PHOTOSHOP: How I Enlarge a Small Reference Photo

So you want to make a large painting~ and all you have is a little a tiny little reference photo? 

In the old days, artists often enlarged a small photo using an "artograph" or a projector. But unfortunately the lens distorted the image near the edges. And for a portrait ~ this is a no-no.

Using Photoshop makes it easy to resize a photo. 

To illustrate I have taken a small photo of Granny that measures approximately 4" x 7" and I want to make a painting that is 20" x 30"

Here's how I do it:

I enlarge the photo to 16" wide. This will fit nicely onto a  20" x 30" canvas and give the figure some "breathing room" (and make a nicer composition).

I select the narrow line and make a contrasting vertical line at the 8" mark.

I created a grid of 8"x10" rectangles.

I use a brush tool to add "lineup" marks.

I crop each section and print it with my inkjet printer. Each 8"x10" section will fit on one piece of 8.5"x11" printer paper paper.

I cut out each piece and then tape all the pieces together using those "lineup" marks as necessary.

I position the enlarged photo on my canvas and add or subtract as necessary.

NOTE: when you have a photograph, there is nothing wrong with cropping it close to the top of the head (as in this original photograph). However, when you make a painting, it somehow becomes "claustrophobic" if you don't leave enough room at the top.

Next steps:

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