Grid Method

Hey guys! In this blog post, I wanted to demonstrate the technique I use to get my initial sketch with the proper proportions in Sketchbook Pro, the mobile app. Using the Grid Method is a technique that dates back to the Ancient Egyptians. Several artists have used this method throughout time as a tool for drawing, including famous artists like Leonardo Da Vinci.

I create all of my artwork digitally, which makes the grid method a little bit trickier. I have to rely on the tools in the Digital Painting programs that I use. Thankfully, I have found a method in the mobile version of Sketchbook Pro that is easy to do and works really well! This app has a great ruler tool that makes it possible to create grids with evenly sized squares. I am going to show you how I do it in this tutorial! Let’s get started!

If you would prefer to watch my YouTube tutorial, click the below link to be redirected! Otherwise, this post continues below.

Step 1: Canvas Size

The first step is to create a canvas that is the same size you plan on using for your art. For this demonstration, I created a canvas that is the same size of the screen (2560×1600 pixels).

Step 2: Add Your Reference Photo

To add your reference photo, go to the add image icon on your top menu. It shows a grey image with a little + icon in the bottom right corner. From here you can add an image from your gallery, dropbox, etc.

Step 3: Sizing The Image

Your picture will not be the same size as your canvas so you will need to adjust it. I simply use my fingers to pinch and zoom, as well as pan the picture around on the canvas. Anything that goes off the canvas will not show, so you are essentially cropping your photo to fit your canvas size.

Step 4: Create The Grid Layer

Before you draw out your grid, you will want to create a new layer so that you are not drawing directly on the photo. On the layer palette, click the + icon at the top of the palette. Make sure the layer is above the Reference Photo. If it is not, simply click and drag it to the position you want.

Step 5: Planning The Grid

Before we begin drawing the grid, we need to plan how many boxes we want on our grid. The ruler tool in Sketchbook Pro does not allow us to change the size of the ruler, but we can change the Zoom on the canvas. When zoomed in on the canvas, we can create more squares, while zooming out on the canvas gives us less squares. This is because while the canvas size changed, the ruler did not, therefore changing how much coverage the ruler has on the photo. I usually prefer to be anywhere between 95% and 100%, but this is a personal preference.

Step 6: Drawing The Grid

To turn on the ruler, click the ruler icon on the top palette. For the drawing tool, I usually use the technical pen, with a black color. You can begin by drawing your vertical or horizontal spaces first, but remember if you started on the left or right for the vertical lines, and the top or bottom for the horizontal lines. This will be important in the following steps.

For this tutorial, I am going to say start from the left for the vertical lines, and the top for the horizontal. Beginning with the vertical lines, rotate your ruler to 90 degrees, and line your ruler up to the left side of the canvas. Draw your line on the right side of the ruler. Move your ruler to the right, so that the left side of it lines up with the line you just drew. Once again, draw your line on the right side of the ruler. Repeat this until you go off the canvas. Do the same for the horizontal lines by rotating your ruler to 0 degrees, and starting from the top of the canvas.

Step 7: Saving the Reference Photo Grid

Once you have created your grid, save the image to your gallery. I personally have created a folder specifically for my Reference Photos with the Grids so it is easier for me to find them later.

Step 8: Create Your Canvas

In the next step, you will need to create the canvas you will be working on for your final artwork. Make sure the size of the canvas is the exact same size you set for your Reference Photo canvas. If you do not have the same size, your grid will not match.

Step 9: Preparing the Grid

You will want to zoom in on your canvas the same amount you did for your Reference Photo. Again, if you go to a different level of zoom, your grid will not be the same. Take the time to make sure everything is the same.

Step 10: Drawing the Grid

Using the same steps from Step 6, turn on your ruler tool and draw all of your vertical and horizontal lines. Remember to start on the same side of your picture that you did on the Reference Photo. For the vertical lines, it would be either the left or the right. For the horizontal lines, it would either be the top or the bottom.

And just like that, you have a perfectly matched grid! Depending on your device, you may be able to open the Reference Photo as a “Multi Window”, or you can export the photo to another device, such as your phone, to get your initial sketch down.

I hope this has helped you to implement the grid method in your drawings!

If you have any other tips or suggestions, please leave a comment below, so other people from the community can try as well! See you all soon!



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