Drawing with Training Wheels: Removing the Grid

posted by Misfit July 30, 2015

This is part 4 of a 4 part mini series.  If you want to check out part 1 , 2 or 3 click the links below.  Otherwise, read on my friend…Read on
Making a GRIDPostive and Negative ShapesUsing the Grid




[divider] [dropcap]A[/dropcap]s you work with the grid, you will find it gets easier and easier to draw with the it.  But what if you’ve been using the grid for a while and you’re still having problems jumping from the grid to drawing on your own? I had this problem.  For some reason, I could never completely get away from the grid.  That’s why I created the Bullseye method.  As far as I know, I’ve never seen anyone else use this method.  

To force myself to give up the grid and begin relying only on my brain, I created a circular grid that looks similar to a bullseye or a crosshairs.   using a circle pattern, I placed the item I wanted to draw in the center. I then drew my circle over my contour drawing (or line tracing from my photograph).    Then I divided the circle  with my pencil straight down the middle vertically and then straight down the middle horizontally.   This divided my circle into 4 even sections.



Next, I drew another circle on my watercolor paper and once again divided it into 4 equal parts.  Now, to begin drawing!   The first thing I had to do was chose one spot to focus on, similar to when I was using the grid.  It’s better not to hop around but get an overall structure down first.    I chose to work from the eye outward to the nose and then back form the eye to the ears of my dog.  By proceeding this way, I could measure the proportions of my dog in one section of the circle and I could measure proportions of specific items (such as the eye and the nose) compared to one another.   Eventually our goal should be to rely solely on measuring without the circle and just comparing items (such as ears and noses) to one another.

bullseye focus point

This Process of using the circle is much much more challenging than the grid, but it also is one step closer to drawing on your own.   Eventually as you begin to learn correct proportions and train your hand and mind to think similarly you will be able to start illustrating without the aid of even a photo.   However, this does take a lot of practice so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t come right away.    Think of it this way, when you were in school drawing basic shapes, such as a circle, may have been challenging.  But after doing it over and over again, the process of drawing a circle came more naturally so that now you don’t even have to look at a circle in order to draw it.  You already have an image in your mind as well as the motor control in your hand to draw the shape without any visual aid.

This process works the same way.  It takes time but the more you practice the better you will become.

Finished Product

Even though I rarely use the grid method now aways, I do sometimes I still use this circle grid technique today on objects which are challenging for me or objects I’m just not familiar drawing.  So I hope this helps you guys!  This is just a ramble of thoughts on how I trained my brain to draw.


Lots of love on your artistic journey


Carrie Luc



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