DIY Fine Line Drawing

January 17, 2013 | DIY

Morning all! I’ve got a fun little DIY for you this morning.. we’re all going to learn how to cheat at drawing! Haha

I’m pretty sure this was a technique I learnt in primary school, but it was worth a re-visit when I sat down to draw some buildings the other day. I’m just going to lay it all out there and just tell you that I’m not a very good freehand drawer. You know how there are those people who can just sit with a sketch book and pen and create the most amazing illustraions? Well, that’s not me and I so badly wish I was. I envy those people.

SO, that brings me to cheat-drawing. I’m sure you all know this technique, but like I said – it’s worth a re-visit :)

Here’s what you’ll need:

– A printout of the building/s you want to draw (at the size you need)
– Pacer pencil (or a very sharp pencil)
– Very fine tip black drawing pen (mine is called Micron 005)
– Graphite pencil (thick or thin, doesn’t matter – just with a dark lead)
– 2 bulldog clips
– Thin card/paper for the finished drawing

Step 1.
Take the printout of your building/s and turn it over. Using your graphite pencil, scribble heavily over the back of the image area. It needs to be solidly covered.

Step 2.
Once the whole image area is covered, turn the page back over and position the image on your white card. Using the bulldog clips, secure the top of the two pages together so they won’t move.

Step 3.
Begin tracing over all the lines on your image with the pacer pencil. Make sure you press hard and try to get fine, clean lines. Check from time to time that the image is transferring onto the paper underneath.

Step 4.
Once you’ve finished tracing over the image, remove the page. Now you can begin going over the lines with the fine black pen. Feel free to add in detail or shading if you want to.

Step 5.
Once all the lines have been put down in ink, it’s up to you whether you want to rub out the graphite lines underneath, or leave them there.

And that’s it! Frame it, make it into a card.. up to you! I put mine into a bit of a shadow box with a few other trinkets and a mini garland.. cute no?


  1. ingenious! will definitely be giving this a try :)

  2. I couldn’t draw anything free hand if my life depended on it! Thanks for sharing this little trick. :)

  3. I didn’t know this trick at all! Thanks for sharing, I could use it too!

  4. I love the simplicity of line drawings, and I am really loving the extra details added to the shadow box – cute indeed .

  5. Oooohh that’s adorable!

  6. Awesome idea. I paint and often have difficulty reproducing a sketch the second time onto canvas. I wonder if this would work until I find an opaque projector??? Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oh, I love this! I am a sucker for some nostalgic art, and this would be the perfect approach for creating some. And your finished project is so beautifully styled.

  8. I use this technique to reproduce my drawings from sketched format to finished piece… Poor man’s carbon paper… Never thought to use it on photos… Love the way you have framed it. I can now visualize some of my moments as 3D memories.

  9. This is absolutely too cute for words. Would love to do one of from a photo of our street or our first home. Thank you for the great inspiration.

  10. I love this! I’m an excellent tracer! Love it!

  11. Love this idea! It will be a great art project for our kids and will provide them with art success!!! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Vanessa

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS IDEA! Thank you for sharing. Would you please share where you found the image of the printout buildings?

    • ffadmin

      Hi Vanessa, Thanks!
      The photo is just one I took while we were in Switzerland :)

  13. Very nice idea =)

    Love xx
    Melanie ~

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  15. I remember doing this technique at school many years ago! Thanks for reminding me, I love your sweet ‘line drawing’!

  16. KJ

    Where did you get that graphite pencil from?

  17. Too cute! I can imagine a whole little series of these :)

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  19. Just lovely!

  20. Thanks for this diy, Claire – it’s lovely! Just shared the link on the All Things Paper Facebook page.