How To Stop Drawing Slanted

Do you want to learn how to stop drawing slanted? Believe it or not, this is a common issue that artists of all skill levels have. While it can be incredibly frustrating, it is something that you can learn to overcome. 

Will it be a quick and easy solution? Unfortunately, no. But, then again, you didn't learn to draw in a day, did you? No, you have probably spent years practicing and honing your craft. 

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    No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy artist.

    Salvador Dali

    It takes a combination of natural talent, along with education and hard work to develop high-level drawing skills. Learning how to stop drawing slanted is simply another step on the journey that will help you to become a better artist.

    There are few things worse than spending hours working on a drawing, only to discover that you've drawn one eye higher than the other. Or you've drawn your characters leaning to the right, or with a posture that looks unnatural. 

    Sure, you could try erasing and fixing the problem. But after you've started to render the image and put down dense charcoal or graphite, erasing doesn't work so well. 

    That means that if you want to avoid having a drawing that is slanted when it's finished, you need to correct the problem before you get to the final stages.

    Have You Ever Wondered Why Your Drawings Are Always Slanted?

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    If you have ever wondered why your drawings are slanted, you aren't alone. In fact, just about everyone who draws anything ever will have to deal with this issue. From professional illustrators to fine artists, to the average person doodling when they are bored, everyone tends to draw crooked. 

    What is that? It's actually due to a combination of several factors. 

    The first thing you have to realize is that when you are drawing something. Is that you are trying to create the illusion of a three-dimensional object or objects, on a flat two-dimensional surface. That's hard enough. But doing it without having the drawing tilt one way or the other? Good luck!

    So, what causes it? It's caused by a combination of the angle of your drawing surface and the angle of your head. As you draw, the angle of your wrist as you draw, and an inability to naturally draw with perfect symmetry. 

    Now that you understand what causes it, you're probably wondering how to fix it. After all, if there weren't a way to fix what is a widespread problem, then wouldn't most art that you look at have a slant to it?

    How To Fix Art Lean

    The first thing you have to understand about drawing is that it's nearly impossible to simply prevent having a slanted picture. So, that means you need to be able to correct the issue as it happens. 

    The first step in the process is to only use very faint sketch lines when you first start out. Any great drawing is built upon a solid foundation. 

    You need to have that foundation in place before you start adding details, or start rendering in shadows and highlights. While you are working on that foundation, you need to correct any abnormal slant that shows up.

    One of the best ways to do this is to periodically hold you're drawing up to a mirror while you are doing the initial layout. 

    Look at your drawing in a mirror all of the little imperfections that are hidden from you while you are drawing are quickly brought to light. 

    This is why only using very light marks with your pencil is so important. Upon seeing the mistakes in the mirror, use an eraser to remove the problem areas, then correct them. 

    Once you have them corrected, you should recheck them in the mirror. If you continue to do this until you have all of the initial layout completed, you should be able to overcome your tendency to draw everything at a slanted angle.

    Another variation of using the mirror method to correct a leaning drawing is by using photo manipulation software. All you need to do is here is scan your drawing in, then flip it vertically. 

    You'll be able to see your drawing as it would appear in a mirror. As an added bonus, you can digitally correct mistakes, then use this as a guide to help you while you start to correct the errors on your drawing.

    Use A Center Line When Drawing Symmetrical Objects

    If you want to learn how to avoid having a slanted drawing, then learning how to draw symmetrical objects is a must. 

    Not only will drawing a symmetrical object improve your draftsmanship. But it will also help you to recognize when you have something that is slanted while you are drawing other things. 

    What is a centerline? It's a light, sketchy line that you draw directly down the center of a symmetrical object. What is the purpose of a centerline? 

    A centerline is a visual tool that you can use to help compare each side of a symmetrical drawing and look for areas that don't match up. 

    In addition to the centerline, you can also add additional horizontal guidelines to your drawing. This will help you to keep things from ending up slanted as you draw them.

    Using A Grid To Avoid Drawing At An Angle

    While a centerline is very helpful when drawing symmetrical objects, there is a way to take things further, giving you even more control over your drawing. 

    That's by drawing a light grid before you start to sketch down the foundation of your drawing.

     A light grid will enable you to keep a close eye on the horizon line. As well as any other points in your drawing that you need to stay correctly oriented. 

    For example, if you are drawing a wall, then the vertical lines of a drawing grid will enable you to easily see if your wall is leaning in one direction or the other.

    Using Technology To Improve Your Drawings

    Tracing is a word that often draws looks of disgust from the artistic community. This is unfortunate because artists have been using tools such as a camera lucida for centuries. 

    Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

    Leonardo da vinci

    The idea behind tracing shouldn't be to copy an image. It should be used to help lay down guidelines for your drawing. Is this cheating? 

    No, it's merely taking advantage of a tool that can be very beneficial to your ability to draw realistically. It's also a tool that can speed up your drawing process, so if you are ever short on time, this can be a tremendous advantage.

    The key to using something like a light table or camera lucida to transfer an image is to not use it as a crutch. Ask yourself, if you have an unlimited amount of time, would you be able to draw what you are attempting to draw freehand without the use of an aid? If so, then you can look at a light table or camera lucida as an aid that will simply speed up the process. 

    Rather than having to worry about proportions being wrong, or your drawing being tilted in a wrong way, or the ever frustrating floating eyeball problem, these tools will help you to overcome these problems. 

    Just remember, you should only be using these methods to layout the necessary foundation of your drawing. After that, you should approach the rest of the picture using freehand techniques to complete it.

    The More You Draw The More Capable You Will Be Of Avoiding Drawing At A Leaning Angle

    If you want to become a better artist, the key is practice. 

    Even the most naturally talented artist in the world won't be able to create amazing works of art if they don't spend time practicing. Practicing won't only let you master different artistic techniques, it will also improve your overall drawing ability. 

    The more you draw, the more you will learn to naturally avoid drawing things at an angle. Will practice allow you to get to the point where you will never have to worry about drawing things at a strange slant ever again? 

    Probably not. But, it will improve your ability to avoid doing this, which will make it easier for you to correct mistakes since you will have fewer of them.

    When you are practicing, make sure that you try out different methods for preventing or correcting a tilt in your drawing. Try sketching out a centerline, or even utilizing an entire grid. 

    Most people have seen light sketches of models. If so you've probably seen the guidelines that artists often put down on a human face to get the proportions right. 

    These guides also serve another purpose, they help to keep you from drawing at an angle. The point here is that you need to experiment with different approaches, and above all else, draw as often as you can. 

    Even the simple act of sketching or doodling is helpful, so long as you make it a point to try to draw without an unnatural tilt.

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      Ian Walsh is the creator and author of and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

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