Ellipse Tool?

Hello everybody. I was sketching cameras in studio today and I realized how bad I am at ellipses. I have no problem practicing them until I get them right but I remember hearing one of my professors say that this isn’t needed because designers use ellipse tools. Do most designers use ellipse tools even for quick ideation? Or do you just practice until they come. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Hold on. Your professor says you don’t need to practice ellipses? I’d be wary of listening to anything else the professors say. Freehand ellipses are one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal and only get better with practice. I rarely use an ellipse tool, and if I do, it’s for a final rendering in Sketchbook Pro. Ellipse tools would only slow down your quick ideation. Keep freehanding it, and you’ll get the hang of it. I’ve got sketchbooks and sketchbooks of ellipse practices (get a cheap one from the art store). Concentric, tangent, in a row, drawing minor axis before, drawing minor axis after… tons of exercises you can do to get better.

Keep practicing on those ellipses, especially when it’s just for quick ideation as you say. Those type of sketches really don’t have to be perfect at all. They serve to communicate ideas. I think not using ellipse tools in this stage makes the end-result even look better.

It’s maybe another thing when making a nice hand-rendered drawing and you don’t want to mess it all up.


I have a few on my desk, with some French Curves, but to be honest I haven’t used them for ages!

You need to learn how ellipses “work”, the right angle ellipse guides don’t just fall on the page in the correct position. The easiest way to learn this is to draw them by hand.

They are useful for tightening up ellipses on finished sketches, so they’re by no means useless, just falling out of favour I guess.

Thanks everybody. I guess I’ll get to practicing then. Really appreciate the feedback

Yup echo all the above. I was once told in an interview if you can’t draw an elipse in perspective then don’t bother applying. Never used an ellipse template (they’re expensive), don’t think anyone in our studio uses them. The Scott robertson basic skills tutorial are ace. I still do the straight lines,boxes and elipse warmup before work.
, great habbit to get into.

I have been doing this for a very long time. I can draw ellipses, I don’t generally use templates unless I’m doing something for presentation but … tools are there to use. If you need to use an ellipse template use it, Why beat yourself up about it. The cost of a set of templates is expensive only once and they will last a life time – if they slow you down it will only be in seconds – your sketches will look better.

Before sketching, practice by filling a whole sheet of paper with ellipses! straight lines too… sketch aerobics 101

Agree 100%.

In addition, make sure you have your ellipse work supports the various VPs in the sketch. Nothing irritates me more than ellipse work (circles in perspective) that do not line up with the perspective VPs. For example, like a rear wheel on a car not on the correct VP.