Transferring A Drawing Using A Grid

Below is a short video explaining how to use a grid to recreate an enlarged linear drawing of Vermeer’s painting, “A Girl with a Pearl Earring”. This was a technique which was very often used throughout the Renaissance as artist’s often transferred detailed studies onto their canvases or panels on a larger scale. The grid allows the artist to adjust the size of their drawing to fit their canvas with perfect accuracy.

It is believed that Vermeer used this technique in combination with the camera obscura (see illustrations below). He most likely traced his outlines onto a piece of glass using the projected image from the camera obscura, and then gridded it out to transfer the image onto his canvas on a larger scale. In an effort to reconstruct this painting using Vermeer’s methods, I placed a grid over my reproduction using half inch squares. I then measured out a grid on a piece of tracing paper using .75 inch squares which will end up being close to the size of Vermeer’s original painting. I decided to transfer my drawing onto tracing paper (instead of directly onto the canvas) and then do an oil transfer onto my prepared canvas. For a video on that technique, please check out this link.

Below are a few illustrations of camera obscura designs which work very similarly to the modern day projector.

Demonstration on using a proportional grid to create a transferable drawing.

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