Introduction: How to Draw a Perfect Circle Freehand

Circles are notoriously one of the hardest shapes to draw, which is why I'd like to teach you a simple trick to achieve that perfect circle- no math needed!

Materials Needed:

  • Sheet of paper
  • Pen or pencil
    • Because markers and/or felt-tip pens have a wider tip, it is more difficult to draw a perfect circle with them. The tip will move around and interrupt the path. I would highly suggest that you use a pencil or pen.
  • Smooth, hard surface

Step 1: Rotating the Paper

First, we need to practice rotating the paper. Your hand is the weight that holds the paper down, so it's crucial that you apply enough pressure to the paper.

Keep in mind, though, that this is not how your hand will be positioned while drawing the circle. Rather, this is simply a device to assist you in learning how to properly place your weight for a more fluid rotation.

  • Rest the outside edge of your wrist bone in the middle of the paper and rotate the paper with your other hand while keeping your drawing hand down on the page. Your hand will act as a "compass".

If there is any resistance you might need to reposition so that your arm is not on the paper or you are not leaning against your paper. It is important that you have a clear workspace within the rotational radius of the paper.

Remember, this is not how you will be holding your pen. Rather, this is to show you how to rotate the paper correctly.

Step 2: Positioning Your Hand

The next thing you want to do after ensuring that the paper will rotate freely is to figure out how to hold your pen or pencil. The way you hold your utensil will determine how small or big your circle will be. The circle we will be drawing is a medium to small-sized circle, relative to the size of the paper.

Instead of placing your hand and wrist on the paper (as seen in Step 1: Rotating the Paper), you will be using your pinky.

  • Hold the pen or pencil like you normally would, and rest the outside edge of your pinky finger on the center of your sheet of paper (Figure 3).
  • Rest your ring finger between your pinky and middle finger (Figure 2), then use your middle finger to support the pen or pencil in this position. Be sure that you hold the pen or pencil like you normally would with your pointer finger and thumb.
  • Lastly, it is important that you keep the rest of your hand off of the paper (Figure 5). If you keep your hand on the paper, it will not rotate freely.

Be sure that you hold the utensil at least one inch away from the tip.

Lastly, check that your hand is in a position in which the circle that you draw will not run off the page. To ensure this, practice a test circle above the piece of paper, making sure, again, that the paper will rotate with no resistance.

Step 3: Drawing Your Circle

Now it's time to draw your circle.

  • Using your hand as the weight and "compass", rotate the paper with your other hand in a fluid motion.
  • Keep your pinky firmly on the page and try to keep your pen or pencil as still as possible. The only thing that should move is your paper.
  • Go slow! If you go too fast, you'll have more difficulty drawing the circle correctly.

  • Remember to keep your wrist and hand off of the paper. Only your pinky and utensil should touch the paper.

The circle may not come out perfect initially, but keep trying. The more comfortable you get with the motions, the more perfect your circle will become!