Question: Hello,
I don’t know of you have already done a video answering this question, but I was wondering on your technique to get your portraits proportionate compared to the model. I use the grid system to get everything in the right spot, but I’ve never been a big fan of using the grid system. It takes to make the actual grid and it’s really just a hassle, which is why I was hoping you had a different technique that’ll help me out.
Hope you can help,
Thank you!

There are several techniques you can use. One is to freehand (because I like to state the obvious), another is to use a projector, another is to trace, and, of course there is the grid method you’ve spoken about.

Of all of these methods, the grid is my least favorite and I tend to get the least accurate results with it. Everyone is going to work differently, and for me I can actually get a far more accurate and natural looking drawing by freehanding than with the grid. There are two huge things to watch for with the grid. First is that your grid be exact. That seems like common sense, but really if the grid is even slightly off, it will skew your drawing.

The next problem I often see is where the artist somehow squares off their drawings. It’s like the grid pulls their lines that should be naturally curved into straight and harsh lines, and even portraits end up oddly stiff. I’ve seen some people claim it was just their “style” but because it’s something that happens so often when using grids, I don’t buy into it being an intentional style.

The methods I prefer myself is to either trace it from my monitor or freehand. I have a video showing you how to use your monitor to do this here


Before you jump to the “OMG you traced! You’re cheating!!” conclusion, check out this video

To sum up that video, tracing both helps improve your freehanding skills if done right, and for those of us who can already draw, it saves time. I personally don’t tell people which method I used on which piece because it proves that no one can tell the difference.  You may also want to check out this video from Jason Morgan who gives you some other options on ways to get your image onto your paper or canvas: