Make the Mural Bigger (Part 1) : The Grid Method

Do you any of you remember that amazing meme (back before we even knew the word meme) for Make the Logo Bigger?

Anyway, One of the most common questions I get from illustrators and lettering artists is how to translate their design to a wall. So here is the first in a series blog posts featuring different methods to go from design on a computer to mural on a wall!

One of the easiest ways to make your mural bigger is just to make a simple corresponding grid on the wall and on your design and use that to help keep you proportions and dimensions correct.

1) Get the exact dimensions of the wall you’ll be painting on. Be sure your design is proportional in comparison to the actual wall. Meaning if your wall is a 5:2 ratio of width to height be sure the design you’re mocking up is also a 5:2 ratio of width to height. If possible, get a straight on photo of the wall you’ll be painting on and layout your artwork on that photo.

My mockup with a grid super imposed

2) Open up your design up in Illustrator or Photoshop, use the line tool to draw a number of lines, and use the ‘Align’ panel to space them out evenly. The tighter the grid the more reference points you’ll have. You don’t need to use the same number of lines for horizontal and vertical measurements, you can use however many feel appropriate.

3) Once you get to your wall you may want to paint your background color first before anything else.

4) Measure the wall’s height and width and mark out the same number of vertical lines and horizontal lines that you have on your mock up. Mark out your measurements across the top, bottom and sides of the wall.

5) Then I recommend using chalk lines. Have a friend hold one end against the first measurement on the top and you the first measurement at the bottom and snap the chalk line – it’ll save you a ton of time. Repeat for all vertical lines and then do the same for the horizontal lines.

How to snap a chalk line

You can get different colored chalk to go in the chalk line tool – it should come off easily with a spray bottle and soft rag when you’re done.

I used the grid method to get my artwork sketched on this wall

6) Use the grid to check where your design elements begin and end and sketch it out one element or one grid section at a time, however you are most comfortable.

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