Painting

How to Make a Grid for Drawing and Enlarging Still Life Photos on Canvas

June 4, 2014

By Alina Bradford

Artists use 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. This process entails drawing a grid on the photo and then drawing a grid on the canvas. The artist then draws exactly what is in each grid square on the photo in a corresponding grid square on the canvases. Creating a grid on the photo is exactly the same as

Drawing Grid

Drawing Grid

creating a grid on the canvas. Here is how to do it:

  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.
  4. Only use photocopies of pictures for the grid technique. The pencil lines can damage photographs.
  5. 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.
  6. Measure your photo or canvas horizontally with your ruler.
  7. Divide the measurement that you got in the last step by three.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

References

“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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