Drawing Curved Lines

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11863

Here's the straight story on art: Most works of art contain lines that aren't straight, because most objects contain curved lines! Learn and use the professional techniques for drawing curved 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!


How easy is it to draw a perfect half-circle? How about a full circle? Test yourself: Draw a freehand series of concentric circles, like this:

Take a moment to appreciate the lines around you.

It is possible you have never before thought of your world this way, but it really is a collection of lines of different kinds. The edge of your desk is probably a straight line. It may be that the window blind or curtain on your window may be defined by a jagged line or wavy line.

Write down at least five different lines you see in the objects in your space. What kind of lines are they? How would you make them? Try to sketch each line.

In the previous Related Lessons in the Basic Drawing Skills series, found in the right-hand sidebar, you had the opportunity to practice creating and using straight lines (You also had the chance to doodle.) Another major type of line is the curved line. There are two kinds of shapes we will practice drawing with curves: symmetric and asymmetric.

Circles, like the ones you drew in the opening section, are symmetric shapes: that is, they are the same on both sides. If you imagine a line straight down the middle of the circle, one side is identical to the other side, like a mirror image. Look at the example below:

The left side of the circle is a mirror-image of the right side.

Another example, and a trickier one to draw, would be a bottle. If you imagine a line drawn down the center of the bottle, the left side should look exactly like the right side.

Discuss this question with your parent or teacher: What are some other symmetric curved objects you find in your space? Draw at least one symmetric curved object you find in your space with a guide-line down the middle and see how well you can match the two sides.

Many curved lines, especially in nature, are a little messier. They form asymmetric shapes, meaning that one side does not match the other. If you look at someone's eye, surrounded by the eyebrow and the curve of the nose, you'll see an example of an asymmetric shape:

If you drew an imaginary line down the center of an eye, the two sides would not match. Discuss this question with your parent or teacher: What are some other asymmetric shapes you find around you?

You will read a tutorial that shows you some techniques for conquering curves! For each technique, practice drawing the line or shape shown in each section on a piece of paper. Read the tutorial, "How to Draw Curves," by Phil Davies, courtesy of ArtTutor, then share your results with your parent or teacher.

Reflect on the following questions and discuss:

  • Which of the techniques worked especially well for you?
  • Which did not work so well?
  • Why do you think it didn't go as planned?

Now that you've practiced a few techniques for drawing straight and curved lines, move to the Got It? section take a look at some examples from the world of art and see what lines a famous artist used in his work.

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