Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Question of Using Grids to Draw

"Hello, my name is Morgan. I like to draw pencil portraits.
I have used griding on a couple of my last drawings. They turn out more proportional, but I feel like it is not the real deal. It seems like almost anyone could just grid a drawing. Do you think that is cheating in order to sell them? Thanks"

Dear Morgan,

No - I don't think it's cheating at all. I think Michaelangelo used a grid system (I might have the wrong artist, but it was one of the 'greats' like him) their day, they used a wire grid that was set up vertically, with candlelight cast through it, to have the grid fall on the subject and/or their paper.

When we take our car to the mechanic, and he uses diagnostics and special equipment to get the car fixed right, nobody would argue that he is doing a good job and a right job. For some odd reason, when artists use tools and techniques to get a good end result, it's a problem?!?

I think if anyone else accuses you of 'cheating,' and they are an artist, they are just jealous.
Some people think that all great art must come through great pain and suffering, and I think that's just silly.

I do feel that the grid system is fine if you can also draw well on your own, or to use it as a starting off point, but to try not to depend only on any one method, there are so many approaches to drawing.

Hope this helps,


Art (Bob) said...

My daughter is an "artist in training" and she used the grid system to produce two wonderful pencil drawings of her cousins.

Seeing the end result completely erased any false notions of "cheating". They're beautiful.

Kristen said...

I'm a 16 year old art student, and it is cheating. I'm not a person to get jealous of anyone who traces or grids--it's just not fair.

Anyone, and I mean anyone, can grid. When I was six, there were grid pictures in my coloring books, and I did those very well. If I didn't have the grid, I wouldn't have drawn as well. Using the grid gives a false idea that you can draw better than you actually can. What's wrong with actually working hard on proportion and working hard to become a great artist without the grids? Is that really too much to ask?!

I work so hard to become great like those who grid and trace, and I WILL become better than them one day. It takes a lot to say that you can draw well without a grid, and drawing with a grid is not special in any sense. There are too many out there that grid and trace, but if you asked them to draw without the grid they couldn't do any better than myself or any average art student. They aren't great artists, they can't draw without the grid.. Why would anyone even call themselves an artist if they can't draw without the aid?

If you love art, then I'd think you'd actually want to work hard to get good! But no, that's not the way society works. People can grid and trace and have no shame in the fact that there are some people who actually work hard to become great. It's disgusting, to say the least.

Darla said...

Thanks for leaving your comment, Kristy! I do believe anyone can use a grid, and I do believe that anyone can draw, they just need to put in the time, grid or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

This is a moot point. If you can draw well then you don't need a grid in the first place. It's a lazy way of drawing and will teach the student bad skills. I did many portraits in the street whilst completing my initial training and it would be an impossible method to use 'on the go'. An artist needs to have the basic skills to draw in any situation without reliance on technology to do the work for them. For example, it takes a while to build up the prep material for a lot of my work (faces, objects, etc) and I cannot carry around all of my tools all the time. I will be out walking and suddenly see someone that I want to use for a painting. I need to be able to quickly and accurately sketch them for later use using whatever materials I have around me - be it a lipstick and paper towel! With enough training and practice, this will come easily. You should never have to rely on your tools alone.

I guess a similar arguement would be allowing diving fins in a swimming competition. No, they aren't part of the athlete's natural talent, but they are an aid to help them swim faster so what's the big deal? Why bother training that extra bit harder when you can just strap a couple of fins to your ankles and achieve the same results? Why not allow drugs in the olympics for that matter? Because the whole point is to celebrate what the human body and mind can accomplish with enough focus. Whether you believe in god, aliens or whatever... we have been given a wonderful machine that surpasses anything we have created ourselves - in both beauty and technological brilliance - and this is a constant reminder of that. It makes us wonder what else we are capable of and pushes us forwards.

Annie-Liz said...

I'm a newer art teacher and use this method for my works as well as teaching my students. It's beneficial and works very well.


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