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View Full Version : "Grid Method": is it a crutch?


DarkAlexF
10-18-2012, 10:20 PM
(Note that the following all applies to models and portraiture)

I tend to notice that I have an overly focused gaze on details. As a result, I lose sight of the big picture. Proportional mistakes are simply bound to happen. Sometimes, for example, the angle of the head is at 45 degrees when it should be closer to 60 degrees. The eyes are not lined up quite right. Things of that nature.
In order to compensate for my weakness in proportion and play towards my attention to detail; I took a photo of the subject and layed a transparent sheet over it, which had 10 equidistant lines vertically and 10 equidistant lines horizontally and did the same with my bristol board. I occulated all of the picture except for one box at a time.

It certainly helped my sense of porportion and made a much better image, but here's where I am concerned; is this simply a "crutch"? As in, if I keep doing this, will I simply not be facing my problems directly, effectively cheating?
If so, are there are methods to look at "the big picture" of something in a more natural way?

EricM
10-19-2012, 09:07 AM
Just make your grid bigger and bigger as time go by. Everybody uses/used a grid at some point, even the masters when they needed to paint a whole ceiling.

Lunatique
10-19-2012, 09:28 AM
Think of the grid as the helper's wheels on children's bicycles. You will depend on it as a beginner, but as you gain more experience in observations, analysis, eye-to-hand coordination, judgment of distance, angle, curvature, size (components of proportion), etc, you'll rely on it less and less. Eventually, you wouldn't even need it anymore and can just judge everything by sight only.

Meloncov
10-31-2012, 03:16 AM
The grid method isn't necessarily a crutch; it can be a good exercise, and even masters use them when they need to quickly recreate an image. However, it sounds like you're using them as one. If you're losing sight of the big picture, you should focus on gesture, and make sure that all of the big features are in place before you add any details. Using a system of construction, like what Loomis presents in his books, might help with that.

DarkAlexF
10-31-2012, 03:41 AM
The grid method isn't necessarily a crutch; it can be a good exercise, and even masters use them when they need to quickly recreate an image. However, it sounds like you're using them as one. If you're losing sight of the big picture, you should focus on gesture, and make sure that all of the big features are in place before you add any details. Using a system of construction, like what Loomis presents in his books, might help with that.

http://imgur.com/a/qGaco#0

Small gallery I complied of incomplete proportional and constructional art studies
#2 and #3 used the grid method -- the other two did not.

PollyBoffin
11-20-2012, 05:12 PM
Previously I thought that using a grid was "cheating", but now I don't. The reason is that I've realized that I'm not good enough to draw/paint a perfect copy without using a grid, and if that's what I have to use, then I'll do it. Eventually, I might develop an eye for how to copy without using a grid, and that will be a very happy day.

I very rarely copy pictures/draw portraits etc. and all those other things one should do in order to develop as an artist. I have made one picture, which also happens to be my first finished serious portrait, where I tried to make my picture look as much as the original photograph . The reason I've never done a picture like this... Oh, hang on a second! I think I made a portrait of a dog when I was 14 that I actually finished (didn't use a grid though). The reason is simply; I'm lazy. It's not until now, when I'm more than 30 that I've started to become really motivated to develop as an artist. We'll see how long it will take for me to pull through, 'cause I have a bad tendency of getting very intense when I focus on something, only to burn out in the end. :p

roofoo
12-11-2012, 03:47 PM
I don't think the grid method is cheating, any more than holding up a pencil at arms length to measure proportions. It's just a tool.

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