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       "You can also scribble over the
        back of your drawing with a graphite
        pencil. It's messy, but effective."


Home  Projects to Paint  Transferring a Drawing

    Demonstrating the transferring of a drawing

Transferring a Line Drawing

  • Step-by-Step Tutorial
  • Supplies you will need to gather
  • Prepping and attaching your paper
  • Attaching your drawing
  • Inserting your graphite
  • Tracing over your drawing

A drawing can go through many transformations before it's ready to be used in a painting. Although drawing directly onto paper is the ideal way to go, sometimes it is better to make all the changes and adjustments on vellum or tracing paper first and then transfer your final drawing onto your watercolor paper using graphite.

Below is an easy to follow step-by-step guide on how to transfer your line drawings onto watercolor paper.

How to Transfer a Line Drawing  -  Tutorial
  To transfer your drawing you will need to gather the following supplies:
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • kneaded eraser
  • masking or drafting tape
  • wax-free graphite paper
  • blue or red ultra-fine-tipped ballpoint pen

Step 1

Attach your paper.

Attach your watercolor paper

To attach your watercolor paper to your board, first hold the sheet of paper up to a light and look for the brand's watermark. If it reads backwards, you are looking at the back of the paper. Place your watercolor paper right side up on your board. Attach your paper to your board by securing all four sides with masking or drafting tape.
personal note   When I paint on Arches 300-lb. Cold-Pressed watercolor paper, I personally find that prepping my paper ahead of time gives me better results. If you would like to know how to prep your Arches paper, this link will take you there 7. Sizing .

Step 2

Attach your drawing.
Insert your graphite.
demonstration on how to insert your graphite
Center your line drawing over your paper and tape it at the upper left and the upper right. The tape will serve as hinges. Lift your drawing and lay your graphite paper face-down on top of your watercolor paper.
personal note   For best results, before inserting your graphite paper, take a tissue and very lightly wipe away some of the excess graphite. Also, to help avoid possible smearing and smudging, you can cut the graphite into a smaller height size. Just remember to move it down with you as you continue tracing out your drawing.

Step 3

Transfer your drawing.
Tracing the lines of your drawing
Trace a few lines, then lift your tracing and graphite to check your pressure. If your graphite lines are too dark, they will be difficult to remove. If they're too light, you will have to draw them all on again. When you have finished, check to see that you have transferred all the lines.
  Also check for accuracy. A good drawing is very important: Straight lines really should be straight. Erase any mistakes with your kneaded eraser, then trace over the lines again. Or remove your drawing and the graphite, and draw them directly onto the watercolor paper with your pencil. Remove any unwanted smudge marks with your kneaded eraser.
personal note  If you think you might be light or heavy handed, try testing your pressure first on a scrap piece of watercolor paper.

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