top of page

Mrs. StewART

Classroom        2D2

Project: "The Grid Portrait"

TIME FRAME: 2 weeks


Learning Objectives:

Students will...

The student will learn how to use the grid technique to transfer information from a smaller photo to a larger drawing surface. The student will finish the portrait using tempera (or acrylic) paint using an optional color scheme.


Learn the how to use the gird technique to create an accurate portrait of yourself or a friend. Use tempera (or acrylic) paint to finish as a painting using a specific color scheme.



  • 18" by 24" heavy paper

  • Pencils

  • Yardsticks (metersticks) and rulers

  • Tempera paint (primaries, black and white)

  • Erasers

  • Camera


Use the provided color theory worksheets (under the "Resources" tab) to practice mixing colors with tempera or acrylic paint. Concentrate on accuracy of your mixtures and your craftsmanship when applying the paint. Estimated completion time is 1-2 hours.

Photograph yourself or a friend and print the photo out on paper. The photo can be in black and white. Create a grid over the photo and use the grid to draw the contours of your subject on a larger sheet of paper. Do not add shading with your pencil. Once your contour line is complete, paint the image using tempera paint or acrylics. Use a specific color scheme to make your painting more interesting.


  • Proportion - a principle of art that deals with the relationship of size and shapes of subjects within a drawing or painting.

  • Grid technique - a drawing technique in which a proportional grid is used to aid in the drawing process.  Typically, a grid is placed or drawn over a photo or drawing.  A proportional grid is drawn on the support. Comparisons are made using the squares placed on the reference grid in order to aid in creating an accurate transfer.

  • Self portrait - A portrait drawing or painting created by the artist of the artist.

Essential Questions:

  • What is proportion and why is it important for portraiture?

  • How can a grid be used to draw and paint accurately?

  • How does color and value play a role in the success or failure of my portrait?

bottom of page