Drawing Lesson - Drawing from Photographs Using a Grid

Improving Your Observation - With Grids


In this exercise, you will draw the photo from the last lesson using a grid. The idea of using a grid is to make it easier to draw the image you are working on larger.  Draw a grid on the photo, then draw a larger grid of the same proportions on your larger paper.  You will then be able to use each box to draw that section of the original on a larger scale. Now you can map each box of the original, one at a time and build your drawing very accurately.   Here, the artist has drawn a grid on the original photo with 3 boxes across and 4 boxes down.  The artist then drew a grid at a larger size on the larger paper; the boxes are bigger, but they have the same number of boxes across (3) and down (4). Create a grid of equal size squares, 3 units across and 4 units down.  Extend the heavy tick marks across the photograph to form a grid. You can also use both the thin and thick marks on the photo to create a 6 x 8 grid for more accuracy.  As your observation improves, you will rely on the grid less and less.  Now draw the details of each square, notice where shapes cross the grid lines.  Use the grid lines as a measuring device to transcribe or “map” each section of the grid.

Materials: 4B pencil, 18 x 24 drawing paper, ruler.


Exercise 2:

For the fourth drawing, you will create the drawing from the same photo with a grid drawing on the photo. You will need to create a proportional grid on your drawing paper that matches the grid on the photo. You will draw or map the portrait by observing where the image crossed each line of the grid box by box. The final drawing should be the most accurate. However, it may not be the most interesting. 

Materials: 4B pencil, 18 x 24 drawing paper, ruler.


Drawing by Student Artist; Margot Karney