5 Reasons Why the Grid Method is Great for Teaching Drawing

By The Arty Teacher - December 22, 2022

What is the Grid Method and How Can it Help You Teach Your Students to Draw?

The grid method is a technique used in art that involves dividing an image into a series of smaller, more manageable sections using a grid. A grid is typically drawn over the reference image, and then students use the grid to draw the image on their own piece of paper, carefully replicating each section of the grid. This technique can be used to draw almost anything, including still lifes, landscapes, portraits, and more.

5 Reasons Why the Grid Method is Great for Teaching Drawing
Grid Painting by artist Vincent Keeling

5 Benefits of Using Grid Drawings to Teach Drawing

Grid drawings can be a helpful tool for teaching drawing to your students for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the benefits:

  1. Grids can help students learn to draw accurately: By dividing the subject matter into smaller, more manageable sections, students can focus on drawing each part of the image accurately without becoming overwhelmed by the overall complexity of the subject.
  2. Grids can help students develop their observation skills: In order to draw each section of the grid accurately, students must pay close attention to the details of the subject matter and observe its features carefully.
  3. Grids can help students develop their spatial awareness: By drawing each section of the grid to scale, students can learn to think about the relationships between objects in the image and how they fit together in space.
  4. Grids can be used to introduce new techniques and skills: As students become more comfortable with using grids, they can be introduced to new techniques and skills, such as shading and perspective, to help them create more realistic and dynamic drawings.
  5. Grids can be used to draw a wide range of subjects: From still lifes to landscapes to portraits, grids can be used to draw almost any subject, making them a versatile and flexible tool for teaching drawing.

How to Help Students Who Struggle with the Grid Method

You’re always going to get some students who really struggle with grid drawings. This may be a reflection of some sort of spacial awareness problem or special need. One strategy that might help them is to create a viewfinder that is the exact size of the square, so they can isolate one square at a time. Using two L-shaped pieces of paper makes this easy. See the image below.

5 Reasons Why the Grid Method is Great for Teaching Drawing
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Artists Use Grids

Many artists use grids to scale up or transfer their drawings or photography onto canvas. Below is a Degas drawing that he made of his older sister. The grid was added so that he could scale up and transfer the drawing onto canvas. The resulting unfinished painting enlarges the composition by about fifty percent.

Study for “Mme Théodore Gobillard” (née Yves Morisot) by Edgar Degas 1869

What are the Drawbacks of Using Grid Drawings?

There are a few potential drawbacks to using grid drawings as a teaching tool or as a drawing method. Here are a few potential negative sides to using grid drawings:

  1. Over-reliance on the grid: Some students may become overly reliant on the grid as a crutch and may struggle to draw accurately without it. It’s important to encourage students to develop their own observation and drawing skills, rather than relying solely on the grid.
  2. Limited creativity: Because grid drawings involve replicating an existing image, they may not allow for as much creative freedom as other drawing techniques. It is likely that you are going to want to include a range of drawing techniques in your curriculum. For example, direct observation and opportunities for students to create more gestural and experimental work.
  3. Time-consuming: Creating a grid and drawing an image using the grid can be a time-consuming process, especially for more complex subjects.

Overall, it’s important to consider the suitability of grid drawings for the specific subject matter and the goals of the drawing exercise and to balance the use of grid drawings with other drawing techniques and approaches.

Conclusion: To Grid or Not to Grid!

Grid drawings can be a helpful tool for teaching drawing and can be used to draw a wide range of subjects. They can help students learn to draw accurately, develop their observation skills and spatial awareness, and introduce new techniques and skills. However, it’s important to keep in mind that grid drawings may not be appropriate for every situation or subject matter.

When designing your lessons and curriculum, make sure you include a wide variety of drawing techniques and processes. This way, you will create a diverse, exciting and inclusive curriculum.

Converse Grid Drawing
All-Star Grid Drawing
Converse Mini Grid Drawings
Boots Grid Drawing
Drawing Old Boots
Grid Drawings of Animals
Mini Animal Grid Drawings
8 Car Grid Drawings
Portrait Gridded Art Cards
Portrait Gridded Art Cards
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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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2 responses to “5 Reasons Why the Grid Method is Great for Teaching Drawing”

  1. Malcolm Dileng says:

    Really helpful

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