Questions about the grid method

I have some questions for those who use the grid method to transfer the sketches to the canvas:
1. what type of drawing utensil do you use? Watercolor pencil? Charcoal? Something else?
2. how many layers of paint do you usually need to completely cover the grid lines and the sketch outlines?
3. do you think there are other ways which are better than the grid method for transferring the sketches onto the canvas?
Thank you for your time.


  • 1. A grey or yellow oil based pencil (Progresso)
    2. One
    3. Yes. Freehand drawing. Or you could try a projector.
  • tassieguy said:
    3. Yes. Freehand drawing.
    In what way do you find this to be better? :|
  • I use a regular #2 pencil with very light marks.  Usually first coat of paint covers them.  You can use the transfer method.  Draw your subject on paper the same size as your canvas so you can make erasures, changes, etc.  When the drawing is where you want it to be, then use thinner and burnt umber to make a thin slurry, and then paint the backside of the drawing to cover the paper.  Let it dry until it become tacky, then trace the lines on your drawing to transfer to the canvas.  I know it's not the Carder method, but it comes in really handy when you don't want pencil marks on your canvas.
  • edited July 24
    Lucian said:
    tassieguy said:
    3. Yes. Freehand drawing.
    In what way do you find this to be better? :|
    I often use grids but I find I "feel" better about it if I can do it freehand. However, freehand does not necessarily produce an objectively  "better" under-drawing for a painting and I make no value judgements about the methods folks use. My only criterion is the accuracy of the drawing. 
  • I just use HB pencil, quite lightly. Don't use a soft pencil as you don't want graphite to lift into the paint. If I am about to cover with light or transparent/ semi-transparent paint I may erase the lines just before I paint that section. Oil paints continue to settle for years and I don't want grid lines showing through.
    I also put little marks on the side of the canvas so that when the marks disappear, if I'm in a complex, detailed painting I can navigate where I am. MyIt's annoying to paint a section of rocks on a shoreline and realise I repeated it from further along. I sometimes use painting tape along the sides of my board and so these marks go on that and it's all removed without trace.
  • Lucian

    I agree with Tassieguy, freehand is by far the most rewarding and skill building method.

    When using a grid I opt for a pastel pencil (Stabilo Carbothello) in a contrasting value (White) to my toned (red oxide or mid gray)aluminium support.

    One layer is usually sufficient. White pastel is easily covered even when sprayed with workable fixative.

    When using a grid I prefer a lattice pattern, starting with the corners of the original image. No measurement or tedious linework, infinite resolution, automatic scaling, proportional sizing b/w original and painting (corner through corner).

    Here is an easier method using charcoal, but still has some tedious aspects such as painting over drawing before easily erasing charcoal grid.

    Here is a very easy tracing method (quick but no skill building)

    This technique developed for sizing murals, is perfectly suited to large canvas images. Needs a bit of digital image jiggery - pokery but represents a time and effort saving over the traditional grid.

  • LucianLucian -
    edited July 25
    dencal said:

    Thanks for the suggestions. I find the lattice pattern and the lazy grid methods to be very difficult. I might invest in that app at a later time, as it is not free to use.
  • Lucian

    This is a viable alternative to the grid method called the straight edge and divider method. I like this method.

  • Lucian

    Stumbled on this cute method of projecting an image without a projector.

  • An affordable DIY projector. Nice.
  • tassieguy said:
    An affordable DIY projector. Nice.
    Do you own one? Which brand do you recommend? B)
  • No, I've never used one. Grids are one thing but I wouldn't feel good about using a projector. 
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