Grid Drawing

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					                                   Grid Drawing
Ohio Standards:
Demonstrate perceptual skill when drawing from direct observation
Connect contemporary art forms to their origins
Solve a visual art problem using strategies from other disciplines.

Introduction: A popular tool to help artists see and draw more accurately is the grid
method. Draw even squares (a grid) all over the picture you want to copy, and then draw
a corresponding number of squares on your paper. It is important that all squares are
perfectly even.

After you have the grids drawn on both the picture and the drawing paper, you "match
up" each square on the picture you want to copy, to the squares on your sketch paper.
This helps you break down the picture into smaller segments. You then copy what is in
each square, individually. Using this method, you are more apt to get things placed in the
right spot, and in proportion. This method can be very encouraging to the new drawer!

Also, when you copy what's in these squares individually, it will help you see the
negative space portion of the image in each square. This will help train your eye further
to draw what you see.

Many of the "old masters" used the grid method in their drawing at times. Sometimes,
they used it to transfer their own smaller drawings onto a much larger (sometimes mural-
sized) canvas. This was an appropriate use of the grid. However, these "old masters"
drew very well on their own. They didn't rely on the grid method for everything. They
didn't need to. They drew well from their imagination and from life. They painted
"action" poses, fantasy figures (like dragons, etc.) and self-portraits—poses that would be
impossible to capture with a grid and show depth and volume. These artists used the grid
method, but they knew the value of drawing freehand.

As simple as the grid method can be, it should not be accepted as your final destination. It
should not be the only technique you use. Consider it a "stepping stone" to freehand

Procedure: Choose a magazine photo of a face to enlarge with a grid. The face can be of
a celebrity, someone in the news or an ad. The face should fill the page to be large
enough to see all details, especially around the eyes. Internet photos or computer prints
are not clear enough to see these details.
Draw a grid on the magazine photo and a grid on your paper with the corresponding
number of squares. Draw the grid lines as lightly as possible. The same size grid will
yield the same size image. Using two different sized grids will enlarge or shrink your
final image.

Edges and strong changes of tone make clear shapes in the photograph. Where one of
these shapes crosses a grid-line, count how many grid-lines from your reference point the
grid-line is. Judge how far the shape is along the square, then count across and mark this
at the same point on the grid-line in your drawing. Do the same again, further along the
same shape - for example, the line of the chin in this drawing. Mark the point where the
shape meets another grid-line, then join the two, following any bumps or curves in the
shape in the photograph. Where a key point is away from a grid-line, such as the mouth
in this example, you will need to judge the relative distance from the nearest grid-lines. In
the detail image, you can see that it is estimated to be two-thirds from the lower line, and
about halfway across. Make sure you have drawn outlines for all the key parts of your
drawing. Less defined areas, such as a patch of shade or highlight, may be roughly
indicated too. Carefully erase your grid lines, repairing outlines as you go.

Now you are ready to start shading your drawing. Take your time, and make sure you use
a full range of tones. The most 3-D looking drawings have strong blacks, white highlight
areas and every possible gray in between. When drawing values, you are creating an
illusion with areas of tonal value. When you use a hard drawn line to define an edge, you
disrupt this illusion. Let edges be defined by two different areas of tonal value meeting.

Shading can be broken down into about 5 basic tones, from blacks, to dark grays, to
middle grays, lights, and whites. A lot of your shading will depend on the overall "tone"
of the portrait you are drawing. If you are working on a portrait that is set mostly in
shadow (low key) then a lot of dark darks will be used. A "high key” portrait will have a
few blacks, but more light grays. Most portraits have a balance of light and dark tones. It
is a common mistake to not represent enough tones and to not put enough real blacks in a
drawing. (For instance, black hair, the black of the pupil, etc.) Without blacks, the portrait
will look washed-out.

Evaluation: Rubric to determine 1) accuracy of drawing, 2) inclusion of details, 3) full
range of tones 4) lines should “appear” where two tones come together, not because
shapes are outlined.

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