Drawing a Good Callout Line for Illustrations
I draw a lot of callouts lines — you know, those lines that point to something in an illustration. It’s the nature of the training biz. But of course, if you draw a black callout line (or pullout line, or pointer line, or whatever you want to call it), and it goes over a dark area, it’s going to disappear, right?
You can still see the line in the image above, but you get the idea: Line over image = hard to see. What we really want is a white “pushback” area, around the line. Here’s the way I’ve been doing it for years: Make a stripe (you can use any of the double-stripes in the Stroke panel, but I usually make my own that is about one-third stripe, one-third gap, and another third stripe). Apply this stripe to your stroke:
Set the stroke color to Paper, and the Gap color to Black (or whatever color you want the line). See what happens? The stripes along the outside go white, and the inner part, which was just a gap between the stripes a moment ago, turns into the line. But out, over the part of the page that is just paper, the white part “disappears”:
If you want a nice sharp corner, then you’re done. But don’t forget you can use Object > Corner Options to smooth out corners into rounded Bezier curves. I certainly couldn’t draw a Bezier curve that nice!
Oops. Ignore that little bit of panel in the lower right. Don’t have time to fire up Photoshop.
The only problem with this technique is that it does not put a band of white at the end of the line… which means you cannot use arrowheads or other endcaps. Well, you can, but they appear white (paper) instead of black. Well, maybe that’s a good thing.
Yes, you could achieve this same effect using two lines — one on top of the other. I did that for years. But I much prefer this one-striped-line approach. The fewer objects I have to worry about the better.