Figures 4.19 and 4.20, taken from parts of drawings of various scales, have been redrawn using both pen size ranges for comparison.
Pencil techniques: The preceding comments on differentiation between line thickness also hold good in principle when the medium employed is pencil on tracing paper.
Here, however, we are concerned with a medium which can vary the density of a line as well as its thickness, and both techniques are used to define the importance of a given line. Generally speaking, both density and thickness are functions of the grade of pencil or lead employed, and of the pressure used.
4H and 2H will normally suffice, but the implications of drawing for dyeline reproduction are greater for pencil than for ink. Reasonably firm pressure is needed on the pencil to ensure that a full and dense line is produced, and when this is applied injudiciously, indentations can be left in the paper after subsequent erasure. These indentations may remain as ghost lines on the print.
The appearance of far too many carefully drawn sheets is marred by the quality of their lettering. This is a pity, because the cultivation of a rapid, legible and attractive lettering style is not difficult. All that it requires is a good model to serve as a guide and a great deal of practice.
Alternatives to hand lettering are available, but all are in their various ways time-consuming, inconvenient to add to or amend, and, when looked at in bulk, unattractive and lacking in character.
Five basic styles of hand lettering may be identified:
Examples of each are shown in 4.21. They are not given as definitive statements of how to do it, for every draughtsman will impart his individual character to them, whether he intends to or not. Nevertheless, they may serve as good models of their respective kinds, and it will not be possible to move very far from them without irritating mannerisms and loss of legibility creeping in.
Which of the five styles to choose depends partly upon personal inclination, partly upon any policy of standardising format that an individual office may have. It should be noted, however, that on the whole upper case lettering tends to be more legible, and that most people find sloping lettering easier to execute than upright. Upright lettering looks very attractive when all of its vertical strokes are indeed upright, but it is easy for stray deviations from the vertical to creep in (nothing looks worse than letters which actually slope backwards). With forward sloping lettering marginal changes in angle are less noticeable.
Cursive lettering is probably the most rapid form of all, and provided that a good style is chosen and reasonable care taken to ensure that absolute legibility is always the main objective it serves well enough and lends character to a drawing.
It has its pitfalls, however. The normal handwriting of most people is not up to the job, and the deliberate acquisition of a new and more legible cursive style seems somewhat pointless. Bearing in mind the likelihood that further notes will need to be added to the drawing at a later date and by other hands which are unlikely to resemble the original very closely, it seems best to limit the use of cursive annotation to details likely to have a short life.
Figure 4.22 shows a recommended sequence of strokes in the formation of individual upper case letters. Increasing fluency and self-confidence (each generates the other) will enable the competent draughtsman to simplify this stroke-making procedure in due course into an acceptable and rapidly produced individual style.
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