Drawing with a Grid

How to draw is easy for some and a challenge for others. Some come by it naturally while others have to learn to draw. There are many different drawing techniques that can be used and no one is the only correct way. I always feel that “What works for You” is the right way.

One of the easiest ways I found for learning to draw was by using a grid.

It made me look at the relationship of lines in a limited area, and when you put all the blocks together, you come up with a complete picture.

The following is a short video I have produced

Drawing with a Grid

If you have problems viewing this here, you can go to
Painting Tips for Newbies on Squidoo
or to YouTube.

How does a Grid Help You?

The main thing is that it makes you look at lines and how they relate.

  • It forces you to only look at the lines in a small square,(a 1 inch square was used in the video).
  • It is repetitive so that by the time you have finished, you have practiced looking at line relationship many times
  • And the good thing is, that you come up with a completed picture when you are done.

What if You Want to Change the Size?

There are two things that you can do.

  • You can make the size of the square you are sketching into different than the size of the square on the original you are copying from.

For instance, supposed you want the new one to be twice the size of the original? All you have to do is make the square twice the size of the original square. If you have a 1 inch square on the original than use a 2 inch square on the drawing.

  • You can scan the one you’ve finished and make it any size you want.

How Do You Transfer the Drawing onto Your Canvas?

You can trace it onto the surface you will be painting on using Graphite Tracing Paper. Be sure it is Graphite Tracing Paper, not Carbon Tracing Paper. Graphite Tracing Paper

  • Will not smudge like Carbon Paper
  • Is easily erasable where you don’t want it to show
  • Will not deaden your colors by introducing black into the paint.

Side Bar: A device was developed by Albrecht Duerer in the sixteenth century to help him with prospective and proportion (exactly what I use it for). Since photography, scanning and computers were not around then, he had to build an actual physical device that he could look through to see his subject.

He then drew square by square, looking at line relationships, to accomplish what he wanted. You can read more about him in “The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards.

Using a Grid for Perspective

Here is a perfect example of using the grid to help draw this building that had multiple attached structures which were also well above eye level, adding to the complexity of the lines.

As you can see, there are much sharper angles for the tops of the roofs because the viewer is looking up at the structure.

If I hadn’t used the grid, I would have had to find the vanishing point for the building so I could get the lines in the right perspective. I think the grid was much easier.

Another thing that was very helpful in using the grid was that the original photograph was 8 x 10 while the painting is 24 x 30. I was able to enlarge it to 3 times the original simply by making the squares 3 times bigger on the painting.



This entry was posted in Tools.

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