How to draw an ellipse

How do you draw an ellipse? Dutch illustrator and animator Stefan de Groot explains how to draw a circle in perspective: an ellipse.

I made a PDF of a cube you can make to learn how to draw a circle in perspective. You can download the PDF here:

On all the sides of the cube I have drawn a circle and a dotted X . This will help you to understand how to draw a perfect ellipse. That is what a circle in perspective is. Print out the PDF and cut it out with a pair of scissors. Fold all the sides of the cube and the little lips on the side. With these lips you can put together your cube. Get some paper or photo glue and put glue on the lips. Begin at the base of the cube where there are three squares next to each other. Then work your way up until you have glued the final side. You now have a cube with circles on each side.

An ellipse is a circle in perspective


Grab the cube and look at it from the top. Try and draw it. Start with drawing the circle. Then draw a square around the circle. All the sides of the square must touch the circle. I now grab a blue pencil to draw in the dotted X. Draw the X from the left upper corner to right lower corner and from the left lower corner to the right upper corner. I draw this with a blue pencil to show you that these are the guidelines to draw your circle. Now draw the circle in the square with a red pencil. The circle touches all of the sides of your square.


I have made a picture of this clock. If you look at the clock from the front, it is a circle. But if you look at the clock from the side it becomes an ellipse. I am first going to sketch the basic shape of the clock and draw the square in perspective. The square is the box in which the clock is placed. In the square I draw the X with the blue pencil. Then I am drawing the red dots on the middle of the X and all of the sides of the square. Now draw the ellipse by connecting the dots. In this way you can draw a perfect ellipse. The paper cube is a great reference for drawing ellipses. Try and draw your ellipses in all perspectives. Turn it around and draw it. You can find ellipses everywhere around you. It can help you draw a plate or saucer or clock in perspective. If you use this method, you will certainly improve your drawing skills. When I learned of this method I improved as an artist.