How To Divide Lines: The Holy Grail for Great Drawing

Proportion and Dividing Lines

Dividing a Line Equally without a Ruler

Anyone who has picked up a pencil and wanted to make an accurate drawing knows the most important thing is proportions. That means you need to divide things up. Sometimes into several pieces. Now you can eyeball it but if you want to get to a better level of accuracy then you want to use a few simple techniques that will take your drawing to the next level. 

Dividing a Line Segment into 5 Equal Parts

Now I can use this method to divide the line into any number of parts but for this exercise, I will divide it into five equal parts.

1. First, draw the line you need to divide. I  used a straight edge. Of course, this could be freehand and I use this method freehand all the time. The “A” and “B” are just to show where the line starts and stops.

2. Next, I will use a second line to divide my first line. This second line has to intersect where the first line begins at point “A”. This second line I will use to divide my first line can be any “length” and any “angle”, it doesn’t matter.  I drew an arbitrary line of an arbitrary angle from point “A”. As pictured below

3. Next, I will divide the second line into equal incremental lengths. THE SIZE OF THE INCREMENT’S LENGTH DOESN’T MATTER. WHATEVER THE INCREMENT SIZE IS, IT JUST HAS TO BE REPEATED EQUALLY FIVE TIMES. I used a compass to divide the line into five equal lengths. I could have used a ruler or the length of the sharpened end of my pencil or just two random marks on a piece of paper that I repeated five times to make 5 equal distances of any length.  Below shows 5 marks of equal length on the second line we will use to divide line AB.

4. YOU MUST CONNECT THE POINT OF YOUR 5TH INCREMENT TO POINT “B” CREATING A TRIANGLE. From your last mark connect it to POINT B. We have made a triangle.

USING THE SLANT OF THE LINE YOU CREATED BY CONNECTING YOU 5TH INCREMENT TO POINT “B” YOU TAKE YOUR REMAINING POINTS USING THE SAME SLANT TO INTERSECT LINE “AB”.  This will divide line AB into 5 equal parts.

5. Mark the points on line AB and erase your work lines. Now you have a line that is divided equally into 5 parts. Again I use this will hand sketching all the time.

Now the great part is you can do this by hand the same process and you will divide things much more accurately and quickly than you ever thought possible. Give it a try.

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This entry was posted in Drawing Tips.

4 Comments

  1. Chris April 19, 2018 at 6:08 am #

    I don’t understand.

    • Kevin McCain April 23, 2018 at 3:10 am #

      I updated the explanation please let me know if that makes it more clear.

      • Sandy April 6, 2019 at 6:58 pm #

        I don’t understand either. also I don’t understand where you have the answer to Chris who also doesn’t understand
        Thanks

        • Kevin McCain April 7, 2019 at 12:22 am #

          Hello Sandy,
          I tried to go back once again to edit the post to see if it clarifies the process. I am thinking I will make a video showing the process by hand to see if that makes it more clear. I think it would. I appreciate your comment.

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