I’ve been getting quite a few people asking me about how to get a crisp,clean and free-flowing line drawing for their work.

First let’s get something out of the way – proper line drawing comes with experience, so it’s a process that takes time…

You can’t become good overnight, but you can became 1% better with each drawing, ending up with a slow and steady learning curve.

Why Is Line Drawing So Hard To Learn?

Because of the very nature of the craft (hint hint, good skills in architectural drawing are impossible to fake, that’s why they’re so appreciated!)

To get to the level where you clear up your line drawing you will need a bit of experience under the belt.

You can probably do a decent line drawing right now, but my guess is that it won’t look crisp or free-flowing, but rather messy, crooked and having an overall feeling of ‘not there yet’

The good part is… I’ve got the perfect exercise to hack the learning process so you get closer to the crisp and expressive line drawing you really want… FAST

What’s The Exercise And The Story Behind It

It all goes back to when I was learning drawing some years ago…

Back then things were different – you didn’t have as much info on how to get things done or how to evolve or how to use any of the mental tools to become more efficient…

So your best bet was to try to guess what you should do next… and needless to say sometimes after several months or several years of drawing you would stay at somewhat the same level…

Man that was very very frustrating!

The status quo back the was ‘to draw well, you need to produce that much work that if you stack it up, you can sit on it like you would on a chair (roughly 45-50 cm stack of A2 drawings)

I couldn’t deal with that (not sure why but from early on I had a sense of not wasting time and being efficient with my learning)  so I found the most boastful of my tutors and stole his secret files on linedrawing… and he eventually stole it back from me, but I manage to boild everything down to one simple simple exercise that takes 5 minutes of time, is easy to do and will get your killer results with drawing… FAST.

It will make you draw faster, you will enjoy drawing more, it will increase your hand-eye coordination…

Let’s get started!

Exercise Done Pencil

Ideally you do this both in pen and in liner, just to get used to the challenges each of the media poses.

Introducing The ‘Ellipse Exercise’

To get the most out of this exercise you ideally go through each of the steps in order… and try to avoid the temptation to jump ahead.

Step 1

Chose a drawing tool – pencil or liner (you will go through both of them, ideally)

Step 2

Do the first exercise – which involves you drawing small circles with a continuous line… while continuing your drawing to the right.

So you get some weird circle-worm thing, which looks something like the ones on the left. (yours might look a bit more crooked/beginner-like)

Careful to keep the circles parallel to each other – you don’t want them becoming ellipses.

Step 3

Do the large circles exercises – so you end up with a similar shape as that from exercise one… only that these circles are slightly harder to pull off.

Keep the lines parallel… by now you probably got the rhythm of how this works.

Step 4

Start doing flat ellipses – these are slightly more difficult than regular circles… and this is because parallel ellipses are harder to draw than parallel circles.

Step 5

Do the rotated ellipses exercise – this is the trickiest of all exercises because it involves A LOT of hand-eye coordination. You will make all sorts of mistakes here… faulty ellipses, nonparallel lines, you will draw squares instead of ellipses.

Step 6

Repeat, but with different drawing tool (liner, ballpoint pen, colored crayon, etc)

Try different drawing media… the more tricky the exercise, the more you will get out of it.

Couple Of Questions You Could Ask Yourself

F*ck, apparently I lost the exercise PDF somewhere on my website, so it is unavailable to download – but good news, you can get a free lesson from my course on architectural composition here.

This is actually better, as this lesson will show you more on freehand sketching than any exercise could.

But there are always more levels of depth you could take each exercise…

Now that you know about this magical, five-minute exercise what could you use it for?

How much time are you willing to spend on practicing this every day? ( I recommend ten minutes a day for two weeks at least)

How will your drawing skills improve because of this? (hint hint: your skills will improve DRAMATICALLY)

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section below.

If you found this short article useful, don’t forget to pop in your name and email in the Opt-in box to get access to the Fundamentals of Perspective PDF.

Also,share this article with you friends if they’re also interested in learning architectural drawing.

This is just one drawing technique I share with you from my book on architectural drawing. If this one technique works for you, imagine what level of mastery over architectural drawing you will get after reading a whole book on drawing!

You can download and read through the first 44 pages of my book here.

Take care!


Disclaimer: Results will vary, and you should not use this information as a substitute for getting formal architectural education. Good luck! ©2008-2017 Architectural Graphics Ltd, All Rights Reserved. "Freehand Architecture" and "Advanced Drawing And Design" are trademarks used by Architectural Graphics Ltd.

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