Using a Bridge to Paint Straight Lines

The 'bridge' technique of painting a straight line. In this photo, the metal ferrule is pressed against the ruler as it is pulled from left to right.
The ‘bridge’ technique. In this photo, the metal ferrule is pressed against the ruler as it is pulled from left to right.

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 like 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.

Brushes For Painting My Signature

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. Since 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.

Using the 'bridge' to paint. In this photo, the metal ferrule is pressed against the ruler as it is pulled from left to right.
Another view of the ‘bridge’ technique.
Using my Robert Simmons white sable 762 series 1/4 flat for filling in the rectangle. Painting straight lines
Using my Robert Simmons white sable 762 series 1/4 flat for filling in the rectangle.
Using a thin Princeton liner to sign my name.
Using a thin Princeton liner to sign my name.
A dimly lit close up of the Princeton 2/0 liner I bought for $3 at Plaza Art next to Drexel University in Philadelphia. Painting straight lines
A dimly lit close up of the Princeton 2/0 liner I bought for $3 at Plaza Art next to Drexel University in Philadelphia.

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