As Straight as Humanly Possible

Today’s ink exercises are all about parallel lines, which, according to artist and author Claudia Nice should be drawn as straight as the human hand can stroke them unaided. When I began practicing, I quickly saw that my human hand can’t stroke them very straight at all!

My parallel line exercises

Parallel lines can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal, as shown above. Any direction is fine as long as you keep all your lines going in the same direction. In these exercises, I tried, but it was difficult for me to keep my lines straight. Of the three exercises, I found the horizontal lines the easiest to do.

But why do we even need parallel lines in our drawings? What can we actually do with them?

In Drawing and Painting Trees in the Landscape. Claudia Nice explains that when drawn without outlines, these parallel lines can be used to suggest distance. She illustrates her point well with the distant pine and distant maple drawings here:

Illustrations by Claudia Nice

Yes, if you look closely, you’ll see that these illustrations are all composed of parallel lines. Her human hand can certainly draw parallel lines much straighter than mine! From these illustrations you can also see how she shades by making her parallel lines closer together. I definitely need to work on that, as well!

So, I will keep practicing. Lines. Contour lines. Parallel lines. There’s more to come, too, so check back tomorrow for another good ink-drawing practice.

Until then, may your parallel lines be straight and true!


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