I used to think, “I suck at drawing. I can’t even draw straight lines!”
But no more. Turns out, you can quickly learn how to draw very straight lines freehand. This is my first step to feeling confident about my drawing skills!
I drew the spiral you see on the right after only one week of practice. Each day I practiced for about an hour. That’s all.
Of course, the main trick to learning is practice. But there are certain exercises and techniques that can help you achieve the results faster. I will describe them below.
This post is Week 1 of my personal challenge to learn how to draw kawaii in 6 months.
How I Practiced Drawing Straight Lines by Hand
I started by just drawing lots and lots of straight lines on a page. Boring!
Very quickly I wanted to do something more interesting. I decided to draw a few shapes on the page and fill all empty spaces around the shapes with straight lines. That’s better!
I continued to experiment with the lines by varying the angle, thickness, length and density of lines. At this point, it’s not about creating beautiful designs, but about drawing straight lines :). So I filled page after page with just lines, keeping it interesting by arranging lines into patterns and interweaving them.
Have you ever filled a colouring page with different colours? I did the same, but I filled the page with different lines. That was fun!
Materials I Used
These are exactly the materials I used this week.
- Micron Pens, black, size 04 and 08
- Dust-Free Eraser
- 2B Pencil
- Spiral-bound notebook (don’t use it!), followed by good old printer paper (use that!)
I didn’t use any books or references this week. I only looked at the golden spiral to draw the guide line for the spiral page.
Tips for Drawing Straight Lines
- For straight lines, keep your entire work surface flat. I started drawing in a spiral-bound notebook, but it didn’t work. My wrist kept catching on the spiral binding and interrupting the line.
- Draw within the comfort area of your hand. Turn the paper around rather than twisting your wrist.
- Plan ahead! See the entire line in your mind’s eye before starting to draw. This will allow you to check that you have enough work space to do the full length. It will also prepare your mind to draw the line better.
- This trick made the biggest difference. As you draw the line, don’t look at the tip of your pen. Instead look just ahead, where the line will be. This is also helpful for keeping even width between the lines.
- Draw from your shoulder rather than your wrist. Using your wrist produces very straight short lines. But if you need to have long straight lines, you will need to move your entire arm in one fluid motion.
- Be aware of your breath. Believer it or not, I noticed that changing inhale/exhale in the middle of a line made it shaky! If you have a long line ahead of you, either breath in or breath out for the length of the entire line.
- An observation: if you fill the space with lines, the angle of lines actually changes how dark or light the area appears. Space filled with vertical lines looks lighter than space with horizontal lines, even if the distance between the lines is the same.
A few hours of practice with these points in mind will produce amazingly fast results! Do you have any experiences to share? Let me know in the comments. 🙂
I know that drawing straight lines can dull… but I feel that these exercises give me more confidence in handling the pen and tackling more challenging drawings.
Drawing Time Diary
Monday, Nov 14: 30 min and 20 min sessions
Tuesday, Nov 15: two 45 min sessions
Wednesday, Nov 16: 1 hr and 20 min session
Thursday, Nov 17: 35 min and 45 min sessions
Friday, Nov 18: 1 hr and 45 min sessions
Saturday, Nov 19: no drawing 🙁
Sunday, Nov 20: 45 min session
Total drawing time: 7.5 hours