When you first begin line drawing, it can be a tough practice.
Many people get discouraged when their lines don’t look how they want them to. Few people realize that it is a matter of both mind and physical ability.
Sometimes you just need to refine your fine motor skills to get good at it. That is why I have brought together a list of fun line drawing exercises to get you into shape.
Photo by Bec Brown
Begin with Dashes
Drawing the perfect line in a single swoop is something that we all long for when line drawing. However, it is better to have a good line than it is to have one that you did in a fancy way. Though you might want to look suave, the reality is that there is some merit to being patient and learning how lines work in a step-by-step way.
The most beneficial way to go about this is to first learn how to structure your lines. Instead of drawing a single line in one quick slip of the pen, try drawing dashes. Dashes are much easier to keep straight because they are short in length.
Additionally, they are known for making it easier to dictate where your line will go. When you have dashed out the line, you can easily fill in the spaces and enjoy your complete line!
Practice with A Ruler
If you are looking to drawing the perfect straight line, you need a standard for perfection. First, you will begin this approach by taking a ruler and drawing a perfectly straight line. It actually helps to draw a few of them with plenty of space between each one.
Once your perfect lines are complete, you can jump straight to making your very own. Next to one of the perfect lines, practice drawing your own straight line. Having the true straight line for reference will help you to see more easily how you should construct your own.
This will also give you a good reference point for how your straight-line drawing is going. Practicing this repeatedly is a great way to perfect your lines.
Practice Using Guiding Points
Another excellent way to get better at drawing certain kinds of lines is to mark points on the page to follow. This can be used for straight or curved lines as needed with really great results. Mark the spot on the page where you would like to guide the line.
Focus on carrying your stroke forward in a way that matches the appropriate angle based on the next spot. It can be helpful for drawing short straight lines, but it is great for curved lines. This will make it easy for you to practice the shape of your curves as you draw.
The best way to approach this is to imagine that you are drawing eyelets on shoes. The eyelets will be where you place the marks. Then, you can use any variation of lines to connect various eyelets.
Practice Drawing Shapes
An excellent way to get used to drawing all kinds of lines is to begin by drawing shapes. Drawing various kinds of shapes will help you to work on getting more consistent with your lines.
It makes it easier for you to get practice in without simply drawing a line over and over. Squares, rectangles, and triangles are good for straight-line drawing. Circles and ovals are helpful for giving you more control when you draw curved lines.
These shapes are important when it comes to getting the most out of the hand motions. It is an excellent way to start building muscle memory and get more control.
Photo by Malachi Brooks
Draw 3D Shapes
3D shapes are a ton of fun to draw. On the one hand, they look incredibly cool when you finish them. It is a kind of art that really pops, and many people find it pretty impressive. You can have fun showing off these shapes that look hard to make but are actually pretty cool.
More than picking up a cool skill, these shapes are a great way to practice controlling your lines. You can always tell when your lines are off because it will throw off the proportions and overall feel of the 3D shape. This makes it ideal for striving towards perfection.
Since it is a fun task with cool end results, it seldom feels like you are doing the same thing over and over. Popular options include using cubes and pyramids for practice.
Practice Tracing with A Pen
An excellent way to get better at drawing lines and controlling your hand while line drawing is tracing. Tracing makes it possible for you to practice your hand at line drawing without forcing you to start from nothing. Using this option is great because it teaches you the motions for drawing without necessarily forcing you to make it up.
Plenty of people find a disconnect between their mind and their hand when learning line drawing. This approach helps you to bridge that gap by helping you to get the muscle memory down first.
Since you will only need to focus on teaching your hand how to draw, you can dedicate more time to perfecting this process. This makes it much easier for you to learn the steps. Once you have the muscle memory down, you can focus on learning to do it completely freehand.
Try Different Writing Utensils
An excellent way to learn about making better lines is to use a variety of tools. When you are line drawing, you have to move your hand in really specific ways. This is all a part of learning how to create the kinds of lines that you want to see. However, some tools make it easier for you to practice.
For example, using a square-edged marker or highlighter is an excellent way to guarantee that you are focusing on creating a straight line. The square edge will make it easier for you to feel confident in the gesture. You can then work your way through a variety of other tools to learn how your hand motions vary.
This process of focusing on drawing lines with different tools can help you to think more critically about what actually matters. It is an excellent way to build more comprehensive knowledge.
Mirror A Shape
An excellent exercise to improve your understanding of line drawing is the act of mirroring shapes. You will love seeing how mirroring shapes can help to improve your mental understanding of drawing. Begin by drawing a shape of some sort. You don’t have to draw a traditional shape.
In fact, the more obscure and odd the shape is, the better. Don’t make it too convoluted or it will be too difficult to copy. However, you want the form to be something that you will have to think about. After you have drawn your odd new shape, on one side of it, begin to draw the mirror image of the shape.
This can feel a little difficult at first, but once you get it down, you will see the benefit. It is a great way to get the most out of your mental and physical processes for line drawing.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema
Vary Your Grip
Line drawing can require a lot of different holds on a device. Depending on what kind of line you want to draw or what it looks like, you might just find that some grips work better. A firm grip might work well for drawing a straight line, sure.
On the other hand, a looser grip might help you to guide a pen more effectively through the curves of a line. Different styles of drawing and different lines require different approaches. You might change the way that you are holding your pen or change the angle that it is being held at.
You might grip it might tightly or let it hang more loosely in your hand. No matter what, you will want to focus on seeing how your grip can change the process.
Try Out Calligraphy
If you want to learn the ins and outs of line control quickly, practicing calligraphy can help. This process is wholly focused on manipulating lines and the impact that they have. Training in this capacity is an excellent way to boost your overall approach to line drawing.
Not only will it help you to gain control, but it will also help you to get more fluid with it. Calligraphy is a smooth and fluid process that requires sweeping gestures. In many ways, it can feel like dancing with your hand. This process might be just what you need to boost your line drawing talents.
Draw the Rainbow
This might seem childish, but it is remarkably effective for line drawing. You will use rainbows to help you draw more exact lines. In order to make a well-constructed rainbow, you must avoid allowing the colors to overlap.
Practicing drawing in rainbows or repeating color patterns can help you to focus on making more exact lines that will be perfect for your work. You will love seeing how this approach can allow you to learn and have fun at the same time. In fact, you might just realize that you can make some seriously cool works of art by doing this alone.
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński
Draw Your Own Patterns
A really fun way to get better at line drawing is to make exciting patterns. You can have a lot of fun with this exercise, and it is methodical enough to be deeply calming. This is one approach that is great for having a good time and learning at the same time.
You can make any kind of pattern that you want. Many people choose shapes or line patterns. Others start with a shape in the middle and work out from it like a kaleidoscope. Make sure you focus on having fun with it and enjoying this effortless way to build skills!
Try Out Cross-Hatching
Cross-hatching is a really cool approach to drawing that is dependent on good lines. Since you will rely on drawing lines for the entire process, you can build up your muscles very quickly. In fact, many people find that this is an easy and mindless way to get some good line drawing practice in. You can just turn on a podcast and have fun doing this repetitive pattern.
Get Your Scribble On
Yes, you read this correctly. An excellent way to go about practicing your line drawing is to let yourself scribble. Scribbling is a delightful freeform way to get used to maneuvering a pen in your hand.
This is a great way to not only loosen up the correct muscles but practice random intervals of control at the same time. You will love doing it too, especially with different colored markers.
Fill in Coloring Book Pages With Lines
You will be amazed to see just how cool this turns out. Instead of coloring in the pages of a coloring book, draw lines within the spaces instead. Be sure to vary the colors and textures, and you will have a great time with it. The end result with this is seriously cool and it is a great way to practice drawing lines at different angles.
Finding the right approach to line drawing is something that can look different for everyone. The simple truth is that the more you practice any kind of line drawing, the better you will get at it. Try not to get discouraged when you first start. Instead, focus on letting yourself practice and get better. You will be glad that you did as you see yourself improve.
Are you having struggles drawing? Which line drawing exercise would you try?