How to draw circles freehand?!

  • Hej Guys,
    i'm currently doing the course "learn how to draw everything" by Jake Parker.
    I really enjoy it so far, and he is just such a likable person.

    Do you have any tips for drawing circles freehand? What were your best practices?
    I was trying drawing circles out of your shoulder, using the techniqe drawing a box, find the center point there and then draw the circle in between the box and the intersections.

    As soon as i draw circles freehand without any aid, its just not as round as Jake's circles. Guys believe me, i was drawing a lot "circles" recently.

    So if you have any suggestions, please tell me 🙂


  • Hey, @Fritz - from what others have said, it should come with time. It just may take a very long time depending on how much drawing you actually do; frequency and longevity. Drawing circles (and straight lines, etc) has always been difficult for me and I've decided to accept that I will never be able to draw a perfect circle, or at least as perfect of a circle (or ellipse) as I'd like it to look. Therefore, I use templates and a French curve when I can.

    As a side note - one thing I still have a tough time discarding is the filter we sometimes have when looking at other artists' work, especially really good artists that we look up to. Take Jake Parker for instance. The man has a knack for creating really cool stuff. But, if you break it down and start looking at the individual pieces, the ink work is by no means "perfect". His straight lines aren't straight, his circles and curves are wobbly and so on. And I don't say this to be rude or discount his work and style - I love it. Things are in perspective, it's well designed and composed with variations in line weight and so on. We just glaze over the finer points and look at the whole because we didn't draw it ourselves. When you create something, you nit pick all the little details. You sweat over making that circle perfect or that line straight because you are constructing it.

    Just my long-winded opinion/perspective, but hope that helps some. 🙂

  • It's real hard for me to draw flowing shapes if my desk isn't at an angle, once I tilt it then its much easier for me to "draw from the shoulder". If I can't tilt my surface I'll stand up, or I do both. I also have a flexible ruler and it is just the best. That way if I draw the elusive perfect curve (you know what I'm talking about) and want to reflect it or repeat it I can just mold it with my my ruler and use that as a general guide. I cannot adequately express the joy and happiness the flexible ruler brings to my life.

    Happy circling!

  • I found today that is easier for me to draw a circle when I hold pen perpendicularly to the sheet, tablet or on whatever you are drawing 🙂 its easier to use shoulder then. Try it... maybe it won't fit you

  • SVS OG

    Just keep drawing circles! You might try to practice by looking at a circle and drawing it like a contour line drawing and see if you can master the really round edges. Or draw a circle about the same size as a lid and then se how far off you are and keep tryign to match it perfectly (maybe like the inside of a canning jar lid so you can see better? ) Anyway, just some ideas. Take the or leave them.

  • Hej Guys 🙂
    Thank you for all the answers and the upcheer!! Especially Lawnz, for this detailed insight; this resonated with me 😉

    My circles are getting rounder and rounder, i just have to practise, practise, practise. Overwriting my movementpattern regarding circles in my brain 🙂 Actually i improved quite some.

    Maybe i will try a flexible ruler, will see 🙂

    The techniques with holding pen perpendicular and looking at a circle is my almost daily practise now. I split the circle in 4 quarters and try to get an individual feel for every quarter and combine them when drawing, tracing etc. 🙂 Imagining round shapes helps too. As i said, i'm drawing every day now and i realised i can visualize shapes much better now. Currently i'm combining shapes like squares, spheres, cones etc. which is a pain in the ass for the moment, but im progressing. Sorry for off topic 😉

    So keep your pencils sharpened and happy drawing,

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