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Smooth Linework

Ziggy Schlacht

Hasn't figured out this "straight" business
I see lots of art with perfectly smooth and clean linework. Yet mine tends to be shakier and not have the same steady flow as other folks. I imagine I'm missing a step in the post processing of the linework, so I'm asking here. What tips do folks have to get clean, smooth lines in drawings?

Example of my work (SFW) to show where I'm at
 

MissNook

Well-Known Member
And others just redo each lines several times while using the cancelling (Ctrl + Z) shortcut until they have the "perfect line" :) Good thing is the more you train, the steadier the line becomes and you can really play with the pressure.
Nearly all my drawings are done with this technique ^^

By the way, for my software I had to choose also the hardness of the pressure sensitivity, and it's something that really can change your feelings when drawing with a tablet (I used to have it soft and I couldn't get the thickness right since I'm pretty heavy-handed :D)

Hope that helps :) (I like your render by the way ^^)
 

TemetNosce88

Prepare for the collapse
FireAlpaca and Krita both have pen stabilization, and are both free. FireAlpaca is pretty good for line art (it's what I use) and drawing, Krita seems better for painting/coloring.
 

TyraWadman

The Silent Observer
Paint tool Sai has stabilization, but a lot of the time they draw big on a high resolution, that way, when they shrink it down later, you don't see all of the mistakes.

Another way to do it is making sure you aren't zoomed in so far. Zoom out to make short, easy strokes.
 

MissNook

Well-Known Member
If you really do 50 times the same line then I think that as TyraWadman has mentioned, you're too zoomed in. It's not easy at first but learning to not zoom too much is important to gain speed. If you can't do one continuous line in one move then you're too zoomed in.
If you want to draw one big line, you need to be zoomed out enough to see the whole line. If you want to draw a small detail or line, you may want to zoom more to focus on that specific detail (but don't forget to look at your whole picture from time to time cause it's easy to stay focus on the detail and forget how it looks with the rest of the piece).

Hope that helps!
 

TemetNosce88

Prepare for the collapse
If you really do 50 times the same line then I think that as TyraWadman has mentioned, you're too zoomed in. It's not easy at first but learning to not zoom too much is important to gain speed. If you can't do one continuous line in one move then you're too zoomed in.
If you want to draw one big line, you need to be zoomed out enough to see the whole line. If you want to draw a small detail or line, you may want to zoom more to focus on that specific detail (but don't forget to look at your whole picture from time to time cause it's easy to stay focus on the detail and forget how it looks with the rest of the piece).

Hope that helps!
I'm a little embarrassed that I never figured that out before, but I'll give it a try next time I'm drawing. Thanks!
 

Ziggy Schlacht

Hasn't figured out this "straight" business
If you really do 50 times the same line then I think that as TyraWadman has mentioned, you're too zoomed in. It's not easy at first but learning to not zoom too much is important to gain speed. If you can't do one continuous line in one move then you're too zoomed in.
If you want to draw one big line, you need to be zoomed out enough to see the whole line. If you want to draw a small detail or line, you may want to zoom more to focus on that specific detail (but don't forget to look at your whole picture from time to time cause it's easy to stay focus on the detail and forget how it looks with the rest of the piece).

Hope that helps!
I do try for a continuous line, at proper zoom, but then the shake comes in large if I'm too zoomed out.
 

MissNook

Well-Known Member
I'm a little embarrassed that I never figured that out before, but I'll give it a try next time I'm drawing. Thanks!
You're welcome! And don't worry, we all learn new things and feel a bit embarrassed when we saw advices we could have thought by ourselves. This one, I saw it in a live from an artist a few years ago. At first I thought it would not work with me since I had difficulties to do big moves for big lines (using more the elbow and less the wrist), but I practiced and now I can see that it makes me quicker and I do less mistakes in term of adding details that don't go well with the whole picture ^^

@Ziggy Schlacht Maybe you're like me from a few years ago. Do you use mostly your wrist or your elbow when drawing big lines? If you use mostly your wrist, don't hesitate to look at this lesson: https://drawabox.com/lesson/1/2 and the next one and do the exercices. It helped me a lot :)
Also it depends how much zoomed out you are. If you're zoomed out a lot, and you see indents in your lines that are shaky even when you feel you've done a straight line, then either your resolution is too low and it pixelates (usually it would look really indent in curves like you did a 90° on the line for a few pixels and then go back straight) or the software/tablet takes the shakiness and intensifies it just since it's a captor that translates your move numerically. In that last case, the stabilizer is important. You can switch to a more stabilized line for zoomed-out/big lines and go back to a lesser values for moderate-sized lines (I don't do that because I like to have a process which involves the less clicking/change of parameters possible to gain speed, but I saw other artists mentioning that technique ^^)

Again, I hope that helps!
 
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