I don't usually like to post stuff like these, cause know i got so much stuff to learn too, but i thought it might be helpful to some people who might be reading this. If anything, this is just a note to myself.
(note: originally when i wrote this i planned on writing about lines, values & texture, but then i realised that i really don't know anything about texture, and i only know little about values, so all i'll write about for now is Lines, just so i don't have to pretend about anything.)
Lines are the most basic element of drawing. To me, lines represent the most basic "information" about an illustration. Lines are like the words you need to formulate a message*. You build the right words around each other so that you can deliver a thought.
A really good draftsman knows exactly where to put which lines where, so that they can get the complete thought with only a few strokes of their pens. The less lines you need to deliver a message, the more understanding you have of what you're drawing. And this has nothing to do with style. Study how the old masters used to draw, like picasso, matisse.. or the more recent ones like al hirschfield, walt stanchfield.. or even the living masters that we have now, like ollie johnston, richard williams, glen keane.. they all know exactly where they need to put ther lines because of the overflowing understanding they have of what they're drawing.
Just like really good writers, illustrators only need a few lines (words) to be able to deliver whatever they need to say. Although of course, a complete illustration doesn't stop there. I'll get to that in a bit.
If i find myself drawing too many "unnecessary lines," i try to re-do the drawing all over again, because it means i don't know that thing i'm drawing well enough. Just like when you catch yourself saying the same stuff over and over again, but still not delivering a clear message, chances are, you don't really know what you're talking about.
So how do you learn how to get good strong lines? Learn your anatomy.
(*Note: Notice that i didn't use the word sentence, instead i used message. I think a line drawing is not always like a sentence where you have rules and grammar and all that, the most important thing is you convey a message, as clearly as possible. )
so in a nutshell,
LINES = BASIC INFORMATION