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How to Draw a Compass Rose in MS Paint

An avid camper and hiker as well as writer and astronomy lover, Jose Juan Gutierrez has always been inspired by the sky

Compass Rose—rose of the winds

Compass Rose—rose of the winds

What Is a Compass Rose?

A compass rose is a star that points in several directions and is usually used to pinpoint the four cardinal points: north, south, east, and west. It can also display more intermediate points.

A compass rose is more often related to a magnetic compass and is used in navigation and global positioning systems (GPS). The figure was widely used in ancient navigation, and its function has continued in modern times. The modern compass rose has eight main cardinal points, and this is the one I'm going to show you how to draw in MS Paint.

What You'll Need

  • MS Paint or any other drawing program
  • Sketch of a compass rose


Instructions for Drawing a Compass Rose

Draw a compass rose in MS Paint in ten simple steps. Read on for detailed instructions accompanied by photos.

Step 1: Open MS Paint

To start this project, open MS Paint. Click "view" and put a checkmark on rulers and gridlines. These two options will allow you to draw the graphic more accurately using pixels.

Step 2: Draw a Circle

Select the ellipse tool and draw a circle (400 by 400 pixels) in the middle of the work area in MS Paint. Click and drag the circle so that its uppermost left corner is aligned at the vertical and horizontal 200 pixels of the ruler's option.

Horizontal and vertical lines

Horizontal and vertical lines

Step 3: Draw Vertical and Horizontal Lines

Select the line tool and draw a vertical line down at the 400 pixels mark in the rulers and a horizontal line at the 400 mark, too. These lines will serve as guidelines for the rest of the compass rose lines.

Cardinal points

Cardinal points

Step 4: Add Cardinal Points

Draw two 45º lines across the center of the circle. Zoom in or out as needed to match the 45º line with the little squares of the grid. The angles of these four lines should be 45º, 135º, 225º, and 315º degrees. Now mark the four cardinal points (north, south, east, and west) at 360º, 180º, 90º, and 270º respectively.

Intercardinal points

Intercardinal points

Step 5: Add Intercardinal Points

Mark the intercardinal points using abbreviations of the main cardinal and intercardinal like this:

  • NE for Northeast
  • SE for Southeast
  • SW for Southwest
  • NW for Northwest
Scroll to Continue

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Compass rose

Compass rose

Step 6: Fill in the Degrees

Draw lines across the circle from:

  • 360º to 225º
  • 360º to 135º
  • 45º to 180º
  • 335º to 180º

Step 7: Continue Marking Degrees

Continue adding lines from:

  • 45º to 270º
  • 270º to 135º
  • 90º to 335º
  • 90º to 225º
Adding color

Adding color

Step 8: Add Color

Now, it's time to add some color. Select the fill color tool and choose any color of your choice. Pour the color of your choice into the star, starting from the vertical leftmost point of the star. Skip the next point and add color to the horizontal point of the star. Skip the next point and continue adding color to the lowermost vertical point. Then, skip the next point and pour color to the leftmost horizontal point of the compass rose.

Step 9: Add Vertical Color Variation

Choose another color and add color to the white triangles in the star. Start from the point next to the right of the rose's vertical point. Continue filling with paint until you get to the last point, following the same previous pattern. You can try different colors until you are satisfied with the one that will let your compass rose stand out from the other stars.

Completed compass rose

Completed compass rose

Step 10: Add Additional Features

If you feel like it, you can add more features to the rose. For example, select the ellipse tool and draw two concentric circles inside the main circle. Select the fill color tool, choose a color, and pour it in between the two concentric circles. Select the eraser tool and remove unnecessary lines and colors that might be left.

More Variations

This is my version of a compass rose. You can make it smaller, bigger, or a different color to end up with your unique version. You can also use the program of your choice. A few other options are:

  • Inkscape illustrator
  • Mypaint
  • Sketch paint
  • Queeky paint
  • Real-world paint

You can find many alternative programs, so choose what you're comfortable with and draw a beautiful compass rose!

© 2013 Jose Juan Gutierrez


Jose Juan Gutierrez (author) from Mexico City on July 02, 2013:

Thanks for reading and voting!

Firoz from India on July 01, 2013:

Wow. Well explained. Voted up.