Using a bridge to paint straight lines – When I was a student at the Hussian School of Art in the mid 1980’s, I had a teacher (Ginny Ferrante Perry) who taught me how to paint straight lines using a metal ruler. She referred to this technique as using a “bridge”. You would take the biggest, heaviest ruler you had and clench it in your non brush hand. If possible rest the end of the ruler on something stable on your desk or easel. If that’s not possible, just place the clenched fist of your non brush hand (holding the ruler) and rest it on top of your desk. Angle the ruler in the direction of your intended straight line. With your brush hand, rest the metal ferrule of your brush against the ruler and paint your straight line. Sign painters have a special tool for this. I learned the technique using a ruler and that suits me best. Many artists have no need to paint a straight line. Because I like to put my signature inside a rectangle like the Japanese print artists, I need to paint at least four straight lines every time I sign my name to a painting. I used a Windsor & Newton Regency Gold 540 #1 liner to paint the outer straight lines, a Robert Simmons 762 Series White Sable Flat Size 6 1/4″ short handle to paint inside the straight lines and Princeton 2/0 liner to paint the letters.
Drawing and Painting Feathers On A Great Blue Heron – Now we will draw the feathers on our Great Blue Heron using a 2H pencil. A 2H pencil was chosen because it is not too soft. Pencils like HBs or Bs tend to leave a mess and are two soft for my liking. Harder pencils like 2H or 4H are much cleaner but still soft enough to make a dark line that you can see to paint on. Because gouache is a water based paint, I always use a sheet of paper under my drawing and painting hand to prevent the moisture from my skin from possibly damaging the existing paint or paper.
Using a Windsor & Newton Regency Gold 540 paintbrush, I paint over the pencil lines with a blue gray color that is slightly darker than the heron’s base color. After the paint is dry, I take a kneaded eraser and erase any part of the pencil lines that did not get painted. After all of the exposed pencil is erased, I go back with the Windsor & Newton Regency Gold 540 paintbrush and smooth out the painted lines for the feathers.