Straight lines are sketched by one of two methods: by drawing a series of short lines—called feathering—or by drawing a series of line segments. The line segments should be about 1 to 2 inches or 25 to 50 millimeters long. It is very difficult to keep the line segments reasonably straight if they are much longer. As you practice you will develop a comfortable line segment length. See Figure 4-2.
Lines may also be sketched as long, continuous lines. First, locate the pencil at the line’s starting point; then, look at the endpoint as you sketch. This will help you develop straighter long lines. Continuous lines are best sketched on graph paper because the graph lines will serve as an additional guide for keeping the lines straight.
Long lines can be created by a series of shorter lines, and very long lines can be sketched by first defining a series of points, then using short segments to connect the points.
It is usually more comfortable to turn the paper slightly when sketching, as shown in Figure 4-3. Right-handers turn the paper counterclockwise, and left-handers, clockwise.
It is also easier to sketch all lines in the same direction—that is, with your hand motion always the same. Rather than change your hand position for lines of different angles, simply change the position of the paper and sketch the lines as before. Horizontal and vertical lines are sketched by using exactly the same motion; the paper is just turned 90°. Straight lines of any angle can be sketched in the same manner.
Sketch lines by using a gentle, easy motion. Don’t squeeze the pencil too hard. Sketch lines with more of an arm motion than a wrist motion. If too much wrist motion is used, the lines will tend to curve down at the ends and look more like arcs than straight lines.