How to Set Up a Grid

Why the grid method rocks:

  1. It’s quick to set up
  2. It helps you to draw accurately
  3. It helps you to easily increase a small original image into a larger drawing

  1. An A3/A4 sketch pad or sheet of paper
  2. An eraser (a kneaded eraser is best)
  3. A soft graphite pencil (B  or 2B is best)
  4. A ruler (a T-shaped ruler is best)

Materials you’ll need to draw your grid.


How to Set-up a Grid
Step by Step

  1. All the photos on this site work on a 5×7 grid (5 blocks across, 7 blocks down).
  2. The quickest way to set up your grid is to use the width of your ruler as the spacer. Otherwise, you can measure out equal column and row widths using inch or centimeter measurements to space your markings.
  3. If you’ll be using the ruler spacing method, check that 5 ruler widths will fit across your page and 7 down before you begin drawing your grid. If they don’t, find a larger piece of paper, or a thinner ruler.
  4. Leave a gap at the top and left of your page to allow you space to work off the edges of your grid.
  5. Now using your ruler, draw lines down your page to create 5 blocks (see the image below). Be sure to check that your lines are straight and your spacing is even. If you are using a T-shaped ruler, you can use the cross bar at the top to rest on the edge of your sketch pad – this will assist you in drawing straight lines.
  6. Now draw your horizontal lines to make 7 blocks down.
  7. Don’t worry if you have unequal space in the borders above/below or right/left of your drawing. You can always trim your paper with a cutting knife when you are finished your drawing.

This grid was completed in 2 minutes using the width of the rule to space out the blocks. Positioning the T-shape of the ruler on the edge of the sketch pad keeps the lines straight.

Make sure the height and width of your blocks are exactly equal. If you are not working with exact squares on your sketch paper, your drawing will be out of proportion.

Be very careful not to press too hard with your pencil. You don’t want to make indents on the paper. Your pencil marks must be light enough so that you can easily erase them when will you are working on your drawing without leaving marks.

The final grid with five blocks across and seven blocks down.

Converting a small original image into a larger drawing: So long as you draw the same number of squares (5 x 7) you can enlarge a small original image to a large drawing.