Alternatively, you can draw the 4" grid of squares on a transparent piece of acetate with a black marker and then staple it to the wooden frame. This might be easier to construct, but the drawback is that the glare of light on the acetate might be distracting while observing the still life through it.
You can use this method to draw your still life's actual size. If you would like to draw your picture at less than life size, then smaller squares can suffice as long as you measure them accurately.
After you place your grid in front of your still life setup, carefully measure and then draw 4" squares on your paper to mimic the squares on your grid. The goal is to have a proportional grid on your paper to match the one in front of your still life.
The photo above shows several squares from the grid, which demonstrates how effectively this tool breaks down the still life into fragments or small frames of the entire setup. By focusing on the placement of the shapes of the palm frond (leaf) within each square, the grid enables you to see the subject as a series of abstract shapes. This helps you to render a more accurate and sensitive depiction of the palm frond. In effect, you are actually zooming in on the plant and scrutinizing each area to assist you in drawing what you see, rather than what you think the plant should look like.
It is also very important that once you begin drawing, you should stand in the exact same spot the entire time when measuring your drawing through the grid (just like the other forms of measuring, which are discussed in Chapter 4). Any slight change in where you are standing alters the view of the still life in relation to the grid. To ensure that you stand or sit in the same place each time, you can use masking tape to mark the position of your feet or the chair that you're sitting in.
As you continue to draw the shapes that appear in each square, the entire subject gradually emerges and should be in complete proportion to reality.
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