A modification of the Elliott grid for plotting ellipse shape data are described. The effects of strain on elliptical markers are easy to visualize when the data are plotted on the new grid, and this allows clear interpretation of displayed data. New graphical methods for manipulating distributions of elliptical markers are directly related to an existing numerical method. When a distribution on the grid is strained, all the points move along straight, parallel lines. An initial distribution in which all the points lie on a straight line is strained into a distribution with the points lying on a hyperbola. Such curves include the analogues of 'theta curves'. If the points lie on a circle centred at the grid origin, they are strained so as to lie on an ellipse. These are the analogues of 'onion curves'.