Where do you start if you’ve never seriously sat down with a pencil and paper? The empty, white sheet can be quite scary. Just try the grid method to help you out with your first motif.
The grid method is a common tool in both painting and drawing. It is commonly used to scale small templates to much larger painting or drawing backgrounds. Therefore, it is an integral part of photorealism, but it is also suitable for beginners to learn to draw motifs of the same size as their reference.
Using the grid method for drawing realistic pictures
A good drawing exercise to hone your skills is copying reference images to paper. Using the grid method for drawing this task will be much easier than doing it simply from your imagination.
The method helps to divide the picture into smaller boxes and thus focussing your attention
Choose a motif you like
Do you want to draw a face? Great, then let’s start with a portrait.
Determine the grid size
Choose a template, e.g. a 6 x 4 inch photo. Divide the length of the pages by 6. The result determines the size of the individual grid squares. Round up the value if necessary.
Draw a grid on the reference
Divide your reference image into an even number of squares. Draw support dots at the edges of the longer side every Inch and connect them. On the shorter side, draw supporting dots every 2/3 Inch to complete the grid. Instead of using a pencil you can use a needle to draw the lines. Else, use a ruler and apply little pressure on the pencil so you do not leave deep marks.
Transfer the grid to your drawing sheet
According to your choice to scale the size of the reference up or you just keep the same measurements, you need to draw the grid on your drawing sheet. Imagine you want to double the length and the width of the picture. Each box should measure 2 Inches on the longer side and 1 1/3 Inch on the shorter side.
Create a masking overlay (not necessary)
You can then proceed to create a masking overlay for your new drawing. Take another sheet of paper and cut out a rectangle in the middle of it that measures 2 x 1 1/3 Inches.
Draw the squares one by one
Place the cover window on your template so that only one grid at a time is in front of you and draw all squares one after the other. All you have to do is concentrate on the current image section.
Refine the transitions
Remove the grid guides before you start adding, redrawing, or correcting finer lines if the transitions don’t match.
Shading your motif with the help of the right shading technique
With the help of hatching you give your motif plasticity. Choose straight hatching for square lines and curved lines for round shapes.