Although I have been producing acrylic and oil paintings for more than 12 years and have painted several portraits, I recently attempted to find information online regarding using the grid method to produce a painting and found that there was little data that was useful and easy to understand. To be honest, I had utilized the grid method many times previously, but I was just refreshing my memory and double-checking some measurement formulas.
While I did find several articles online that touched upon the concept of using a grid to produce an illustration or painting, there seemed to be a definite lack of quick information concerning the actual procedures involved in making the grids necessary to produce such a painting or illustration.
The information I was seeking, was more related to the actual process of producing such a work, including the ratio of measurements that should be implemented.
The centuries-old grid method of producing a painting or illustration is very useful in replicating an image, whether it be the same size as the original or larger. When the grid method is employed, any image can be strikingly and exactingly replicated.
Every time I have utilized the grid method, it has been to aid in the process of enlarging an existing image onto a canvas to be painted.
For more than a year now, I have been working on a portrait of six people in the same painting. The process is very challenging for me and when I looked up grid painting, it was for confirmation that I was indeed using the correct ratio of measurements.
It turns out that I am utilizing the correct ratio, but it took a lot of time and effort to find the information. What I noticed was a lack of basic information regarding the actual process of using the grid method of painting and drawing.
With the portrait I am currently painting, I am transferring, if you will an 8″ x 10″ blown-up photo copy onto a 16″ x 20″ canvas. On the paper photo copy, I measured-out 10 one-inch increments with little dots vertically and horizontally. Then, I made lines from each dot, vertical and horizontal, creating one-inch squares overlapping the entire image. On the left side of the paper, I labeled each horizontal line with the letters A through H and on the top of the page I labeled each vertical line with the numerals one through ten
Essntially, I am doubling the size of the photo onto the canvas. On the canvas, I measured out 10 two-inch increments, vertically and horizontally, then made lines like I did on the paper copy, creating two-inch squares. Also, on the canvas the lines should be lettered and numbered, as on the paper copy.
When you are creating a painting or drawing using the grid method, you concentrate on one square at a time. You literally draw or paint just the part of the image that is contained in the square. While this method is an accessible and non-overwhelming way of replicating and enlarging an image, it does require a good sense of proportion and size, in relation to spacing the elements in each square correctly. A good math sensibility is also helpful.
If the procedure is carried-out correctly, the elements in each square will line up to create a mathematically proportionate and accurate image.
To replicate an image in the same size as its present size, simply use the same size squares on both surfaces. You can also calculate other ratios that you may want to work with
Whether you’re a novice artist or an experienced painter or illustrator, the grid method of painting and drawing consistently produces excellent replications.
Personal experience with and knowledge of the topic