Portrait Drawing The Smart Way – Grid Drawing Part 1

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Description: A look at setting up a grid and drawing the contours observed in the reference.

Suggested Materials: "HB" graphite pencil, ruler, toned gray drawing paper, kneaded eraser.



Portrait Drawing The Smart Way – Grid Drawing Part 1 — 4 Comments

  1. I am new to your site but I have been working recently on developing a grid system. I would like to know if you or anyone foresee any problems with my approach.

    What I am doing is first printing the grid on a transparency. I am placing this transparent grid under the selected support, e.g. Stonehenge and placing the support and the transparent grid on a light box. In this way, I do not have to draw onto or erase the grid off the support.

    Next I print another grid on Dura-Lar matte finished film. Then I print the reference photo on the same piece of Dura-Lar film with the grid already printed on it. In doing so, it makes both the reference photo and grid transparent. I then juxtapose the reference photo on the light box along side the support with its grid underneath and draw using the light box.

    I haven’t actually used this systematic approach yet b/c my light box is not large enough. I have ordered a larger light box but have not received it. Again I was wondering if you or anyone have experienced any problems with this proposed approach to using grids.


    • Hi Forrest,

      What an inventive approach! I’m wondering if you are using a light board, why not just trace the contours lightly and throw out the grid completely?

  2. I’m a newbie, Matt, but what I’ve seen so far in your instructions is fantastic! I have been using the grid system for several months and found it very helpful. In Photoshop I can toggle any grid I want over an image I am trying to draw. It’s ridiculously easy and saves a lot of time. This is what I do after opening the grid in Photoshop:
    1.Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grids and Slices
    2.In the Gridline box I enter 1 for 1″, 2 for 2″ squares(or whatever size I want), Then go back to image
    3.View > Extras will toggle the grid over the image or remove it..

Lesson Discussion