1 Introduction
The picture environment in the LATEX macro package for TEX allows simple line drawing using characters. These characters include quadrant circular arcs, solid disks with diameters from 1 to 15pt and short lines with a limited range of slopes in two thicknesses. A \begin{picture} command defines an area where following commands place these characters to draw a LATEX picture.
ATEX pictures save disk space for source descriptions and computer time in producing documents compared with printer commands or bit mapped graphics. From initial pencil sketch on squared graph paper to final printout, they take half the time for manual pen drawings. The labor savings are higher for revisions and rewrites. Unfortunately standard LATEX cannot yet draw curves like a pen, compass and French curves can.
Superimposing characters closely can draw any curve. Disks give directional independence of line thickness and visual smoothness at large pitch. Smoothness increases with output resolution but is almost independent of disk pitch below a critical maximum. The following table suggests this maximum varies from 0.34pt for an 0.5pt thick curve to 3pt for a 15pt curve.
Thickness Magnified Comments Line at 1/6 slope
15pt 1pt pitch disks