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Students will learn how to enlarge a drawing using the grid system by creating a self portrait inspired by the life and art of American painter Chuck Close.


In this lesson students will...

-  create a self portrait.

-  be able to create and use a grid system to enlarge a drawing.

-  be introduced to the art of Chuck Close and be able to compare techniques in his work to their own. 

Tools & Materials

- Pencil
- Ruler or Yardstick
- Drawing paper (8x11in)
- Drawing paper (Bigger in size, grid size can be adapted for available supplies.)
- Black Sharpie
- Camera
- Printer
- Photograph of Student
- Transfer Paper
- Colored Pencil


The Grid Method - A simple way to recreate a photo and enlarge it. A grid is drawn over a photograph and an identical grid is drawn on a piece of drawing paper the same size as the photo. The artists goes square by square and draws what is in each square. When each square is drawn, the picture will be recreated. To enlarge, a grid is created using larger squares (to double or triple the size) and the process is repeated. For example: If the original grid over the photo is 1in x 1in, the grid for enlarging will use squares that are 3in x 3in.

Optical Illusion – Something that deceives the eye by appearing to be other than it is.

Chuck Close – A modern/contemporary artist who's work ranges from photorealism to photography. Close has "face blindness", a disorder which makes him unable to recognize faces. 


1. Each student will be taken aside and be photographed against a plain background. This photo will then be printed out on standard printer paper.

2. The students will be instructed on how to lay the photo on top of transfer paper. 


3. They will be shown how to trace their important features to create a contour line drawing of their photo.

4. When the student is done tracing they should outline the graphite transfer in sharpie to create a drawing that is easier to see. 

5. When this is done students will use a ruler to create a 1in x 1in grid over their drawing using pencil.

6. Students will label the grid on one side with letters and one side with numbers to create a coordination system.

7. Students will then create a larger grid on their big sheet of paper. My paper dimensions allowed for 2in x 2in squares, but this can be changed to accommodate a bigger sheet of paper.

8. Students will then be instructed how to use their grid system to enlarge their drawing using graphite pencil.

9. After the contour lines are copied, they will trace these with sharpie.

10. When the sharpie contour drawing is fully drawn, the students will use the quadrants to fill in their portrait using colored pencils, emulating the brush strokes of Chuck Close with light strokes and bold swirls. Each feature should have a different color. Such as blue hair, green skin, and a red background.


11. When all of the portrait has been filled in with color, the grid can be erased. 

South Carolina Visual Arts Standards

Standard 1: The student will demonstrate competence in the use of ideas, materials, techniques,
and processes in the creation of works of visual art.

VAH2-1.1 Recognize and analysis the similarities and differences between materials, techniques,
and processes in works of visual art.

VAH2-1.4 Apply materials, techniques, and processes with skill, confidence, and sensitively
sufficient to make his or her intentions observable in the artwork he or she creates.

Standard 3: The students will examine the content of works of visual art and use elements from them in creating his or her own works.

VAH2-3.2 Explore the sources of the subject matter and the ideas in a variety of works of visual


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