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To Use Guide Lines Or Not To Use Guide Lines...

Updated on July 20, 2009

That, Is The Question.

So many artists, especially artists who are just starting to venture into this crazy world of artistic people, creativity, inspiration and chaos are wondering, do I use guidelines when draw? Should I? What do guidelines do and will it save me time not to do them? Are they worth the effort?

These are just some of the questions I will be answering on this hub, I hope that by writing this you can make your own decision if using guidelines when drawing is for you. Since this is a personal choice, read on.. find out the facts and decide, "To use guide lines or not to use guide lines, that is the question."

Beginning drawing I did with guide lines.
Beginning drawing I did with guide lines.

Guide Lines: Purpose And Cookie Cutter Drawngs

Guide lines are used as a simple measure to make sure that your proportions are anatomy correct on a drawing, whatever that drawing may be.

Drawing human faces however is the most common use for guidelines, drawing faces is very difficult because of all the features and lines on a face. However using guide lines for these can also be hard and should be used lightly.

As an artist you should be able to look at a drawing and notice the main features that makes that person them. Some people's eyes are uneven, some people have a longer nose or larger one, the lips may be fuller or not. These are all aspects you should consider looking at. However most artists with guide lines forget to take factor these special features that make us unique, such as the uneven eyes.

Now while guide lines if not carefully used can make cookie cutter drawings there are things that can go wrong without using them.

Guide lines are used to keep proportions in proportion, therefor not using guide lines can make keeping things in proportion harder, however not impossible.

In other words guidelines have their advantages and disadvantages to them, depending on what you are careful and not careful about. If not used properly everything can become cookie cutter, if not used at all drawing can be poorly proportioned, this will show. Using guide lines is a personal choice, you can choose to use them or not the decision is completely up to you.

Facts, Questions, Answers, Ending Notes:

The Facts:

  • Guide Lines Keep Drawings In Proportion
  • Guide Lines if not carefully used can make cookie cutter type drawings
  • Guide Lines should be done in pencil so they may be erased
  • Guide Lines should be drawn lightly or risk leaving residue on the paper after erasing.

The Questions:

  • Should I use Guide Lines?
  • Does using Guide Lines Help?
  • How Long do Guide Lines take?
  • Does using Guide Lines waste time?

The Answers:

  • Using Guide Lines is a personal choice
  • Using Guide Lines often helps keep drawings in proportion
  • Guide Lines do not need to be perfect, they are not final lines, Guide Lines usually take between 5-10 minutes when casually drawing.
  • If you do not need guide Lines to draw a your drawing anatomy correct then maybe they do, if your drawings look better when you used them it doesn't sound like a waste of time. ;)

Using Guide Lines is a personal choice, as I have said before... take into consideration your situation and drawings and hen you can make your choice. Remember you can use Guide Lines for any drawing... and you don't have to for any drawing. Have Fun! ^_^


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    • Cam Anju profile image

      Cam Anju 8 years ago from Stoughton, Wisconsin

      Thanks samelabboush! It is mine, worked really hard on it! ^_^

    • shamelabboush profile image

      shamelabboush 8 years ago

      Seems you've your homework Cam Anju, nice :) I like your new avatar... I bet it's your work!

    • Cam Anju profile image

      Cam Anju 8 years ago from Stoughton, Wisconsin

      Shalini Kagal, It's very difficult so don't worry about it.. I have loads of trouble getting the proportions right, but we practice and do what we can. Thanks! :)

      Thank you, too sweet! ^_^ -Cammi

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      Cammie - that's a great hub - I try, I really do but I never, ever get the proportions right! I like the balanced for-against picture.

      And congratulations on the 100 - super in so short a time!

    • Cam Anju profile image

      Cam Anju 8 years ago from Stoughton, Wisconsin

      Hey Anjalichugh!

      Thanks, well, I don't really have any secrets... just kept working at it! Hold that thought though ok? Awesome, and you should! It's very relaxing and fun! ^_~

    • anjalichugh profile image

      anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York

      Hey Cam! First of all you must tell us how you managed to get a score of 100. Congratulations! Ok I know you might not want to share all the 'trade secrets' but can I ask for a few only. Speaking of this hub...not much to say except that it's great. I loved to draw and paint but never ever was I able to draw faces. You really motivated me to give it a try again. Thx.

    • Cam Anju profile image

      Cam Anju 8 years ago from Stoughton, Wisconsin

      Jeff, I came here with a few goals in mind and I'm going for them all! ;) That's very true what you said about using a grid to help take a small photo into a larger drawing... thanks for putting this in! Thanks! ^_^

    • rvsource profile image

      rvsource 8 years ago

      Cam Anju

      You've been a busy little beaver with your hub activity!

      This is a good topic for all artists. I sometimes use guidelines, or "grids." I try not to but when I really want good detail I do. The other nice thing about a grid line is that you can take a small picture and enlarge it keeping it in proportion.


    • Cam Anju profile image

      Cam Anju 8 years ago from Stoughton, Wisconsin

      Thanks dohn121, I'm glad to hear!

      That's awesome, drawings done by someone you know are worth that of Van Gough maybe more. Think about it, you took a white sheet of paper and out from it a drawing that almost seems to have come to life. ;) My little brothers love it when I draw them coloring pages, much more then store bought ones... LOL

      Thanks again! I am so excited about it still! x)

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Great job, Cam. I really am into all that you do. Once upon I was an artist, but now spend my time writing more than anything. Sometimes however, I find myself drawing cartoons for my niece and nephews as they cherish them as if they were the works of Van Gough. By the way, congratulations on REACHING A HUBSCORE OF 100! I know that you worked hard to attain it. You deserve it!!!

    • Cam Anju profile image

      Cam Anju 8 years ago from Stoughton, Wisconsin

      Aya Katz, Thanks for stopping by!

      I love to draw faces as well, in doing this I realized that guide lines can often be more helpful then given credit for. I hope this hub helped display that. Thanks! ^_^

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Cam Anju, thanks for this even-handed discussion of the issue. I love to draw faces, but often the proportions are wrong, even though the person is recognizable. Guidelines might help, but it's important, as you stated, to remember that not all people have even features.