Simple Line

zen japanese | zen zany | simple line | technical | zen chinese

Simple Line is the basic version of the six ‘clean’ or minimalist styles.

Accessible to the young/adult new reader or a conservative market, it is useful for its clarity. See more minimalist styles below.

Simple line is restful and gives itself no airs. It’s the Quaker among the styles. It just gives the facts without too much fuss. “Just the facts, Ma’am.” I seldom add texture, shading or highlights, but could show distance with grey lines. Another option is to use thinner lines (but still of an unvarying width) for distant objects/subjects. 

Use this style for ‘how-to’ drawings, (e.g. ‘stages of spinning’), clear and accessible. All in all, it’s a useful style and works even better with solid slabs of colour. One client calls it the colouring-in book style, which describes it very well too. For school workbooks, the line illustrations can be coloured in. No grey areas or shading get in the way. The simple line may be easy to take in. But it’s one of the most difficult styles to get right. Every detail needs to be accurate. No loose, expressive lines here. One has to draw it the way it is. A head too small, a hand too big – it shows up immediately!

Choose this style if you have something complex to describe. For very young readers, newly literate readers, or a conservative audience, it’s ideal. Abstract shapes, distortion of the human body and other funkiness will just puzzle a group like this. They will turn to something else. Something with a simple(r) line.

Here’s another guy who loves simple lines.

The other minimalist, ‘clean’ styles:

Clients here  include Shuters, Cambridge, MML, Longman Mozambique and Heinemann (now merged into Pearson), all involved in educational publishing.