How to Draw Using Lines & Curves

Written by rs wagner
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How to Draw Using Lines & Curves
Lines and curves drawn with a pen or pencil tool are called vectors. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Drawings with lines and curves connected by points are created in vector or photo-editing software programs. Vectors are simply lines and curves, also known as Bezier Curves, connected by points or dots. Drawing in the vector format can create line drawings that do not rely on resolution and may be enlarged without losing clarity. Many software programs offer tools for creating drawings with lines and curves.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Computer
  • Vector illustration or photo-editing program

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  1. 1

    Select a point on a line to make the point active. Use the directional handles to create curves.

  2. 2

    Click on the directional point on a line to make the point active. Use the directional handles to create curves. Click on the directional point to reshape the line. Use the directional lines, which are perpendicular to the radius of the curve, to determine the slope of the curve.

  3. 3

    Experiment with different lengths and angles, reshaping the curves in the desired position.

    Pen Tool

  1. 1

    Select the pen tool, located on the main tool bar, when creating a drawing from lines and curves. Draw straight lines by clicking the pen tool icon, then click on the document creating a point. Repeat until you have the necessary points to create your line.

  2. 2

    Hold down the "Shift" key when clicking on the second point to create a straight line or select "Shift" then click on the document to keep the line at a 45-degree angle.

  3. 3

    Join the first and last points by holding down the "Shift" key and selecting the first and last points. Enter "CTRL/CMD" plus "J" to close the line segments or close the path by "placing the pen tool over the first hollow anchor point until you see a tiny circle," according to Adobe Live Docs, "then click or drag to close the path." Use "CTRL/CMD" then click to keep the path open.

  4. 4

    Click an end point on a straight line, shown as a solid square. Use the "Convert Anchor Point" tool to create a curve by dragging the directional point to the desired angle.

  5. 5

    Click on the document to create another point to complete the curve. Add additional points as necessary.

    Pencil Tool

  1. 1

    Create a hand-drawn appearance with the pencil tool, located in the main tool bar. Use the pencil tool for drawing freehand images.

  2. 2

    Drag the pencil tool by holding down the mouse button as you draw.

  3. 3

    Place the pencil tool at the beginning of your drawing. Hold down the mouse button and begin to drag. Hold the "Alt/Option" key as you drag. Release the "Alt/Option" key to close the path automatically.


  1. 1

    Use shapes as vector objects. Select the desired shape from the main tool bar by holding down the right mouse button on the shape options.

  2. 2

    Select the type of shape. Double-click on the document to open the shape dialogue box. Enter the size and the corner angles for the shape, the radius or the number of sides.

  3. 3

    Select the "Covert Anchor Point" tool to manipulate the points on the shape if necessary.

  4. 4

    Hold down the mouse button and drag a hollow point with the "Convert Anchor Point" tool to create a curve.


  1. 1

    Use a vector illustration program to trace a scanned hand drawing. Import the drawing into the vector program by choosing "File," then "Place."

  2. 2

    Size the drawing as desired. Select the imported drawing with the black selection arrow, then choose, "Live Trace" to "Trace" from the "Object" menu.

  3. 3

    Click once on the "Preview" box to view the changes. Choose a preset option or enter your own according to the "Help" file of your specific program.

  4. 4

    Select "OK" or "Enter." Select "Object," then "Expand" to view the points. Manipulate the points if necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • The last anchor point you add always appears as a solid square. Previously defined anchor points become hollow, and deselected, as you add more anchor points.
  • Select the black arrow selection tool when creating a different shape than the one drawn.
  • A graphics tablet works well with the pencil tool.
  • The first segment you draw will not be visible until you click a second anchor point.
  • Direction lines do not appear in the final drawing.

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