Drawing and Painting Tips – The Layout Sketch

A layout sketch is the process of faintly outlining the key elements of an image on to paper (or canvas). The aim should be to get each part the right size and in the correct position before moving forward. In any case, this first stage is the place most amateur artworks turn out badly!

In a portrait for example, the layout sketch would only ensure that the outline of the eyes (nose, mouth, and so on) are the precise shape, right size, accurately aligned and the correct distance apart. The layout sketch requires no further detail, yet miss the point, and your artwork will be bound to failure, regardless of how great your painting or drawing strategy is.

It is possible with a great deal of practice and care, to finish a layout sketch by eye alone, yet is that how professional artists work? No they do not! Time is cash and professional artists use techniques and tools to complete precise layout work rapidly.

Here are the most widely recognized tools and techniques for working from a photograph.

Art A4 Paper


The simplest tool is use of a pencil as a ruler and protractor. For example, when drawing a face, the pencil can be used to measure the relative size of an eye, the distance between the ear projection and the edge of an eye, or the angle of the nose. This sketch paper works best when copying from a large photograph, and reproducing an image at the same size.

The procedure is simple: lay the pencil flat on the photograph. Place the point of the pencil where you want to measure from, and grasp the opposite finish of the pencil at the exact point you wish to measure to. Without changing your hold, move the pencil to the paper and make a mark on the paper at the tip and point of your grasp.

Similarly, angles can be duplicated by laying the pencil on the photograph, say a rooftop line in a landscape, and carefully moving the pencil to the paper while retaining that angle. An easier technique is to place you reference photo over your paper, so that the pencil can be moved from one surface to the next without altering its angle significantly.

A slightly easier technique is to use a ruler, and take absolute measurements. On the off chance that you have to re-scale an image, the use of a ruler is preferable. In any case, this strategy has gotten outdated.

Alternatively, it is possible to purchase dividers that achieve the same measuring impact. Some even have a constrained re-scaling capacity.

Most individuals presently have access to a PC with peripherals, so it is easier to scan and re-print a photograph at the same size you want to draw or painting, rather than re-scale as you go.  The use of a pencil (or anything else) as a ruler is best utilized for checking minor detail dimensions and angles.