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**Skill Level:** Beginner

**What:** Drawing Successful Ellipses and Circles

**How:**

This is like an exercise you are very familiar with from your youth. With top, center, and bottom lines, draw a circle between the top and bottom guidelines with the widest point of the circle passing through the center line. Keep the circles between the top and bottom guides.

Think of writing the letter O instead of drawing circles and the exercise gets easier. Do you like money? How many 0’s does it take to make you happy? Draw them out, over and over again. The idea here is to trick yourself into a different head space to overcome whatever it is that makes you think that an oval is difficult to draw, or a circle is impossible. They are not difficult at all; the challenge is to overcome the mental barrier of it being a difficult task.

Hover over the page and flash the shape of the circle before you draw it, then drop the pencil to the paper and continue the motion with the pencil on the paper. Draw around to complete the loop and then circle around one more time before lifting the pencil.

The hovering motion is called flashing. You are watching your hand make the shape before it is made, and you will be able to tell whether it is correct or not before committing to it.

Create guides at different heights to practice ovals and circles at every scale. Drawing a circle that is 4” tall is a very different motion from drawing a circle that is 1/4” tall. Practicing every exercise in drawing and painting at varied sizes (scale) is as much a barrier to overcome as first drawing ovals and circles. Accept the challenge, overcome the barrier, and there is nothing you won’t be able to physically draw at any scale.

If you can’t draw straight lines very well, use the edge of an envelope from some junk mail, the edge of a piece of cardboard, a pencil, etc. Anything that is a straight edge can be used as a ruler to rule off the lines. If you have lined paper, use that as a starting point and trace out the lines.

Do not get caught up in perfect, or clean. That will come with time and repetition. First commit to the movement of the arm and get use to the gesture, commit that to memory. In a short time, cleanliness will be more consistent in the work.

## 5 Day Routine

**Day 1: Circle Warm Up 3 Pages + Total Time 30 – 45 Minutes**- Page 1-Horizontal Format – 5 Rows of Circles – each row should be a different height of circle
- Page 2-Horizontal Format – Ellipse Gradient-8 Rows of Ellipses, Top Row Narrow Ellipses and open them up a little more until bottom row of circles – each row should be a different height of ellipse filling the entire page from top to bottom
- Page 3-Horizontal Format – 5 Rows of Ellipse to Circle Gradients all in the same row, starting narrow and working towards a full circle, then back down again.

**Day 2: Circle Warm Up 3 Pages + Total Time 30 – 45 Minutes**- Page 1-Horizontal Format – 7 Rows of Circles – each row should be a different height of circle
- Page 2-Horizontal Format – Ellipse Gradient-8 Rows of Ellipses, Top Row Narrow Ellipses and open them up a little more until bottom row of circles – each row should be a different height of ellipse filling the entire page from top to bottom
- Page 3-Horizontal Format – 7 Rows of Ellipse to Circle Gradients all in the same row, starting narrow and working towards a full circle, then back down again.

**Day 3: Circle Warm Up 3 Pages + Total Time 30 – 45 Minutes**- Page 1-Horizontal Format – 8 Rows of Circles – each row should be a different height of circle
- Page 2-Horizontal Format – Ellipse Gradient-10 Rows of Ellipses, Top Row Narrow Ellipses and open them up a little more until bottom row of circles – each row should be a different height of ellipse filling the entire page from top to bottom
- Page 3-Horizontal Format – 8 Rows of Ellipse to Circle Gradients all in the same row, starting narrow and working towards a full circle, then back down again.

**Day 4: Circle Warm Up 3 Pages + Total Time 30 – 45 Minutes**- Page 1-Horizontal Format – 10 Rows of Circles – each row should be a different height of circle
- Page 2-Horizontal Format – Ellipse Gradient-10 Rows of Slanted Ellipses, Top Row Narrow Ellipses and open them up a little more until bottom row of circles – each row should be a different height of ellipse filling the entire page from top to bottom and each row should slant in the other direction alternating directions per row
- Page 3-Horizontal Format – 8 Rows of Ellipse to Circle Gradients all in the same row, starting narrow and working towards a full circle, then back down again. Slant each row and alternate the direction of the ellipses per each row.

**Day 5: Circle Warm Up 5 Pages + Total Time 30 – 45 Minutes**- Page 1-Horizontal Format – 10 Rows of Circles – each row should be a different height of circle
- Pages 2-3 -Horizontal Format – Ellipse Gradient-10 Rows of Slanted Ellipses, Top Row Narrow Ellipses and open them up a little more until bottom row of circles – each row should be a different height of ellipse filling the entire page from top to bottom and each row should slant in the other direction alternating directions per row
- Pages 3-4 -Horizontal Format – 8 Rows of Ellipse to Circle Gradients all in the same row, starting narrow and working towards a full circle, then back down again. Slant each row and alternate the direction of the ellipses per each row.

Do this daily for several weeks and you will be fantastic at drawing circles and ellipses. Just one step in acquiring the dexterity needed to draw anything you want.

**Why:**

This exercise is to develop 3 things:

**Accuracy**– like anything requiring physical motion, practice is required to perfect the movement, over time the shapes become more accurate to what you wanted more consistently. An example of accuracy would be to draw and align all the tires(ellipses) on a car.**Dexterity**– drawing and painting is an accuracy thing, to some extent, and requires dexterity, or specific physical movements to make lines, shapes, symbols, forms, shade, etc. Dexterity in music or sports requires repetitious practice, and drawing is the same. Dexterity is built on repetition, repetition leads to intuition which eventually leads to confidence and possibly curiosity to search for new shapes, forms, etc.**Consistency**– to make art for a living a certain level of consistency must be met to create a professional quality piece of art repeatedly, and practice is the answer to consistency. Practice daily, practice until it is second nature, and practice again. Practice should be like breathing, it should be second nature, vital to continue growing and developing.