CopyIt - The Grid Drawing Method Reference Guide

CopyIt assists you in copying, enlarging or reducing your chosen reference image using the grid drawing method. It is available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch on the App Store.

New in CopyIt v4.8

  • Made compatible with iPad Pro.
  • Designed for iOS 9.
  • New Feature: Mosaic (Toggles on/off) - turns your reference image into a mosaic of coloured squares (with adjustable sizes).
  • Combined Save Photo, Print and Email Photo into one button - you can now export your reference image in many more ways.
  • Minor bug fixes.

Changes in CopyIt v4.7

  • Fixed image rotation issue.

Changes in CopyIt v4.6

  • Bug fixes.

Changes in CopyIt v4.5

  • Added Camera and Load Image Size Limit to Settings App. This has been added to allow you to override CopyIt's automatic size limit. Choose from 5MB, 10MB (default), 25MB, 50MB or Unlimited.
  • Minor bug fixes.

Changes in CopyIt v4.4

  • All device orientations are now fully supported. You can now work in Portrait!
    Note: To enable rotation you must be in Unlocked Mode and be zoomed out to 1x.
  • Horizontal and Vertical Flip image buttons added.
  • The Secondary Filter effects have had their incremental strength increased.
  • With the advance of digital camera’s, image sizes are growing faster every day. To help with this, imported images that are larger than 10MB are automatically reduced in size to prevent out-of-memory errors.
  • If you find CopyIt useful, you can easily tell your friends about it using the new Share CopyIt button.
  • The new Load Project interface makes it easier to access and manage your projects.
  • The Help button now displays the latest CopyIt Reference Guide from the Support website.
  • Printing using AirPrint now fills the page while preserving the image aspect ratio.
  • The Battery meter now also shows the percentage of power remaining.
  • Cross Guides has been moved to the top toolbar
  • Bug fixes and other improvements.

Changes in CopyIt v4.3

  • Designed for iOS 8.
  • Added support for iPhone 6 Plus.
  • Added Information button to see the current project properties.
  • Squashed some bugs.
  • Grid presets for the iPhone version now take full advantage of larger screen sizes.
  • Increased email size warning up to 10MB.
  • Added 'No Warning' option for email size.

Changes in CopyIt v4.2

  • Music Player

You can now listen to your favourite tunes while you work with an in-built music player.You can pick songs to add to your playlist from your iTunes music library, without leaving the App.

Music volume is controlled using the device volume controls.

Please allow access to your music library for this feature to function.

Changes in CopyIt v4.1

  • Cross Guides

You can now subdivide the grid with diagonal lines for additional guidance. Cross Guides can be used with or without Guidelines and share the current Guideline color.

Changes in CopyIt v4.0

  • Redesigned for iOS 7
  • User interface graphics and layout updated
  • CopyIt icon updated
  • 6 additional Primary Filters added: Posterize 2 - 7
  • Improved Outline and Negative Outline Filter quality

Please be aware that the developer is unable to respond to reviews or questions posed on the App Store.
If you would like to ask a question, please use the Support button or send an email to


To my best friend and soul mate, my darling wife Elizabeth, thank you for your patience, love and support. I am blessed to be able to share my life with you.

Thanks also to the many users of CopyIt who have provided feedback and new feature suggestions.
Your App Store reviews are appreciated and encourage me to keep the updates coming.
Thank you for your support and I hope you continue to enjoy using CopyIt as much as I do.


Loving to draw since early childhood, I first used the Grid Drawing Method in art class at primary school.

Over the years I have found it an invaluable tool for both drawing and painting.
With the introduction of the iPad on January 27th, 2010 I soon saw the potential of the device to be used for artistic purposes due to its portability and large high resolution screen.
I had already released a few Apps on the iPhone and iPod touch by this time, so I had the knowledge and ability to jump right into creating a Grid Drawing App. Initially for the iPad only, CopyIt for iPad v1.0 was released in June 2010. The Universal version of CopyIt v1.3 followed later and was released in November 2010.

Since its initial release, CopyIt continues to this day to be the most feature-packed and useful Grid Drawing App available anywhere.

What is the Grid Drawing Method?

The humble Grid Drawing Method has been around for a long time. Throughout history artists were using it to aid them in keeping their proportions correct as they copied their subject. The ancient egyptians at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom (around 2055 BC - 1650 BC) used it by ‘snapping’ a string soaked in red dye against a wall to create the grid lines. Renaissance artists would build a wooden frame, hammer in nails spaced equally apart and tie lengths of string from one end to the other to create their rows and columns.

grid drawinggrid drawing2
They would then place the wooden frame where they could look through the grid and see their subject from where they would begin work.
More recently, The Grid Drawing Method evolved to where artists would print out a photo and draw their grid directly onto the photo or overlay it with transparent film.
Now with the availability of devices such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, CopyIt supersedes all these methods and allows the artist to do more than ever previously possible.


  • Mosaic
  • Universal App, compatible with iPad Pro, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch
  • Export to Photo Album and email
  • Supports Retina Display and high resolution photos
  • Cameras are supported - both front and back
  • Fullscreen mode
  • Change Grid Transparency and Grid Line thickness
  • 6 Grid Types
  • 12 Primary Filters
  • 6 Secondary Filters
  • Choose from 9 grid colors, Black (default), Gray, White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange and Magenta.
  • Choose from 9 guideline colors (independent of grid color)
  • Solid or dashed Guidelines
  • Toggle Cross Guides for additional guidance.Shares the current Guideline color.
  • CopyIt will resist entering standby while in use (if power-saving options are enabled)
  • Set your Maximum Zoom level from x1 to x20
  • Rotate the image in 90 degree increments
  • Audible feedback (can be turned on/off in Settings)
  • Print directly to AirPrint compatible printers
  • Load, Save and Delete Projects
  • Grid letters and numbers with 4 different formats
  • 12 different image aspects
  • Touch a grid square to move your focus with SmartMove™
  • SmartMove™ takes advantage of your maximum zoom setting, never zooming in more than that amount
  • Used in conjunction with SmartMove™, Target mode highlights the current gird square and dims out the rest
  • SmartMove™ Left and Right arrows for moving through the grid squares in sequence
  • Preset Grids for iPad: 16x12, 8x6 and 4x3 equal squares
  • Preset Grids for iPhone and iPod touch: 12x8, 6x4 and 3x2 equal squares
  • Move the grid independently over the image
  • Battery meter and percentage on toolbar
  • Music Player

Settings App Options

  • Sound On/Off
  • Maximum Email Attachment (1MB-5MB)
  • Toggle “Keep Device Awake” On/Off
  • Toggle export watermark
  • Toggle center point to each grid square On/Off
  • Change the background color to black, white or transparent
  • Grid Number Formats
  • Change Target Mode Transparency and color
  • Toggle camera preview for grid overlay On/Off


Hide Toolbar (Fullscreen Mode)

This allows you to hide the toolbar and work unobstructed.

Show Toolbar

This will show the toolbar so that you can change CopyIt settings again.

Project Management

New Project

Upon confirmation, this will reset all CopyIt settings and unload the current image.

Load Project

Loads a previously saved project, replacing the current one.
To delete a project, double-tap the delete button beside the project you wish to delete.


Save Project

Saves the current project. CopyIt does not overwrite existing projects. Each time you save a project, another version is saved.


Load From Photo Album

Loads a reference image from your Photo Album.


Use this to capture an image to use as your reference image. Both front and back cameras are supported.

Export Photo

In CopyIt v4.8, you can now export your photo in a number of different ways including: AirDrop, Message, Mail, Notes, Twitter, Facebook, iBooks, Save Image (to Photos), Copy, Print (to AirPrint compatible printers) and other 3rd party apps.

Grid Controls

Grid Types

Some artists prefer to work by dividing their media into halves, thirds, quarters, sixths or eighths. This can mean that your grid will be made up of rectangles instead of squares.

There are 6 different grid types available.

  • Std: The original square grid type.
  • 1/2: Splits the device screen into halves in both directions, giving a total of 4 rectangles.
  • 1/3: Splits the device screen into thirds in both directions, giving a total of 9 rectangles.
  • 1/4: Splits the device screen into quarters in both directions, giving a total of 16 rectangles.
  • 1/6: Splits the device screen into sixths in both directions, giving a total of 36 rectangles.
  • 1/8: Splits the device screen into eighths in both directions, giving a total of 64 rectangles.

Please Note: The Grid Size Options are unavailable when using split screen grid types, as they already have preset columns and rows.

Toggle Grid

This will toggle the display of the grid.
Note: If the grid is turned off, some functions that require the grid will be unavailable.
Turning on the grid will make these functions available again.

Move Grid

The Move Grid option allows you to move the grid independently over the top of the image.
Turn this off again to lock it into place.

Grid Letters And Numbers

Use of this feature is optional.
When enabled this allocates grid letters and numbers to all grid squares in the chosen format. There are 4 formats to choose from in the Settings App.
You can use this feature to keep track of where you are when working on larger drawings and paintings.


Use of this feature is optional.

By not using this feature, you can continue navigating around the grid as you would have in the previous versions of CopyIt (by scrolling and zooming with gestures).
When SmartMove™ is enabled and your maximum zoom is set to more than 1x, it allows you to navigate around the grid squares just by touching them. When using SmartMove™, your maximum zoom setting is important, as it controls how much it will zoom into each square when touched. If you are doing detailed work, then setting a higher maximum zoom is recommended however SmartMove™ will not zoom in on the grid square beyond the height of the display. If you require to zoom in beyond this point, you will need to use the zoom gesture.

Note: If your maximum zoom is set to 1x, touching a grid square when using SmartMove™ will seem to have no effect (as the whole grid will be visible).

SmartMove™ With Target Mode

Use of this feature is optional but it must work in conjunction with SmartMove™.
To further assist your focus while you work, Target Mode highlights the last grid square you touched and dims out all other squares.

Grid Size

Due to the different aspect ratios of iOS devices, the grid presets are also different.

iPad (1.333333:1)iPhone 4S, iPod touch (1.5:1)iPhone 5, iPhone 5S (1.775:1)iPhone 6 (1.778667:1), iPhone 6 Plus (1.777778:1)
16 x 12 (192 equal squares)12 x 8 (96 equal squares)14.2 x 814.2 x 8
8 x 6 (48 equal squares)6 x 4 (24 equal squares)7.1 x 47.11 x 4
4 x 3 (12 equal squares)3 x 2 (6 equal squares)3.55 x 23.56 x 2

Columns: You can specify how many columns you want and the number of rows are automatically calculated. The number of columns can be entered up to 2 decimal places. e.g. 6.50 will be taken as six and a half columns.

Rows: You can specify how many rows you want and the number of columns are automatically calculated. The number of rows can be entered up to 2 decimal places. e.g 4.25 will be taken as four and a quarter rows.

Points: You can specify the grid square size using the number of points. Columns and rows are automatically calculated. Points can be entered up to 2 decimal places.

Handy Tip: Changing between columns, rows and points will also show you how many columns, rows and points are currently being displayed by the current grid.

Grid Colors

9 grid colors are available to switch to at anytime, allowing the grid to remain visible for any colored reference image.

Maximum Zoom Settings

Using the preset maximum zoom settings allows you to restrict how much you can zoom into your reference image.
The available zoom settings are: 1x, 2x, 3x, 5x, 10x and 20x.
These settings are especially useful when used in conjunction with SmartMove™


Use of this feature is optional and provides a choice of no guidelines, 1/4 and 1/16 guidelines within each grid square. Using guidelines can help you keep your drawing accurate as you copy your subject.

Guideline Color

9 guideline colors are available and can be set independently to the grid color allowing 81 different color combinations. This color is also used for Cross Guides.

Dashed Guidelines

If guidelines are in use you can switch between solid or dashed guidelines using this option.


Mosaic is a new feature in CopyIt v4.8 that displays a representation of your reference image using blocks of colours of adjustable sizing. You can toggle this feature on/off without altering your original image.
While turned on, use the Mosaic Size control to increase or decrease the size of the Mosaic blocks.

Primary Filters

12 Primary Filters are available.

  • Original
  • Greyscale
  • Outline
  • Negative
  • Negative Greyscale
  • Negative Outline
  • Posterize 2
  • Posterize 3
  • Posterize 4
  • Posterize 5
  • Posterize 6
  • Posterize 7

6 Secondary Filters are available.

  • Less Exposure
  • More Exposure
  • Blur
  • Sharpen
  • Less Vibrant
  • More Vibrant

Secondary Filters are those that can be applied to the original Primary Filters (Original, Greyscale, Negative etc) and will accumulate their effect.
Note however, selecting a new Primary Filter will remove all currently accumulated Secondary Filters.

Outline Detail

When using either the Outline or Negative Outline filters, this controls how much detail there is when tracing the outline. The ranges are 0.60 to 0.90

Handy Tip: For speed, temporarily turn off the Outline Filter, change the Outline Detail to the desired amount, then re-select the Outline Filter.

Image Aspect

There are 12 different aspects available.

Although the iPad screen uses a ratio of 4:3 and the iPhone and iPod touch use 3:2, you can use any image ratio by using the Aspect Fit setting.

Example: Using the Photos App, crop any image to 16x9. After choosing this cropped image from your Photo Album from within CopyIt, choose Aspect Fit from the Image Aspect options.
This will ensure your image will maintain the 16x9 aspect. Choosing anything else will most likely stretch the image to fit the screen or in some other way not look how you expect it to.
It will now have blank space above and below your image - a bit like a wide-screen movie on a 4:3 television.

After you do this, you may then want to use the Move Grid option to place the top left corner of the grid at the top left corner of your image.

Onion Skin

Onion Skin adds a transparent outline of the source image to the live camera preview. While active, you can adjust the transparency and detail of the overlay.Looking through the device and moving it closer or further away, you can line up the overlay to your work and quickly assess its accuracy. This feature requires a source image to be loaded first.

Rotate Image

Rotate the reference image clockwise in 90 degree increments.

Flip Image Vertical

Flips the current reference image vertically. This is a toggle button.

Flip Image Horizontal

Flips the current reference image horizontally. This is a toggle button.

Review CopyIt

If you would like to write a review, this button takes you to the Review section for CopyIt on the App Store. You can use the "Back to CopyIt" link at the top left to return to CopyIt.

Cross Guides

You can optionally subdivide the grid using diagonal lines for additional guidance.Cross Guides can be used with or without Guidelines and share the current Guideline color.


Listen to your favourite tunes with the in-built music player. Add songs to your playlist from your iTunes music library, without leaving CopyIt.
Music volume is controlled using the device volume controls.
Note: Requires access to your music library to function.

Tell Friends

If you enjoy using CopyIt and believe others might benefit from using it, you can let them know about it by using this feature. It creates a pre-filled message which includes a link to the CopyIt Support website.

Gridline Opacity

This allows you to set your grid transparency from 5% to 100% in 5% increments. If guidelines are being used they will be included in this setting.

Line Thickness

There are 5 different line thicknesses available: 1,3,5,7 and 9.

In-App Help


Locked Mode

Locked Mode prevents any unwanted adjustments or device rotations. While locked, the only active buttons are Hide Toolbar and Unlock.

Unlocked Mode

Unlocked Mode enables all available features for normal use.

Settings App Options

There are additional CopyIt settings that can be changed outside of the CopyIt App which are within the Settings App on your device.

  • Sound On/Off

  • Maximum Email Attachment 1MB - 10MB

    Devices with the Retina display will export images at double the normal size.
    If you are concerned with how large your CopyIt email attachments might get, you can set a preferred limit between 1MB - 10MB.If an attachment exceeds this limit, you will be notified before the image is attached and asked if you would like to try to reduce its size or continue. If the image size is reduced, some images may still exceed this preferred limit, depending on the complexity of the image.(To maintain image quality, no image will ever be smaller in dimension than the device screen it is displayed on.)

  • Keep Device Awake

    Active by default, this prevents the screen from dimming and turning off (if power-saving features are being used). This allows you to work for extended periods uninterrupted. You can turn this option off if you wish to preserve battery power.

  • ‘Exported By CopyIt’ Watermark

    You have the option to remove the watermark from images exported to the Photo Album. Leaving this option on will help you to determine if an image has previously been exported by CopyIt and therefore may contain embedded settings (e.g. grid or filter effects).
    If you decide to turn this off, remember to keep this in mind if re-importing exported CopyIt images.

  • Center Dot

    Adds a dot to the center of each grid square as a visual aid.
  • Background Color

    You can change the background color of your image to black, white or transparent. This background color is then used by all the export options. For best results, your imported images should have transparent backgrounds also.

  • Grid Number Formats

    • A0, B0, C0... (Original)
    • 0A, 0B, 0C...
    • A0, A1, A2...
    • 0A, 1A, 2A...

  • Image Size Limit

    This controls how large an image can be (in MB) before CopyIt reduces it to prevent out-of-memory issues.

    • 5MB
    • 10MB (recommended limit)
    • 25MB
    • 50MB
    • Unlimited

  • Target Mode Transparency

    Controls the transparency of the ‘dimmed out’ grid squares when using SmartMove™ and Target Mode.
  • Target Mode Color

    You can choose between black or white Target Mode colors.
  • Preview Grid Overlay

    If enabled, you can see your current grid settings displayed as an overlay during the live preview when taking a photo as your reference image.


The Grid Drawing Method




"If you find CopyIt useful then please spread the word with a review of CopyIt on your local App Store. It’s quick and easy to do and it gives me a great motivational boost to keep those updates and new features coming!" - Nigel Green