Is there a name for a style of illustration with a 'gapped' lineart? The lineart gets broken at either random places, or places that seem to indicate a shadow. It has a fun look and can make your illustration seem more playful.

Nice addition from welz: it's specifically where the gaps are rounded and the whole design overall has a very roundish look/feeling to it.

It is used in both icons and detailed illustration. When I browse dribbble/behance now not a whole lot of similar images come up.

I'd like to know name/style/keywords so I can search for similar images or tutorials. But 'gapped' does not seem to get many hits.

enter image description here

  • 2
    I don't think there's a name, and I'm sure this question was also asked before here... That said I think this line style was popular much earlier than 2017.
    – Luciano
    Jan 19, 2018 at 13:42
  • @Luciano I was actually almost sure I asked this question before, but was not able to find it (or any similar) on this stack.
    – Summer
    Jan 19, 2018 at 13:45
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    Note, that it's specifically where the gaps are rounded and the whole design overall has a very roundish look/feeling to it.
    – Welz
    Jan 19, 2018 at 13:47
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    Similar although they don't explicitly talk about the "gaps": What's the name of that popular design? or What kind of illustration and how I can achieve this "effect"?
    – Cai
    Jan 19, 2018 at 13:54
  • Most of this guys work is that kind of style. Also this other guy.
    – Welz
    Jan 19, 2018 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


I wouldn't say it has a specific name.

I think it's merely a very specific way to create line vocabulary without width variations.

Line vocabulary is something illustrators often use to give a bit more "life" to an illustration. Traditionally by varying the thickness of a line or the strength of a line an artist can infer depth to a degree, direct the eye to a focal point, etc. It's also a way to make an illustration seem less static overall.

For things like iconography, there's a limitation to how varied the width of a line can be. So it's difficult, or nearly impossible, to adequately express a diverse line vocabulary. Instead, the breaks are used to direct the eye or add interest where width can't be implemented.

Pintrest link to various images showing line vocabulary

(For what it's worth, I think this usage in the Rick & Morty image was somewhat haphazardly used and not well thought out. Used more to try and be "trendy" than planned and executed. Someone used it without really understanding why one would break the lines.)

  • 1
    Why the down vote? Does someone know a specific name for this style of line vocabulary and they aren't willing to share it?
    – Scott
    Jan 19, 2018 at 20:56
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    Maybe the artist that drew the R&M one passed by :)
    – Jongware
    Jan 19, 2018 at 21:28
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    I love me some Rick & Morty. Fantastic show..... seriously :) Just commented on the line breaks in the art, that's all :)
    – Scott
    Jan 19, 2018 at 21:30

It is called as a "Professional Gap". It is a small break in the line to simulate the light reflecting off an object. It is also considered as an easy way to create transitions while drawing curves or long lines.

"Professional dot" is the name for a point after a line.

It can be seen in page #6 of the book titled: "Drawing and Designing with confidence".

  • Hi Amal and welcome to GD.SE! Great reference, love this book! Can you elaborate on how your research paper is relevant to the question or add relevant parts? Otherwise it could be perceived as spam.
    – curious
    Dec 6, 2018 at 21:24
  • Wow great book reference! indeed it looks like a variation of the professional dot (in the book it happens only at the end of a line). I removed your link since it has no connection whatsoever with the question and it looks like spam just to promote your research.
    – Luciano
    Dec 7, 2018 at 9:21
  • No probs Luciano and @Emilie. That is actually the "reply" that I copy-pasted for the question asked by a friend of mine regarding the relevance of the work. It was not actually related to this post but about "how to fill color in a lineart with Professional Gaps". Sorry for the confusion and thanks for editing.
    – Amal
    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:05

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