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Reasons NOT to use a Grid

August 22, 2009

As Aladine Vargas pointed out in my last post on gridding, the grid is not always the answer when it comes to drawing. Because most of my lessons so far have focused on the beginner, I have emphasised using the grid. The grid is a great tool for learning the technical side of drawing. It provides you with a template ot practice your shading and rendering skills. It is also helpful for those struggling with proportion. On the other hand, the grid is just a tool and should not be relied upon all the time. It can’t replace the artist’s judgement.

Gridding is not for everyone, and it’s not for every occasion. Try not to use it all the time; you also want to practice your other drawing skills. It’s important to be able to judge angles by eye, because drawing a grid may not always be possible. Using a grid is no excuse to not learn how to draw without one.

The risk of gridding is that it can produce a stiff copy of a photo. When you focus on one square at a time, you can forget about the whole picture. Don’t let gridding become a crutch to you. Draw from life as often as you can. Whether it’s a life drawing class, plein air painting, or drawing mundane objects at home, these practices will help you develop an eye for shape and form. You will also develop those oh-so-important observational skills.

You may also find that some freehand drawings can be more lively and expressive. While they may not be dead-on in terms of proportion and likeness, they can capture the “essence” of the subject much better than a gridded drawing can.

If this story has a moral, it’s this: don’t let the grid become a crutch. It’s a tool, and a useful one at that, but it’s not the only way, or necessarily the best way, to produce a drawing. It all depends on what you’re comfortable with and what you’re trying to achieve.


From → Art General, Drawing

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