Only occasionally do I use a ruler when drawing but sometimes the job calls for it. Here we’re drawing a set of beach houses – they are tall and very narrow. Any line which is not parallel to the others will show up clearly and not in a good way. To avoid things looking really out of square I start out by drawing a very simple grid – just enough lines ruled and spaced out to give me a guide as to where to place things. I mark out the edges and then the midpoint for the roofs. I also mark a horizontal line for the roofs, I might not be sure what part of the roof will line up to this but having a horizontal line there will ensure that I can line everything up nicely.
Having done that I draw the basic shapes in pencil. Here we are doing three identical bathing boxes, tall and narrow. Pencil in the general shapes of all three then add the details. You will generally find it easiest to do it this way so you focus on doing the same thing three times – such as the roof lines and then the next thing and so on. At this point I seldom erase problems I just draw in the correct line over the incorrect one and make a mental note about the adjustment for later on.
Once the entire thing is penciled in I check it to make sure it looks OK. I make a mental note of any special adjustments that I need to make at ink stage. Then it’s over to the ink – just draw over the top with a fine black permanent marker – if desired you can use colors but I always use permanent ink – I find a .01 or .005 is a good choice although your mileage may differ. The plus about having a penciled grid is that it ensures the long lines and the roof angles are all the same. If you draw over the lines in ink without using the ruler you’ll get a pleasing and unstructured hand drawn look – it won’t look like there was a ruler used but believe me if I had drawn it all by hand it would have looked horribly ‘out’.
Once you’re done inking, leave it alone to dry! If you can do so, leave it for up to a day. If not, leave it for as long as you can – you want the ink to dry really really well. Then take a white or kneadable eraser and gently erase the lines. Go slow and hold the paper firmly and erase with a light hand so you don’t bend the paper.
If you want two versions of the design, one ink and one in color you can now trace the image and redraw it a second way.