• We welcome artists, and we will help you however we can. If our requirements are overwhelming, please ask for help.
  • You can submit written pattern instructions by pasting them in the message area of the contact form.
  • You can make arrangements via the contact form to email a picture.
  • You can also make arrangements via the contact form to mail a braille copy of your drawing.
  • If you can, please use our braille canvas for drawing to make your picture.
  • Drawings may not exceed thirty cells in width and twenty-three rows in length.
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A three-leaf clover.

Braille Canvas for Drawing

By: Lena and Richard Hinkle

Design is XX (should not exceed twenty-three) rows, XX (should not exceed thirty) cells.

Note: Full size picture (the full-page canvas) is the last full page of this document.

The following definition and standards for braille are from the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, Library of Congress. Specification 800: Braille Books and Pamphlets, it states the following:

Size and Spacing of Braille Characters: Braille is a system of touch reading and writing used by blind persons. Embossed dots are evenly arranged in quadrangular letter spaces, called cells. A full cell is three dots high and two dots wide. Each cell may contain up to six dots. Only 63 different characters can be formed. Braille is a fixed-width font meaning that every character occupies the same amount of space, regardless of how many dots are in the cell.

For braille to be read by a blind person, the dots of each cell must be easily discernible by touch and the height of the dots must be sufficient to be easily distinguished from the background.

Standards for Braille Embossed on Paper: Every major braille-producing country has standards for the size and spacing of braille embossed on paper. In the United States and Canada, the de facto standard is the values put forth in Specification 800, “Braille Books and Pamphlets,” from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress. Section 3.2 of Specification 800 (Braille Books and Pamphlets) February 2008 reads as follows:

Size and Spacing:

3.2.1 The nominal height of braille dots shall be 0.019 inches [0.48 mm] and shall be uniform within any given transcription.

3.2.2 The nominal base diameter of braille dots shall be 0.057 inches [1.44 mm]. 3.2.3 Cell spacing of dots shall conform to the following: The nominal distance from center to center of adjacent dots (horizontally or vertically, but not diagonally) in the same cell shall be 0.092 inches [2.340 mm]. The nominal distance from center to center of corresponding dots in adjacent cells shall be 0.245 inches [6.2 mm].

3.2.4 The nominal line spacing of braille cells from center to center of nearest corresponding dots in adjacent lines shall be 0.400 inches [1.000 cm].

See Sketch:

(Caption: four braille cells.)

It is this structure that makes drawing by dots such a challenge!

The basic challenge to drawing in braille is this lack of uniform spacing. Only two true straight lines can be drawn using less than a full row of “missing” dots. Yes, although dots 123 from row to row make a straight vertical line, and dots 14 from cell to cell in a single row make a straight horizontal line, there is no truly straight line at any angle between these two that is not without empty space. It is this use of the empty space that makes the look and feel of the final drawing. Review the DRAWING LINES patterns elsewhere on the web site to see the challenges of lines.

Once you think you have mastered lines, move on to simple squares, most of which will turn out to be rectangles. Then the fun begins. Draw a circle. You might want to review the various circles on the DRAWING CIRCLES page elsewhere on this site. Review the various wheeled drawings and rounded edges of the snowmen, eggs, etc. to see some of the challenges of circles.

When you first start, you may find the single dot, single line drawings are easier to draw, or you may prefer the solid “silhouette” style. Don’t get locked into one style or the other. Feel free to experiment, after all, its art!

Most of all have fun. Please download the blank canvas sheet at the end and create anything you like. You can use the contact form to request our email to submit anything you would like us to include on the site.

Any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

A rubber ducky.

A full page of braille cells.

There are twenty-three horizontal rows of braille cells, with each row having thirty cells.

Two crossed candy canes.