How Drawing with a Grid Can Help

Drawing with a grid is nearly as old as time. (Photo Credit: Artist’s Gridded Sketch of Senenmut c.1479 — c.1458 BC Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Drawing with a grid has been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians. Old masters like Albrecht Durer, John Singer Sargent, and Leonardo da Vinci used it. So, there shouldn’t be any shame in using this method. It isn’t cheating. It’s a tool that many, many artists have used, both for accuracy and to enlarge images with greater ease.

What is it?

How does it work?

Art Instruction Schools posted contests in TV Guides, which were basically consisted of drawing with a grid. (Photo Credit: Unknown)

Instead of being overwhelmed with trying to draw the whole entire image, the grid helps you to focus on just one square at a time. The idea is for you to be able to visually judge where in each square part of the image falls or crosses the line. Find that same spot on your blank grid and draw what you see in your original, square for square, matching the position from the original.

Why does it work?

It also helps with hand-eye coordination. As you work through your drawing, you are training yourself to work a little at a time without the overwhelm, how to judge placement and proportion. I still use the grid method if I decide that proportion or detail is tricky, and I need to make sure I get it down precisely.

How is it not cheating?

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