Drawing Grid

Using a Grid to Assist in Learning How to Draw

A drawing grid is a series of vertical lines (up & down) and horizontal lines (across) placed on your paper before you begin drawing. Once you have your grid placed, you can then begin to place the lines of your subject onto your drawing without a lot of guesswork. 

Drawing a grid before you begin helps with placing your subject in perspective. Perspective is to understand where different parts of your subject are to be placed on the paper in order to give the effect of three dimensions.

It turns out that drawing your subject larger when using a grid is not even one bit harder than keeping your drawing the same size!

Viola! . . . You have "blown up" your drawing . . . so to speak.

Keep the Number of Squares the Same Throughout Both Grids . . .

You can increase, or decrease, the size of your grid (thus your drawing too) as long as you keep your increments exactly the same throughout the paper and photograph.

This in turn, allows you to increase your drawing to any size! How great is that!

Here's how . . . 

When you are using a reference photograph, you can draw a grid right on the photo that is proportionately the same exact grid as you will draw on your paper.

For example, you can draw a grid over your photograph that is 3 horizontal lines and three vertical lines, each spaced 2 inches apart. Then draw a grid on your paper that is 3 horizontal lines and three vertical lines, each spaced 4 inches apart.

As long as your photograph's grid is made up of squares and your paper's grid is made up of squares, you can increase or decrease the squares on your paper to any size you want.

TIP: Make sure that your paper has enough room to fit the number of squares needed!

Paper comes in all sizes!

If your squares don't fit exactly onto your paper, that's okay as long as you have at least the same number of squares as in your photograph. Just place your squares and allow the remaining space to be on the edges of your paper.

A drawing grid can be increased by any size . . .

How to create a drawing grid

Take notice that the only thing that can change is the size of the grid sections.

This particular illustrated drawing grid has 6 vertical lines and 3 horizontal lines, spaced 3 inches equally apart (the sections are square).

You could place any sized grid on paper with 6 vertical lines and 3 horizontal lines as long as you keep the sections square.

Let's see exactly how this works

The spacing on the sections on the paper could be . . .

  • Reduced to 1 1/2 inch squares (reduced by half)
  • Enlarged to 4 1/2 inch squares (increased by half)
  • Enlarged to 6 inch squares (increased two fold)
  • Enlarged to 9 inch squares (increased three fold)
  • Enlarged to 24 inch squares (increased by 8 fold)

And so on . . .

See how easy it is to enlarge your drawing!

Don't Want to Draw a Grid? Consider This . . .

Many artists aren't crazy about drawing a grid on their paper before they begin their work. I understand this . . . I am one of them.

However, I find that I never regret taking the time to prepare my paper with a grid before I begin drawing my subject . . . it's always worth my time!

Good art schools have their students place a grid on their paper before beginning. If you are learning to draw online (or via books) it's always a good idea to practice the way you would if you were in an art class.

Try it, and see how well it works for you.

Creating art and crafts builds new neural pathways in your brain and is a great way to keep your noggin healthy. Keep creating for optimal brain health!


~~~Samantha Mariah

Glossary Words Used on This "Drawing a Grid" Page . . . 


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