Using the Square Drawing System

//Using the Square Drawing System

Study for 'Flatford Mill' circa 1816 by John Constable 1776-1837

The idea of using square grids originates way back to Victorian times. Before photography came along, artists used to mount a grid over the view of the building they were looking at to gain perspective and be accurate.

They were also used for hundreds of years ago for murals in Chapels. The artist would draw out the picture first on paper and square it off. Then put the squares on the ceiling to proportion out the picture on a larger scale.

Before Colin used the square drawing system, he would have to manually measure out the picture with a ruler and use guess work. You can imagine that this was not the quickest or easiest way to do it.

Colin saw the idea of using grids in books and most notably remembers seeing a prelimary sketch by John Constable of one of his pictures using a grid. He would have used this for his large paintings.


Colin adopted the grid formula but also took it one stage further, by adding a second grid inside the first. The first grid is 1 inch squares and the second goes into more detail with half inch squares.

The grids work for all subjects, most notable animals and portraits where the proportions and perspective need to be most accurate. Even though nowadays you can trace an image or even print our own line drawings direct to paper, some people still like to draw free-hand and these grids help teach you to do exactly that.

You can purchase a set of 1 inch and half inch transparent square drawing grids on Colin’s art storeĀ here.


By | 2018-03-15T15:13:45+00:00 January 22nd, 2014|Materials & Pencils|1 Comment