Paul Klee famously said, "a line is a dot that went for a walk."
But some lines pause along the way. Let's consider why.
Paul Coker Jr.'s line stops, digs down, then springs forward again.
Like Coker's line, Robert Fawcett's line here lingers at strategic spots on its walk:
Fawcett doesn't pause out of uncertainty. Rather, he punctuates his line as a way of emphasizing his commitment.
Here we see Ronald Searle's line stopping, backing up, and digging in again like successive blows by a sculptor chiseling into stone:
Searle's technique adds character and musculature to his line.
Another good example is Mort Drucker's trademark bouncing line.
Drucker's line loops back, bestowing a springiness that could never be achieved in lines that walk the shortest path between two points.
These lines all walk with a hesitation step. They're very different from the flowing, sinuous line of artists such as Hirschfeld.
The marks left at these stopping points reflect the added pressure of a wrist and the increased flow of ink. But mostly they show viewers that an active brain has chosen to renew its commitment to a line at this precise spot. They display a series of choices rather than a single choice. They are the graphic equivalent of leaving behind a trail of exclamation marks.
In the right hands, these choices can greatly increase the character and strength of a line.