How to Use a well Known Drawing Method to Achieve Realism in Drawing

The Grid Method is a method of drawing an outline from a reference photo onto paper. This method allows artists to have flexibility and guidance to make sure the outlines are close to accurate.

Mainly, artists draw a grid of square boxes onto the reference photo and then draw the same square boxes onto the drawing paper of the same dimensions. The horizontal and vertical lines leading to square boxes are then marked with numbers or letters.

[Tip] I created a tool at to help you facilitate the process of plotting the grid on the reference photo. What you only have to do is upload your image and plot the grid lines, see the image below:

The indication of numbers or letters helps the artist match the leading lines on the reference photo to that on the drawing paper and determine which square an outline begins. This methodology produces close to accurate shapes of objects, it is used in many artist projects like paintings or drawings.

[TIP] The Grid Method can get tedious when working on a large project, to help you work faster, artists use free software online that allows you to upload your Reference Image and the software does the plotting of boxes and numbers for you.

This is very helpful when you are working on a large project that requires you to make many copies of different parts of the reference photo and then draw it.

Nevertheless, sometimes you will hear people say that artists who use Grid-Method are not experienced, don’t let this bring you down. I have bought DVDs from artists who make a living making art and they rely on Grid-Method to have the outline perfect.

Below are reasons why you should use Grid-Method to get the outline as perfect as possible.

  • If you need to draw a small picture on a larger scale.
  • To get the shape of a drawing right.
  • To make the drawing process easy. To understand perspective.
  • To calculate the dimension of a drawing on a larger space.

[TIP]: Every artist has their own go-to tips and tricks, the trick that helped achieve detail was to rotate the drawing and allow yourself to see a drawing from a different perspective. When drawing, it is important to see a drawing and a reference photo as an object.

There is a benefit when you look at a drawing that way because you will become less intimidated and act instead of what you see just shape. 

Another popular trend in the pencil drawing community is the use of a mirror to determine the perspective and accuracy of an outline. As mentioned earlier, It really depends on what granular detail you want to achieve in your drawing.

It is possible as you draw regularly you will develop certain behaviors like listening to music, and meditating before drawing, whatever it is, if it really helps you achieve the detail needed on the drawing or find inspiration, then that is good.

Some artists have used a mirror to determine perspective and some artists have used a small telescope to find mistakes. It really depends on what level of detail you want to achieve in your drawing.


In this chapter, we talked about how to use Grid-Method to draw outlines and why many artists use this popular method. However, Grid-Method can be a topic on its own, the details and illustration of Grid-Method teachings are beyond the scope of this book.

As we approach the end of this book, I would encourage you to keep drawing and your skills will improve dramatically.

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