Painting One Square Inch at A Time: Discovering the Magic in Every Tiny Brushstroke

Even though it has been almost 38 years, I can still clearly recall my first art class, where my art teacher enthralled us with an intriguing explanation on the very first day of our drawing class. We had been told to bring a favorite portrait photograph of someone dear to us to our art class. Our art teacher's intentions baffled us all. But then she explained that she wanted us to draw from the photo. 

She said that drawing from photographs can actually be a fairly straightforward process and gave us a brief introduction to the grid method. If you've ever taken drawing classes before, the grid method is probably something you're already familiar with. It's a technique that many artists employ to enhance the proportions and accuracy of their works. The idea behind the grid method is to divide the reference image and the canvas or paper into a grid of squares. By replicating the smaller sections of the image onto corresponding squares on the canvas, artists can recreate the image with more precision and attention to detail. It's a practical and effective approach that helps artists develop their skills and create stunning pieces of art. 

The grid method that I learned back then left a lasting impression on me, sparking a creative idea that would shape my artistic journey.  I was so inspired by its precision and attention to detail that I recently came up with my own technique, which I affectionately call "painting one square inch at a time." I actually got to put my technique to the test recently by creating a portrait painting of two incredible badminton legends: Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia and Lin Dan from China. And guess what? It's like fate had a hand in it because both of them were just inducted into the prestigious BWF Hall of Fame this year! I couldn't have asked for a better coincidence.

(Image credit: Image sourced from online platforms)


But here's the interesting part: To add a unique twist to the paintings, I opted to paint both portraits on recycled shuttlecock tubes. Cutting the tubes into inch-square tiles, I repurposed these unconventional canvases to bring my artistic vision to life. It was a fun and creative twist that added a unique touch to my artwork.


Now, at first glance, you might think, "Wait a minute, isn't that going to take forever?" It may seem like a slow and painstaking process, but trust me, it's in those small areas that something truly extraordinary begins to unfold.

Imagine you’re standing in front of a blank canvas, armed with a vibrant palette and a brush full of creative energy. Instead of diving right in and attacking the whole canvas at once, you take a different route. You focus on just one tiny square inch, pouring all your attention into the details of that small space.

Within that confined area, a world of color, texture, and emotion begins to take shape. You carefully apply each brushstroke, layering colors and blending them with precision until that one square inch comes alive. And then, with unwavering determination, you move on to the next square inch, repeating the process over and over.

As the painting progresses, something truly mesmerizing starts to emerge. Each square inch becomes a story of its own—a unique piece of the puzzle that contributes to the overall masterpiece. You gain an incredible level of control, perfecting each stroke and molding each square inch to mere perfection.

But this idea of "Painting One Square Inch at A Time" goes beyond just art. It holds a deeper meaning for life itself. It teaches us the value of patience, reminding us that even the biggest achievements are made up of numerous small steps.

So, the next time you find yourself overwhelmed by a daunting task, think about the artist who took the time to appreciate the power of the square inch. Embrace the process, relish the details, and with each deliberate brushstroke, you'll inch closer to creating your very own masterpiece—the masterpiece that tells the story of your unique journey.