Monday, 19 April 2010

More on using a ruler for watercolour

In an earlier post, 10 ways to improve your watercolours with a ruler, I wrote that a ruler is useful when tracing objects like buildings in perspective. In particular, verticals remain vertical and this is also something you can trace with a ruler. Even if you don’t want to trace everything with the ruler, at least consider the main outlines.

If you have a drawing table, like James Gurney, then tracing vertical lines is not a problem. This is not a practical solution if you are travelling or away from your studio.

An alternative solution is to use a translucent plastic ruler, graduated on both sides with the same units (it does not really matter if it is centimetres or inches, but you cannot use a ruler that has one side in centimetres and one side in inches).

This is the way I do it:

  • I trace a frame all around the sheet of paper with at least one centimetre margin.

  • To draw a vertical line, I position the ruler perpendicular to the horizontal frame line at the top of the page. To ensure the ruler is really vertical, I check that the marks on each side of the ruler are aligned on the horizontal frame line (as shown on the photograph).

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