How Do You Make a Grid for Drawing and Enlarging Still Life Photos?

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Answered by: Alina, An Expert in the Improving Your Drawing Category
If you have problems drawing larger replicas of what you see in photos, there is an answer to your problem that has been used by masters for centuries. These artists used what is called the "grid method" to take a small photo of a still life and enlarge it so that the subject will fit on their canvas.



Using a grid for drawing is a two-step process. It entails drawing a grid on the photo and then drawing a grid on canvas or paper. The artist then draws exactly what is in each grid square on the photo in a corresponding grid square on the canvases or paper. Creating a grid on the photo is exactly the same as creating a grid on the canvas, so it is a simple process that anyone, even beginning artists, can accomplish a great result.

What You Will Need:



Ruler

Photo (Make a photocopy of an original photo to avoid destroying it during the grid process.)

Art canvas or paper (Practicing on paper is best. When you feel you've learned the process, you can move on to canvas.)

Pencil

Instructions:

1.     Measure your photo or canvas vertically with your ruler.

2.     Divide the measurement you got in step one by three.

3.     Draw a vertical straight line that is the same distance away from the edge of the photo or canvas as the number that was found in the last step. So if you came up with 1-inch in the second step, you will draw your line 1-inch away from the edge of the photo or canvas. Make sure to use light lines on the canvas so that they can be easily erased.

Only use photocopies of pictures for the grid technique. The pencil lines can damage photographs.

4.     Draw another line that is the same distance from the other edge of the photo or canvas. This will give your two vertical lines that are equally spaced and trisect the photo or canvas.

5.     Measure your photo or canvas horizontally with your ruler.

6.     Divide the measurement that you got in the last step by three.

7.     Draw a horizontal straight line that is the same distance away from the edge of the photo or canvas as the number that was found in the last step. For example, draw your line 4-inches away from the edge of the photo or canvas if you came up with 4-inches in the last step.

8.     Draw another line that is the same distance from the other edge of the photo or canvas. This will give your two horizontal lines that are equally spaced and trisect the photo or canvas. This will finish the grid of three squares horizontally and three squares vertically.

Now that you know how to make your own grid for drawing and enlarging still life photos, you can make realistic drawings that can stand alone as pieces of art, or as a base for a painting.

Reference

     "How to Paint Photorealism: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Paint Your Own Photorealistic Paintings"; Thaneeya McArdle; page 9; 2008

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