You've asked a loaded question. There are some
teachers who criticize this method. Typically this
method is used to teach the super-realism technique.
Where it becomes controversial is if it is used as a
final art product for submission to art competitions
such as Scholastic Art contests held across the U.S.
You can read a comment about this in the IAD pet
peeves section at
(Look at number 15)
One of the reasons for this is it doesn't teach
creativity or produce art with "feeling." Personally I
think it has it's place when students are first
learning realism, but they ideally should learn to
draw realism without a grid. They then learn to really
"look" at things around them when not using the grid
system. If they linger on a grid, they keep using it
as a crutch. That's why it's good for them to move
beyond the grid quickly.
That's where the criticism comes in with the
Scholastic Arts competition. Frequently when looking
at these pictures, people think, "My, isn't that a
good likeness of a ____." However, they usually don't
think, "I wonder what that artist is saying about
____?" Or, "Look at the use of color and composition
the artist used to produce a feeling of ______."
Nothing is wrong with realism or super-realism. The
problem is what does the art look like beyond realism?
What does it say and how does it make you feel?
There is a book series that is popular with many art
teachers called "Drawing on the Right Side of the
Brain." You can find them on IAD on
This book really works and teaches students (and
adults) to use the creative part of the brain to
If you want to try the method you described, there is
nothing wrong with it as long as you move them beyond
this system. There are many books relating to this.
The "How to Draw..." books frequently do this. You can
find an example of this type of book here:
Mon Dec 4, 2006 10:42 am (PST)
That is a good page :-) But I don't think it addresses
these different approaches for teaching the Production
of art that I'm trying to figure out...
If what I was taught with (many moons ago ;-) was a
kind of "structured" Choice-based approach... what
would you call the approach where everyone does the
same project, following the directions.. . and learns
to draw by copying someone else's symbol step-be-step,
or by grid-copying a complete drawing? (not just as a
tool to enlarge a drawing for, say , a mural)
And is this a common art teaching method being taught
to art teachers today?
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