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Sketching and scaling up

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1 Sketching and scaling up
A lesson in the art making process from research to Finish

2 The process of art making
Most great pieces of art do not happen by accident! Like writing a paper, creating a successful piece of art requires time and practice. Often artists will use materials that are not easily erasable like ink or paint so knowing what you are going to do and how you are going to do it is just as important as actually doing the artwork. Learning about art also involves learning about the critical and artistic processes artist use in making art. These include research, preparation, and making rough drafts.

3 Step one: Ask yourself some questions
You have decided to create a piece of art, but before even beginning to actually draw you need to ask yourself some important questions. What are you going to do? Why are doing this piece? What is this piece going to be about? (Is there a message or story you wish to convey to the viewer?) How are going to complete this piece? (What kind of materials are going to use?) Who is going to be the intended audience? (Who do you want to see this art?)

4 Step two: research Once you have answered these questions, it is time to do some research. What is research? Research -a detailed study of a subject, especially in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding. For many artists, researching is a way to find and sort images to use as references; however, research should be done if you are unsure about any aspect of the artistic process including techniques and materials that are unfamiliar to you.

5 Researching materials
Example: You decide to paint a horse in oil. Your research should include collecting multiple images of horses and any other objects you want to include in the painting such as landscapes and other animals. However, if you have never worked with oils, research should be done on the medium itself. Consider these questions when researching: What are some key characteristics about the medium? Is it wet or dry? How long is it workable? What is the material best suited for? Is it good for small detailed work or large pieces? Does it have any safety concerns? Are chemicals needed for cleanup? Are there any precautions that should be taken when using it?

6 Step three: Preparation
After an artist has researched, the next step is to prepare to start working. This requires the artist to narrow down the collected resources and images into the main ones the artist will be sketching from. The most successful compositions use multiple sources for reference, sometimes combining certain elements from several references into one object. This also reduces any chance of plagiarism. Also during the process of preparation, artists will start gathering materials that they will be using such as paper, pencils, and other supplies.

7 Step four: The rough draft
Creating a well-developed sketch is the next step an artist goes through in the artistic process. Sketching is useful because is allows the artist to try out many different solutions before settling on one. This planning and practice often results in better final products. A rough draft is the culmination of multiple sketches to produce a possible solution for creating a final product. It often includes references for color and value that will be in the final product.

8 After the rough draft . . . The artist will evaluate the solutions posed in the rough draft; if the artist is happy, the next step is to enlarge the sketch to its final size. Sometimes the artist will use the Grid method to do this. To use the grid method, you need to have a ruler, a paper copy of your reference image, and a pencil to draw lines on the image. A mechanical pencil or a thin drawing pencil (2H or higher) will be good because it makes thin lines which will be easier to erase. The important thing to remember when drawing the grids is that they must have a 1:1 ratio. This is very important - otherwise your drawing will be distorted! Basically, a 1:1 ratio means that you will have the exact same number of lines on your canvas as you will on your reference photo, and that in both cases, the lines must be equally spaced apart - perfect squares.

9 Example of Using the Grid
This reference photo is 5" x 7". As luck would have it, you want to make a 5" x 7" painting from this photo. So drawing the grid will be pretty straightforward. But if you want to make a large painting, you could also make a painting that is 10" x 14" or 15" x 21" or 20" x 28". Why those sizes and not other sizes? Because those sizes are the same ratio as the 5" x 7" reference photo. In other words, See? It's basic math. The size of your artwork must always be equally proportionate to the size of the reference photo.

10 Drawing the Grid Each square is 1 cubic inch. To draw this grid, put your ruler at the top of the paper, and make a small mark at every inch. Place the ruler at the bottom of the paper and do the same thing. Then use the ruler to make a straight line connecting each dot at the bottom with its partner at the top. Now place the ruler on the left side of your paper, and make a small mark at every inch. Then place the ruler on the right side of the paper, and do the same thing. Then, using your ruler, make a straight line connecting the dots on the left with their partners on the right. Now repeat the same procedure on your paper or canvas:

11 Drawing the Grid You've now got a grid on your work surface that perfectly matches the grid of your reference photo. Bravo! Because this painting will be the exact size as the reference photo, the squares on this canvas are also 1 cubic inch. If this painting was going to be 10" x 14", then the squares would need to be 2 cubic inches, because 5 x 2 = 10 and 7 x 2=14

12 Checking your math •Are there an equal number of rows and columns on the canvas as there are on the reference photo? •Are the squares on the canvas perfect squares, just like the squares on the reference photo? If you can answer yes to both of those questions, you've got the gridding process down pat! You may have to make corrections at this point, but it will be worth it.

13 Counting the grid I find that it's sometimes easier to keep track of where I am amongst all those little squares by marking them numerically and alphabetically along the edges of the paper and canvas. This way if I get lost, especially within a much larger painting with many more squares, I can easily locate where I want to be. I write the numbers and letters really small and lightly, so that they can be easily erased. It looks something like this:

14 Now that everything is measured out
So now your task is to transfer what you see in the reference photo, block by block, onto your canvas or paper. When I use the grid method, I always start at the top left corner, and work my way across and down. Since Square A1 is blank in the reference photo, we'll move on to A2. Draw in A2 exactly as you see it:

15 Watch how it comes together
The grid basically divides the original image into smaller blocks so that you can more easily see what belongs where. You can see that in the photo, the left side of the little bowl intersects the corner at the bottom left of Square A2. So you draw the line from there to just below the middle of the line between A2 and A3.

16 Remember One square at a time
So you see that as you are transferring the image, you are only paying attention to one block at a time. Don't worry about the other blocks - just focus on that one block. Try as much as you can to copy exactly what you see in that little square in the photo to the corresponding square on your paper or canvas. Focus on getting the placement of each line just right! Here we go:

17 in summary... The grid method has been used by artists for centuries as a tool to creating correct proportions. Renaissance artists, even the great Leonardo da Vinci, used the grid method! The grid method dates back to the ancient Egyptians. It is clearly a useful method for artists and aspiring artists alike. If you plan to use the grid method, keep the following tips in mind:

18 If you plan to use the grid method, keep the following tips in mind:
These sizes work because they are all equal to 8" x 10". Basically, if you multiply one side by 2, multiply the other side by 2 as well. This is the only way that the enlargement will be proportionally correct! The grid method is not only useful for photorealistic paintings, but can also be applied to enlarge or transfer drawings or sketches in any style, such as abstract, cubist, whimsical, etc. It's an effective way to transform that little doodle in your sketchbook into a full-blown painting! Read more:

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