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Stamp Grid

Concepts​: ​Composition,
balance, texture, value, shape

Materials:​ sketchpad, ruler 4h

or 7h pencil, colored pencil.


1. Cut a 2”x2” square in the

center of a piece of
paper. This is your
2. Make another viewfinder
following the same process with a .5" square cut out in the center.

1. Using your 2" viewfinder, choose 3 compositions with a strong compositional diagonal
and asymmetrical balance and mark them on your image with a colored pen or pencil.
These compositions should not overlap.
2. In groups discuss each students choices and choose one to render for the group.
3. Draw a .5" grid on the composition (I suggest using a colored pencil to see better).
4. There should be a total of 16
.5" squares in your grid.
5. Cut out your 2" x 2"
composition and tape it to your
paper, outside of the 13" x 13"
Choosing a stamp:
● Make sure the stamp surface can hold ink,
ie. that it doesn’t bead on the surface or
run off.
● Try out your potential stamp to see if you
like the mark/texture that it makes.
● Your stamp would be 1” or smaller in


1. Draw a 13" x 13" square, using the

corner of the sheet of paper. Do not cut it out.
Check your square to make sure that the
measurements are correct.
2. Center an 8" x 8" square inside (the
border will be 2.5" on all sides) the 13" x 13" square.
3. Check your square to make sure that the measurements are correct.
4. Lightly draw a grid on the 8" x 8" square using 2" segments. You should end up with 16
squares evenly distributed inside the larger space.

Value Scale:

1. On a 13” x 13” grid, center a 2” x 5” rectangle divided into 5 1” sections.

2. Tape along the outer edge and ​number the boxes from 1-5.
3. Using your stamper, work out your 5 tones on a scratch sheet.
4. Begin with white as your #1 and create your darkest dark for #5.
5. Consider changing your ink to water ratio to create the range of tones.

1. Establish the ​lightest value (value 1)​ and the ​darkest value (value 9)​. Your darkest
value might not be an absolute black, it will be determined by the mark you choose. I
suggest leaving value 1 blank until the end, and then deciding what it needs to feel like
part of the scale.

2. The next step is to establish the ​middle value,​ value 5​. Estimate the darkness of this
value by imagining what it might look like to blend 50% white with 50% black.

3. Once you have drawn in more values on the scale, it will be easier to tell how accurate
you were, and darken or lighten value 5 as necessary. Try to get this step as even as
4. Now that you have an estimated middle value, you can choose to either begin with value
3 or value 7 and work inwards towards value 5.

5. Each time you begin working on a new value, you should be trying to find the halfway
point between two tones. Always stop, take a look at you work, and ask yourself if the
tone that you have created is equidistant from your two reference points.

6. Fill in the box evenly enough to get a sense of the overall value. Do not leave a white
edge around your square, and do bring your shapes to the edges, cuting them if need be.

7. Continue filling in values 2 and 4, or 6 and 8 on your scale. Constantly evaluate the
accuracy of your existing values.

8. Take time to adjust the values in order to space them evenly. Before marking, always
ask how it will affect all of the squares together.

Stamp Drawing​:
Materials: Drafting tape, ink, something to hold the ink and water, your hand or another "stamp."

1. Label the rows (letters for horizontal and numbers for vertical) in order to make it easier
to relate the square in your image to the square in your drawing.
1. Very lightly! Use a 4H or 7H pencil
2. Tape the edges of the 8" x 8" square, make sure the tape rests against the outer edge
and does not cut into your drawing space.
3. I mentioned that you may use your fingers or another "stamp," make sure to practice
before working on your drawing to be able to control your textures and tones.
4. Choose a square and identify the major shapes in it. What is your darkest tone? Which
is your lightest? Which is your midtone? Begin by using the placement of the shapes
within the square, maintaining the relative proportions as best you can.
5. No outlines!! Do not draw out the shapes first, you should use the edges of your square
as reference for when a shape begins and where it ends.
6. Work square to square, cover up the others is you have an impulse to do more than one
at a time.

Notice that the tones are relative to each square, creating a fragmentation of the image, don't
fight it, let it unfold....

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