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The Key to A Pro-Looking Line Drawing

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Words by Erin, Digital Design Media Manager.

Working on an illustrated print design? Your line work is everything. Especially if the design is intended for textile.

Because there are two main ways that clients print their textiles, and each method requires a specific type of line in order to produce a clean (aka. smudge-free) print.

Watercolour Flower Textiles

Have we lost you? Hang in there — Senior designer, Katrina tells you what lines work with what process so that you can please clients with a professional design that not only looks great but prints perfectly.


Screen printing is a process that clients use for smaller budgets.  A lot of our commercial work is created with screen printing in mind. “Screen printing requires thicker lines to be drawn to allow the ink to fully come through the holes in the screen, so the result is a clean, well-defined print,” Katrina says.

For this, we use Artline or Staedtler Fine Liner pens that are 0.4mm and up to draw our elements. ” Sometimes we like to do the outside keyline slightly thicker than any additional pen shading within the element so there is a hierarchy of linework,” she says.

“For screenprinting, you also want to make sure your shading linework isn’t too close together, otherwise your linework may bleed into each other and make a mess of printing.”


Digital printing is the slightly more expensive option and of course, it offers a much wider scope of designs and styles.

“It gives the designers some cope to explore a more shaded style of illustration, to use lots of colours and soft airbrush shading within the design.” If a design is going to be digitally printed you can use very fine pens down to 0.1mm and also your shading lines can be closer together so you can go very detailed with your drawing and your artwork will still translate to fabric.

“As a designer, it’s best for you to be versatile and to be able to turn your hand to different styles of illustration, keeping your final outcome in mind at all times. Make sure you are equipped with the knowledge of any limitations on your design from the get-go so you don’t run into problems with clients or printers in the production process or have to waste time redrawing your elements.”


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