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Chapter Two

Drawing Figures

After this chapter you should

understand what the .NET framework is

understand how to instantiate objects of the Graphics, Pen

and SolidBrush classes

understand how to use the DrawLine() and other methods to

draw a figure

understand the concept of a constructor

understand the coordinate system in the Windows environment

understand the difference between declaration and instantiation

Key concepts

Objects and classes
Declaration and instantiation
Chapter 2 2 Drawing Figures

The Graphics class

Things to know

The .NET framework is a library of classes and methods that programmers can include in
their programs. In other words, we don't have to do everything from scratch every time
that we need a special functionality. We can simply use the static methods of a class in
the .NET framework or we can define an object of an existing class and use the non-static

The .NET framework includes a class Graphics, which provides methods for drawing lines,
curves, figures, images, and text on a control.

Things to do

Click File / New / Project …

Give a name to the project, Drawings.
Browse to the folder where you want to save the project and ensure that the correct folder
is in the Location box.
Rename the file Form1.cs to frmDrawings.cs.
Change the Text property of the form to Drawings.
Put two buttons on the form, namely Draw and Close. Give it appropriate names.
Put a panel on the form and name it pnlDrawings. Change the BackColor property of the
panel to White.
Ensure that all controls are neatly aligned.
Write the appropriate code for the Close button.

Enter the following line of code directly underneath the header of the partial class for the
form. This line declares an instance (object), grphPanel, of the Graphics class. Note
that the object is not yet instantiated, it has only been declared.

Graphics grphPanel;
Chapter 2 3 Drawing Figures

Enter the following line of code in the form's constructor method, frmDrawings(), just
after the call to the InitializeComponent() method. This line instantiates the object,
grphPanel, as the graphics for the panel, pnlDrawings.

grphPanel = pnlDrawings.CreateGraphics();

Enter the following two lines of code in the Click() event handler of the Draw button.

Pen penBlack = new Pen(Color.Black, 2);

grphPanel.DrawLine(penBlack, 0, 0, 50, 50);

The first line declares an instance (object), penBlack, of the Pen class. The Pen class has
been defined in the .NET framework. An instance of the class describes how a shape (line
or rectangle, etc.) is outlined. In other words, it describes the colour and thickness of the
lines. You can play around with other values for the two parameters in the constructor
method above.

The second line draws a line using the pen that has just been declared from the (0,0)
coordinate to the (50,50) coordinate on the panel.

Here is a challenge for you: Make use of the panel's Width and Height properties and
change the code above so that a cross is drawn across the entire panel as in the screen
print below. Draw the two lines in two different colours.

Things to know and understand

Inspect the code below and then make sure that you understand the comments thereafter:
Chapter 2 4 Drawing Figures

The curly braces and indents in the code serve to indicate the scope of particular pieces of
code (indicated with boxes). Make sure that you understand that one level of scope fits
completely inside another.
You should understand the difference between a declaration and an instantiation. A
declaration gives a name to an object of a specific class although it does not necessarily
exist. The object comes to life only when it is instantiated. Before then, it does not exist,
even if it might have a name. (Much like a mother decides on a name for her child before
he/she is born.)
The scope of an object is determined by the place where it is declared and not where it is
instantiated. The object grphPanel has a scope that makes it available to all methods in
the code while the object penBlack has a scope that limits it to the method
btnDraw_Click. This means that penBlack is not available to any other method.
Besides limited scope, a variable that is local to a method also has limited life span. It only
exists as long as the method is executing. In other words, the next time that btnDraw is
clicked a new penBlack will be instantiated.

A constructor is a special kind of method. It is a method as any other in that it

encapsulates a piece of code that does something, but it differs in the sense that it is
executed when an object is instantiated. This means that for every object, its constructor
is executed exactly once. It is the very first method that is called after an object has been
instantiated; it is always called when the object is instantiated and it is never called after
that again.
Furthermore, a constructor has the same name as the class that it belongs to. In the
example above, the method frmDrawings() is the constructor of the form frmDrawings.
Therefore, the method frmDrawings() is executed when you press F5 to run the
application because it is then that the form is instantiated.
To summarise: In the example above, we have three methods, namely the constructor of
the form and two event handlers that handle the Click events of the two buttons
Chapter 2 5 Drawing Figures

In this example, the object grphPanel is declared and instantiated in two different lines of
code. The declaration is done so that the scope of grphPanel will allow it to be available to
all methods in the form. The instantiation is done so that grphPanel will be available as
soon as the form is created.

The object penBlack is declared and instantiated in one single line.

Object name Constructor

Pen penBlack = new Pen(Color.Black, 2);

Class Instantiate new object

The part Pen penBlack does the declaration and the part penBlack = new
Pen(Color.Black, 2) does the instantiation.

Make sure that you understand that the first occurrence to the word Pen refers to the
class of the new object while the second occurrence refers to the constructor of the class
(remember that a class and its constructor has the same name). The constructor is a
method as any other and may take parameters (values between brackets). In this case,
the first parameter indicates the colour of the new pen and the second parameter the
thickness thereof (in pixels).

The coordinate system in the Windows environment differs somewhat from the coordinate
system that we are used to in Mathematics. In Windows, the origin (0,0) is in the top left-
hand corner (not in the bottom-left as in Mathematics). The x-axis grows to the right and
the y-axis grows downward (not upward as in Mathematics).


y (50,50)

The second line in the Click() event handler of the Draw button draws a line on the

Object Method call Parameters

grphPanel.DrawLine(penBlack, 0, 0, 50, 50);

This line refers to two objects, namely the Graphics object, grphPanel, and the Pen
object, penBlack. The Graphics object calls a method, DrawLine(), which is part of the
Graphics class as it is defined in the .NET framework.

The DrawLine() method takes five parameters. The first parameter defines the pen that
must be used to draw the line, thereby implicitly defining the colour and thickness of the
line. The next two parameters indicate the coordinates of the starting point and the last
two parameters the coordinates of the end point of the line.

Therefore, in plain English the line above means: Draw a line from (0,0) to (50,50) on the
panel. Use a black pen with thickness 2 pixels.
Chapter 2 6 Drawing Figures


You should make sure that you know what each of these items mean or where they are used.

Brace FillEllipse() Non-static method

Color Graphics Object
Constructor Height Panel
Coordinate system Indent Pen
CreateGraphics() Instantiate Pixel
Declare Life span Scope
DrawEllipse() Method SolidBrush
DrawLine() MouseMove() Static method
DrawRectangle() .NET framework Width
Event handler new


Concepts : Normal
Classes and Controls : Green, e.g. Color
Properties : Bold, e.g. Height
Methods : Bold with brackets, e.g. FillEllipse()
Reserved words : Blue, e.g. new


1. Develop a program that will draw a square on the panel through four different calls of the
DrawLine() method.

Hint: Add a label somewhere on the form, lblCoordinates, and enter the following code
for the MouseMove event of the panel. You might not understand (yet) how it works, but
it could help you.

private void pnlDrawings_MouseMove(object sender, MouseEventArgs e)

lblCoordinates.Text = "(" + e.X.ToString() + ", " + e.Y.ToString() + ")";

2. Develop a program that will draw a square on the panel by calling the DrawRectangle()
method. Use Intellisense to inspect the purpose of each one of the parameters. Make
sure that you understand that the fourth and fifth parameters refer to the width and
height of the rectangle.

3. Develop a program that will draw a circle on the panel by calling the DrawEllipse()

Hint: You may place various buttons on the form, each drawing a different figure. You
can clear the previous drawings with
Chapter 2 7 Drawing Figures

4. Develop a program to draw this figure on the panel.

5. Change the program in number 4. Change the colour of the arms and legs. Use the
method FillEllipse() to draw solid blue eyes. The following two lines of code might
SolidBrush brshBlue = new SolidBrush(Color.Blue);
grphPanel.FillEllipse(brshBlue, 110, 25, 5, 5);

Use IntelliSense to discover the colours that are available.

Be creative and add additional elements such as hands and feet, a hat and a cigar, etc.