That is the question. A lot of artists use a basic grid to help them lay down the initial lines or sketch. I do this quite a lot. On a discussion forum this subject came up and it was suggested this was a form of cheating.

Now I know many, many artists that use this method or trace down. To me it is like an accountant using a calculator or spread sheet. We all do things that help us in our work that make it easier or more effective.  It certainly doesn’t mean I am any less of an artist or my work should valued less or even that I am not professional!

I don’t think many people realise that a lot of the old masters used methods that helped them get proportions and initial drawings to be as accurate as possible.

Here is a link to the gridding method used by another artist:

Gridding Method

And here is a link to other aids and methods used by artist over the years.

Drawing Techniques

Putting down a few key lines to help with time and basic proportions is not cheating. A lot of my lines get lost when I put down the background. I often work and rework parts and creating depth and value is a massively important part of bringing your portrait to life. I change perspectives that need to be when I am working to.

I shall show you a basic outline drawing shortly so you can see how much gets added after.

Interested in hearing what you think…