PICTURE THIS! – Scaled Up Drawing

Students use a grid to enlarge an image of their choice and use a variety of media to colour it.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 9


Visual Arts



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PICTURE THIS! – Scaled Up Drawing - Step One

Step One

  1. Find a photograph you want to enlarge.
  2. Draw a grid on top of the photograph
  3. Assign a letter to each column of the grid.
  4. Assign a number to each row of the grid.
PICTURE THIS! – Scaled Up Drawing - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Draw a corresponding grid on a larger piece of drawing paper.
  2. Make it at least twice as large as the photograph and of the same proportions.
  3. Assign matching letters to the columns of the grid.
  4. Assigng matching numbers to the rows of the grid.


PICTURE THIS! – Scaled Up Drawing - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use the letter/number combination on the photograph to find the corresponding section on the larger grid.
  2. Use different media to draw the shapes you see in each section of the grid on the photograph in the corresponding section of the larger grid.
PICTURE THIS! – Scaled Up Drawing - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use as many different media as you have to complete the drawing. For example,
    - oil pastels
    - watercolour pencils
    - crayons
    - watercolour paints
    - markers
    - coloured pencils
    - metallic FX crayons
    - glitter crayons
  2. Compare the different effects of the media.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a scaled up drawing; 
  • use a grid system to transfer an image;
  • use at least 6 different media to colour their drawing;
  • explain how the grid works; 
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment.


Have students:

  • experiment with distortion and exaggeration by changing the proportions of the grid they draw on their larger drawing paper;
  • research and share their findings about the use of grids to create art throughout history, for example,
    - Ancient Egypt
    - Leonardo DaVinci
    - Albrecht Dürer
    - Van Gogh
    - Chuck Close


  1. Gather and make available books about drawing and the use of grids, for example, Grid Drawing, by Deborah Mends; Stephanie's "Learn How to Draw" Drawing Lessons with Grids: Improve Your Creative Thinking and Problem Solving Skills through Right Brain, Grid Drawing Worksheets, by Stephanie Relfe; Art for Kids: Drawing: The Only Drawing Book You'll Ever Need to Be the Artist You've Always Wanted to Be, by Kathryn Temple. 
  2. Download from the Internet images that were created by the use of a grid system. For example,
    Chuck Close
    Tomb of Nebamun
    Van Gogh
  3. Prior to the lesson have students find an image they want to draw. (In a newspaper or magazine, a print of a photo they take on their device, or an image they download from the Internet.) It should be about 10 cm x 10 cm (4" x  4").


  1. View the images and discuss how the artists used a grid system to make them.
  2. Briefly share some information about the history of the grid system in art, for example,
    artists in ancient Egypt used chalk on a string to mark a large grid on the walls of the tombs so they could enlarge drawings they would then paint
    - during the Renaissance artists used the grid system to enlarge their drawings 
    - Dürer developed a drawing grid known as the 'draughtsman’s net' that was made like a small window with vertical and horizontal wires attached to it so he could look through it and draw accurately what was in front of him
    - Van Gogh wrote a lengthy letter to his brother describing how excited he was to discover and use the grid tool
  3. Explain that they are going to use the grid system to enlarge a photo, and then use as many media as are available in the classroom to colour it in. This will allow them to see how the various media can be used for drawings in general, and will allow them to make informed choices about the media they want to use for specific projects in the future.
  4. Introduce the challenge. 


The Challenge

  1. Create a scaled up drawing.
  2. Use a grid system to transfer an image.
  3. Use at least 6 different media to colour your drawing.
  4. Explain how the grid works.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    - the drawing is accurately scaled up
    - at least 6 different media are used
    - different values are used to create shading and texture
    - paper is in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students in small groups and have them share thoughts about the work.
  2. During the discussion include references to: 
     texture - how colour combinations and shading create the illusion of texture
    -  media - strengths and weaknesses of each medium
    -  technical accomplishment - how condition of paper, careful measurement and attention to detail affect the overall impact of the work
  3. Ask students what they found satisfying about doing this project and why.
  4. Ask them what was difficult about doing this project and why.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Grid_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - Grid_self-assessment.pdf)