Line art

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Spanking cartoon by Dave Ell, inked and not yet colorized.
Ink drawing by Carlo (c. 1930s).

Line art (also spelled line-art or lineart) is a term used to describe inked drawings, or parts of a drawing, that consist only of lines (generally, black lines on a white, colored, or transparent background), and no greyscale tones.

The term line-art is mostly used in cartoons, comics/manga, and animation/anime to distinguish the line artwork from later steps of colorization. It is thus possible to say, for instance, "the line-art was done by artist X, the colorization by artist Y, and the background by artist Z."

The artists who create line art are usually called "inkers" as they most commonly work with ink. The art of inking, the creation of line art, is much more than just tracing the pencil lines with ink. In cartoons, comics and manga, inkers will, for example, usually vary the line thickness sophisticatedly such that the line looks lively and pleasant to the eye, and supports the shapes and forms of what is depicted in the drawing. Light and shadow can also have a great impact on line art. An inker can greatly influence the mood of a drawing by how he does the line art.

Line art itself is most commonly black, but it is also possible to draw colored lines, or to post-colorize the lines; either all in one color, or in different colors. For example, the contour lines enclosing an object in the drawing, such as a piece of clothing or a body part, can be given a darker shade of the color of the object.

Line art is also important in other art forms such as the tattoo and calligraphy.

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