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How To Use A Grid To Make Drawing Simple: A Step By Step Art Project

Updated on March 16, 2017

Most of the time I prefer to draw free hand, but using a grid to help draw a picture can be very useful. Grid drawing is very helpful because it allows the artist to focus on one block of the picture at a time. For this demonstration, I will be using a grid to draw a picture of a puppy on a birthday card for my nephew. Why pay for grid drawing tutorials when you can learn the same technique on your own for free? My first encounter with the grid drawing technique was in a high school geometry project where we had to enlarge a cartoon. However, grid drawing can be used for almost any project and it is easy for the beginner to try. I recommend making your own grids, but it is easy and affordable to also buy graph paper at the store if you are in a time crunch. The steps below will show how to make a simple drawing using a grid.

Step One: Make A Grid On The Blank Card.

I am making a grid on the blank card.
I am making a grid on the blank card.

Use a ruler to make a grid on the card or any other piece of paper that you wish to use for the drawing. Using graph paper may be easier if you do not have the time to make a graph.

Step Two: Make A Grid On The Reference Picture

Here I am making a grid on my picture.
Here I am making a grid on my picture.

Make the same type of grid on the reference picture as was made on the blank drawing/card. This grid will allow the artist to concentrate on one block of the drawing at a time. This is especially helpful if the artist is enlarging a small picture.

How To Use The Grid For Drawing

In this YouTube video I explain how to use a grid for drawing a picture. Use the grid on the reference picture to help position the beginning of the drawing. For example, I would count across the widest portion of the puppy in order to center my drawing.

Another Way To Start The Grid Drawing

In this YouTube I am suggesting an alternative way of beginning the grid drawing. For this video demonstration I begin at the top by sketching out the puppy's head, which helps to show novice that there is no single correct way to begin a drawing! Do what you like and follow you heart's desire when it comes to drawing. Inspiration is the key to a unique and original piece.

Use Color To Cover Up The Grid Lines

In this YouTube video I am showing how to use color to cover up the grid lines on the puppy drawing. See how easy it is to cover up lines on a grid drawing! Another thing you can do if you do not want to make your own grid is buy graph paper for drawing. Choose a type of graph paper that has light colored lines, which will make it easier to cover up the grid marks. However, with a ruler it is easier and more cost effective to make the grid on your own.

Paint Mod Podge Over The Card

In this final step I am painting Mod Podge over the surface of my card to give it a shiny and lustrous look. Allow the Mod Podge to dry overnight before placing the card in an envelope.

The Card Is Ready!

Here is the final picture of the puppy.
Here is the final picture of the puppy.

Here is what my puppy card looked like after I allowed it to dry for twenty-four hours. I always recommend allowing Mod Podge to dry over night because the card will stick to the envelope if you fail to do this.

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  • G-Ma Johnson profile image

    Merle Ann Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

    wow you are a smart one sweetie for making a hub of this...I did this years ago while I was Nun...for 1-1/2 years only...but with no art lessons I came up with this idea myself...very good way to draw tho,,I was impressed...G-Ma :o) hugs

  • SweetiePie profile image
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    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks for the nice comments G-Ma! You made my day!

  • profile image

    SirDent 8 years ago

    Very good demonstrations. Instructions are good and easy to follow. A masterpiece if I ever saw one.

  • profile image

    oberbreckling 8 years ago

    Hi sweetiepie, that's some very good advice and I really liked your puppy "ruff"

    I did learn a many many years ago about a simular method used for drawing portriat drawings a lot easier using the grid then too.This would have been free hand using the grid.took the general for a spin hahah man I need some different pics. in my computer, My kids love to draw they always want me to lay down on the floor and draw with them a lot of fun good illustration, good capsule and text placement ~cool~ cya sweeti!

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    SirDent,

    Thanks for the comments.  I tried to make it easy like the example I had learned back in high school geometry, but this is easy enough for anyone to try.  My mom always tells me she cannot draw, but I keep telling her if she tried the grid method she can!  Also, it is cheaper to make your own grid than to pay for one of those grid drawing programs for sale online, so I just wanted to suggest this for people who might be interested.

    Oberbreckling,

    Thanks for the wonderful comments.  I think you must be a wonderful dad to sit down and drawing with your kids.  My dad used to do that too and he and my grandma are both very good artists.  I am still impressed with a beautiful painting my grandma made of the Golden Gate Bridge.  I hope you make a hub about drawing with your kids because I think that would be top notch!

  • profile image

    oberbreckling 8 years ago

    I will do that sweetie right after I get done with this other hub Im working on an outside source saw my hub on certified inspectors and would like me to do a hub on constuction contractors and link to there web site but i got some good I deas about the hub with the kids and I drawing take some photo's to thanks for the Idea cya sweetie

  • SweetiePie profile image
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    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks for commenting again and I look forward to your future hub!

  • guidebaba profile image

    guidebaba 8 years ago from India

    Thanks Sweetie for this good hub again. This Hub again reminds me of my school days.

  • pjdscott profile image

    pjdscott 8 years ago from Durham, UK

    SP - some great tips here and I have forwarded them to my neighbour who is veru keen on the idea of drawing and painting.

    Thank you and thumbs up for such a useful article.

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting and forwarding this to your neighbor.

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    Wow, it's wonderful to see here. I used to do this too. Some other enlargement methods are there...like making the sketch(outline) in a glass and enlarging the image with use of torch light. My dad had an instrument called epdioscope(not sure if it's right spelling) that was used for the same. That instrument can be built with a box, an electric bulb, a mirror and a convex lens...This is a great hub that took me to the wonderful memories of the past. Thanks :)

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Wow weblog! I am amazed to hear about you and your dad's experiences with drawing. What a wonderful story!

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    Yeah, and your hub inspired me. I'm thinking of writing something about painting, I will do as soon as I get enough material for it.

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    I am glad I inspired you weblog. Have you ever thought about painting Bollywood actresses since you enjoy their acting? That might be a good market :).

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    That's the problem. Paintings don't sell here as much as in western countries. And, I'm not experienced in painting for selling. Actually, I'm sad for not in touch with my painting skills, I told you already. I'm thinking of regaining. You have a point. In today's cyberworld site like ebay, amazon would help in selling. Thanks for the idea :)

  • SweetiePie profile image
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    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    It is just a thought, but maybe worth looking into.

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    Yes, I said I liked the idea. I bear it in my mind :)

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks :).

  • Eileen Hughes profile image

    Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

    Great hubs, Good use of videoing it all too it gives so much extra information. When you can see it done

  • C.S.Alexis profile image

    C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

    SweetiePie, This is the method I use for enlarging my drawings. I find it easy to follow and simple enough to employ with materials other than paper. Thank you for writing this for everyone to share. C.S.

  • SweetiePie profile image
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    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Eileen,

    I enjoy incorporating the videos as it show the process. I am glad you find these videos informative and thank you for commenting.

    C.S. Alexis,

    I agree, this is a good process for enlarging drawings. Also, I like how point out you can use this method with other materials beside paper. Thanks for the great comments.

  • misterpm profile image

    misterpm 8 years ago from Netherlands

    Nice to see!

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thank you msterpm!

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    SweetiePie! nice hub. I'm forwarding it to my granddaughter right now.

    regards Zsuzsy

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks for doing that Zsuzsy, I appreciate it!

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    For kids, it's a nice start to do it with grids. But, later on they should move to free hand drawing for improvement in drawing skills.

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    I agree because I draw most thing free hand. This activity is good for kids or maybe adults who do not draw much.

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    In my experience, using grids is useful for enlarging pics as well as drawing of same size. Tracing paper or carbon paper may help in same size copying of image, but grids give near perfect measurements for enlarging.

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Very true weblog. I am enjoying the insights you have added to this discussion. I used tracing paper a few times in high school art classes and it has good results.

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    Thanks, I just answered your Vogue question too :)

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks for answering my question Weblog.

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    Hey, I think you can bring this large rectangle google ad unit up into the first paragraph. I hope it increases the possibility of clicks. Try making that paragraph slight bigger :)

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks for the tips weblog :).

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    You got it, it's nice to see the ads on top now :)

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Yes I noticed now it is working. I like the layout of the page better now.

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    I knew how to bring the ractangle unit of ads within paragraph, but I did not know they get better amount of clicks only when the paragraph is placed on top most(just below the title of hub) of the page. I got that info from one of Shalini's hubs that had some tips about adsense and hubs.

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Shalini has many good ideas :).

  • Trsmd profile image

    Trsmd 8 years ago from India

    how to get number of comments like this?

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    Hi Trsmd,

    That's easy. Keep writing on interesting topics as SweetiePie does. And, most important to keep in touch with the comments section. Look at the way she interacts here :)

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    I do try to interact with everyone who comments on my hubs. I will comment on yours as you said you want more comments Trsmd.

  • PaulieWalnuts profile image

    PaulieWalnuts 8 years ago from Chicago

    Great Job on the art and the Hub! Outdoor sign painters use the grid techniques too when duplicating something huge. Mural artists us it as well as Renaissance painters did too on giant canvases and frescos. Now days some use an Opaque projector for smaller enlarging.

    http://pauliewalnuts-pauliewalnuts.blogspot.com/

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    PaulieWalnuts,

    Thanks for adding some wonderful information to the discussion.

  • BeatsMe profile image

    BeatsMe 8 years ago

    Hi SweetiePie. Using grid sounds like a good idea. But it looks kind of complicated. It could be more complicated than freehand drawing. I've seen some how-to-draw illustrations in comic books. I think they are more complicated than freehand.

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    Grids make it simple for beginners. Freehand drawing is good, it depends on your choice and which method you feel is comfortable.

  • commentonthis7 profile image

    commentonthis7 8 years ago

    I do a little panting myself but can not draw thanks for the info Great Hub

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

  • profile image

    Amy_Roberts 8 years ago

    Great technique - thanks for sharing! :)

  • ripplemaker profile image

    Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    I find using the grid useful too esp in making letterings. And in drawings, one can be sure the painting is balanced LOL sometimes when I draw free hand, some of the parts are off center or larger than the other. Thanks for sharing. Great tips.

  • weblog profile image

    weblog 8 years ago from 1India

    Hi SweetiePie, I'm really not aware of the celebrity you mentioned in comments(in my hub). Well, I think you can check my other recent hubs.

    http://hubpages.com/author/weblog/latest

  • sixtyorso profile image

    sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

    Great Hub I too have schoolday memories using this technique. My dearly beloved does art as a hobby and sometimes uses this technique but I got her an epidiascope (correct spelling - I think) for projection which is much easier. BTW a technique especially with children is to turn the picture upside down so that you focus on shapes per gid and ignore the picture itself until its complete!

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks for stopping by again.

    That is so nice you are supportive of your girlfriend's hobbies and I think that is nice you do that. Thanks for commenting.

  • compu-smart profile image

    compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

    SweetiePie, Well presented and looks very easy to do,,,when you know how!! lol

    I also love the videos that give your hubs much personality especially the narrating bits;)

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks for commenting Compu-smart.

  • ProCW profile image

    ProCW 8 years ago from South Carolina

    AWE! That's just such a cute little puppy! :)

    ProCW

  • profile image

    ronald1216 8 years ago

    i loved your slow teaching and to the point thanks verry much you also look so cute with your glasses

  • ProCW profile image

    ProCW 8 years ago from South Carolina

    SweetiePie's got a fan with a crush... uh oh! :)

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks for the comments Ronald.

    He seems okay to me ProCw. I actually we not argue with him if he thinks I am cute :).

  • Lissie profile image

    Elisabeth Sowerbutts 8 years ago from New Zealand

    It takes more that a grid to make my drawings look anything better than retarded LOL

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    I am sure if you used the grid it would work. We used to do this to enlarge comics in elementary and later in high school. It was kind of an odd high school assignment, but I think the teacher was running out of ideas that week. My ex-boyfriend's brother got sent to the office because he refused to do one of these busy work assignments in high school :).

  • profile image

    ronald 8 years ago

    oh my deer sweeety pie you are defintely a cutie pie love your beautiful long hair and lovely smile great picture and teachngs of grid use.

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thanks for your kind words Ronald. I hope you have fun drawing.

  • profile image

    simran 8 years ago

    hi i ma a 10 year old girl my hobby is to draw , pain etc but i found drwindg things very hard this was a nicve 1 i liked it now i can make everything easily thank you very much ..!!

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Simran,

    I think even as an adult this grid method is fun. I learned how to do this in elementary school, so this would be the perfect project idea to share with your teacher. I am sure she would think you were very clever if you did. Good luck and have fun drawing.

  • Lgali profile image

    Lgali 8 years ago

    another informative hub

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Thank you for stopping by Lgali.

  • waynet profile image

    Wayne Tully 8 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

    Ha! I was right you did a hub on it!! In fact this link would be a useful addition to my fantasy art blog which will have allsorts of resources about drawing fantasy art, so other artists may find this useful, Plus I've made a new years resolution this year to work more on my art than ever before.

    Thanks for a great hub!

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

    If you want to link to this you are more than welcome waynet. In fact I am the type of person that never minds if people link to me because it means more traffic for all of us at hubpages. One thing I love about youtube videos is that these give us even more links to our hubs.

  • Seabastian profile image

    Seabastian 7 years ago from Raleigh

    This is real interesting for me as someone who can't draw very well. Do you have something similar to teach one how to dance?

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Seabastian,

    There are tutorials for every topic you can imagine. Just take a look around Hubpages for dancing hubs :).

  • tonyhubb profile image

    tonyhubb 7 years ago

    Great tutorial - thanks for sharing!

  • profile image

    Keeva 7 years ago

    You could use an Easy-Draw. It's much easier.

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Keeva,

    I would say people do not need to use Easy-Draw because that means buying an unneeded product for many. Also, most of the time I just draw free hand, but this grid is great for enlarging things, or for those who want to concentrate on just one part of the drawing at a time.

  • prettydarkhorse profile image

    prettydarkhorse 5 weeks ago from US

    Nice, I never tried that one with grid.

  • SweetiePie profile image
    Author

    SweetiePie 5 weeks ago from Southern California, USA

    I am sure your kids would enjoy trying the grid method for drawing. Or the younger ones might like it. I think the older ones could get into it as well, especially since I first encountered this method in a high school geometry class where we had to enlarge a cartoon.

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