Adventures in Education — Chapter 1.0 ~ Grid Me a River…



This lesson was pretty remedial for me. It took me back to my middle school days of torment. (But that’s another story…) Here’s the jest of what we learned:

  • A little history
  • How to use your cheap little T-square
  • Drawing badly (Need for observation)
  • Framing a Subject
  • Image Transferring
  • Subdividing, enlarging, and reducing with a grid

In other words, this lesson makes the bare-bones art students take an active step above the average crappie doodle that most people (not anyone here) create to something that’s a lot more accurate with a new skill, image transferring using the grid.  Using this method, the student should build up enough confidence to have that light turn on, and conclude, “Hey, I can do this!”

To get us started (I’m skipping the stuff on history lesson and the T-square), the lesson pushes the need for observation. In order to drive the point home, our workbook provides us with examples, a photo of a fish, a simplified version that incorporates the use of observation. Another set of examples is a simplified (cartoonish) sketch of a woman from visual memory and one drawn with observation. Then comes our next activity, drawing a seagull:

Seagull activity
Seagull activity using observation. Photo on the left and copy, Copyright © Art Instruction Schools

Still looking pretty bad? Having a hard time properly fitting the scene within that rectangle? I sure did. Thus bringing us to the frame. What’s the frame? Basically it’s the rectangle that we draw around our subject in order to isolate it and draw it more accurately. Of course we have our examples, and an activity that has involves drawing a frame, using our T-square, around a cartoon caveman. (I know exciting…)


Image Transferring Fun!

Next up, we dip our baby-toe into the magic of creating a grid or image transferring. (You can learn more about image transferring here.) Once we understand how it’ll be used, we step into reproduction and mapping. The lesson shows use how to use points on a grid to help us map out a girl. We practice this via our next activity:

My reproduction of a cartoon girl
My reproduction of a cartoon girl. Based on original drawing, © Art Instruction Schools

From there, we learn about subdividing our grid to help us recreate smaller or more detailed areas. As our chapter flies faster and faster, we delve into using grids to enlarge and reduce. Of course there are more activities, but it doesn’t take much to figure out what they are or could be… (I skipped them anyway.)

The Assignment:

Now we reach this lesson’s assignment. The stuff our mysterious teacher over in Minneapolis will see. So what’s the assignment? Well, we observe our models: a cartoon dog’s head, a cartoon cat, a superhero, and a boat. We choose which model to draw and use our tools the frame and the grid to reproduce the model. The workbook notes that the models that are slightly smaller than the rectangle printed on the provided assignment sheets. (Which can be torn out.) Thus we must enlarge! But we (or I had) have a problem. Without PhotoShop, we can’t mathematically translate the points on our grid from the smaller original to where they need to be on the larger grid. In other words, we (I) don’t have any notches smaller than 1/32’s of an inch. So we must use our observation skills to wing it. For me this involves lots of erasing, comparison, and erasing. I also have to note that the paper in the workbook has a plate finish (no tooth), so it was an absolute necessity to sketch lightly, and to not dig in too deep unless I can commit. (This is similar to inking or creating pencils for an inker.) The rectangles printed on the assignment sheets do have a basic grid pre-printed. If you happen to need to subdivide it any further (which I did), you will draw them out very lightly.

In the end I had three assignment sheets, and drew three out of the four models:

    • The superhero:

Original super-hero
Original super-hero. © Art Instruction Schools

My reproduction for the superhero
My reproduction for the superhero
    • The boat:

Original boat drawing
Original boat drawing. © Art Instruction Schools

My reproduction of the boat drawing
My reproduction of the boat
    • The cat:

Original cat drawing
Original cat drawing. © Art Instruction Schools

My reproduction of the cat drawing
My reproduction of the cat

Out of the three, I thought the cat was the best among them.


Next time: Grading the Cat or How’s my Pussy?