Creative trend – one line art

A new drawing technique, one line art, also known as single line drawing, is currently conquering the creative sector, although it is not that new. Picasso drew animals such as camels, roosters and penguins in this style as far back as 1907. Since around 2016, we have been made aware of these line drawings again, thanks to the works of French creative duo Differantly alias DFT, who have caused a stir through their projects with, among others, Adidas and Nike.

Stripped to the bare essentials

So what is one line art or single line drawing? It’s about making a drawing with a single, uninterrupted, flowing line. In the past, this drawing technique was used by creative artists as an exercise to reduce the form to the bare minimum by using only a single line. Now though, this technique is also conquering the amateur art scene. At first, these one line drawings were seen on murals and cushions decorating modern living rooms. In the meantime, they can now be found as motifs on all kinds of things such as notebooks and diaries.

A one line Swiss cheese plant leaf adorns the planner from the Häfft publishing company.

A simple line as key element

Plants and faces in particular are often the focus of these drawings and, sometimes, they’re even combined with each other. You don’t need much for this kind of drawing: a white sheet of paper and a pen are sufficient, with a pencil or marker usually being used to emphasise the clarity of the line. If possible, the pencil should not be set down and the line should also not be erased. Instead, by repeating the drawing, the motif is enhanced over time, and it is precisely the small imperfections that make the results all the more exciting and unique.

Staedtler pencils and pigment liners can create small works of art.

A colourful upgrade

In a second step, you can then move on to colouring the background with watercolours, gouache or felt-tip pens by first painting abstract areas of colour and then placing the line drawing on top. This creates a wonderful interplay of soft but bright colours with the minimalist line, making the simple drawing look even more like a work of art.

The coloured elements in the picture are painted with the Pen 68 and the line with the Point Max from Stabilo. Here is an inspirational video.

How-to-do instructions

A book will make the one line technique appetizing to customers of stationery and creative shops from mid-August. Frechverlag is publishing the step-by-step guide under the title "one line". In it, readers are shown how to draw flowers, leaves, faces as well as cupcakes and Christmas motifs that can be used for designing greeting cards. Readers can download templates to make it easier for them to get started.

Illustrator Heinke Nied introduces the one line drawing technique at Frechverlag.

3D one line art

But one line art can also create great three-dimensional effects, for example, as small works of art sewn onto cushions using spool knitted cords, or pretty decorations made by bending wire. Such items round off any presentation of goods that can be made by using the one line art. Single line works of art exert a very special charm on everyone that beholds them.

At Efco, one line art is used to makes a memo holder from aluminium wire.

About the author:

Gabriela Kaiser has been the owner of a trend agency since 2002, after working 6 years as designer for knitwear. She visits trade fairs as a trend scout and gives lectures there. She advises companies from industry and trade on upcoming trends and writes regularly for various trade magazines.

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