HOW TO TRANSFER A PHOTO TO CANVAS
You have a photo that you'd love to paint. The question is how to transfer it to canvas. You can draw, but want to make sure you get it just right. How do you go about it? It's actually a simple process if you know how to do it, and now I'll show you how!
1. Make two photocopies of your photo, one in black and white and one in color. Set aside the color copy for a reference when you start painting.
2. Fold the black/white copy in half vertically (always crease firmly). Then fold in half again. Open it up and next, fold in half horizontally, and then fold in half again. Finally, open it up and lay flat, then with a T-square, or a ruler, mark a pencil line along each fold you've made. You will end up with 16 boxes. (see photo 1 below)
3. On your blank canvas, using charcoal ONLY, (pencil bleeds thru the paint) take your T-square (or ruler) and lightly make a large "X" diagonally from corner to corner. Next, draw a line across the middle of the canvas through the middle of the "X" and then repeat vertically. Halfway between the center line and the edge, draw another line horizontally above and then below the center line for a total of 3 lines. then left and right vertically for a total of 3 lines. You will end up with 16 boxes on your canvas, (see photo 2 below)
4. Within EACH box, carefully draw the lines in the photo onto the canvas (always using charcoal) paying attention to where each line crosses into the next box so that your photo is transferred accurately. When you are finished, go back and check to make sure the drawing looks like your photo. If it doesn't, double check the boxes to make sure the lines begin and end in the same spot as the photo. It doesn't have to be perfect, but should be close. (see photo 3 below)
5. You are now ready to paint your masterpiece!
Photo # 1
Photo # 2
Photo # 3
When I stated above that you need to be careful to copy lines carefully, look for example at the road. In the bottom left box, notice that the edge of the road leaves the photo just slightly left of the middle of the box, but at the top of that box the road is almost in the right corner. These lines are important to get right. The basic shape of each object, trees, bushes, roads, even the background trees are all important to get right. Especially their location! So when you're finished copying the lines, go back over each box and double check your work. You'll be glad you did, because we always have some corrections to make. Again, it helps to number the boxes on both the photocopy and the canvas when you do this. It saves a lot of time.
After I have gotten everything transferred to my satisfaction, I erase the numbers and box lines carefully before I start painting. I use a dampened tissue to do this. But be careful not to erase your drawing! PLEASE, do NOT try to transfer all the details! Just the basic outlines! Refer to your photo for the details as you paint, otherwise you will only make a mess and drive yourself crazy with frustration.
The beauty of this plan is that it works for almost any size canvas. However, if you go up to a large canvas, I'd recommend making smaller boxes by drawing more lines. Keeping your boxes on the smaller side helps while you are still learning the process. Go up in canvas size a little at a time until you're more comfortable transferring photos onto the canvas. And, until you've had a lot of practice, I'd keep my shapes simple as well. For example, if you want to do a SQUARE painting, I'd have a square photocopy to work from. Just fold your photocopy and find an arrangement you like. After you've gotten comfortable transferring, then the sky is the limit!
So... Ready? Set? GO! And, have some fun!!!