March Drawing Tutorial: Varying Thickness in Line Art

In this fair month of March, Cindy has taught you how to draw a face and put it on a body, Ann has taught you about cross-hatching and many other artsy definitions, and I’m going to stagger to the finish line by showing you how to easily make your line art a little more dynamic with varying line widths.


The picture above shows a quick progression of the steps and hopefully gives you a good idea of the difference a few lines make.  We just had a Wonderstrange Weekend (except not really on the weekend), and I’m still recovering, so forgive me if this tutorial is dryer than a .. um.. Something that’s really dry.  See?  Still recovering.

This shows you my very very messy first outline.  I used a Micron 01 liner for this first layer and did it relatively quickly.  Don’t worry if your first lines are sloppy!  You will be going over them several times, and that will clean them right up.

On this side, I used a Micron 05 liner and used varying hand pressure to get different line widths.  Since the nib of the pen is relatively thick, you can just ease up on the pressure to get a thinner area and press harder for thicker, and you don’t have to worry so much about destroying your pen.  Don’t try that with a 005 or your tip will quickly go the way of the ponytailed action hero.


For this side, I used a Micron 03 liner to reinforce the lines and clean up any squiggly areas, then I randomly made some lines thicker.  There really isn’t much of a method to my madness.  I try to cover any squiggles and thicken up some spots until it looks clean and snazzy.

Now using a Micron 005 liner, I start adding in some hatching.  See Ann’s tutorial for a detailed discussion of the technique.  As you can see, I like the swirly dots.  They give her hair some interesting texture!

And finally, with the rest of her hair hatched, her face frecklefied and hatched, and any remaining lines cleaned up, she has a much more interesting head.  Remember when Cindy taught you to draw a head?  I may have skipped that lesson.  But you shouldn’t!  Work your way through all of the lessons, study the glossary, and enter our….



Post any drawing you’ve made using any of these techniques to our Flickr group (full details and rules here), and you could win this superfancy awesome house painting by CindyJo!  You have until March 31 at 11:59 PM, so you better hurry!





  1. A of all, I love this face. So. Much. Number B, this is like getting to lean over your shoulder and watch you work, which is awesome. Sub-paragraph C, I think you should come over, and we can vary line widths for the rest of the day. 'Kay? 'Kay.

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