Here are some tips to help you draw more accurately, and avoid frustration. Most of them I gleaned from my architect-brother.
- Keep your drafting tools clean. Graphite dust can be removed with soap and water from plastic tools. While you can use a cloth to get the graphite dust off your newly-sharpened lead, if you poke the tip of the lead into a kneaded eraser it will keep everything cleaner.
- Use a hard lead (at least 4H) for drawing construction lines, perspective grids, etc. It keeps a point longer and thus is more controllable. Be sure to re-sharpen the lead often.
- Another tip for keeping a sharp point is to rotate the pencil or lead-holder when you draw to use a different side of the lead. This will extend the sharpness of the point and keep the line width constant, but it takes some practice.
- When drawing a line, keep the angle of the pencil or lead-holder constant to ensure a straight line, Angle the pencil a bit in the direction of the stroke.
- Keep checking the alignment of the straightedge or triangle before you draw the line. Put the pencil tip on the point you wish to start (or end) on and bring the straight edge up to it (you will notice it is a bit to the side of the point due to the taper of the lead). Now put the point of the pencil on the other end of the line you wish to draw and carefully bring the straight edge to it. Go back to the first point to ensure that the straight edge has not moved when you adjusted it for the second point.
- One trick I found is to use the parallel rule (much better than a t-square!) to support a corner of the triangle (the corner which is not on the line) when you are lining it up to draw the line as discussed above. It helps keep it in position so it won't move when you check the second point.
- Never, never, never brush eraser crumbs or graphite dust off your drawing with your hand! It will leave oil which will make it difficult to draw a line. Instead ALWAYS use a horse-hair drafting brush. It will clean the surface better
- You can purchase a cleaner-bag which has some kind of granules in it to clean off graphite dust from your drawing (it might work on your tools also). A good investment, and not expensive at all.
- While tool choice is personal, drafting lead holders ("clutch pencils") were developed, and are used, for a reason. Their leads are thinner and so as they wear down they do not change the distance between the point and the edge of the straight edge as much. If you haven't tried them I highly recommend you do. They also are faster to sharpen.
- Some people prefer to use one of the micro-lead pencils instead of a lead holder. (For example the 0.03" click-advance pencils every pencil manufacturer has. They also come in a variety of lead diameters.) A big advantage they have is they do not need to be sharpened, and the super-thin leads have almost no offset to the straight edge when drawing lines.
- If you are inking your drawing, make sure your t-square or parallel rule and all straight edges and triangles or curves you use have an "inking edge" which is an edge which does not contact the paper and draw ink under the instrument by capillary action. If you cannot get the instrument you want with an inking edge, you can tape pennies or other thin coins along the edges, back a little bit from the edges to raise it up off the paper. Be careful when drawing lines with these, they can be a bit more difficult to use.