Discovered many centuries ago, the grid art technique enables a painter to copy an image from reality or another painting with perfect proportions and perspective. Though used by professional painters skilled in the art of accurate drawing, the grid art technique is ideal for novices too. In fact, anyone can learn to draw with the grid art technique because this method slices a complex image into minute sections that are easy to copy. Here are the steps to learning how to draw using the simple grid art technique.
How Does It Work?
Instead of learning how to draw a whole face, the grid art technique allows you to draw half a nostril, then the other half, then the bridge of the nose and so forth until eventually you draw a full face. I was taught this simple technique by a friend who amazed me with her drawing ability. I was even more amazed to see how easy it was to learn how to draw as skillfully myself.
What Do You Need?
At a craft store get some transparency paper (see-through paper) as well as a drawing pad. You can also look for grid art worksheets, but I like to create my own grids from art images I wish to draw, like pencil drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci. Buy yourself a regular pencil for drawing the grid, and a soft graphite pencil for learning how to draw the image. Finally, buy a good eraser.
How to Get Started?
Scan art books for an image you wish to reproduce yourself. To make learning how to draw a lot easier, choose a pencil drawing, not an oil or watercolor painting. Once you’ve found an image, make sure your art pad is large enough to encompass the image. In fact, try to choose a small drawing for your first art project.
How to Draw the Image Grid?
When learning how to draw with the grid art technique, start with a small grid rather than one with very large squares, but don’t make the squares too small or you’ll find the work of learning how to draw most tedious. Using a ruler and your regular pencil, draw horizontal lines on the transparent paper, then cross them with vertical lines to draw the grid. Make sure the distance between all the lines in your grid is identical, and note the distance (for example 1 inch) so as to refer to it later. Once you place the see-through paper over the image you wish to draw, you will see the image through the grid, with each section of the grid depicting a small portion of the overall image.
How to Draw the Canvas Grid?
To reproduce the image on your canvas, you must create an identical grid on the canvas to the one laying over the image. Clip the see-through paper to the image or affix it with masking tape to keep the grid fixed in one place. Now draw an identical grid on the canvas, creating the exact same space between the lines (for example 1 inch).
How to Learn to Draw with the Grid Art Technique?
You no longer need to learn how to draw the whole image. With the grid superimposed on the image, you now need to learn how to draw one box at a time on the grid drawn on your canvas. Use the graphite pencil to start with the corner bottom box on the left if you are right-handed, or on the right corner box if you are left-handed. This will prevent the smearing of the image by your hand as you progress through the boxes.
How to Draw the First Grid Box?
Take a moment to study the curves or lines in the box you wish to copy onto the canvas. Forget about the large image and just focus on the specific shapes in the box. You’ll need to copy each curve to its exact length and width, and maintain the same distance between the various lines. You can practice on a piece of paper before committing to drawing on the canvas, but in any event you’ll probably need your eraser to correct mistakes.
How to Draw the Next Grid Box?
Using the same careful copying method, continue to the next box on the grid. If you’re worried about smearing the one below, you can place see-through paper under your hand. Now you must copy the lines and curves in the second box of the image as identically as possible, but you must also make sure that they meet with the lines and curves of the first box.
How to Draw All the Grid Boxes?
At this point you are already well-immersed in learning how to draw with the grid art technique. Continue populating the boxes on your canvas grid with their original models as seen beneath the image grid. Remember to respect the surrounding boxes that you have already drawn in by making all new lines in new boxes fit the existing ones in populated boxes.
How to Erase the Grid?
There are two options open to you when learning how to paint with grid art technique. You can finish the entire image and only then carefully erase the grid. Since some of the image will fade away with the erased grid line, you’ll need to draw these parts again to connect the boxes together. Alternatively, some painters prefer to erase the grid as they work. To use this method, erase the grid between two boxes once they are both populated, then draw the vacant lines out of existence.
The firs technique requires greater discipline. You’ll be unable to see the clean image until you eliminate the grid. But the presence of the grid will make it easy for you to detect errors if somehow your copy of the image turns out a little different from the original.
The second drawing technique allows you to see the finished image growing under your pencil, without the grid to mar it. However, until you become proficient at drawing with the grid art technique, it’s best to keep the grid in place until the whole image is finished.
If you enjoy challenging your artistic side, discover more ways to create your own art, as well as 10 wall decor ideas you can make at home.
And to inspire yourself, discover the magnificent artist, J. D. Hillberry.