Expressive Line Work in Illustration

A course by Carlos Arrojo
Illustrator. La Coruña, Spain.
On Domestika since 05/21/2015
, Illustrator

Discover the possibilities of the line to create illustrations that are visually appealing and dynamic

  • 100% Positive reviews (15)
  • 252 students
  • Audio: Spanish
  • Spanish, English, Portuguese, German
Expressive Line Work in Illustration

Discover the possibilities of the line to create illustrations that are visually appealing and dynamic

  • 100% Positive reviews (15)
  • 252 students
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Audio: Spanish
  • Level: Beginner
  • 19 Lessons (3h 22m)
  • Available from the app
  • Spanish, English, Portuguese, German
  • Unlimited access forever

An illustration always starts with a line, but what if your composition was solely made up of line work? Carlos Arrojo’s work is a vibrant labyrinth of colors and curves, almost entirely made up of dynamic and balanced line work. He has worked for several international brands such as Nestlé, Perrier, Biotherm, and more.

In this course, Carlos Arrojo invites you to discover the power that lines give to your work. Understand its range of possibilities to create fresh and vivid compositions. Go from pencil and paper to digitizing your work, learning Carlos’ entire creative process to illustrate unique pieces with skill.

About this course

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Diving between the lines: first steps and sketches
  • U3
    U3. Sketches
  • U4
    U4. Layout and color
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Carlos starts off by telling you about his career, and how he got started in illustration. His style doesn’t stem from other specific artists in particular, but rather through a natural and spontaneous discovery over time, although he finds inspiration in artists for other areas and shares them at the beginning of this course.

Start your project by choosing the theme you want to illustrate. Carlos chooses the sea but suggests you choose the area that most inspires you. Then, carry out some research on your theme and start preparing a repertoire of images to inspire your composition. Carlos shares how he further develops his theme, by creating a word-map of ideas.

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to draw, start working on the sketches either manually or digitally. Carlos shares his expert tips to achieve clean, fluid lines in your work. Move on to the details once your composition is defined. Learn how to distribute the elements of your composition to balance your illustration and introduce a sense of movement.

See how Carlos uses geometric shapes to give visual clarity to his piece. He also shows you how to play with curves and winding lines to give your work more expression and creativity, as well as volume and texture.

Next, scan your final piece and open it on Adobe Photoshop (or similar) and see how to clean up your illustration to work on it with ease. Move to Adobe Illustrator (or similar) to start drawing and adding color to your piece, seeing how Carlos works with color as you go.

Finally, create a second version of your final work by changing the background color, understanding how it affects contrast and color values. Carlos shows you how to adapt your illustration accordingly to achieve variations of your final project.

What is this course's project?

Create an illustration using the line as the main graphic element with the theme of your choice.

Who is it for?

Illustrators, designers, and anyone interested in exploring the possibilities of using line work in their illustrations.

What you need

Basic drawing skills are needed to take this course, as well as notions in how to use design software.

As for materials, you will basic drawing material such as pencils, paper and eraser, a computer, design software (Carlos uses Adobe Illustrator in this course), and a graphics tablet.


252 Students
15 Reviews
100% Positive ratings

Carlos Arrojo

A course by Carlos Arrojo


Carlos Arrojo is an illustrator from La Coruña, Spain that specializes in linear artwork. After studying Fine Art, he decided to delve into the world of illustration. Although he still specializes in watercolor illustration, Carlos started using digital software to enhance his work and now uses both traditional and digital methods to create vibrant illustrations for advertising, press, editorial, and products.

He has worked for brands such as Pentagram, Monocle, Perrier, Biotherm, Nestlé, Estrella Galicia, and more. His versatile style has also been celebrated through various awards, including the Ilustramaxina Prize in 2015.


  • U1


    • Presentation
    • Influences
    • What will we do in this course?
  • U2

    Diving between the lines: first steps and sketches

    • Subject and documentation
    • Line
    • Composition
  • U3


    • Geometric shapes and synthesis
    • Organic forms
    • Final sketch
  • U4

    Layout and color

    • From paper to computer
    • Outline 1
    • Outline 2
    • Outline 3
    • Outline 4
    • Outline 5
    • Outline 6
    • Outline 7
    • Final color adjustments
    • Second color version
  • FP

    Final project

    • Expressive Line Work in Illustration

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need for completing a specific final project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the instructor and other users, thus creating a dynamic course community.

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Expressive Line Work in Illustration. A Illustration course by Carlos Arrojo

Expressive Line Work in Illustration

A course by Carlos Arrojo
Illustrator. La Coruña, Spain.
On Domestika since 05/21/2015
  • 100% Positive reviews (15)
  • 252 students