What is a Stroke

Useful as they are for simple designs, constant thickness strokes cannot be compared to more general strokes for convenience and expressiveness. While it is possible to trace out the outlines of a brush trail every time (figure 1), this painstaking drawing method no doubt is a hindrance to the aspiring artist. It is also doubtful whether pictures of reasonable complexity can be managed if all the strokes are traced out this way — consider modifying a few strokes in Figure 3 if the strokes are polygons. In fact, one would not regard such a drawing method as 'drawing with strokes'. If a picture is drawn with strokes, the effects of each stroke should be apparent after a single application of the brush. In this sense, the constant thickness stroke provided by most drawing programs and the bitmap brush (whether antialiased or not) available in paint programs are both considered to be computer strokes. We shall discuss the deficiencies of each shortly.

Figure 1: Tracing out a stylish brush trail with 'primitive' strokes. The letter 'S' in this illustration is drawn with one single skeletal stroke application.

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