January 2013

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January 2013

The Last Word:

Sans CAD - Sketching Off-Line

Craig T Martin craig_martin@speakeasy.net

Want to experience designing “old school”? Try these techniques between freehand and CAD.

  • Consider having several No.2 pencils at hand, rather than commercial drafting pencils, controlling line weight by how sharp they are. An electric sharpener speeds the work.
  • Orient pads of paper and clipboards with the bound edge at the bottom to reduce curl-up.
  • When drawing a freehand line, focus on the end point. As in skiing and racecar driving, if you look at the ground or the wall,that’s where you’ll end up.
  • Guide your little finger along the edge of a paper pad or clipboard to make pencil lines (or Xacto knife cuts) parallel to the edge.
  • Twist your pencil as you draw it along a straight edge to maintain consistent line weight.
  • Tilt your pencil against the upper corner of your straight edge to shift alignment toward or away from the straight edge.
  • Extend lines slightly beyond corners to give the corners a sharp appearance.
  • Use any handy object to draw curves and circles.
  • Curved sections and straight sections of a line are easier to line up if the curved sections are drawn first.
  • Add arrowheads by starting slightly beyond the end of the arrow line
  • Align arrows toward the center of gravity of the object they point to.
  • A scrap of stick-on sand paper is handy for shaping the point of your pencil lead.
  • Hash marks at the ends of dimension lines are quicker to draw than arrowheads.