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HOW TO GRID (Look here first before asking)

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canadianmaple09

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Post Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:48 pm

HOW TO GRID (Look here first before asking)

A lot of members lately have been asking how to grid. I thought it would be more efficient to explain it all here rather than continually answering the questions in each individual thread. This is just the way I do it. Some people like it, some don't. Some people think it's cheating. I've found that it's the most accurate, fastest, and easiest way to get accurate proportions and outlines, and I don't think it's cheating. If you have any questions after reading through this post, please feel free to ask. I'd post it in the tutorials section but I don't have any pictures to go along with it. :?

How to Grid (The Graham Method)
1. Print your reference picture at 100% of the size you want it to be. You can print it smaller or larger, but that just complicates things.
2. Draw a grid on your reference picture. I usually use 1cm squares.
3. On a rough piece of paper, draw the same grid you drew over your reference picture. Use the same scale for the grid (unless you want to make it bigger or smaller. Making it the same size just simplifies everything).
4. Sketch your rough outline onto the scrap piece of paper with the grid on it, moving from area to area one square at a time. Just sketch the basic outline, and any reference points you may need. You don't have to go into detail at this point.
5. When you are finished sketching your outline, flip the piece of paper with your outline over so it is lying face down. Using a pencil, colour the space that is taken up by your drawing (you should be able to see it through the paper).
6. Once you have filled in the whole area, flip the paper back over and place it over your good drawing paper. You can adjust the placement of it however you want. Once you have it in place, tape down the corners with masking tape to hold it in place.
7. Trace your outline, using firm pressure on the pencil. The pressure will transfer the pencil on the back side of your rough paper to the surface of your good paper. I recommend using a moderate pencil like a 2B or 3B for this, not a hard one like a 2H. If you use a 2H it will leave indent marks on your good paper, and these can be tricky to draw over.
8. Once you've completed tracing your outline, lift up the paper. I usually like to untape one side and check the tracing before I untape the other side. That way, if you miss any lines you can just put the paper back down and re-trace them.
9. When you're sure you've got all the lines in, remove the scrap piece of paper from your good drawing paper. You can throw out the scrap paper now if you're confident you won't mess up on the drawing. If not, keep the outline. It might come in handy. You should be able to see your outline lightly on your good paper. At this point I usually like to go over all of the lines gently with a 2H pencil, to make sure they won't get worn away as easily while I'm drawing.
10. Now that you have a visible, proportionally correct outline, you can start the real drawing process however you want.

Benefits of this method:
- You don't have to draw the grid on your good paper and then erase it. This saves a lot of time, and you also don't have to worry about partially erased grid lines showing through.
- Your proportions will always be very close to correct. Obviously it's not tracing so they won't be perfect, but using 1cm grid squares you can get extremely close.
- When you trace the outline from your rough paper onto your good paper, it only shows up very lightly. When you go over it with a 2H pencil, you can very easily fix up any curves or corners or slight mistakes you made.
- You can position the drawing however you want before you put pencil to paper on your good drawing paper.
- If you mess up on your good drawing, just chuck it and re-trace your outline onto a new piece of paper.

Drawbacks of this method:
- Some people call gridding "cheating". I would tell you where those people can go, but this is a family-friendly forum.
- If you use too much pressure the pencil can indent your good paper when you trace the rough outline onto the good paper. Since the pencil already has to go through another sheet before it gets to your good paper, these indents are generally very minimal and easily covered. With practice you get to know just how much pressure you need.
- You use 1 more sheet of paper than if you drew your grid onto your good paper. Just throw it in the recycling bin and you're all good!
- It takes longer than if you drew your grid onto your good paper, because you have to re-trace the outline. But, it also saves time because you don't have to erase your grid after. In the end it might balance out, it all depends how fast you work.
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jeffro

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Post Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:40 pm

Very interesting,I know you've explained this before but not in such detail.
I guess I'm old school I still prefer to grid directly on my good paper using
mostly 1/2 in squares but very lightly.
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canadianmaple09

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Post Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:49 pm

jeffro wrote:Very interesting,I know you've explained this before but not in such detail.


Yeah, I just got tired of re-hashing it every other week... from now on I can just direct people here!

jeffro wrote:I guess I'm old school I still prefer to grid directly on my good paper using
mostly 1/2 in squares but very lightly.


1/2 inch is 1 1/4 centimetres, so your squares are a bit bigger than mine. I tried the "draw the grid on the good paper" method but I found that this method works much better. Suit yourself though, to each his own! :lol:
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muskwa

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Post Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:45 am

I grid on the good paper always using a 4x6 picture as most clients always have those in their possession, then compose the reference to reflect 4x5, doubling = 8x10, therefore 1/2 inch square on reference is 1" square on portrait. I find scaling up forces a more artisic effort and a freer flow to the piece as a whole. I use a H hardness, just to mark the lines, no pressure, no indents and as I work through the 8x10 the H seems to dissolve itself away; ta da no more lines.
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canadianmaple09

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Post Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:23 am

muskwa wrote:I grid on the good paper always using a 4x6 picture as most clients always have those in their possession


If I start with a picture like that I scan it into the computer and then blow it up to 8x10" or 11x14" size! Saves all that conversion work with your grid! Just laziness I guess... :lol:
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Mark

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Post Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:05 pm

canadianmaple09 wrote:
muskwa wrote:I grid on the good paper always using a 4x6 picture as most clients always have those in their possession


If I start with a picture like that I scan it into the computer and then blow it up to 8x10" or 11x14" size! Saves all that conversion work with your grid! Just laziness I guess... :lol:


This is a great tutorial!! Thanks for posting but you use an 8x10 or 11x14 image with a 1cm square grid!?? That must be like 1,000 grid boxes! How long does it take to draw your grids?

Also I thought the point of gridding was really to change image size to accurate proportions(ex. 2x or 3x larger). If you blow it up to a 1:1 scale, why not just get tracing paper and trace the outline? You would save alot of time. I wouldn't do this, but if it was for a commission and they wanted it perfect it seems like a good idea.
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canadianmaple09

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Post Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:38 pm

I have a portable drafting table that I use to draw the grid. Everything goes very quickly using it. I'll post a picture of it sometime.

You can use gridding to change the size, but I don't. It's easier for me just to blow up the picture in Microsoft Word and then print it out and grid over it, rather than printing it out small and doing all the conversions and whatnot. It's also a lot better for seeing small details.

I vary my grid size. I use the 1x1cm grid only on areas that are really small and have a lot of detail, like the front of a car where the grille and headlights and logos are. For the rest I'll use whatever size grid works best. Once again, printing it out full size makes it a lot easier. You can use several sizes of grid on one drawing without worrying about conversion. The sizes I use are 1x1cm, 2x2cm, 4x4cm, 5x5cm. That way everything is even and easy.

As for tracing, I consider that cheating. I know some people consider gridding cheating. I draw the line at gridding. I wouldn't get as much enjoyment out of drawing if I just traced everything. Then it wouldn't really be "my" lines. With gridding, it's still your handrawn lines, you just have the aid of the grid for getting them accurate. For me, spending extra time to get the lines accurate is worth it. That's a big part of the process for me. The other part is the shading. I'm not satisfied with a drawing that has amazing shading but the outline is poorly drawn. I'd rather it be the other way around.

Anyways, that's just my rationale.
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Mark

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Post Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:52 pm

Yeah I see what you mean about gridding and hand drawn lines. I do not grid or trace, but I don't really think either one is cheating. I find them, alot of times, ruining the fun of it...unless it is for a commission. No hand drawn image will EVER be exact to the original, but its kind of fun to try to get it right...it can also be hell but that come along with it. But the reason that I feel tracing or gridding is not cheating is because its ALOT more than just the outlines and reference points. The art really comes in finding the right tones, shadows, shades, reflections, etc. Thats the hard part and the part that makes each drawing original in this style. So anyone who says its cheating to grid, really does not understand one of the most important aspects of drawing, because you can never grid or trace proper tones. Just sticking up for all of you who grid.


I think I may try a grid now after this thread and see how it goes. Maple what exactly do you use?? You said a grid table or something? I really have to see what that is...
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canadianmaple09

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Post Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:07 pm

When I was younger I used to trace pictures all the time and then colour them in. I agree, most of the skill comes in getting the right tones and textures, not in making the initial outline. But, once I decided to start drawing again and get serious about it, I knew that I couldn't feel good about it if I was tracing like I did when I was 12 years old.

What I have is a Staedtler portable drafting board. It fits on your lap and is great for taping your drawing to while you work on it. It has a sliding ruler on it, and an adjustable right angle ruler that you can slide along the ruler and adjust to any angle you need. Here is a picture of one that is similar to mine. It's very handy!

ImageImage

The horizontal ruler slides up and down, and you can also detach it and place it vertically so it slides horizontally. That's what I use to create my girds. The right-angle ruler is on a slider that moves back and forth along the horizontal ruler. With the knob you can adjust it to any angle, as you can see in the picture.
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Mark

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Post Fri Oct 17, 2008 11:56 pm

Thats sick....I wish I had one but since I don't grid much it wouldn't be worth it for me to buy one. When I do that Amy Lee drawing that a few others are doing I'm going to try a grid...It's not really an interesting photo for me but makes a good practice drawing and a good time to try gridding. Thanks for your help in this tutorial. It will deff come in handy when I start that work.
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canadianmaple09

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Post Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:01 am

I originally bought mine about 5 years ago when I was in high school drafting class. I used it a bit for that class, but then put it away for a few years with no use for it. When I started drawing seriously this year and read about gridding I got it out and found that it was a real help!
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dustboy76

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Post Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:49 pm

and i got rid of mine. DOH! thanks for explaining your methodology for gridding. i plan on trying the grid method the next time i do a compilation drawing.
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canadianmaple09

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Post Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:46 am

dustboy76 wrote:and i got rid of mine. DOH! thanks for explaining your methodology for gridding. i plan on trying the grid method the next time i do a compilation drawing.


Gridding would definitely help you to lay it all out. Print out all your pictures full size, and then you can lay them over your paper and arrange them however you want. I think it will really help for getting all of the characters positioned correctly!
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canadianmaple09

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Post Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:02 pm

I found a great website for making your own grids. I had to use it for a cartography lab. You can choose the spacing of the squares, line weight, colour, border, etc. I'm going to experiment with printing out a reference picture, then re-inserting that picture into my printer and printing the grid over top. I would then print out a separate sheet with the same grid on it. That way, you'll never have to draw another grid again! That would make gridding without a doubt the easiest method to get accurate results, without tracing.

Here is the website:

http://www.incompetech.com/graphpaper/

Just click on whichever style you want (graph paper/multi-weight/dots, etc.) and then you can adjust all the parameters as necessary. I've found the "Bold Major Axis" function is quite useful to create reference points for your drawing. It draws a bold line vertically and horizontally down the center of the grid.
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reibergraphix

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Post Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:10 pm

new thought

hey i just had a thought about The Graham Method, if you are going to transfer it anyway you do not need good drawing paper! instead of drawing the grid why not just use a piece of graph paper. might save some time.

and before i used my computer to view my referance i used to keep pieces of Acetate with different size grids around so i would not have to draw on a photo.
"Draw, draw, draw. Practice your drawings 20 hours a day"---"Commander" Mark Kistler
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