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Drawing Ruled Ink Lines That Look Rough

October 8, 2011

If you want a straight ink line that comes from using a ruler but don’t like the clean edge it makes, here’s a simple alternative you can try: use a sheet of torn paper instead.

The yellow paper on the left was torn along the edge of a metal ruler. You’ll want to use paper stock that has some stiffness to it, such as 90# weight or more. The inserted image on the bottom was drawn freehanded for comparison. In the lines on the bottom of the drawing you can see that the torn edge creates a noticeable pattern, so in the lines above those I moved the paper slightly to the left or right before making each line. This trick works best with markers instead of dipping nibs unless you raise the paper edge off the surface somehow. Another tip is that the torn edge doesn’t have to be straight. In fact if you want a smooth curved line you could use the paper for that also, just don’t rough up the edge.

Honestly, you’ll likely find this to be a slower process than drawing the lines freehanded, or at least I do. If I need guide lines, I’ll use grided paper underneath the drawing on a lightbox.

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