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How to Draw a Circle & an Ellipse

Learn how to draw circles and ellipses from artist Rebecca Schweiger in this Howcast drawing tutorial.


Now we're going to focus on how to draw circles and ellipses, which absolutely come in handy for anything else you'll want to be drawing. In order to draw a circle, a little tip can be the following, which is to draw the letter 'T', or a cross. Some people have a very easy time drawing a circle; other people have a harder time. If you are a person who has a harder time, you can draw this 'T' or cross, and you're going to make a little point equidistant from the center. Basically, it's going to be connect-the-dots, but instead of with a straight line, with a round line. I'm just going to connect with a little curve. I'm going to connect this again, another curve. Here, with another curve, and with another curve. Here you have your circle. If you want to make it a bigger circle, you just bring the point a little farther from the center. Again, a curve, quarter curve, bring it around, bring it around right here, and around here. Then I can always come right back over, just to smooth it out and make it feel like a very perfect circle.

Ellipses are basically a circle, like the top of this candlestick, but if I move it, it becomes an ellipse. It's seeing a circle from a certain perspective. Typically, it's almost like an oval, a skinny oval, so this would be an ellipse; this type of shape. If you take your pencil and you draw a curve line, connect it with another curve line right underneath, almost like a mirror image and connect the ends with the curve line. That is an ellipse.

An ellipse can come in handy when you're drawing a candlestick, a vase, or a glass. Basically, if I'm going to draw the top of this candlestick, from where I'm sitting, it's not a perfect circle, it's this ellipse shape. There's another ellipse that comes right around it. There I have the top of the candlestick. You can find any circular shape at home, any circular object, and you can practice drawing your circles and your ellipses. Circles and ellipses will show up in still life, they'll show up in flowers, they'll show up in human form, so if you can just spend some time practicing your circles and ellipses, you can relax, listen to music, draw a few circles, and know that you're moving forward on your drawing journey.

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