How to Make Straight Lines in Procreate: Step-by-Step

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Kevin Hayler: Professional Wildlife artist, author, and traveler.

There are times when all you want to do is draw a perfectly straight line. In the real world you’d grab a ruler and get on with it, but how do you make straight lines in Procreate? This is the easiest way.

Draw a straight line in Procreate by drawing a freehand line with your stylus (or finger) and hold it in place for half a second as it snaps perfectly straight. Without releasing your finger, adjust the length and angle of the line. The line locks into place when you lift your stylus (or finger)

It couldn’t be simpler, but there are more ways to draw straight lines within the Procreate app and you should know them.

Let’s start off by drawing a simple line, or shape, using the Quick Shape function. I’ll show you step by step.

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How to Draw a Straight Line Using Quick Shapes

It’s not easy to draw a straight line and very difficult to draw a circle, and yet there are times when you need smoother lines and perfect shapes. Luckily, you can draw perfect lines and circles in Procreate with quick shapes.

If I want to draw a straight line, I can draw a wavy line freehand and if I keep the pencil held down on the finished line, for half a second, it will automatically snap perfectly straight.

Quick shape function for a perfect straight line in Procreate
Draw straight lines in Procreate with Quick Shapes

Now, while keeping your finger or pencil held down you have the ability to adjust the angle of the line, or its length, to any degree.

Wait, there’s more

If you keep your finger held down and place another finger anywhere on the screen, you’ll see the line jump.

Rotate the end of your line and watch the line snap by 15-degree increments each time. The reverse happens as your finger swipes back down and it locks when you lift your finger.

Moving a straight line in 15 degree increments in Procreate
Move your straight lines incrementally

N.B. I’ve noticed that if you lift your 2nd finger first the increment is smaller.

You can draw any shape you like. Let’s say you want to draw a more complicated shape, a triangle or a star, for example. It will smooth the lines seamlessly.

Drawing a star with quickshape function in Procreate
Drawing a star with Quickshape function in Procreate

If you place a second finger on the screen and rotate the shape, it will also jump in 15-degree steps. You’ll also see it change in size as your finger moves 

Now try to draw a circle freehand. 

Again, you will see the shape pop perfectly into place. It may look like a circle but in actual fact, it’s an oval.

Making an oval with quick shape function in Procreate
Making an oval with Quick shape function in Procreate

If you want to make a perfect circle keep reading because I cover that at the end. 

Cate Shaner Shows you how to draw straight lines visually in this video

How to Straighten a Line With Edit Shape

Let’s return to our single line. Draw it as before, keeping your finger held down to straighten the line perfectly.

Now look to the top of the screen. In the center of the top bar, you’ll see the ‘Edit Shape’ button. Tap on it and you’ll see a new button at the top called ‘Line’. It will be activated.

Looking back at your canvas, you’ll notice two dots have appeared at either end of your drawn line. You can move these nodes independently in any direction, to change the position, angle, and length of your line.

Adjusting a line with Edit Shape in Procreate
Moving your straight lines using the nodal points with Procreate

Tap on the screen to save it 

Now we can take this one step further and draw a freehand zig-zag. Hold the end until it snaps into clean straight lines and release it. When you click ‘Edit Shapes’ the ‘Polyline’ box activates at the top of your screen.

The nodes now appear at each join in the line. You can manipulate and pivot each node in any direction and extend them to any length. When you are done, tap anywhere on the screen and it’s locked. 

Adjusting a polyline with Edit Shape in Procreate
Adjusting a polyline with Edit Shape in Procreate

You can move the line, or shape, around your screen, and adjust its size as you do so, but only while the nodes are activated. When the layer is locked you can’t tap ‘undo’ and reactivate the function.

Don’t worry, you can do it with the Transform Tool.

Adjust the Line With The Transform Tool

So what do you do if you want to move the line or shape after it’s locked? 

In the toolbar, at the top left and the fourth icon along, you’ll see a diagonal arrow. That’s the ‘Transform’ tool. Click on it.

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see two menus. The top menu says, Freeform, Uniform, Distort, and Warp 

If you want to preserve your line exactly as you made it, use the Uniform button. This setting will allow you to resize, move, and rotate your shape or line without any distortion.

Adjusting a line with the Transform tool
Adjusting a line with the transform tool in Procreate

The other 3 buttons will manipulate the layer. I urge you to experiment and see how they each behave. I won’t cover them here, it will distract you.

Now let’s look at another way of making Straight lines.

Why struggle? Just grab a course and follow along. This is the most popular on Udemy

Drawing and Painting on the iPad with Procreate on Udemy

How to Draw Straight Lines Using Drawing Guides

You can do many things within the drawing guide settings. You can draw perfectly horizontal and vertical lines, draw diagonals and follow perspective lines. This is what you do. 

Go to the top left and click on the wrench icon. This is the Actions menu. You’ll see the canvas tab in the top row of the drop-down menu. Click on that. 

Go down to the ‘Drawing Guide’ and toggle it on. A default 2D grid appears on your screen. 

Using the Drawing guide in Procreate
Using the drawing guide to draw straight lines in Procreate

Below ‘Drawing Guide’ you’ll see ‘Edit Drawing Guide’, tap it to change the settings. 

You’ll see 4 major settings with adjustment scales beneath:

  • 2D Grid,
  • Isometric,
  • Perspective,
  • Symmetry. 

Drawing Straight Lines Using the 2D Ruler Grid

The first button in your menu is your 2D grid default setting. 

The menu below your button is for adjustments. It’s where you can change the opacity of the grid, its thickness, and size. It’s all self-explanatory. Play with each slider to familiarize yourself. 

Using the drawing guide in Procreate
Using the drawing guide in Procreate
Highlighting the 2D grid button
Highlighting the 2D grid button

Looking at the grid itself, you’ll notice a blue node. Hold and drag the dot to move your grid around. You’ll also see a green node. Use it to hold and rotate your grid. 

Rotate the grid with the nodal points
Rotate the grid with the nodal points

You can reset both nodes by tapping on them and tapping the reset box which appears above. They will snap back to default placings. 

Next toggle on the ‘Assisted Drawing’ at the bottom right of the screen. This is your ruler setting. 

Turning on the drawing assist toggle in Procreate
Turning on the drawing assist toggle in Procreate

When you are happy to proceed tap ‘Done’. Now you have gridded canvas on your full screen. 

Using drawing guides. Click done to continue
Using drawing guides. Click done to continue

Now go to the top right corner and tap the layers icon, that’s the overlapping squares, at the top right of the screen. In the drop-down layers panel, you’ll see ‘Layer 1’ with ‘Assisted’ written beneath. 

The grid now acts as a ruler. You can draw perfectly vertical and horizontal lines anywhere on the screen. 

Using drawing assist and layers
Using drawing assist and layers

You can toggle drawing assist on and off by tapping the layers bar. A vertical menu pops up immediately on the left and you can tap drawing assist and tick it on or off. You can also add a new layer and draw freehand without using the drawing assist mode.

Switching off drawing assist and drawing freehand
Switching off drawing assist and drawing freehand in Procreate

If you want to draw straight lines without a visible grid you can turn it off too. Click the Wrench icon > Actions tab and toggle off the drawing guide. The grid lines disappear but the drawing assist will function in the same way. 

Turning off the grid in Procreate
Turning off the grid in Procreate

Draw Straight Lines With The Isometric Setting

Repeat the previous steps. Go back to the Wrench icon > Canvas > Drawing Guide > Edit Drawing Guide, and this time tap the Isometric button. 

The adjustment sliders are the same ones you found in the 2D grid setting. 

Adjust the grid as before and when you are ready, turn ‘assisted drawing’ on, and click ‘done’.

This grid pattern assists the user in drawing simple 3D shapes. There are two crossing diagonal lines at 45 degrees to one another and one vertical line. 

You can draw a box by following the grid lines. With the assisted drawing’ turned on, your lines are perfect. 

Using the isometric grid to draw a box in Procreate
Using the isometric grid to draw a box in Procreate

You can draw a line anywhere and the ‘assisted drawing’ tool acts as a ruler and follows the gridlines 

You can turn off ‘assisted drawing’ in the layers panel and draw freehand, and you can go back to the Wrench tool > Drawing Guide > Edit Drawing Guide and change the grid settings if you wish. 

This is a basic perspective grid. For true 3D you need to use the Perspective guide. 

Drawing Accurate Lines Using The Perspective Guide

Go back and open the Drawing Guide once more. Wrench > Canvas > Drawing Guide > Edit Drawing Guide and tap the Perspective button.

This time you’ll see a blank page and you can tap it anywhere to set a vanishing point.

You’ll see a dot along the horizon line with radials beaming out of a circle like sun rays. This is a one-point perspective guide. 

Using a one point perspective guide in Procreate
One-point perspective guide

You can tap the page again and set a two-point perspective, and a third time if you wish. 

To move these nodes around the page, hold and slide. Delete a node by tapping the dot and selecting delete in the pop-up.

Keep the assisted drawing’ turned on and tap ‘Done’. 

Two point perspective guide in Procreate
Two-point perspective guide

Now you can use the radials to draw an accurate perspective. The radials will always align to the central node and the verticals will be at 90 degrees to the horizontals throughout. 

Straight Lines and the Symmetry Tool

I’ll quickly mention the symmetry guide while we are in this section because it allows you to mirror your lines. I hesitate only because this tool allows you to mirror any shape, not just straight lines. 

If you tap ‘options at the bottom you’ll see a drop menu. Tap on any of the 4 options. 

A node will appear in the center and as usual, you can hold and slide it across the page. The green node rotates. 

Tap on each setting to see how the guidelines appear. They are self-explanatory. 

Tap the vertical option and tap ‘Done’

Anything drawn on one side of the center line will be mirrored on the other side. When you draw a straight line and hold it, the line will snap straight on both sides of the line. 

The vertical symmetry tool in procreate
The vertical symmetry tool in Procreate

If your line crosses the center into the other half the mirror continues in reverse. 

The horizontal option works in the same way.

Choose the quadrant option and your line reflects in all 4 panels. Choose the radial option and your line reflects in all 8 panels, like a kaleidoscope.

symmetry settings for quadrant and radial options in Procreate
Quadrant and Radial options in the Symmetry setting

Things to Watch out for:

  • You’ll see a thin color slider at the top of the drawing guide. This changes the color of the grid lines.
  • Take care not to tap the color slider as you tap on the ‘Done’ button because your grid might turn white and disappear. Be aware of this if your grid lines vanish unexpectedly. 
  • Always make sure ‘drawing assist’ is switched on for these instructions to work.

Draw a Smooth Line Using Stabilization

Change the Brush Library Stabilization Settings

You can retain the charm of a free-hand line yet smooth out the line to different degrees with the stabilization slider in the ‘Pressure and Smoothing’ setting. This setting is universal and will apply to your whole brush library collection.

To access this feature go to the Wrench > Prefs (5th icon along) > Pressure and Smoothing. A new box appears. Adjust the Stabilization slider at the top. For demonstration purposes set it to about 70%.

universal stabilization setting in Procreate
Universal stabilization setting in Procreate

Tap the paintbrush icon and choose your brush. Swipe a line across the page and you’ll see the line ‘vibrate’ as it corrects itself. If you are familiar with Adobe Photoshop, it behaves like the magnetic lasso selection tool.

A quick swipe makes a perfect line, a slower one will follow your finger and retain the ‘hand-drawn feel.

If you retain your finger hold the line and use Quick shape to snap it into place

You may not wish to change the settings for your entire brush library.

Change a Single Brush Stabilisation Setting

Open your brush library by tapping the paintbrush icon at the top right. Choose your brush and tap it twice to open your brush studio

You’ll see a menu on the left. Click on Stabilisation. On the right, you’ll see the Stabilisation slider. This will adjust your chosen brush without affecting the others.

Using the stabilization slider in procreate
Using the stabilization slider in Procreate

Test out the effect in the drawing panel on the right. When you’re happy, Click Done

You can reset the settings conveniently in the brush library. Go back to your brush, highlighted in blue, and finger swipe left. Click Reset.

When you decide to change the settings of a single brush it’s wise to use a duplicate brush. This way you can change it permanently and keep it for use later on. Alternatively, you can delete it when you’re done.

Go back to the brush library and swipe left on your brush. This time Click Duplicate. The name of the brush number will have the number 1 as a suffix.

How to Draw a Straight Line With Your Eraser Tool

You can draw straight lines using the same techniques you’ve learned using a brush. All the same tips apply, but instead of drawing the line, you’re erasing it. It’s reverse thinking. Try it out.

Choose a brush and draw a random shape on a new canvas. Click the eraser icon at the top-right corner and choose an eraser from the drop-down menu. I’ve chosen the hard blend eraser.

Erasing a straight line in procreate
Draw a straight line in Procreate using the eraser setting

Adjust the diameter and opacity of your eraser with the sliders on the left side of your screen.

Use the tool to draw over your shape and it will erase the line. If you keep your finger held down it will snap into a perfect line.

How to Turn Off Quick Shape

There will be times when Quickshapes kicks in while you’re drawing, and this can be a real nuisance. You can reverse this function, set a longer delay time, or disable it altogether.

If you are actively drawing and the line snaps straight automatically, you can recover your original line by lifting your finger/stylus and using a two-finger tap anywhere on the screen. This locks the line but you can carry on where you left off.

Not forgetting that you have an UNDO/REDO command on the left.

Alternatively, go to Wrench, and under Prefs go down to the Rapid Undo Delay slider and increase the delay time.

To turn it off completely, tap the Gesture controls. You’ll see a confusing menu of icons on the left. Tap on the 5th, it’s the circle with a small triangle. It reminds me of a door knocker. Tap it to customize Quickshape.

How to turn off quickshape
How to turn off Quickshape

Choose Draw and Hold at the bottom of the list and toggle it off. The time slider is also here. When you’re finished Click Done

How to Draw a Perfect Circle

As promised this is how you make a perfect circle

Choose your brush and draw a rough circle without lifting your finger, or stylus. Hold for half a second and the line will snap to an oval. Without lifting your finger or stylus, place another finger on the screen, and the oval snaps to a circle.

You can adjust the size of your circle by sliding your drawing finger up and down.

How to draw a perfect circle in Procreate
How to draw a perfect circle in Procreate

When you’re happy, release your drawing finger/stylus first. Your circle is now locked.

As I explained earlier, if you wish to change the locked circle layer, you must use the transform tool. 

You’ll find these related posts useful:

How to Make Straight Lines in Procreate: Final Thoughts

Getting to know Procreate is straightforward and pretty simple. With regular use, you’ll discover your favorite tools and ways of doing things. It takes a little while for a beginner to get used to the Procreate interface, but not as long as most of the alternatives.

You can learn the basics very quickly and drawing straight lines is the most basic hack.

To cut short the learning curve I suggest you do what I did and buy a Procreate basics course. I bought this one on Domestika and it was super cheap.

Brad Woodward shows you around the app and introduces you to digital drawing with clear instructions and a super professional presentation.
I recommend it for beginners.

Procreate for beginners. Digital illustration 101. A domestika course
More on my Procreate Classes page

Check out my Domestika Review here: Is Domestika Worth It? The Pros and Cons for Artists and Designers

If you want to sell your digital art as physical art prints, I can show you how!

Selling art made simple digital guide for starting a small art business

If You Want to Sell Your Art

Check this out!

Psst…it’s only $12.99!

Plus find an ONLINE COURSE that suits you on the course page

I have more posts about drawing and business, take a look at these:

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How to make straight lines in Procreate. Step by Step
The artist and Author Kevin Hayler

Hi, I’m Kevin Hayler
I’ve been selling my wildlife art and traveling the world for over 20 years, and if that sounds too good to be true, I’ve done it all without social media, art school, or galleries!
I can show you how to do it. You’ll find a wealth of info on my site, about selling art, drawing tips, lifestyle, reviews, travel, my portfolio, and more. Enjoy

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