Yes, this is probably the most obvious tip yet, but I’m always amazed at how much cleaner lines are drawn with a ruler. Ok, not surprised, but much happier with the result.
There’s definitely a time for freehand-drawn lines, and if that’s your thing, go for it. I do both but, most of the time, even when I think I can manage a nice line between two dots, it’s like I’m suddenly drawing with my left hand (I’m right handed) and it goes all wonky. It’s pathetic.
The set that I bought is very similar to this one:
I bought it at Office Max for under $5. Of course, literally the second day of ownership, I lost the straight ruler and it still hasn’t turned up. However, the straight edges of the triangles are still perfect for drawing lines. I have used the protractor for banners and things, but I end up using the straight edge for lines more than anything else.
Also, I recommend a clear set over an opaque one. Maybe it’s completely psychological, but I think it’s very helpful to see the area you’re working with as you go.
Do you currently use a ruler? Or do you think rulers are for wimps? 🙂