In response to my item in the last newsletter about drafting triangles, legendary toy design, Bob Knetzger, shared this funny little anecdote (and a tip).
In industrial design school, I had an instructor, Todd Smith, who was a very talented renderer. He would give us demos and workshops using colored Canson paper, spirit Magic Markers™ (the stinky ones in the little glass bottles), NuPastel chalks, Prismacolor pencils, and White Out (for making the white, sparkling highlights on chrome, which we lovingly called “bird shit”). We learned to render surfaces like woodgrain, painted steel, glass, chrome, etc. in our realistic drawings of cars, pencil sharpeners, and vacuum cleaners. In one demo, he Socratically asked us “You know why a triangle is your best drawing tool, right?” We all guessed that the 30/60/90 angle was useful in perspective layouts…? No. Cuz the 45 degree triangle helps divides lengths by 2 visually? No. Putting his fingers through the opening to hold the 90 degree corner: “…because it’s a straight edge with a HANDLE!“
Draftsmen always keep the triangle flat on the paper, sliding them to use the edges along T-squares, parallel rules, and other triangles. Renders NEVER lay the triangle flat on the paper (that would instantly smudge the delicate pastel chalk!)—they hold the triangle up at an angle away from the paper surface and only touch the triangle’s drawing edge to the paper. (At least they did back in the olden days….)