Line Weights in Design Sketching

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Line Weights in Design Sketching

Hey! In this post i would like to show you little trick that you can use to level up your sketch presentation skills using variable ‘line weights’.

Line weights in design sketching used in many different ways for different purposes. I will show you how you can simply draw viewers attention to the specific parts of your sketch, or let’s say you want some parts of your drawing or sketch to ”stand out” from the rest of the drawing, such as in the architectural floor plan below where thicker line weights (with conjunction of thinner line weights for smaller detailed objects such as chairs and desks) used to represent architectural walls so it is easier to identify them and it makes reading the plan easier for a client or an architect etc.

Line weights architecture plan


Picture below shows how you can achieve different line weights by using different tools such as ball point pens, pigment ink pens, markers etc. They all vary in their properties such as quality of ink, flow, smoothness of the ink, colour etc., and mainly their tip sizes vary from each other so you get variable line thicknesses.

From left to right: Medium tip marker, Fine and Medium tip Faber-Castell markers, variable pigment ink pens with 0.8mm, 3x 0.5mm, 0.1mm tips, and finally mostly used pen by me are BIC Medium and BIC Fine ballpoint pens.

different pens for line wieghts


It is good to have a collection of pens and markers like above in the picture for different line weights etc., but if you happen to have only one or two tools, if you are limited to pen or pencil for example, you can still achieve the desired effect. All you have to do is to redraw the strokes multiple times and try to make the lines thicker. Practice with what you have.


Sketch below i did few weeks ago will be our demonstration model for this blog post. It is a simple sketch i did using my favorite BIC ballpoint pen. Few things to note before we move on though, if you look at the line weight size of the sketch below they are roughly the same.

Sketch a Day 008_TUT_lineweights 001

And here we start with a simple theory, human eyes tend to look at thicker line weights more often than the thinner line weights when looking at a drawing.

To show you this theory in work,  what line weights can do, pay attention to the picture below, i highlighted the door and wheels with thicker line weights, and the highlighted areas pop up (stand out) from the rest of the sketch thus attracting you attention to them.


Sketch a Day 008_TUT_lineweights 002 a

Here is another example of the same sketch. This time i used thicker line weights on other parts of the car, such as rear diffuser, rear lights, rear and side windows. My intention was to draw viewers attention to those specific areas.

Sketch a Day 008_TUT_lineweights 003

In this example my intention was to draw viewers attention to the design lines around the car body, to highlight the body design features of the car and its shape.

Sketch a Day 008_TUT_lineweights 004

The purpose of this post was to show you how you can easily draw viewers attention to certain details of your sketch by just using variable line weights in design sketching. Next time, when you are designing or sketching, use slightly thicker line weights to define those special areas of your design that you want to highlight or make them more noticeable, it will make a difference in you presentation.

Keep practicing!


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