Art Term of the Month: Dynamic - Motion Lines


The first thing many people think of when they hear about “dynamic” art is motion lines! Also known as movement lines, action lines, speed lines, or zip ribbons, these abstract lines are typically drawn behind a moving object or person parallel to their direction of movement to make them look as if they are moving quickly. They’re considered one of the most distinctive characteristics of the comic and manga genre, where they allow readers to easily follow the movement of characters across panels or pages and understand impacts, jumps, twists, and other complex moves. They can even be used to communicate intense emotion or sound. 

In “Wonder Woman and Dove,” a hyperrealist painting by gallery artist Doug Bloodworth, we see Doug’s careful and loving depiction of both iconic comics and the quintessentially American environment they’re found in. This piece in particular features a comic book page full of action lines – in the top left panel alone, the background lines, the impact lines, and the lines by Wonder Woman’s fist all depict distinct yet harmonious motions to show how Wonder Woman block bullets with her Bracelets of Submission. This technique gives each panel and page a dynamic feel in a uniquely nostalgic and American way. How many other action lines can you spot in the painting?

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