In this engraved illustration of a billiard player by Paul Gavarni (1804-1866), there's a wonderful variety of line.
The score is nothing to fifteen, so the player is worried.
Squiggly lines describe the hair. Curving lines follow the
curves of his forehead. Short, staccato lines define the
plane change of his nose.
Think, straight, parallel vertical lines
and simple outlines define the setting, but
push it back in space.
Relaxed zig-zags describe the repose of the floor.
Thin arcs follow the arc of his shin.
Masters of engraving and pen-and-ink knew the descriptive potential of a simple line. The old-time art instruction books recommended doing exercises of a variety of types of linework to stay in practice.
Then, when you go into the finish, it takes a deliberation to decide what sort of line best suits the subject and the story.
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