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Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2018
A drawing with a grid on top of it.

As a follow up to my how-to guide to doing master copy drawings, here is a way to make the exercise more challenging and push your skills. Or, the same idea can be used to make a master copy more manageable so you can break down and copy a more complex or challenging image. 


A drawing with a grid on top of it.
A 7x9 grid of squares
A drawing with a grid on top of it.
A 4x4 grid of rectangles.
A drawing with a grid on top of it.
A 2x2 grid of rectangles.

The basic idea is that the smaller the number of grid-squares you have, the more challenging the master copy will be, or the more grid-squares, the easier the copy will be. 

Follow steps one and two in my guide and draw a grid on your paper and attach a transparency for laser printer to the page. When you've got the grid drawn with pencil on the paper, and a transparency on top of the grid, you can pick the size and amount of grid-squares you want. 

I recommend using multiple transparencies to make several versions of a grid, all having the same overall size. In the pictures above, I've made three of them: a 7x9, a 4x4, and a a 2x2 grid, and they all have the same overall dimensions (7x9 inches.)

If you have multiple transparency-grids, as you are doing your copy you can swap them out as you are doing your copy.  

A picture of a sketchbook with a transparency and grid.
When you have a grid drawn in pencil, use multiple transparencies to make multiple transparency-grids.

As you are drawing your master copy, and as you are taking measurements, you are slowly but surely training your eye to discern proportions and relationships better. 

A drawing with a grid on top of it.

Doing master copies of figure drawings by other artists, or doing master copies of high quality photos of human figures is a great way to practice life drawing. One of the great challenges in life drawing is keeping proportions intact and accurate. So doing master copies with grids with smaller numbers of squares or rectangles is a great way to practice skills that will serve you while drawing from a live figure.