How to Draw an Elliptical Arch

Written by alina mckee
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How to Draw an Elliptical Arch
Compass, Pencil and Elliptical Arch (Sanja Gjenero)

Elliptical arches are used primarily in architectural drawing of buildings and domes. Making a perfect elliptical arch can be accomplished quickly with the use of a ruler and a drawing compass and doesn't have to involve complicated math for those that just want to draw a nice-looking arch. Create straight lines and a smooth arch using beginner techniques that can be mastered by anyone.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ruler
  • Drawing compass

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  1. 1

    Open the compass to the desired width. The wider the compass, the bigger your arch will be.

  2. 2

    Place the needle of the compass on the paper where you want the centre of the opening of the arch to be.

  3. 3

    Set your pencil on the left of the needle and, keeping the needle in place, curve the pencil around to the right side of the needle.

  4. 4

    Put your ruler on the left side of the drawn arch and use it to draw a straight line.

  5. 5

    Repeat Step 4 on the right side of the arch. You now have an elliptical arch.

  6. 6

    Make the arch look three-dimensional, if desired. Make a second, smaller arch on the inside of the first. Connect the two arches with two straight lines at the bottom of the arches.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep the needle steady as you move the pencil across the paper.
  • Don't press too hard on the needle. It will pierce your paper.

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