I’m a big fan of DIY, do it yourself, especially when I can recycle materials. In my drawing class I saw that Nora made herself a gridded drawing viewer. “It was simple”, she explained, “A plastic sheet, with a grid drawn on it and taped to a piece of cardboard.” I saw that she even taped a 4 level grayscale on it. Clever! A drawing viewer helps in composing; a gridded viewer helps with proportions. It is a very useful tool.
Materials & Tools
Decide the size you want for your grid. I used a 4×4 grid of 1″ squares; 4 squares across and down. A 1/2″ or 3/4″ boarder will work. Detach the plastic lid from the container and peel off the label. There was adhesive residue left on the plastic which I was able to clean off with butter, then wash with dish soap, and a rinse with vinegar. Be gentle with the plastic so you don’t scratch it. Measure a square on to the plastic, in this case a 5×5 inch square, 4 inches for the grid and a 1/2 inch boarder on each side . I cut the plastic with my box cutter.
Use a ruler to mark and draw your grid. I used a Sharpie fine point permanent marker. You may have to test that your marker works on the type of plastic you use. My Sharpie didn’t like the plastic I used and I had to prime it on plain paper several times, hence the messy lines. I also added diagonal lines, something I learned from watching Master Forger, John Myatt, on his show “Fame in the Frame”.
Measure the size of your grid, without the boarder, on to the mat board and using the box cutter and a ruler, cut it out. In my case I measured a 4″ square. I made “over cuts” to the square, cut a bit longer than 4″ (4 1/16), to make it easier to have clean cut corners. My book making instructor, Victoria, always said to be patient when cutting mat board. You will need to make several passes to completely cut through the mat board; I usually make 3-4 passes.
Center your mat board frame on to the plastic grid. To help position the grid to the frame, I put a small piece of packing tape on the back of the plastic grid with part of the sticky side exposed, not taped to the plastic. Turn the plastic over and center the mat board frame over it. When it is centered, I press the mat board on to the exposed tape which anchors it in place. Turn the pieces over and tape the remaining sides. Cut out your grayscale and tape to the front. I made also made a smaller grid, a 2×2 grid.