The Use of the Grid in Drawing

Grids have been used in drawing since medieval times. This technique was used for scaling small drawings up to large and monumental-sized reproductions of the original sketch.  The most famous use of the grid was by renowned artist Albrecht Dürer. Below is an engraving showing how Dürer positioned his model behind the grid and then, on a matching proportional grid on paper, would draw an accurate reproduction. In this case, he was reducing the image. However, the most common use of the grid was to enlarge sketches on to walls, canvas, etc. Another tool for enlargement was camera obscura, better known today as a Lucy.

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Illustration of how the Dürer Grid was used.

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Dürer Grid.

Below are other examples by famous artists who used grids to achieve their drawings.

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John Singer Sargent, Mural sketch for Apollo.

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Kenyon Cox, Fabric study for mural.