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Guide to Drawing Lines, Shapes, and More in Canva

Canva makes it simple for anyone to add drawings and illustrations to their designs, no artistic skill required. With Canva’s intuitive drawing tools, you can bring concepts to life by sketching lines, shapes, diagrams and more.



This in-depth guide will cover all of Canva’s illustration capabilities in detail, from the basics to pro tips. Read on to learn how to unlock creativity and take your Canva designs up a notch with hand-drawn elements.

Get Started with the Canva Draw Tab

The foundation for drawing in Canva is the Canva Draw tab. This dedicated tab provides a range of versatile tools to sketch, doodle, and illustrate your ideas.

The drawing tools allow you to:

  • Draw directly on designs to add a personal, handcrafted touch.
  • Use a pen, marker, highlighter, or eraser to create different effects.
  • Customize the thickness, color, and transparency of strokes.
  • Add handwritten text, callouts, signatures, logos, and more.

With these basics, anyone can start sketching out concepts, highlighting key points, and incorporating hand-drawn elements into Canva designs.

Customizing Your Drawing Tools

Don’t settle for the default settings – customize your pens, markers, and highlighters to suit your creative vision.

Here are some of the customizations you can make:

  • Thickness: Choose stroke width from 1 pt up to 50 pt.
  • Color: Select from Canva’s extensive color palette.
  • Transparency: Increase opacity for faint lines or decrease for bold strokes.
  • Pressure: Turn on pressure sensitivity for natural line variation (touchscreens only).

Take time to experiment with different tool settings until you get a feel for what works best for your personal style.

Tips for Drawing in Canva

Follow these tips as you sketch out your ideas in Canva:

  • Use layers – Draw different elements on separate layers for easy editing.
  • Lock layers – Lock finished layers in place while working on others.
  • Undo liberally – Don’t be afraid to use undo and redraw lines.
  • Zoom in – Get a closeup view for detailed illustrations.
  • Group doodles – Group related sketches to move them together.

With practice, you’ll gain confidence for freehand drawing directly on device screens or with a mouse/trackpad.

Illustrating with Lines, Shapes, and Diagrams

The Canva drawing tools aren’t limited to freehand sketching – you can use them to create lines, geometric shapes, flow charts, and more.

Outlining Objects with Lines

Use the pen or marker tools to outline, frame, and accentuate other elements in your design. For example:

  • Outline a photo with a hand-drawn border.
  • Draw attention to text by boxing it in.
  • Frame your design with an illustrated banner.

Customize line thickness, color, and transparency for different effects.

Drawing Lines and Connections

Take your Canva designs beyond static elements by using lines to show connections, relationships, steps, and more.

  • Draw lines to link related elements.
  • Create arrows to show process/flow direction.
  • Use color-coding and line styles for different types of connections.
  • Add line labels, markers, or callouts for clarification.

Lines bring clarity and purpose to Canva layouts. Use them intentionally to enhance comprehension.

Crafting Shapes and Icons

The drawing tools allow you to handcraft custom shapes, icons, banners, and more:

  • Draw circles, rectangles, triangles, stars, and other geometric shapes.
  • Create icons that perfectly suit your brand identity.
  • Replace generic icons with personalized, hand-drawn ones.
  • Illustrate banners, badges, signage, and other design assets.

Don’t limit yourself to static shapes – incorporate movement and personality with flowing lines and hand-drawn touches.

Building Diagrams and Flows

Bring concepts to life by visually diagramming processes, relationships, hierarchies, and more in Canva:

  • Sketch sitemaps, flowcharts, org charts, venn diagrams, and workflows.
  • Use standard diagram shapes and connectors (provided in Elements).
  • Color code and visually organize complex systems and relationships.
  • Annotate diagrams with captions, labels, and text.

Well-organized diagrams created in Canva are both informative and visually engaging.





Elevating Your Drawings with Shape Assist

Canva’s shape assist feature helps refine your sketches into perfect geometric shapes and lines.

To use it:

  1. Draw a rough shape or line.
  2. Briefly pause after completing the stroke.
  3. Canva will automatically smooth and snap your sketch into a perfect shape!

This works for rectangles, circles, triangles, arrows, stars, hearts, diamonds, and more.

Shape assist enables you to draw diagrams and icons that appear professionally-made, without needing precise illustration skills. Keep it in mind for any design where precision is key.

Techniques for Polished and Professional Drawings

Follow these tips and tricks to take your Canva drawings from amateur doodles to polished illustrations:

  • Use shape assist on rectangles, arrows, triangles, circles, stars, lines, hearts, and diamonds.
  • Vary line weight – use both thick and thin lines to add contrast.
  • Simplify messy lines – delete and re-draw any imprecise strokes.
  • Refine shapes and icons – adjust, edit, combine shapes as needed.
  • Add color thoughtfully – use intentional colors and shading.
  • Organize with alignment tools – keep drawings neat and professional.
  • Use layers – separate lines, fills, and details on layers.
  • Group related elements – keep them organized.
  • Zoom for details – precision comes from working up close.

Don’t worry if your first sketches seem messy or amateurish. With practice and editing, you can transform any rough doodle into refined line art.

Unleashing Creativity with Canva’s Elements

The core drawing tools are just the start of Canva’s illustration capabilities. Canva is also packed with a massive library of design elements to enhance your drawings.

With over 1 million elements available, you can incorporate professional illustrations, icons, shapes, and graphics to level up your designs.

Types of Elements

Canva’s element library includes:

  • Illustrations: Line art, animations, silhouette images
  • Icons: Interface icons, brand logos, flags
  • Shapes: Lines, geometric shapes, banners, dividers
  • Text and Titles: Stylized text boxes, quotes, headers
  • Backgrounds: Patterns, textures, illustrations
  • Photos and Videos

With this visual “toolkit”, you can quickly design beautiful, professional graphics by combining your own drawings with complementary elements.

Tips for Using Elements Effectively

Follow these tips for seamlessly mixing your drawings with Canva’s elements:

  • Use icons and shapes to build diagrams faster.
  • Incorporate stylized titles, text boxes, and quotes.
  • Layer illustrations and textures behind your sketches.
  • Replace generic icons and shapes with hand-drawn versions.
  • Add background patterns and textures for visual interest.
  • Use photos to add realism and context.

Get creative with how you integrate and customize elements to suit your artistic vision!

Overcoming the Stroke Limit

Before wrapping up, it’s important to be aware of Canva’s drawing stroke limit.

Each Canva design has a maximum of 1 MB per stroke layer. Once you exceed this limit from adding too many complex drawings and lines, Canva prevents you from saving your design.

If you get a warning about exceeding the stroke limit, here are some tips:

  • Simplify detailed drawings by removing or re-drawing lines.
  • Delete unnecessary strokes.
  • Split drawings across multiple Canva pages.
  • Copy sections of your design to new pages as needed.
  • Toggle stroke layers to inactive to save other layers.

Refer to Canva’s Help Center for more details on overcoming this limitation.

Bringing Ideas to Life in Canva

With its intuitive drawing tools and expansive element library, Canva makes it easy for anyone to illustrate their ideas and take designs to the next level.

Whether you’re outlining objects, connecting elements, diagramming concepts, or incorporating icons and textures, Canva has all the features you need to draw within your designs.

So grab one of Canva’s virtual drawing tools, and start sketching out your most creative concepts and visions. With practice, you’ll be able to craft polished illustrations that captivate audiences and bring your ideas to life.

The only limit is your imagination – unlock the full creative potential of Canva’s drawing tools today!

related Topic

How do you use lines and shapes in Canva?

In Canva, lines and shapes are easily used for design. To add lines, select from pre-made styles or press “L” for a customizable line. Adjust color, weight, style, and endpoints using the toolbar, and move or resize by clicking and dragging. For shapes, choose from predefined options like rectangles (press “R“) or circles (press “C“). Resize shapes using handles, and alter their colors via the toolbar. These tools allow for creative flexibility and customization, making it simple to incorporate lines and shapes into your designs in Canva.

How do you draw lines in Canva?

In Canva, drawing lines is a straightforward process. First, activate rulers and guides under “View” settings in the “File” menu. Next, select a straight line element from the “Elements” tab. Click and drag the line to your canvas. To ensure it’s perfectly straight, hold down the “Shift” key while positioning it. The rulers and guides feature aids in maintaining alignment, making it easy to draw straight lines in Canva.

How to draw perfect lines in Canva?

In Canva, you can draw lines and various shapes using the Draw feature:

  1. Access the Draw feature from the editor’s side panel.
  2. Choose your drawing tool (Pen, Marker, Highlighter, or Eraser).
  3. Customize line thickness, color, and transparency.
  4. To change the color, select the Color tile, offering document colors or a new one from the color spectrum.
  5. Adjust settings like thickness, transparency, and thickness by using sliders.

To draw, select a brush or pen, then click and drag on your design. For erasing, choose the Eraser option, click, and drag to remove. To exit Eraser mode, click the Cursor. After drawing, you can treat them like other Canva elements. For smoother drawings, you can use Canva’s shape assist, which works for specific shapes. If you encounter a stroke limit issue, consider reducing strokes or duplicating designs to continue.

Can I draw shapes in Canva?

Yes, you can draw shapes in Canva using the Draw feature. To draw shapes, follow these steps:



  1. Access the Draw feature from the editor’s side panel.
  2. Select a drawing tool (Pen, Marker, Highlighter, or Eraser).
  3. Customize the shape’s thickness, color, and transparency.
  4. Choose colors from document options or the color spectrum.
  5. Draw shapes directly on your design by clicking and dragging with the selected tool.

This feature allows you to create personalized shapes, diagrams, or flowcharts, giving your designs a unique touch. Canva provides the tools and flexibility to draw and customize various shapes to meet your design needs.

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Last modified: May 15, 2024

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