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How to make a painting out of a digital photo? Answered

I wanted to make a picture of my girlfriend and I for X-Mas. I am no artist but I thought maybe I could trace it and paint that. Unfortunately I couldn't figure out how to transfer that onto the canvas. I'm really just out of ideas. Can anyone help me?

I want it to look like vector art but I don't have the Photoshop skills to do that and also I want it to be tactile as opposed to digital.

I'm including what I came up with after many, many screw ups.

Thank you.


Man, I love your idea. Turning photo into painting really is very good idea for Christmas. Seems that you want to creat a pop art, right? Actually you can print the photo on canvas, just print the outlines, and then you can add the paints on the canvas. Actualy, one of my client have similar experience, he asked our artist to outline the photos and he done the rest. You can have a try!

Also, maybe you can check this website for some idea, it is about custom paintings from photo: http://www.portraitpaintingnow.com

If you're using a thicker medium like oils, you could print/draw the outline then 'paper mache' it on the canvas [let it dry] and paint over it. I'd do it on a thin plain paper though, nothing lined/graphed and just enough glue to allow it to adhere well. I've used this technique numerous times when in a rush.


7 years ago

The outlines of your drawing look pretty good!  Do you want cleaner color sections- more like a filled section in a graphics figure?

Try making cut-outs for masks to help contain your painting, similar to silk screening. Make multiple tracings/printouts of your original drawing. Cut out sections defined by your lines. Use a little spray-tack to keep each screen down while painting. Could be a way to make clean sections.

Two good Instructables on drawings were posted by KaptinScarlet and slambert.  Both may have some utility for your project.

BTW- I find Inkscape easier to use/learn than GIMP (my Photoshop equivalent).  I trace digital photos using bezier curves in Inkscape.

P1040262.JPGFIG sanding wa.jpg

Barring getting a projection system set up, you could use an old fashioned pantograph - make one from a few yardsticks to enlarge your original drawing. If you have a scanned image, you can look up "rasterbate" which is a program to enlarge an image so you can print it out on multi-sheets, use that with carbon paper to trace on the canvas. Once the outlines are done, paint by the numbers. Else, commission an artist. Good luck.

and they do have print-on inkjet canvas paper that goes through the printer. Only regular size sheets though. You could also do an iron-on inkjet printed transfer to the canvas but that is a pricey option too.