Still catching up with myself – some thoughts on drawing straight lines

I decided over Christmas that I wanted to create a ‘standard’ way of documenting all the patterns I’ve been encountering. Possibly to use as a data set when I begin to build the reconstruction system but mainly just to have them recorded in a comparable format and to spend a little bit of time with each pattern. I got myself a small notebook with dotted grid pages and spent my spare moments over the holidays drawing out patterns – one to each page as a repeat.

It’s fiddly.
The small size of the notebook makes it awkward to draw in. I’m not using a ruler, I never usually do when drawing out patterns. Even though I draw on pre-defined grids, I need to retain something of the ‘texture’ to the lines – keep an echo of the quality of a thread.
There is something compelling in attempting to draw straight lines by hand – it’s never going to be consistent. By avoiding the use of a ruler, you can see the lines wobble. But it is a much slower and demanding to draw straight lines without a ruler – so why do it?
Perhaps I want to feel closer to the pattern? (Less tools = decreased distance… I’m sure I read something about that…)
Let me try it:

I drew some small repeat patterns with and without a ruler to see if I could feel a difference, and I do!
Drawing without the aid of a ruler is far more absorbing – you have to concentrate more, think about how you are moving the pencil between the start and end points, with a ruler that thinking about the between is almost completely removed (you could always move away from the rulers edge but that’s a different thing).
The way patterns are plotted is also different. With a ruler you position the edge across the start and end points (and, due to the repetitiveness of the patterns, you can draw more than one line in a single act of ruler positioning), then it’s simply a matter of running your pencil along the edge between the points – it’s almost automatic.
Drawing freehand is subtler. Often the line is not made in a single stroke, I find myself making ghost marks, feeling out the angle of the line without touching the page.

Posted in PhD

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