I want to try working with a printout of Brandon Lee on a canvas.
I know it is possible and I found a few complex ways of doing it, but what is the best way to transfer an image to a canvas?
Use a pencil to lightly draw the image onto the canvas, starting with the major shapes and then gradually defining the image until you are ready to paint over it.
Luckily with painting you can always correct your 'mistakes' so don't get frustrated if the image doesn't look quite right - patience is the key to art and painting is certainly no exception.
I may have misunderstood your question though, are you trying to transfer the exact image onto the canvas using some kind of machine or something? If thats what you are trying to do I can't help you besides recommending you start from scratch.
Easiest is either graphite paper and tracing it onto the canvas, or using some form of projector.
Graphite paper is easy and straight forward.
A projector is better in some ways as it's easier to see what you are doing and it can blow images up fairly large, but has the downside of needing space, a dark room, and a projector. Also you need to make sure you project straight at the canvas, because if you angle to one side it will distort your image.
Take the image to CopyMax and have them print it to the exact size of the canvas. Put the print out on a lightbox or on a window backwards (inverted). Draw the contours of the image on the back. Place the printout on the canvas and rub over the front to transfer the image to the canvas. Use fixative over the pencil or charcoal (whatever you used for the contour drawing) and start painting on top.
Whatever you do, don't look at my Sketchbook and Painting Thread!
"I reject your reality and substitute my own" - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
I am a big fan of the gridding method for transfer.
As the ego shrinks, so the spirit expands.
A printout on canvas?
Well, there are services that do just that. I know of at least one local portrait artist who dumped all his traditional methods in favour of taking "reference photos" of the subject, manipulating them in Painter to look like oil then paying a service (I think through Henry's -- a local photo chain) to print them onto canvas. He then preps them with glazes and a few other things to make them look and feel like a real oil painting before a final session for final touch-ups with the subject.
I really don't know if he's making more money doing it this way, but he does have more time to do other work now.
So, if you want to paint on the actual printout on canvas, there are services that do just that.