• How to Draw Lace

    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

    Hand-drawn lace envelope art | The Postman's Knock

    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!

    Lace Bird
    I decorated this bluebird outline with lace to include in a package to a friend — because why not?

    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!

    And now, back to the tutorial!


    1. Gather Your Supplies

    Gather your favorite pointed pen holder and nib, any ink, and your paper of choice. Today, I’m using a Brause EF66 nib in an oblique pen holder, sepia ink, and an A7 “Pool” envelope from Paper Source. Be sure to keep a pencil on hand, too!

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    2. Draw Two “Hills”

    Begin by drawing two “hills” near the left side of your paper.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock
    I’m using an oblique pen for today’s tutorial because I find that it does a good job of keeping my hand out of the way.

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock
    Don’t write numbers on your envelope; this is something I have done solely for the benefit of this tutorial.

    When all your marks are drawn, take your pen and draw small ovals around every mark.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    Next, draw larger ovals around the ovals you just made. I like to keep the edges of this batch of ovals a bit shaky.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock
    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    Now, draw little connected “U”s around each and every filled-in oval.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    Continue on with this process, connecting your circles to each other as you go.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock
    You may wonder why I keep telling you to draw shaky shapes; it’s because lace rarely has perfect shapes. The small threads that make up lace are always a little bit wavy, which means shapes like squares and circles follow suit.

    5. Add Fringe

    Now, you’ll draw wispy lines to the right of each of the filled-in circles to represent fringe.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    This is my favorite step because this action makes the illustration start to resemble lace!

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock
    It’s okay if your flowers intersect other lines.

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    Repeat the flower-drawing process with the oval you just made.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    Draw your little “U”s around those circles, and connect the ends of the “U”s with a circle.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    Make a smaller flower form around the circles you just drew. Since these flower forms are smaller, give them only seven petals.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    7. Make a Connection

    Now, connect all your flowers near the top with two lines that run parallel to your hills.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    Draw two more lines that are parallel to the lines you just drew.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    Fill in the negative space between each pair of lines with small horizontal lines.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock
    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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!

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    When all your lines have been criss-crossed, you’re finished.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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!

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    How to Draw Lace | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    Lacy Walnut Ink Envelope | The Postman's Knock
    I splashed this envelope with tea to give it a more casual look.

    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.

    Floral Illustrated Lace Motif
    You can learn how to draw this elegant floral lace here.

    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!

    Warmly,