Types of Lines in Art - The Basis of Every Design

Types of Lines in Art - The Basis of Every Design - Vybe Interior

No matter where you look, you’ll find a set of lines. Every design will start with one line. Could you imagine a world without them? But what are the different types of lines?

That’s what we’ll check out in this article. As a bonus, apart from discussing the main types of lines in art, we’ll also take a glimpse at what each one means and how you can convey your emotions with your favorite canvas art. So, grab a pencil, and let’s get to drawing!

The Concept of Lines in Art

A line is a miniscule point that moves toward a particular direction. A poetic definition, if you ask us. Lines can also be described as the continuous or implied connection between a massive set of tiny points.

In art, lines are a fundamental element, alongside shapes, colors, forms, textures, value, and space. Still, this leaves one question unanswered: what are the main types of lines in art?

The 5 Main Types of Lines in Art and Their Variations

You know, the one thing we love about art, which still inspires us, is that every detail has a purpose. And the same goes for lines. As we’ll see below, each line type means something different, while their variations enhance the conveyed emotions.

Alas, the 5 main types of lines in art are the following:

Horizontal Lines

For a line to be horizontal, it needs to be parallel to the earth’s horizon. While the artist is free to set a horizon of their own, a horizontal line will almost always go from left to right and vice versa. 

Horizontal lines indicate a sense of calmness or rest. Simultaneously, they can provide an art piece with dimensional space while adding landscape continuation toward the left or right side.

Vertical Lines

Vertical lines are considered those that make a 90-degree angle with the horizon. These are also known as perpendicular lines, but that’s kind of a mouthful to say. When picturing vertical lines, just think of any line directed toward the sky or the ground.

Vertical lines show strength and integrity, as well as power. The fact that they extend toward the sky while staying straight exudes an almost fierce energy; it’s like they’re superior to everything and everyone else.

Diagonal Lines

Diagonal lines go against the grain of straight lines, as they’re neither horizontal nor vertical. They’ll always be angled, but they can have any direction, from bottom left to top right or top left to bottom right.

The one thing we really like about diagonal lines is that they show instability and motion. They can also help give more life to an art piece by adding a second or third dimension into the mix. 

ZigZag Lines

We hope you have a pencil in hand and a piece of paper close. If you start drawing random diagonal and straight lines with one’s end being the other’s beginning, you’ve got yourself some zigzag lines.

These have sharp edges, while they lack the flow of curved lines (as we’ll see below). That’s also why they’re utilized to show chaos, anxiety, and an energetic sense of restlessness. 

Curved Lines

The last type of lines in art is curved lines. These have varying directions; think of waves or spirals. Better yet, picture The Starry Night, a masterpiece when it comes to curved lines.

Curved lines are somewhat chaotic, but unlike zigzag lines, their flow doesn’t make you feel anxious. In fact, they are almost soothing, and sometimes they even remind us of our own bodies.

But that’s not all. There are a few variations to every type of line that can add an extra emotion or heighten the ones portrayed.


There are 5 variations for the main types of lines in art, as you’ll see right below:

  • Length: Shorter lines tend to exude cuteness and a rhythmic approach to art, while longer lines are reserved for outlines or showing stronger characteristics.

  • Weight: With the weight of a line (or the constant change in width), the artist can show movement. Also, they can be used to reposition objects in front of one another.

  • Width: The importance of a specific feature can be highlighted by using thicker lines. We’ve noticed that more delicate details and minor characteristics are presented with thinner lines.

  • Texture: Adding different textures to an art piece can help the viewer differentiate surfaces. If you use a marker instead of a pencil, it’ll indicate a smoother surface.

  • Style: There are several styles a line can have, from dotted to dashed and not being present at all (implied lines). Regardless of the style, these can shift the focus to a specific object and create patterns.

Uses and Functions of Lines in Art

Different lines in art have different purposes. While we’ve highlighted some of them above, let’s take a deeper look into them.


Lines are most commonly used to outline objects and entities in an art piece. Instead of focusing on intricate details, outlining (or contouring) has rough edges and long lines.


One of the most detailed line techniques is hatching and cross-hatching. These are used to create shades of objects and usually implement fine, intersecting straight lines.

Showing Motion

Lines are, more often than not, all about showing motion. Long, diagonal lines mixed with some curved ones are usually the best ones for this; but adding a dashed style will make it much better.

Creating Dimensions

One thing that lines can do amazingly is create depth and volume, thus giving more dimensions to a piece. There’s no limit to this; you can choose any style and type you like.

How to Use Lines in Art to Convey Emotions

Lines are to art what language is to humankind. You see, depending on the types of lines chosen by the artist, you’ll feel something different. 

Picture a set of zigzag and curved lines with no real direction. Doesn’t that make you anxious? What about a flight of stairs that are drawn to perfection? Isn’t that quite relaxing? Maybe it’s our perfectionism speaking.

Let Your Art Express Your Style

There’s no doubting the crucial importance of lines in art. So, you should embrace art and utilize it to express your style. And, what better way to do this than grabbing one of our New Vybes!

Plus, feel free to check out our how-to hang your new canvas on the wall guide if you’ve never done it before.

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