I know it's got to have a proper name, but I'm Russian and my dictionary doesn't know it. I apologize if something like this has already been discussed.
Considerable time ago I've seen one artist's illustrated explanation of his drawing method - he uses a photo, places a square 'net' over and draws the outline comparing it to the reference by the squares. I'm not sure how wide-spread this method is among the artists. But I've been wondering...
Obviously, realistic portraits of a certain person take tremendous skill. For example, I'm bad at almost everything. All I've ever did trying to draw a particular someone was making overpaints of photos or screencaps(mind you, I realize that it IS cheating in many ways, I just don't have the skill to do it any other way yet, and I don't think these images to be any kind of achievements). This led me to considering the method I described before. Is this a step forward? I know, I know that the right way is to learn the basics. But still. Is it?
I think what you're referring to is making a grid and placing it over the picture you want to draw and also having agrid lines on the paper? If you're doing the method i think you are, then you would look at the picture, box by box, drawing what's in each box until you have the final picture. This is actually a good basic exercise. It teachs you to just look at the shapes and draw what you see, and not what you know. In the long run you don't want to rely on it, but it is good practice.