Drawing Straight Lines

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11862

Where would we be without straight lines? Architecture, calligraphy, streets, crows flying -- Straight lines are all around us, but they are hard to draw! Learn how to create art with simple lines!


Visual Arts

Fine Arts
learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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What is the longest line you can draw (without a ruler) that is perfectly straight? Try it and see!

Drawing a straight line seems like it would be the simplest thing in the world, but how frustrating!

Lines are some of the basic building blocks of drawing. Think about it — most images are made up of shapes, and every shape consists of lines, and many shapes, like squares, rectangles, triangles, and others, require a perfect or nearly-perfect straight line.

You will undoubtedly say, "Aha, I can draw straight lines — I have a ruler!" Most artists, though, even ones who work as graphic designers and use advanced computer tools in creating images, are well-trained in drawing by eye and hand.

Let's learn a few basic techniques to help you draw straight lines with ease!

  1. Let's start with two simple dots.
  2. Put a dot on one side of your paper and a dot elsewhere on the page. Don't make them too far apart at first; three or four inches will do just fine.
  3. Next, with pen or pencil in hand, start at one dot and go to the other. Your eye will want to trace the movement of the point of your pen or pencil, but instead of looking there, look at your destination point and move your hand swiftly. Tip: Move your arm from the shoulder or elbow, not the hand. This will help keep your lines nice and straight!
  4. Add more dots, and make them farther apart as you become more confident.

Share your practice lines with your parent or teacher, and discuss the following questions:

  • What is most challenging about drawing straight lines?
  • How do the techniques and tips presented here make line drawing easier?

Now that you have some practice with straight lines, let's examine some real artwork from an artist who became famous for his use of straight lines. Go on to the Got It? section.

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