolish doubtful to arrive at this observation)!
- Explicit design
- Explicit design
- Infinite noon
- Nice and cool
- Infinite noon
I had made my first “one line drawing” when I discovered this technique a few months ago. I started on a relatively simple subject: leaves. In the end, we draw the same leaf by moving gradually to form the stem.
But this week, I wanted to go deeper into this technique and make a portrait. Not just anyone: a portrait of the little husband and myself, a personalized line drawing, and a unique decoration made for us. And in the end, that’s what allowed me to find a technique that is easy to reproduce.
I show you?
Start by choosing your photo: prefer a photo where the posture has movement, is not too frozen, and preferably not from the front: this will give character to your line drawing and simplify your task because it is this movement that we are going to put forward.
To help us, we will retouch it slightly in Photoshop (or any other photo editing software you have available). This step is not easy, but it will significantly help you in the future. There is no absolute rule for this retouching. The idea is only to increase the contrasts and to simplify the photo to bring out the lines to be drawn, but here are the ones I made:
- I spent the photo in black and white to bring out the contrasts
- I also manually increased the brightness and the contrasts to bring out the black lines
- I used the “Posterize” filter to blur the areas and further delineate the shapes
- To save ink for my printer, I erased the areas that I was not going to redraw and the large solid areas of black
Once your photo has been retouched, print it in the format you want for your line drawing (I printed my photo on 2 A4 sheets to get this format, and with a mat, I could finally frame it in the format 50 x 70 cm).
We move on to line drawing!
Place a tracing sheet on your printed photo, and copy the main features of the face (s): angles of the jaw and chin, the outline of the hair, the curve of the nose, and of course, the eyes.
Do not forget to add some details around the face to avoid a bit creepy floating head: a suggested shoulder and a beginning of the neck, for example.
Already try to connect these strokes, imagining that only one stroke makes up this line drawing. For example, I connected the eyes to the eyebrows and the mouth to the chin. It is mainly why it is more straightforward with a face at an angle: to connect the eyes to the temples, to the hair, to the ears.
At this stage of the layer, of course, it doesn’t matter if you don’t directly get a single stroke. You will see, I did several tests before getting my two faces (on two different layers, by the way).
The trick is that you don’t have to try at all costs to finish your forms, to curl your face. We keep in mind that we must only suggest.
Once you’re happy with your layer, it’s time to recopy.
To do this, we will “burn” the support: place the tracing paper on the final cool drawing paper, and iron the desired lines with a pen, pressing down well. Without piercing the ink, we will obtain the reliefs of the drawing on our support.
It’s the same technique as writing on wood, remember?
You can now redraw your lines by following those engraved in the paper. I didn’t do it by show of hands, all at once, like the actual artists who do “one line drawings” (it’s pretty impressive to watch on video)! But we give the illusion by connecting the lines between them, leaving some suggested elements (for example, I have no left cheek, and the little husband has no hair on the right): these are the “voids” and the connections made between the different areas that will create a fully linked whole.
Likewise, if you count correctly, my cool drawing does not only have two ends, but we can almost think that this is the case thanks to the elements that I have connections between them and which are not in reality (I don’t have an eyebrow that goes up to my temple, nor a scar that goes from my chin to my lip 😉).
In short, that only gives me one desire: to print lots of photos and offer “one line drawing” portraits to all my relatives!