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A guide to drawing in android

Photo by Andrian Valeanu on Unsplash


Android has provided us with many powerful componentized model for building your UI. All of these models are based on fundamental layout classes: View and ViewGroup. We can create our own view by simply subclass the widget or layout and override its methods. We you want to know more about custom view I would you to read this article by Roman Danylyk.

Here we will be creating a view which will let us draw on canvas.

We will be creating something like this but bit simpler. Before jumping to the code try out sample app.

I have also created a library for android draw. Check out the github repo.


Let’s jump directly towards code. First we create a class DrawView which is the subclass of view and initialize paint and path object.

class DrawView(context: Context, attrs: AttributeSet) : View(context, attrs) {private var mPaint = Paint()
private var mPath = Path()

private var mCurX = 0f
private var mCurY = 0f
private var mStartX = 0f
private var mStartY = 0f

init {
mPaint.apply {
color = Color.BLACK
= Paint.Style.STROKE
strokeJoin = Paint.Join.ROUND
strokeCap = Paint.Cap.ROUND
strokeWidth = 8f
isAntiAlias = true

Here comes the important part. We will now override onTouchEvent and create three functions for ACTION_UP, ACTION_DOWN and ACTION_MOVE.

override fun onTouchEvent(event: MotionEvent): Boolean {
val x = event.x
val y = event.y

when (event.action) {
MotionEvent.ACTION_DOWN -> {
mStartX = x
mStartY = y
actionDown(x, y)
MotionEvent.ACTION_MOVE -> actionMove(x, y)
MotionEvent.ACTION_UP -> actionUp()

return true

when ACTION_DOWN event is called we will move path to x & y and update the value of mCurX and mCurY.

private fun actionDown(x: Float, y: Float) {
mPath.moveTo(x, y)
mCurX = x
mCurY = y

when ACTION_MOVE is called we will make a quadratic curve. Using quadTo helps to make smooth line on curve.

private fun actionMove(x: Float, y: Float) {
mPath.quadTo(mCurX, mCurY, (x + mCurX) / 2, (y + mCurY) / 2)
mCurX = x
mCurY = y

When ACTION_UP is called we will make a line to mCurX and mCurY.

private fun actionUp() {
mPath.lineTo(mCurX, mCurY)

// draw a dot on click
if (mStartX == mCurX && mStartY == mCurY) {
mPath.lineTo(mCurX, mCurY + 2)
mPath.lineTo(mCurX + 1, mCurY + 2)
mPath.lineTo(mCurX + 1, mCurY)

At the end draw path on canvas in onDraw() function.

override fun onDraw(canvas: Canvas) {

canvas.drawPath(mPath, mPaint)

HURRAY! We have completed our drawing view. Our whole code will look something like this.tps://


To clear your canvas reset path and call invalidate().

fun clearCanvas() {

Now you can add your view to xml

android:layout_height="match_parent" />

To check github repo for more features like change strokeWidth, change strokeColor, change Alpha, erase, redo, undo.

Also try out the sample app.

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Divyanshu Bhargava

Divyanshu Bhargava

Flutter | NodeJS | TypeScript | @GoogleDevExpert for Flutter & Dart | Software Engineer at @Securrency | Organizer @uae_flutter | Explorer | Builder | Dreamer

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