Have you ever wondered how it is that an artist can pick up a pencil and within an hour have drawn a perspective-perfect-picture of their chosen subject without ever breaking into a sweat? They make it look so simple but of course, as with all things worth doing, learning to draw well takes a lot of practice. As a budding artist I always questioned my abilities when I sat down to draw a portrait and found that, having started so well, my nose looked broken, my eyes were too far apart and my teeth were in dire need of braces.
Fortunately for me my A Level art teacher was a portrait pro and sat us down as a class to share her secret to success when starting any drawing: cheat. That day we learned to use a grid, arguably the most useful of all artistic techniques, which reduced perspective to a simple act of measurement and copying. To grid up is simple: take the photo you are attempting to copy and measure its height and width in centimetres, then decide on how much larger or smaller than the picture you want your drawing to be and set out that area on your blank paper. Put simply, if your photograph is 10cm x 15cm and you want it twice as big you would draw a rectangle of 20cm x 30cm. Then on the original photograph draw a grid with even squares covering the area you wish to copy and do the same on your paper, increasing the size of the squares accordingly (in this case by two). Once this is done you will be able to start your drawing accurately and match the features up from one picture to the other. This doesn’t make everything easy, but it does make the process a lot less difficult, especially if like me you have trouble drawing precisely! It’s that simple – with one ruler and an extra ten minutes you will have transformed your pretty doodle into an almost perfect drawing. Good luck!