Recently, a colored pencil artist asked me for help. She wanted to create a large finished piece, had a good quality photo, and figured the best way to get her image transferred to paper would be to enlarge the photo and then trace it. The problem? The largest image her home printer can print is shy of 8-1/2” x 11”.
So how do you create a large photo for tracing?
A commercial photo enlargement is an option, but there’s a quicker way. It’s called tiling: printing a photo in pieces, and assembling them into a large photo. And you probably already have everything you need to do it.
You’ll need a printer and a computer running Microsoft Word (or a similar document-creating program) and Adobe Reader. Chances are, your computer already has both of these programs installed.
Here Are The Steps:
• Open Word, and create a document one inch larger than the desired size. (For instance, if you want your reference photo to be 20” x 16” then create a document that is 21” x 17”. (This allows a half-inch white space all around the image. Most home printers cannot print an image to the very edge of the paper.)
• Place your reference photo into the document and drag the image corners to enlarge it to fit the paper.
• Save the Word document as a PDF file. “File > Save As > PDF.”
• Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free download) and click “File > Print.”
• A print dialogue box will appear. Under “Page Sizing and Handling” you will see a “Poster” option.
• Select the “Poster” option, and specify an overlap of at least 1”, and then click “Print.”
• Your document will print out in multiple pieces, with a one-inch overlap. Trim and fit together the pieces to create the large reference photo.
Now you are all ready to trace… and to create a great work of art!