How to Draw With a Grid

How to Draw With a Grid
Art Tips, Painting, Pen Sketching, Pencil Sketch

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Knowing how to draw is a very individual learning process. There are so many different drawing techniques and everyone has different opinions on what is the correct way to learn to draw. I feel the correct ways are the ones that work for you. (Draw With a Grid)

This certainly gave me the basics, and is one method I use for my preliminary drawings for my paintings. Sometimes, though, I still have difficulty getting the right proportions or prospective. When I’m having a problem with that, I frequently use a technique of drawing with a grid.

I do a lot of photography for reference pictures for my paintings, so I am able to have a good supply of pictures that I can copy and draw a grid on.

Sometimes I don’t have what I need, especially some kind of bird or other animal, so I have to find a different resource. When I have to do that, I am very careful about respecting other people’s copyright. In turn, I hope that people respect mine.

What I would like to do in this article is discuss how to go about using a grid. It is a simple process and easy for the new artist to follow.

The Value in Using a Grid is that:

It teaches you to pay attention to the relationship of one line to another

It makes you practice the technique over and over again

It makes you focus on only one square at a time so you are not overwhelmed by the enormity of the bigger picture

You are rewarded for all your efforts and practice by having a completed drawing that you can be proud of.

I can remember the first time I tried this technique in my younger years. I had wanted to draw a horse, but I just couldn’t get the proportions right. I had a great photo of a colt I had taken at a friend’s farm and really wanted to draw it.

After several unsuccessful attempts and about 2 hours of time (I’m a very persistent person), I finally drew the grid on a copy of the picture and in 30 minutes, I had a fantastic drawing.

How Do You Begin?

It is best that you start out with a picture that does not have too much detail. You are not going to copy everything on the picture, only the main features that you feel are best draw out this way.

Initially plan on making the drawing the same size as the picture. You do this by, for example, making a one inch grid pattern on both the picture and the paper you will be drawing on.

Later, if you want to do a drawing that is a different size than the original, you use two different grid sizes. For example, to make the drawing twice as big as the picture, draw 1 inch grids on the picture and 2 inch grids on the drawing paper.

Next, start drawing, one box at a time. Be sure to count out your squares so you start at a point where you have enough squares left to complete the drawing.

Focus on the relationship of the lines in that square. Do not worry about the lines in the adjoining squares. Only focus on one square at a time

Before you know it, you have a complete drawing.

What do You Do Next?

This is only a brief discussion of using a grid as one of your drawing techniques. Some people scoff at it as “cheating” and not really requiring any talent. But, if you are a new artist trying to learn how to draw, this is perfect for you.

One of the biggest problems I have seen with my students, is that they do not pay attention to what they are actually seeing. They draw what they think they see and usually, it is distorted by logic.

Drawing with a grid

Forces you to focus on line relationships,

Makes you practice it over and over again,

And gives you a completed picture that represents what you actually see, not what you think you see.

Once you have learned the skill of looking at line relationships, you will not need the grid. Although, even as an experienced artist, sometimes you need the grid to get you past a problem you are having with a specific drawing.

There are no dead fast rules of what is right to help you learn how to draw and keep on drawing. What works for you at the time is what is right. Having tried many different drawing techniques, is what will help you succeed throughout your career. You will know what to use when the situation calls for it.

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