Squaring up (sometimes known as scaling up) means using a grid so you can transfer with some accuracy to scale. I have seen some learners using phones and ipads for this purpose. You may like to just to use a grid without the scaling up part because grids in themselves are very useful for getting compositions correct.
You start squaring up by dividing an image into equal parts
My image is 8 boxes across by 6 boxes down. You can either draw directly onto the image or if you don’t want to do that use a overlay of acetate.
You then simply block in the areas using the boxes. For example I know that the tree branches take up all of the 8 boxes across and 4 boxes down. I know that the river line is roughly at the start of box 5 and so on.
Is it Cheating?
I don’t think so, I see it as a useful tool and worth trying. I know learners who don’t enjoy this way of working as they see it as too methodical and ‘technical’. It will not be for everyone but I think it is a useful transferring method for some and many beginners like to use it. Many famous artists’ used squaring up, it is a traditional technique that has been around for centuries and I don’t think any one will view it as cheating!