Have you ever wondered how some artists get those absolutely perfect lines in their drawings?
Not just straight lines, but razor-sharp curves, dead on accurate shapes and even tiny white lines?
The answer is that there’s nothing special about the artist, it’s all a matter of know-how and tools.
You can have those lines too; all you need is frisket film, masking tape, and a bamboo skewer.
Begin by determining what sort of edge you want to make.
- Perfect borders around your drawing?
- Tiny fly-away hairs?
- Mechanical details such as jewelry or designs on a shirt?
Everything is possible, but different techniques are called for.
Indenting Lines: To get those tiny, hair-like lines that you see in flyaway hairs, fur, wire jewelry, or anywhere else that has small white lines, you can indent your paper.
Use a bamboo skewer, a sharpened dowel, or a stylus–anything will work as long as it won’t make a visible mark on the paper and will dig into the tooth without tearing or cutting the surface.
Here is a sample of how clean and crisp you can make indented lines.
Below is line work that has been blended over with a stomp.
As you can see, even blending won’t fill in your lines if they’re indented heavily enough.
Below, you can see how indented lines have been used in a finished drawing to make fine hairs in the hat.
To make clean curves and precise, perfectly straight edges and borders, protect the curve or line with tape.
Blue painter’s tape is designed to be less sticky, so you can press it right down on your drawing paper without fear of tearing.
If you have to use masking tape, make sure to stick it to your clothing a few times before taping it to your drawing, or it will rip the paper when you lift it up after blending.
When you use tape, take your time and be very picky with yourself.
Any flaws in the line will be maginified hugely after building up your tone over the top of that tape, so be certain that it is correct before adding tone.
Frisket film is another wonderful tool for preserving precise shapes and edges.
If you have a curve that is too steep to tape cleanly and too large to indent, frisket film is just the thing.
Like painter’s tape, it’s designed not to be too sticky, so you can put it down and pick it up without tearing the paper.
It also has a very flat surface, so you can get right up to the edge with your pencil easily, without leaving a gap.
Blend to completion before picking it up so that you don’t have to touch into those edges at all.
Want To Learn More…
Learn how to add life to your pencil portraits.
Did you know that a portrait can still look realistic and striking with very little blending by paying attention to shapes and lighting?
Something as simple as that can make a huge difference in your drawings and we can show you plenty of helpful techniques to add life to your pencil portraits.