How to draw circles , ellipses , parabolas , squares and all other geometric shapes efficiently without instruments or objects? Often the symmetry of the shapes gets messed up while drawing free-hand. How to overcome this problem?

  • Tell me what do you consider "instruments or objects" do you mean drawing free-handed only or you can use some simple things like nail and string? I’m asking because it’s crucial for my answer. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 18:58
  • Free hand ofcourse :) Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 4:03
  • Then keep practicing.. :) Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 14:35
  • Will do :) . Thought there was a shortcut to do such stuff :p Commented Feb 21, 2015 at 4:19
  • There is, but involves nail or something like that and a piece of string, and then from math definition of this curves you can draw them perfectly, but it would take me a while to explain it that’s why I asked if this type of solution suits you. I know people who spend years and years practicing to draw perfect circle of any size, and they managed it, but like I said after years of practice. Commented Feb 21, 2015 at 14:31

3 Answers 3


You haven't said what you're doing the drawing for, but I'm amazed you're even trying to draw these freehand - whenever I do a design drawing, there's no way I can freehand any of that stuff, especially to scale! Circles, straight lines and squares aren't too difficult though - I used to rummage in the kitchen equipment drawer and usually found something the right shape and size to draw round, (pastry cutters, tops off bottles, etc) and for larger circles, might use a saucer or a plate, depending on size. Squares, well anything box shaped of the right size, but parabolas and ellipses, that's another matter altogether - they should be mathematically accurate for one thing. I'm afraid in the end I had to resort to buying the right equipment.

  • Well I draw a little manga and also I need to draw these for Mathematics. So its kinda hard to always depend on the instruments. Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 12:21
  • @EroSennin - I'm still impressed, I can't even draw a straight line without a ruler...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 13:18


To draw a circle freehand, take a pen/pencil and put your wrist on the piece of paper, then spin/rotate the paper underneath while holding your pen/pencil very firmly. For smaller circles, use your fingers (knuckles) instead of wrist.

Check the videos demonstrating this technique:

How to Draw a Perfect Circle Freehand Life Hack #2: How to Draw an Accurate Circle quickly without using any Instruments

For drawing a circle on the larger scale, use your arm by not flexing it.

See the video:

Freehand Circle Drawing


Always try to draw shapes and such things on squared or geometry paper as you can use the squares to keep sides of the shapes the same - you can break it down into quarters and draw one quarter and try and match the others to that one and it should come out pretty neat.

  • 1
    I do most of my drawing on plain paper and squared paper is kinda childish Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 12:20
  • @EroSennin ...childish? If anything, squared paper is used by professionals.
    – agweber
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 21:04
  • Well I'm not a pro. Umm.. Im confused now. @MrPhooky are you refering to papers with squares or graph paper? O.o Commented Feb 28, 2015 at 3:57

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