Drawing a basic cross

Just about every cross design starts its life as either a Latin cross or a Greek cross, so to get the best results you should practice these designs and get familiar with drawing them. The better you are at drawing these, the better you will be at drawing any cross design.

Both designs are easy to draw. Conveniently, they also work off the same guidelines; the difference between them is all a matter of proportions and where the crossbeam goes.

The simplest means of drawing either cross is to use a grid or boxes of some kind. This way, all you have to do is follow the grid lines. For a Latin cross, the top arms are two grid squares long while the bottom arm is five squares long. On the other hand, the Greek cross is a simple plus where all of the arms are three squares long.

An example of making crosses using a grid

But, if you don’t have a grid to work from there’s an easy work-around.

The Stipe

The stipe is the cross’ vertical bar (ie, the rectangle made from the top and bottom arms). Once you have the stipe in place, you’ll have all of the measurements you need to place the crossbeam.

Start drawing the stipe by drawing a vertical line where it should go. If you’re resting the cross on something, draw it from the bottom going up. I’d suggest using a ruler or something to help keep this line straight since this line will evenly split your design in two.
Now that you know how tall your cross is going to be, you can work out how wide the bars are with just a few quick marks. Place a mark in the middle of the line, then in the middle of the top half of that line, and one final mark in the middle of the top line. It’s easier than it sounds; check the image to the left to see what I mean.
These marks created smaller lines out of the big line. Your arms should be as long as the smallest segment — the line made from the tip of the design to the first mark. Draw a second line across the top of the first line to make the tip of the stipe.
Bring two lines straight down from the edges of that line and close them at the bottom to complete the stipe.

Latin Cross

Now that the stipe is drawn, you can position the crossbeam easily.

Lightly draw a horizontal line resting on the second mark. Not counting the area inside the stipe’s rectangle, the line should continue until it’s twice as long as the stipe is wide.
Draw the sides of the crossbeam by adding lines going down from the ends of that last line. These new lines should be the same length as the stipe’s width.
Connect the ends of those lines to finish the crossbeam.
With that, your Latin cross is complete!

Greek Cross

Alternatively, after drawing the stipe you can make a Greek cross with just a few more steps. Basically, you’re just following the instructions for making the stipe again at a 90° angle.

Draw a horizontal line across the center mark. This line should be as long at the stipe’s height, making a plus.
Now add the edges of the crossbeam by adding vertical lines to the end of the previous line. You want these new lines to be centered on the line, and just as tall as the stipe is wide.
Connect the ends of the lines to finish your crossbeam.
With that, your Greek cross is complete!
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