How To Draw Straight Lines [With 4 Exercises!]

Do you want to learn how to draw straight lines by hand? Then you came to the right place.

Being able to draw straight lines by hand is very important.

You use straight lines in pretty much any drawing so you better practice it.

By looking at the quality of someone lines you can easily tell how much experience that person has as an artist.

So in today’s post, I’ll go over different way that you can learn how to draw straight lines as well.

drawing straight lines

3 crucial tips

Ok, listen up because this is going to be the most important part of the entire post.

Drawing a line might sound easy. But there is actually more technique to it then you might expect if you want really straight lines.

There are three things that helped me a ton when practising my lines. These are:

  1. Draw from your shoulder, not your wrist
  2. Look at your destination, not your pencil
  3. Work fast and confident

So what does this all mean?

Drawing from your shoulder is important because it lets you make bigger strokes. If you keep your wrist locked and only move from the shoulder you can easily reach side to side on the paper.

Secondly you want to look where you want your line to go. Don’t look at the tip of your pen or pencil. This sounds super counterintuitive.

But once you give it a try, you will quickly realize that you don’t need to know the precise location of your. Knowing where you started and where you want the line to go is enough.

Finally, you want to draw your lines fast and with confidence, even if you don’t feel confident at all! Normally you want to slow down if you wan to make sure everything is perfect. But when you are drawing lines, it’s the exact opposite.

As soon as you slow down or stop halfway your line, you inevitable will start to wobble. So try to draw your straight line as fast as possible. You can always erase it if it really went terrible, right?

Practising straight lines

If you look at some old book on learning how to draw, you might come across the advice of just filling a few pages with nothing but lines. Horizontal lines, vertical lines, diagonal lines, all the lines.

This might be great practice, but it’s also super boring. So here are a few exercises you can use to practice your lines.

Just try one until you are bored and then switch to the next. If you tried all of them several times, your line will improve significantly.

So after some drawing warm up, try some of these exercises:

1 Parallel lines

For this exercise you want to start by drawing a few lines parallel to each other with plenty of space between them.

Then you want to draw more parallel lines right between the ones you already drew.

Then keep repeating that until the lines are so close to each other that you can’t possibly fit any new lines in.

Here is one of my tries:

parallel lines 2
parallel lines 3
parallel lines 4

2 Connecting the dots

No super amazing secret techniques here, this exercise is indeed just connecting the dots.

However, this is a great way to practice tip number 2. So place your pen at one of the dots, then keep your eyes fixed at another dot, and draw the line. Don’t cheat and look at the pen instead!

Here is one of my attempts:

exercise for drawing straigh lines 1
exercise for drawing straigh lines 2

3 Draw objects & letters

Who said that parallel lines need to be boring? With a little bit of creativity you can actually “draw” a lot of things only using straight lines.

Why don’t you try writing with parallel lines? You can roughly sketch where you want your lines to go and then fill in your letters with straight lines.

practice drawing straigh lines

I also tried drawing a heart with only straight lines. First I drew horizontal lines to get the basic shape down. And then I added parallel lines at different angles as decoration.

straight line art 1
straight line art 2

With this exercise you can get pretty creative. Try drawing your own name, some cute animals, or your favorite food.

4 Cubes with textures

When I think of straight lines, I think of squares, rectangles and cubes. So it only made sense to me to try drawing a few to practice my straight lines.

I then tried to decorate them with different patterns consisting of straight lines. Here was my first try:

straight line cube practice 1
straight line cube practice 2

Also read my article on how to draw 3D cubes from different angles.

Time for action!

If you reached this far, it’s time to stop reading and start drawing!

Pick one of the exercises and start practising your lines. Practising for just a few minutes each day for several weeks will make a huge difference.

Learning how to draw straight lines is maybe not the most exciting thing, but a good grip of the basics is what differentiates the professional from the amateur.

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