Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How To Draw For Beginners- Using A Grid

Well, this has been an entry I have wanted to do for a while. It's hard to teach someone to draw anyway, much less by a blog with only pictures to show. I could do a video, but I am awkward on camera and wouldn't know where to begin. Quite frankly I get a little creeped out knowing that anyone in the world can watch me. So insecurities aside, I will attempt to teach you how to draw by using a grid. This is a method I use to this day especially with my portrait drawings when I want to get a face to look exactly like the real person. No it's not cheating, it's a guide. It is not easy by any means and it does take practice. I can't tell you how many people I have seen fail at this method in college just due to not measuring precisely. Today I will show you how to draw an easy cartoon character. A benefit of graph drawing is that you can double, or triple the size of the original print. We will be keeping the size of the drawing the same as the original to make things easy.

Supplies You Will Need:

1. Drawing Paper
2. A ruler
3. 8X10 copy of an image you like. Find an image on Google and print it out as an 8 X 10. Start with a simple cartoon. Not people.

-Your printer paper will be 8.5" X 11", so you will want to make an 8.5" X 11" frame on your blank sheet of drawing paper. *A note about rulers. Make sure the edge of the paper is lined up with the 0" mark, not the edge of the ruler! See photo below*

- After you make your frame on your drawing paper, it's time to make a grid on your original image you're drawing from. On each edge of the sheet you're going to make .5" tics.

- The smaller the squares, the more accurate you will be with your drawing. Be as dark as you want with this grid.

- When you make your tics, make sure their adjacent side is measured from the same edge. In other words, don't turn your ruler around. You'll understand this when you start to connect the tics. If your lines look all crazy you did something wrong.

-I cannot stress enough that you MUST BE PRECISE WITH YOUR MEASUREMEMNTS!!

- Once you have all your tics done, you can connect them. YOU MUST BE ACCURATE!

- Whew! Your grid is done! Now what?? Label those squares! Surely you remember doing something like this in math class! On the left vertical side will be labeled A-Q and on the top horizontal side will be 1-22.

- When you're done it should look something like this.

-Now you're thinking. Holy Cow! How tedious thank goodness I'm done! Sorry, you have to do it again! Make another grid on the rectangle you made on your drawing paper EXACTLY the same way you did with your original image. The only difference is you need to draw it about 100X lighter. You want to be able to erase the grid once you're done and not see it.

- Now you have a grid on both pieces. You're ready to draw! FINALLY! Put away that ruler!

- Now focus on each square as an individual. Draw what's in each square. Try to make the pencil flow nicely from one square to another. I started on his claw at square J-4 and worked my way from there.


-Once you're done, outline your cartoon with a fine point sharpie. Then erase your grid. Then Voila! A drawing done by fabulous you!


  1. Nifty! We do those grids drawings in the activity books. I would have never thought to make my own ;)

  2. *laughs* This is a pretty good tutorial! Good job with it, very fun read.

    I gotta be honest though, I never did graph paper, no math, never started out with cartoons either and I'm a professional portrait artist. I guess, proportions are natural for some, others need a little hand. I think you did a great job showing people how to start out.

  3. Thank you for this! I am going to try it,it just sucks that I suck at math too! lol! PS it was really well written, I like the personality you put into it!

  4. Yes it is! I had an art club full of 4th and 5th graders and taught them this method. I used cartoon characters such as spongebob and Mickey Mouse. They loved it!