Grid Method Drawing Instructions; How to
Seal Gull drawing using a grid.
How to do Grid Drawing
Are you looking for a way to help your drawings be more in proportion? Grid method drawing can help you achieve that. It's a method that uses grids. The grids are lines that make up squares, like you see on graph paper.
I like using two grids; a grid over the picture that I'm working from (on a clear sheet), and a grid on the sheet that I'm drawing on. My first grid is a document sheet protector with a grid lines drawn on it. I place this grid over the picture I'm drawing from. The second grid is the one that I'll make the drawing on. This grid will either be larger or smaller than the image that I'm drawing from.
I had finally given myself permission to be an artist. There I was, an adult, finally giving permission to my lifelong dream. I went out and bought art supplies; paper, pencils, canvas, brushes, paint, etc.
And I began. Some of my first drawings were laughable, yes me and my family actually laughed at them. But that wasn't where I wanted to be. So I practiced, and practiced, and bought art books, and read, and practiced some more.
My art gradually improved. People started saying I had talent. "Talent," I chuckled. I considered talent something I was born with. The desire I was probably born with. Talent as far as art went, was work. It took lots of practice to get to where I wanted to be.
Anyway, although my artwork has greatly improved, I had still struggled with proportions, especially when it came to people. I did free hand drawing and loosened up, and that helped. But it really helped to start paying attention to proportions and using grids to further me along my path. Using the grid method help me, and perhaps it will help you too.
Sometimes I start with a freehand drawing.
Other times I start with a photo that I've taken. Either way, I like using a drawing book that opens flat. It's better to draw on a page that doesn't bend when you're trying to draw on it.
This book comes in an 8 x 8 inch, and also 12 by 12 inch size.
The cover is from a light bulb painting that I did, to represent good ideas.
When I use the grid method, I like using a vinyl grid sheet over my original.
A vinyl or plastic grid provides a see through sheet.
I use document protectors to draw my re-usable grid on. They are not only see through, they provide a pocket to place my picture in that I'm working from.
If you have a flat clear sheet without a pocket, you tape the image to it. If you are going to use tape, I recommend low tack painter's tape. It doesn't leave a residue and is more easily removed.
You can choose from a box of 50, 100, or 200.
Clear sheets are the ones that you draw the grid on, to be placed over the picture or drawing that you are working from.
Drawing of a grid.
The completed vinyl grid is see through, and reusable for your images.
The grids can be made in various sizes.
Using a fine tip permanent marker and a straight edge, draw an evenly spaced grid onto the document protector. Placing a sheet of graph paper inside the pocket is very helpful for this step.
I made various size grids, ranging in size from 1/4 inch squares to over 2 inch squares, using a new document protector for each size grid.
If the original drawing or picture is more intricate, then a smaller spaced grid can be more helpful to notice the various details.
Grid on clear sheet is placed over the photo.
I select the appropriate size grid sheet.
Are you making the image larger or smaller?
If something has a lot of details, I might go with a smaller grid scale to transfer from to a larger scale on my drawing paper.
The other thing that determines what size grid sheet I use to place over my original, is how much bigger or smaller do I want the image to be that I am going to draw. If I am transforming the image to a larger scale, then I will need a smaller grid over my picture, and a larger grid on the sheet that I will be transferring the image to. And visa versa; if I am making a smaller final image, then I will use a larger scale over the original and a smaller scale on the new surface.
On this drawing, I didn't need detail, I was going for the outline, and I just needed the image of the bird. As you can see, the bird takes up a three by four square area under the document protector grid sheet. This grid sheet was made with one inch squares.
The gull was drawn onto a larger grid.
I draw the image onto graph paper.
Using graph paper gives an easy foundation for drawing the new grid.
I prefer drawing my first draft onto graph paper instead of onto the final surface. I like using graph paper as it provides straight lines and I just measure and draw the desired scale onto the graph paper. This way a bunch of lines don't have to be erased and/or covered up on my final surface.
With the bird image, I wanted to enlarge it. The document protector sheet that I used was a one inch scale. I wanted to double the size, so the scale I drew in pencil on the graph paper was a two inch scale. Both the document protector sheet and the graph paper would have a three by four square area on them, just different size squares.
I multiplied the three by four inch area, by two. So the rectangle I drew onto the graph paper was six by eight. Then I drew lines inside the rectangle that were two inches apart, thereby making my scale on the graph paper with two inch squares.
Connect the dots:If you need help with the drawing at this point, you can use points (dots) to help get you started. If you look at the top of the birds neck, it intersects with the top center line just a little over halfway up in that square. Make a dot there. Going to the left, the top part of the wing is pretty much in the center (going from left to right) of that square and about one fourth of the way down. Place a dot there. Coming down from that top dot and a little towards the right, but not near as far down as the first dot (the one by the neck), place another dot. You've got the idea. Measure, look, calculate, place a lot. Then connect them paying attention to whether the lines are curved, straight, wiggly, etc. It can be a bit rough, you can smooth the lines out as you go. This is just your graph paper drawing.
Once you get all the lines like you want them, you can go over the lines that you want to keep with a fine tipped marker. This will make the lines bolder and darker, and will be easier to see underneath your final surface.
Using Graph Paper Helps To Line Things Up.
Drawings made from using the grid method can give a more realistic drawing.
If your original image is smaller than the clear document protector, placing a sheet of graph paper inside, behind the image, can help you to line things up. You can also secure it in place to the graph paper with a small piece of low tack tape.
I prefer mechanical pencils for my drawing pencils.
Mechanical pencils don't need sharpening. With a click or two you've got more lead and are ready to draw again.
The thickness of the lines stays thin and consistent.
The lines are also dark enough to see through the light tracer for transferring the image that way. You can also go over the final lines with a fine tip marker, if you need help seeing them when you make the transfer over to the final surface.
The twist erase provides a longer eraser that is included in the pencil. A definite plus if you ask me.
When I Want To Keep Colors Straight, I Make a Colored Pencil Drawing...
for my Preliminary Drawing.
Sometimes color is key. When that is important, I choose colored pencils over the black mechanical pencil for the original sketch. They still need to be dark enough to see through a page or canvas that will be placed over it later. (If that is needed.)
It takes a little more time to change colors, but if you have a drawing that is going to be in color in the finished product, then taking this extra step will make your designing easier in the end.
Colored lines can help to identify what an object is, and also what color you might like to paint it or color later.
A flexible ruler is great for making curved lines.
Curved lines can look more uniform and smoother.
I can bend the flexible ruler in tight places, and trace the inner and or outer edge to get smooth, evenly spaced, curved lines.
I have found the ones with measurements on them to come in handy as well.
You may not need to draw in every line in your preliminary. I was going to make a striped coveralls, and saved all my curved lines for the coveralls until the final drawing.
I use Safe Release or low tack painters tape for easy release.
Once the dots have been connected and/or the rough draft drawing completed, I smooth out the image. I round any lines that need rounding, I erase extra marks that aren't needed, etc. Then I darken the lines I want to follow if they need darkening.
Then I line up the graph paper drawing with the surface that my final drawing/image will be on. This is where I may need to shift the paper a little bit to get my final image where I want it to be on the final surface. I use a couple of pieces of low tack painters tape to hold the graph paper drawing to the back of the final surface, if needed. It keeps things from shifting around, especially when the different pages are different sizes.
Sometimes I re-use the safe release tape many times, making it economical as well as efficient.
The smoothed out drawing is ready to transfer.
Light helps the transfer image to be seen more easily.
I then place the transferred drawing (the one on the graph paper), along with the final drawing surface, onto a light box. My darkened lines are the ones I trace onto the top side of the final surface.
If I am making a colored painting and or colored drawing on canvas, I trace the image with watercolor pencils. Any watercolor pencil marks that didn't get painted over can easily be wiped off the canvas with a damp paper towel when the painting is completed and dry, when I paint with acrylic.
If I am making a drawing with markers. I just use the appropriate colored marker(s) that I want.
Before I got the light tracer box, I used to tape images up to a window. The tracer box is much easier.
Some days when the sun is super bright, it's harder to see the image on top of the light tracer box. On those days, I usually either close the curtains or use the window method.
Watercolor Pencils can be used for a color drawing
Watercolor paint is easily painted over and blends right in.
Leftover edges of lines made with watercolor pencils can easily be wiped off of the canvas with a damp paper towel, once the painting has dried.
I like having a variety of colors to choose from.
Final Surfaces for the design.
Once my graph paper drawing is finalized, I transfer the drawing onto my clean final surface. The finished drawing, painting looks so much cleaner.
I used to do sketches right on my final canvas before, with regular pencils. The lead smeared, and sometimes blended into the paint, making extra steps to clean up my colors on my final surface. This is why I take the extra steps to design and create on the graph paper, and then only transfer over the lines that I actually want, and in color if need be. It has made a big difference in the final look and in reducing the work on the final surface.
The gull has been transferred to canvas and painted in.
The finished painting
The finished sea gull painting looks majestic.
I traced the final bird outline onto acrylic canvas with a black watercolor pencil. I filled in the drawing with black acrylic artist paint, making a silhouette of a flying seagull.
Once completely dry, I wiped off any remaining watercolor pencil marks from the canvas. I made any touchups with white acrylic artist paint.
This is a copy of the completed painting.
I uploaded the sea gull to various products on Zazzle.
The seagull becomes a drawing, then a painting, and then a product.
After I finished my grid method drawing of a sea gull, my transfer of it onto canvas, and the painting it in, I scanned it in on my computer and then added it to products in my online store.
If you would like to order this design on any products, visit http://www.zazzle.com/CherylsArt*/ and search for sea gull in the Search this store box. If you would like it on any other products, you can contact me through my Zazzle store.
More Drawing Tips
Whether you're using the grid method or not, these drawing tips can be helpful to any body.
- Look for and pay attention to shapes. Even an eye that a lot of people will just think of as an almond with a circle in it has shape to it. There can be ups and downs in the bottom of the eyelid as well as the top. Light may be hitting the eyes, showing as little triangles or dots. If you are doing a closeup of a person, pay attention to the iris. Is there a darker outer ring? Are there various colors in the iris?
- Compare the relationships the different shapes have to other shapes. Is the bottom of the nose perfectly in line with the bottom of the years? Does the nose line up with the middle of the chin? Where do the corners of the lips line up in relation to the eyes. Use this technique whether you're drawing a face, buildings, a bicycle, etc. See where things line up in relation to what else is there.
- Practice, practice, practice. Do what it takes. Trace over pictures. Use the grid method. Draw things freehand. And keep at it. Some people may be born with an artistic set of skills; others aren't. But if it's what you want to be, then it's worth it. Go for it. Keep at it. Practice helps.