A surprising number of people write to say they have trouble drawing smooth lines. How do you get nice, smooth, even lines?

Well first, what a lot of people don’t know is I spend quite a long time on a lettering piece. I take about 3–4 hours on average for a medium-sized piece.

It’s not that I couldn’t get it done faster, it’s that you really need to be meticulous and intentional about your lines. This is especially the case when you are inking.

Even once you are very practiced, there’s still a limit to how fast you can draw while maintaining smooth lines.

When people ask me how I get such clean lines, I say:

Draw slow.

Then start over and draw slower.

Ok, I’m bit a bit silly there, but seriously! You have to draw slow if you want smooth lines.

Now that you know to slow down, there are a couple of tips that seem obvious after you hear them but make a world of difference.

1. Pull Curves

Lay down some pencil lines first as a guide. With any parts of the composition you’re inking that have curves, you want to pull those curves toward you.

Bend at the wrist. Follow the curve of your hand as it bends inward. This will feel very natural.

Take breaks as you need to on long curves and pick up where you left off. Always pull those curves toward your body.

2. Push Straights

Can’t draw a straight line? It’s a common expression, but there also might be a legitimate reason you’re having trouble!

As we mentioned above, your wrist naturally curves and you pull lines toward you. So if you’re trying to pull straight lines, you’re going to have a bad time!

Lock your wrist and move your whole arm away from you to draw a straight line. Go slow, and once again, pick up and start again as needed for longer lines.

Happy drawing!

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