ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Drawing Technique - Grid

Updated on April 5, 2019

My Work

Self Portrait - Charcoal on paper
Self Portrait - Charcoal on paper | Source
Still life of bones and vase - Graphite on Paper
Still life of bones and vase - Graphite on Paper | Source


I picked up this technique in a basic drawing class. This technique is very use full, if you are working toward a realistic style in your drawing and like to work from photographs. (Photographs are much cheaper than models.)

Renaissance artists used a similar drawing technique in which a model is viewed through a wire grid which forces the artist to concentrate on the drawing image rather than what the artist, usually an apprentice, thinks the subject should look like.

Here is some advice: Don’t rush through the preparation stage.

Equipment Needed

You will need the following items

  1. One picture 8-1/2 x 11 inches - I use a jpeg to print a black and white copy on regular paper at a copying machine. The paper is easier to draw on and I don’t need the super details on photo paper for this type of drawing.
  2. On sheet of drawing paper 18 x 22 inches – Get a good quality paper appropriate to your medium. Charcoal will need a rougher surface than graphite.
  3. Pencil – This is for drawing on the smaller sheet of paper
  4. Knead it Eraser – This is my preferred eraser because it does not damage the surface of the paper as much.
  5. Drawing Board – It is important to keep the paper stable so attach the drawing to the board. I use painter’s tape which can be found in most hardware stores. Drafting tape works but you have to go to an art supply store and it is getting harder to find.
  6. Optional: An easel makes this much easier, but that is an expensive tool. The still life drawing was done primarily at a table, so it can be done.
  7. Drawing Medium – Charcoal, pencil, ink. Chuck Close is an artist that uses a variation on this technique in oil painting. He is worth checking out on You Tube.

Drawing Steps

  1. Select your photograph. If you are so inclined, take photos specifically for this project. Pay attention to composition and lighting. This is the foundation image for your drawing. A strong photograph will make a strong drawing.
  2. Print the photo.
  3. Draw a one inch by one inch grid over the photograph. It should be eight inches by ten inches. Make sure that the grid is perpendicular and accurate. The grid will not fit the paper and will need to be centered over the image. I like to leave margins on the final drawing. They allow for handling without smearing the mediums.
  4. Draw a two inch by two inch grid on the larger sheet of drawing paper. It should be sixteen inches by 20 inches. The number of grids must match the smaller drawing. Center the margins. I usually leave a larger margin and the bottom of the drawing. That is a style adjustment that you may or may not like.
  5. Using the photograph as the model draw what is in each square. Start in the upper left hand corner and work diagonally across the paper. Reverse the direction if you are left handed. If you have trouble concentrating square by square the find a way to cover what you are not working on.

Be patient. This technique will take more than one day, even if you have nothing else to do. This is not an easy technique and it’s forcing your brain to process information differently. I warm up with a few quick sketches of something else before working on my drawings.

© 2014 Brian L. Powell


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)