Lesson: How to draw a straight line


The old cliche “I can’t draw a straight line” has always been a bit silly, because of course it implies drawing a straight line should be the easiest thing to do. In fact, drawing a perfectly straight line is not really a natural thing for the hand to do, and you’re better off getting a ruler to help you out. That’s what the artist does.

What you do want to do, as a beginning artist, is to train your hand to be responsive to your brain and eye. You should begin by doing simple warm-up exercises. This is like stretching and light calisthenics for the athlete. If you’re wondering why you can’t be a great artist overnight, it’s the same reason you can’t go from your couch to Olympic gold overnight. It takes skill, and skill takes training and time as well as talent.


Whether you draw digitally or on paper, you need to get used to moving your hand the right way. Don’t hold the pencil like you’re writing necessarily, but a bit more perpendicular to the surface. Don’t use a death grip near the point, but hold the barrel lightly and firmly.

And get a ruler.

Use the ruler to draw a few straight lines to copy. I’m not kidding, give yourself a straight line to look at. ¬†Otherwise, it’s too easy to bend and curve your hand. Look at what it is that you want to do. Then copy that line several times, the best you can. Don’t worry about getting it perfect. The angle doesn’t have to be just so, and it doesn’t matter if you get it just plain wrong. You may find yourself drawing that line slowly at first, sweating bullets at the attempt. That’s OK. Just keep working at getting a more natural feel. You want to do your bending and light calisthenics until it feels easy, natural. Then you’ll find yourself drawing the lines faster and better.

Do the same with circles. Use something round to make a real circle to look at, then copy it many times, without worrying about making it just right. As with the lines, you are not trying to make pretty lines for other people to look at. Nobody is interested in watching you stretch and jog in place. This is all training, getting your hand used to making all the sorts of drawing movements you’ll need to do later.

After the circles, try drawing other sorts of lines and shapes. Anything you can think of. Do this anytime, and don’t necessarily make it a ritual that requires you sitting down and doing it on Wednesday morning. Instead, keep a scratchpad of some sort, and doodle whenever your hand is free.



Watamote vs Kill Me Baby


Tomoko Kuroki (Watamote) and Yasuna Oribe (Kill Me, Baby) are both terrific idiots in their own way, and both have violent best friends–Tomoko’s Yoshida, and Yasuna’s Sonja. I’m afraid if they ever got together, there’d be a lot of bloodshed.

Mio from Nichijou


More recent fan art drawn in MyPaint entirely with the Mojo brushes.

All except that outline around the lettering. MyPaint doesn’t have selection tools, so even though the decorative lettering is done in MyPaint (with the Mojo Calligreffects brush), I have to take that layer into Krita in order to complete the final special effect.

Moko wizard


Tomoko Kuroki as a wizard for a Watamote DnD group. This was done entirely in MyPaint with the final version of the Mojo brushes, apart from the outline around the sound effect. The background brouhaha was done entirely with a brush called Pipe Dream.

I think I’ve got some screenshots of this one at various stages of progress, so I’ll see if I can devote another post just to that.

Pencil mojo


A novelty for me these days, a drawing on actual paper. This is yet another doodle of Tomoko Kuroki from Watamote.

Drawing a car with Krita’s stabilizer mode

I’m generally not very good at completing the finishes of mechanical stuff, because the results are never as slick and shiny as I anticipate. I have found that Krita’s stabilizer mode helps out a lot.

Here, I did a very rough sketch of a fictional auto model. As you can see, it’s not even a very tight drawing.

The stabilizer mode is sort of the ultra smooth setting for the brush tool, which means it can be applied to just about any brush. What I want here is combo of brush strokes and solid lines.

sta-2.jpgYou have to play with the settings to get it to behave just so, and even then you have to accommodate yourself to its very slow, deliberate movements. But the results are worth the relatively minimal effort.

2D waifu


The zookeepers tried to ween poor Grape-kun off his 2D crush by installing a mojo cutout, but the situation has only got worse.

Mob Psycho 100 fan art

20170730-mob.jpgMob, Reigen, and Pimple, er, Dimple, all drawing and painted in MyPaint, using the Mojo brushes. Most of the painting was done with the Watacolor brush, including the weird green background (making liberal use of the size slider).