The sequence of your lines

When you trace a stained glass design, you trace one line after another. So you trace the first line, and then the second, and the third and so on, until you’ve copied all the lines.

My point to you today is, you must study the design before you start. But not just that, because the crucial bit is this: you must decide the sequence of your lines. Decide? Yes, decide. In a moment, you’ll get two walk-throughs. But to start with, just take your design and …

Think about it first

Stained glass tracing

First this line, then this one …

Sometimes the sequence is absolutely clear.

I don’t mean “clear to a beginner or outsider”.

I mean clear to someone with experience.

They think it makes good sense to go forward in this order … and not in that one …

So this good sense is also part of what it is to master the technique of tracing.

Just like a good mountaineer has the muscular strength and also the wisdom to know how to climb a particular cliff.

But other times of course, it’s not so clear: I might go one way, Stephen might go another, and you a third way. With the good skill we have, it’s possible everyone will come out well …

In other words, sometimes – when you stop and think about it – it’s absolutely clear, whilst other times there’s room for discussion (maybe there is no perfect path).

Now this is my point: never leave it to chance. Chance is awful here.


My advice to you is:

Always have a plan.

Test your tracing once or twice in your imagination, running through the sequence in your mind’s eye and double-checking that it makes sense.

Change the plan if you come across a problem.

Then trace it in the real world.

OK, so let’s get specific.

Take a few moments to study this fine fish here:

Which line or shape do you think comes first … second … third?

Think about the individual lines which compose it.

When you’re ready, look at this sequence which I used.

Click the right (and left) button to move forward (and back):

First one line, then another …

Make sense to you?


OK, so here’s a second case, a frog:

Decide for yourself which line you’d trace first … second … third and so forth

And here’s the way I traced it.

As before, just click the right and left arrow to move forward and back within the sequence:

Several right ways – maybe

Maybe we agree, maybe we differ in a few strokes.

All the same, the point is: you’ll trace better when you have a plan.

Because confidence makes a a lot of difference.

OK, maybe you’ll get it wrong …

Even so, that experience will still develop not just your stamina but also the wisdom you need to paint glass beautifully.

You’ll get there sooner than someone who gets it right by chance.