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line

Line has various attributes, including quality, movement and direction.
Quality: Lines can be thick, thin, smooth or rough.  They can be continuous or broken.
Movement: Paul Klee defined a line as "a point that sets itself in motion."  The eye follows the movement created by line.
Direction: The direction taken by a line can control the mood of a design.  Horizontal lines can be calm, while vertical lines can be uplifting.

Special lines include contour, character, motion and compositional lines.
Contour: Although they do no exist in nature, lines are frequently used in art to outline the form of an object (contour lines).
Character: Lines can create light, shadow or mood.  Hatching (a series of parallel lines placed close together) and cross-hatching (hatching in a variety of directions) are often used to develop contrasting areas of light and dark (chiaroscuro)..
Motion: The eye tends to follow lines, even lines that don't really exist.  A pointing finger or a sideways glance causes the eye to look toward the intended object of the gesture.
Compositional: Lines (real or implied) can lead the eye through a composition.  Lines are also used to balance a composition.  An arm which is thrust forward is balanced by the opposite leg being pulled back (contraposto).


For more about line and direction check Visual Literacy.