Illustrating lace isn’t as simple as, say, drawing stick figures. BUT, I can promise you that if you have a writing utensil handy and a chunk of time to spare, you can learn how to draw lace beautifully
I love drawing lace because it always ends up looking impressively intricate, but it’s simple to create if you follow a series of simple steps. Today, I’m going to teach you how to draw lace. Use it for mail art, sketchbook pages, elegant artwork, and whatever else you dream up!
Before We Get Started …
I have a quick announcement. It’s always been a point of pride for me that this website offers so much value for anyone who is looking to stoke their creativity. Among other things, the site offers free worksheets, engaging tutorials like today’s “How to Draw Lace”, and useful video courses. As we delve deeper into 2024, though, I’m facing the music for something I’ve resisted for years: price increases on digital goods.
When I first started TPK, costs were low. When you have a website that enjoys a small handful of daily visitors, you really don’t need much to keep that website going. As a result, I’ve historically set prices below their true value. However, to balance the growth of the business with the practicalities of running a larger platform, adjustments to the pricing of TPK’s digital goods will be enacted this upcoming week.This decision wasn’t made lightly, but it’s necessary for the longevity and quality of the resources that the site offers. As a token of appreciation for your continued support, I encourage you to explore the Digital Catalog now, before the price adjustment. Thanks so much for your understanding!
Begin by drawing two “hills” near the left side of your paper.
Next, draw two more “hill” lines that are parallel to the humps that you just drew. Fill in the space between the original lines and the new lines with a series of densely-spaced horizontal lines.
3. Add Embellished Ovals
Once your first two lines have been filled in with the little horizontal lines, take a pencil and lightly draw another parallel line about 1/3″ (~0.85 cm) to the right of the original line you drew. Then, make little marks 1/2″ (~1.3 cm) apart from each other in the order of the numbers shown below.
When all your marks are drawn, take your pen and draw small ovals around every mark.
Next, draw larger ovals around the ovals you just made. I like to keep the edges of this batch of ovals a bit shaky.
Then, fill in the space between your first set of ovals and your second set of ovals with tiny circles that connect to each other. The circles shouldn’t be perfect, so try to draw them with a light, shaky hand.
Now, draw little connected “U”s around each and every filled-in oval.
4. Connect the Ovals
Once you have made all your little “U”s, draw a circle that connects to the ends of all the “U”s. Then, draw a bigger circle around the circle you just made, as shown in the photo below.
Next, fill in the space between the circles you just drew. It’s easiest to dip a small paintbrush (size 00 or so) directly in your ink and fill in the circle that way.
Continue on with this process, connecting your circles to each other as you go.
When you finish, you’ll notice that you have some unused space on either side of the shapes you just made. Five shapes aren’t enough to completely fill up the space on the hills.
The solution to this is to draw in a continuance of the pattern on the top and bottom of the envelope. You should be fine just drawing two quick, partial circles that connects to the others. At this point, you should also draw a series of shaky squares in the negative space to the right of the point between the two hills.
5. Add Fringe
Now, you’ll draw wispy lines to the right of each of the filled-in circles to represent fringe.
This is my favorite step because this action makes the illustration start to resemble lace!
6. Add Flowers
When you finish drawing your fringe, paint or draw two filled-in ovals in the middle of each “hill”. The right side of each oval should be about 1/2″ (~1.3 cm) away from the line that is closest to it.
Draw little “U” shapes around the ovals, then draw a circle connecting the ends of the “U”s. Once you’ve done that, make a flower outline with 8 petals as shown in the photo below.
Fill in those flowers with ink, then use a pencil to draw a guideline that passes (approximately) through the middle of the flowers and runs parallel to the line closest to the flowers. Then, draw or paint another oval 1/2″ (~1.3 cm) under the point where the two hills meet.
Repeat the flower-drawing process with the oval you just made.
Next, add partial flowers to the top and bottom of the envelope. Then, draw in circles at the halfway point between each flower. Make sure the circles are on the pencil guideline you drew.
Draw your little “U”s around those circles, and connect the ends of the “U”s with a circle.
Make a smaller flower form around the circles you just drew. Since these flower forms are smaller, give them only seven petals.
7. Make a Connection
Now, connect all your flowers near the top with two lines that run parallel to your hills.
Draw two more lines that are parallel to the lines you just drew.
Fill in the negative space between each pair of lines with small horizontal lines.
Connect the pairs of lines you just drew with one another (and the original set of lines) with shaky squares like the ones you made to fill in the negative space between the circles.
8. Add Leaves
Now, add some delicate leaf and diamond shapes as shown below. I drew six leaves coming from the left side of the envelope, six leaves that are connected to flowers, and four diamond shapes. Fill in some leaves with horizontal lines and some with ink; but make sure the diamonds are left blank.
Now, draw a series of very close-together, thin diagonal lines as shown in the picture below. Consider using a crowquill nib to achieve a superfine stroke.
Once you’ve drawn all of your lines, cross them in order to make tiny squares. Again, a shaky stroke is best in order to mimic real lace. Make sure you don’t draw in the center of your diamonds, flowers, or leaves!
When all your lines have been criss-crossed, you’re finished.
What to Do With Your Lace
In the case of mail art, you can pair the lace motif with virtually any calligraphy style or lettering style; there’s not much the lace won’t complement!
I love the look of Kaitlin Style calligraphy juxtaposed with the lace. Lace is so elegant, and the flowy, anything-goes calligraphy style makes the envelope art seem a little less serious.
However, sometimes it’s nice to run with the super-elegant vibe of the lace. In that case, you may want to write in a style like the Janet as I have done below.
I’m not going to lie and tell you that drawing lace will only take a couple of seconds … it is, as you probably surmised, a relatively involved process. That said, it is also meditative and relaxing — the perfect project for a tranquil afternoon. And, if you like this tutorial, you also might like the Floral Lace Illustration Tutorial, shown below.
I hope that you do try out learning how to draw lace using this tutorial; you’ll be delighted at the result! Lace is just one of those things that seems impossible to illustrate until you realize that it’s really just a series of lines and shapes. In short: you’ve got this. It’s a wonderfully zen endeavor if you find yourself with some downtime this weekend.
Thanks very much for reading, and have a good day!