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4 Benefits About Line Quality

Posted on March 26, 2015 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

Line quality is an artistic term to describe the thick and thin characteristics of a line. The strokes of a line have always inspired me. If you want to read more about line quality scroll down, but my latest inspiration for creating lines came from this story:

Grandkids are the best. They’re even more memorable when you have fun in the kitchen with them, baking a three-generation family recipe. In this case, Mom’s sugar cookies. I can still savor the flavor from when I was a kid.

Luckily Mom, who’ll be 88 in three months, still enjoys making things from scratch, so the plan was to bake with the grandkids this weekend.


 "We need lard,” Mom said as she scanned the grocery baking aisle.

 Mom’s dad, who was a chef from France, had always cooked with lard. And when I was a kid, Mom always-always cooked with lard.

 Not seeing that old standard “lard” on the shelf, I reached for some Crisco and began reading the label out loud hoping its benefits might sway Mom. “There's fifty ercent less saturated fat than butter; Zero grams trans-fat, cholesterol or sodium,” I said.

 “Hmmm,” she sighed and snached the can from my hands. She studied the Crisco, then checked the shelf again. “This will work just fine; just fine, indeed.” And with that, she dropped the can into the cart.

I eased a smile. I should have known Mom could adapt. She’s been adjusting quite well, in fact, to “temporarily” living with me and my husband – 68 days to date.

 Next it was time to pick out sugar-cookie decorations. Mom scanned the high shelf featuring tubes of squeezable frosting, from Rainbow Chip to Vanilla Confetti to Neon Glitter. She gasped. Next her eyes fixed on the middle shelf: candy-shaped Cinderella and Spider Man were only two of the 20 or so fantasy-figure choices, not including butterflies, flowers and swords. Lastly, she gazed at the bottom shelf: paper umbrellas, clowns and circus animals to unfurl and poke into the top of your treat.


“Well, I usually use plain, white granulated sugar on top,” Mom said. “Do you think the kids will like that?”

Now, let me tell you, Lilly, my granddaughter, is 7, and I’ve never seen her dressed in less than two hair bows, three layers of tulle swirling under her skirt as she spins on the heel of her rhinestone-clad pink cowgirl boots. And then, Jackson, who is 8, may wear simple T-shirts and jeans, but when he colors, the 48-piece box of Crayolas isn’t even big enough.

“Maybe we should buy a few decorations,” I suggested.

That’s all it took for Mom to dive in and gather two-handfuls of colorful decorations.

At this point, I should mention that I haven’t actually made Mom’s sugar cookie recipe since my grown sons were seven and eight! Home from the store and in the kitchen, I got down on all fours and rooted around the low cupboards for the rolling pin. As for the cookie cutter … well, it took me a while to remember where that was hidden: In the toy closet with the grandkids’ Play-Doh set. 

While I gave the cookie cutter a sudsy hot bath, Mom spotted the old thing in the sink.

“Oh, my heavens! I remember that cookie cutter!” she said, explaining that it was a wedding gift to her more than 66 years ago. She fondly held the flower-shaped cutter in her knobby fingers. Shortly, the kids joined in, rolling and stamping and sprinkling “Mom’s Sugar Cookies.” A sweet time, indeed.


The assorted decorations were perfect for inspiring Jackson and Lilly. As for me, the flower-shaped cookie cutter inspired me, too. But look closely, I have an artist’s secret to share.


 4 Benefits of Line Quality:

 1. Notice the thick and thin black lines that outline the roses. This uneven nature of the line is intentional and is called line quality. Adding variety to “a line” will create more interest, movement and depth into your art piece. Cartoons, illustrations and even stick figures will have more life.


 2. Above is a drawing from my first book, Beached in a Camper, where the kids are filling water balloons. Heavier lines are used to draw Adam, the boy standing in front of the girl, Freckles. The bolder lines make him appear more over-powering against the girl, Freckles. 

3. In the outline of the musicians and instruments the line quality enhances the lyrical movement of the piece.



 4. Next, the birch tree – my favorite image – with it’s natural, craggy bark just begs for great line quality. The thick and thin lines enhance the strenght of nature.
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