Creating curves in board artwork

I’m wondering how to get nice and smooth curves in artwork?

For example, how do they get these sorta lines on the boards? I want to crack how to replicate a curve symmetrically around the stringer as well… ie same on each side like this:

or this one:



Lavz, For the rail work ( like pinlines ) you can use a simple marking gauge with a pencil, or use your hand holding a pencil to make a faint line, then tape the line.

For designs in the flats of the board use whatever works. I’ve used a compass for circles, but have also used soup cans. For those long graceful curves like in your second picture, I think the best thing is the old eyeball. Just let it flow.

You can also match a curve by making a paper template of the first one, then flip it over for the one on the other side. Doug

Hey Doug,

Yep I’m OK with the pinline side of things, so thats no dramas.

Yeah for my circles I use anything from a compass to a 20c coin for my FCS holes.

I’ve tried curves before, but it was a really nasty curve of trying to cut peice of 1 inch tape and bend them.

I think if i use stringer tape to make the curve, and then put tape ontop of that, its probably the go.

Thats a good idea with the paper template. Cheers!


Go to an art store and buy a set of french curves, replicate them in masonite so they are about 3’ long.

There you go, instant reusable curves…similar to board templates.

Or you can use cardboard as Doug said and trace around things like rubbish bins, buckets etc…

Drum heads work great, so do templates from a smaller more curvy board. Try using 1/2" or 3/4" tape for the long drawn out curves, it’s more stable than 1/4" tape.

I’m an idiot! Thats brilliant…

I was thinking, how the hell am i supposed to use a drum head on a foam blank… but yeah obviously just use the drum head on a template on the flat ground, then apply it to the board.



Just takes a little parallel thinkin!


i got another question sortof the same.

Say i spray painted a design on the blank (big sweeping curve) and wanted to put a black pinline on the

egde of it, how the hell am i ment to do that ??

Rails you have something as a hand guide but not in the middle of the board.


I use a long thin metal or wood 1 1/2"x1/8x12’ (carpet threshold flat bar), but you need two people. One to bend and one to mark. And a string and a pencil for circles. Patterns on paper are the way to go for complicated designs.


some curves that cover the whole board are just done freehand…heres one, its not perfect but it took about 5 minuits to put the tape down and 5 to paint …its really not that difficult, just use your hand eye cordination or however its spelled…

this is a good tool to have for drawing curves, they cost $10 or so, e.g. at

that’s pretty nifty…where can you get it???

Howzit lavz, Learn to do them free hand, it's the fastest way. Some people are naturals at it and others need to practice. Being pretty much a natural at it got me my first job at learning to be a laminator at a factory. I love doing flames free hand.Aloha,Kokua

some people prononce it aaaaaaaannnnnnnnnaaaaalllllllllllll

measured curves are more likely to go wrong.

measuring is a left brain activity

if this appeals to yall ,? go for it

the illustrious kokua is correct in his suggestion

go freehand.every time will be better

like drawing a pencil line

or swinging an ax

or using a fork and spoon

the tape will become more familiar

the best thing I ever heard is

look at just in front

of where the lay down is

dont look behind for the flaw

just flow the tape from

under your pressed finger.

just go

narrow tape bends better

the auto body section

sells cool masking tape.

have fun with the materials

dont get frustrated…

unless yoou are the kinda person that likes to be frustrated

while questing ''perfection"



If you want to pinline around your curves, why not do it on top of the hot coat. Much easier than trying to mess with them on painted foam. Tons in the archives on doing them with ink vs. true resin pins.

Could use Posca with acrylic over but, my preference - Kokua’s recommendation! - are Zig pigment ink pens as they go on finer, seem to bleed less and are more resin friendly if glossing.


Surfboard templates. Just pretend you’re recutting…pencil marks at 90* off the stringer and then use the curves to hit your marks. With a Posca (agree - after the hotcoat, before gloss) you don’t need any masking tape at all…

Howzit Pete, I can't get Zig pens here on Kauai anymore so I took an empty Zig and punched a hole in the bottom and refilled it with india ink which makes it a felt tipped rapidiograph pen, works better than the Zig pens. India ink has even less tendency to bleed, but the real trick to keep any of the pens from bleeding is to make sure each coat is totally dry before appling the next coat. Try it I think you'll like the results.Aloha,Kokua

Thanks for the advice. What if i…sprayed the green curves (filled in) oon the foam and then lam over and hot coat. Then when hot coat is smooth use a posca or an ink pen and free hand pinline the ouline of it. Then gloss coat over. Gloss coat is essentially the same as hot coat aye just another coat?? do you add wax to the gloss coat? just checking as i didnt do a gloss coat on my first.

I have no problem in marking out with masking tape and spraying the blank. its easy but just the black pinline around it.

Cheers guys, your a real help

Hey Cheater5, I’ve done pinlines on the foam and on the hotcoat. The hotcoat is better, as you suggested. For one thing you aren’t taping on painted foam, which presents some special challenges, and the hotcoat method will give you a sharp, clean line. I usually tape off the lines with 1/2" tape, then squeeze Liquitex Acrylic straight out of the tube. The tape is then pulled up immediately. After it drys, you need to sand the surface lightly to dull it, then glosscoat right over.

I’ve also used paint pens instead of the Liquitex. The only thing to watch: the paint from the pens is thinner, and you need to press the tape down tight so there’s no bleed under the tape. And sand the area to be taped with 220 sandpaper, in parallel with the line, to prevent the paint from following a scratch outside the line area. Doug

Cheers dude.

Nice advice there. Got any pictures of the pinlines that you’ve done.

Sounds good. WIll et some pics and crap when i do mine :smiley: