Back when I was a young art student, the tedious grid method was drilled into my head – ugh. To me, the Grid Method was a labor intensive process which I happily abandoned nearly 40 years ago!

But, I recently painted again with renowned landscape artist, Michael Workman. Much to my surprise, Michael was still praising the benefits of using the old Grid Method for improved drawing and observational skills. So I decided, “When in Rome.” 

I have learned patience over the years, and this time the Grid Method resonated with me. Basically, the Grid Method is easy but it is time consuming.

It involves drawing a grid over your reference photo and then drawing a grid of equal ration onto your canvas, paper, or other substrate. Michael photocopies his images and draws a grid directly on the reference.

However, I prefer to use and app called, Grid! This tools helps you add a grid to your image and is a useful shortcut for me. So far it is working well!

Once the grid is in place it’s best to focus on one square at a time and draw and copy your image onto your canvas. I used a pencil, but you can use charcoal or even paint. Work on each square until the entire image has been transferred! You can erase the grid lines or leave them as a trace of your work in progress.

Yes, there are quicker ways to transfer drawings and images using projectors and other transfer processes. But, the Grid Method is rewarding. In fact, my finished painting of two swans, “In Harmony” was just accepted into the 22nd American Impressionist Society National Juried Exhibition!

Here are a few helpful links you might enjoy:

The Grid Method

My Week with Master Landscape Artist, Michael Workman

Grid App

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