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The beginner is usually frightened at the prospect of trying to ink a drawing without spoiling it. Once you have learned how to use drawing instruments and to follow a definite order of inking, you will have greatly reduced the danger of spoiling a drawing. Nowadays, draftsmen prefer the reservoir pen or rapidograph to the ruling pen for inking straight and curved lines and even for lettering. On the other hand, the ruling pen should NEVER be used to ink freehand lines.

One good way to avoid smeared ink lines is by using SPACE BLOCKS. These strips of tape or thin pieces of plastic, when fastened to both faces of the triangles, french curves, or templates (fig. 3-41), raise their edges from the surface of the drafting paper and prevent ink from running under the edge.

When you use a rapidograph or reservoir pen with a T square or parallel straightedge, make long lines with a whole arm movement and short lines with a finger movement.

Draw horizontal lines from left to right, starting at the top of the drawing and working down. (If you are left-handed, you will, of course, draw these lines from right to left, and similarly reverse many of the directions given in this training manual.)

Figure 3-41.-Use of space blocks.

Vertical lines are usually drawn in an upward direction, moving from left to right across the drawing. However, when you have to draw a number of vertical lines or lines slanted in the same direction, the way you draw them will be governed by the source of your light and the way you have found that you can draw vertical lines with greatest control.

Let the first lines dry before starting to draw any intersecting lines. Watch carefully when you draw one line across another line. You vary the thickness of ink lines by selecting a pen unit that matches your desired application and/or line convention.

The order generally recommended for inking is as follows:

1. Inking of a drawing must start from the top of the paper and progress toward the bottom.

2. Start inking all arcs of circles, fillets, rounds, small circles, large circles, and other compass-drawn lines.

3. Ink all irregular curves, using a french curve or a spline as a guide.

4. Ink all thick horizontal lines, then all medium and thin lines. 

5. Start at the left edge and ink the thick first, the medium next, and finally the thin vertical lines from left to right.

6. Follow the same procedure described in (4) and (5) for slanting.

7. Ink section lines, dimensions, and arrowheads.

8. Ink notes and title, meridian symbol, and graphic scales.

9. Ink borders and check inked drawing for completeness.

10. Use an art gum or a kneaded eraser to erase pencil marks or for final cleanup of the drawing.


The information that a drawing must present cannot be revealed by graphic shapes and lines alone. To make a drawing informative and complete, you must include lettering in the form of dimensions, notes, legends, and titles. Lettering can either enhance your drawing by making it simple to interpret and pleasant to look at, or it can ruin your drawing by making it difficult to read and unsightly in appearance. Therefore, it is essential that you master the techniques and skills required for neat, legible lettering.


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