DIY Art | How to use a grid to enlarge a drawing

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DIY Art | How to use a grid to enlarge a drawing

You wanna trick people into thinking you’re an artist?  Well, I have a drawing technique for you!!  I am going to show you how you can take a picture and easily draw it yourself.  Using a grid you can enlarge a drawing and it is really pretty simple.

Appletini Photography_382I have used this drawing grid technique before.  It is called scaling and with a little practice using a grid to draw, you could become an ar-teest!!  Or at least pretend you are 😉 !!

I personally use this grid technique to replicate and enlarge characters for parties but you could use it for so many things. This time I was making Mickey Mouse characters for my little girl’s Mickey party.

If you would like to try to enlarge a drawing, here is what you’ll need:


  • poster board
  • acrylic paint
  • paint brushes
  • ruler
  • black sharpie
  • a photo to replicate

Appletini Photography_370The first time I used this art scaling technique I printed the picture I wanted to enlarge and drew the grid on that.  THIS time I had no ink, so I drew the grid  using Photoshop.

Appletini Photography_369The trick with drawing your grid is that the squares need to be the same size and how ever many squares are on you picture, need to be drawn on the poster board.  You don’t need to be a mathematician to figure it out but you do need to work a few numbers to figure out a ratio that will work for the picture AND poster board. 

For each of my original pictures I drew a grid 4 squares across and 6 squares down, 24 squares total.  When drawing the grid on my poster board I made sure I had 4 squares across and 6 down, 24 total.  Took a little Math, but if I could do it, YOU can do it!  Just remember, you need to use perfect squares!!

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If you look closely you can see my grid drawn on my poster board. I recommend using light pencil lines.  After I was finished with each character I didn’t even bother erasing them.  They were subtle enough you really couldn’t notice them too much.

Once you have your grid drawn on the poster board it’s time to draw…
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When you draw try drawing in one box at a time replicating the photo square by square. It will help your photo be more proportional than if you were to try to draw it freehand.  Now you can see my Goofy is not perfect but it’s pretty close!   The grid is so helpful when trying to replicate a drawing.  I could never have just drawn a Goofy onto poster board!

Appletini Photography_373Once your artwork is drawn onto the poster board, it’s time to start painting!! Appletini Photography_374

Use your original photo to match the colors.

I had six pictures I was making so I drew them all first and then painted one color at a time. Appletini Photography_376
Make sure you have a large enough workspace to layout all of your materials and have room for your paintings to dry.
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Once you have finished painting your awesome artwork, congratulations… you are almost done.  Last thing you need to do is trace your picture with a black sharpie.  It really transforms and finishes the painting!
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When you finish, place your artwork somewhere you can sit and admire your awesomeness.  Make sure everyone who comes over can see it too.  When they see it be sure they praise your artistic ability!  DON’T tell them how easy it was!!
Appletini Photography_378Then, when it is time, display them proudly!  Secretly pat yourself on the back and remind yourself how fantastic you are!!

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If you attempt this scaling art technique let us know how it goes.  I’d wish you luck, but you won’t need it!  Once you try it, you’ll see… it’s super easy!!!!

Have fun,

xx Heather

By | 2018-01-10T11:36:57+00:00 June 11th, 2013|Blog, DIY Projects, Momma Likes to DIY, Momma's Corner|2 Comments

About the Author:

Hey gang! I'm Heather, the Editor in chief here at Appletini Photography. I am a self proclaimed SuperMOM of 2 who enjoys blogging, party planning, and DIYing! I am married to SuperDAD and have a slight coffee addiction! When I'm not wearing my SuperMOM cape, you can find me on the blog connecting with other Moms. Over at Momma's Corner you can read about the good, the bad, and the funny of my adventures in party planning, DIY, and Mommyhood.


  1. Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro June 11, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Hi Heather,

    I remember doing this (on a smaller scale) when I was in elementary school (grade 3) in our wood shop class, though I think that we may have been scaling to make our owl key racks smaller than the original template.

    A similar technique for people who have projection equipment (from their computer or else old style projection equipment) is to scan the image and then project the scanned image on a wall covered with a large sheet of paper, and to then trace the projected image.

    The two cautions I would have are:
    1) Be sure to adequately cover the wall so that the image does not “bleed through” to the wall
    2) Be sure that you are not violating copyright agreements.

    Keep the good ideas coming!!!


    • Heather Rizzo June 11, 2013 at 11:41 am

      I too remember doing this in 7th grade. And even at that age it was easy to recreate the original photo almost perfectly! I love the projector idea. Would be much easier, unfortunately… no projector for this girl!

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