Using the Grid Method to Enlarge a Drawing with Marcula Stauffer

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Marcula Stauffer Using the Grid Method to Enlarge a Drawing Marcula Stauffer Using the Grid Method to Enlarge a Drawing

This simple, cost-effective technique explained by Marcula Stauffer can have you painting like a pro.

Mark Marcula Stauffer

Artists take inspiration from all around them and use that inspiration to create outstanding works of art. Inspiration can be derived from anywhere, but photographs or drawings are very common sources to start with.

When an artist wants to take a small image and transfer it onto a larger canvas, the grid method comes into play.

This simple technique has been used by the greatest artists, and can be used by you too!  Luckily, you don’t need to be skilled in drawing to master this easy technique.

After years of experience as an artist, Marcula Stauffer explains the grid enlarging method in only three quick steps.

Step 1: Aspect Ratios

The first step is to understand the aspect ratio, which is the proportional relationship between height and width. When enlarging an image, it’s essential to keep the aspect ratio in mind so that it is scaled up to look the same.

Marcula Staffer recommends selecting your image, making a copy of it, then drawing a grid onto the copy as to not ruin the original. The grid should be drawn lightly in pencil with the help of a ruler.

Make small marks at regular intervals (for example, 2cm) along with the image, equally spaced apart. Use the ruler to make straight lines horizontally and vertically, creating a grid.


Step 2: Enlarging the Grid

Next, you will take your canvas and begin to draw the grid again, except this time it should be twice as large as the grid on your photo.

This time when you make the marks, space them to be double the distance (for example, 4cm).

Again, Marcula Stauffer suggests using the ruler to make straight lines and connect the grid.


Step 3: Transfer

Now you can begin to transfer your image onto your new grid. Some artists number their boxes, however, that is not always necessary.

Simply compare just one square at a time and draw what is in the same box from your inspiration photo.

You can choose to make this as detailed as you would like, focusing on highlights, shadows, and line work.

Marcula Stauffer recommends starting at the top left square and working down row by row until the image is completely transferred. Lastly, erase the grid lines and use your drawing as a guide to complete your work of art in acrylic or oil paint.

Drawing lightly really is key using the grid method so that mistakes can be easily erased, and so that marks do not show through the paint.