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  • Writer's pictureSara Breslin

How To Transfer Line Work and Start a Painting

Ever wonder how I get those perfect lines before I paint? Well! You are in luck, I am going to show you just how I make and transfer all of my line work, before I start a painting.

Supplies you will need:


-Pan Pastel (or transfer paper, powder graphite, charcoal)

-Pen or H2 pencil

-Surface for transfer (paper or canvas)

-Painters Tape

1. The fist thing I do, is start the drawing. Recently my practice has change quite a bit, now that i have an Ipad Pro and Apple Pencil. I now do all my sketching and drawing exclusively on my Ipad. I never thought I would be doing this, I had a rocky start with digital drawing and swore by traditional art. NOW, I have changed my tune quite a bit with this new tool.

Once I have my sketch done, I make sure I save all of the cleaned up line work as a JPEG. I airdrop it to my Imac and then print it. Printing can be trouble for larger works, so you have to work though that. I normally will print it at 100% and do some patch work to get the lines to match up. In that case, just make sure you are taping places where there are not lines. When we trace over the digital drawing, the tape can make it difficult.

2. Cut off all the extra paper around the edges. You don't need the extra surface area, we only care about the line work.

3. This next step is very important! It can be done using a few different tools, but I use Pan Pastels. You can use other things like transfer paper, graphite powder, or charcoal.

You want to start by flipping over the paper and rubbing the pastel over the back. covering the area where the lines are.

If you are using graphite powder or charcoal you will apply it the same way. If you are using transfer paper, you will be placing the darker colored side of the paper straight down on your drawing surface and taping it in place.

4. The next step, once you have covered the entire back of the paper, you will be flipping it over so that the covered back is going straight onto the drawing surface. (Tip: Don't move it around too much, the powder can get rubbed off and prove difficult to come off.)

5. Now that you have it in place where you want the line work to be, tape it down. We don't want it moving when we start tracing!

6. This is the fun step! Take a pen, I prefer a gel pen, or a hard pencil and begin tracing over the lines. (Tip: pick a bright color pen or pencil, so that you can see where you have and have not traced. You don't want to miss any spots!)

7. Once you have the whole thing traced, lift a few of the corners and make sure that the line work came through. If is hasn't, go back over these areas with a bite more force.

8. FINAL STEP! Pull your paper up and relieve your line work! If you see some areas that are not have crisp as you would like, take a pencil and go back over it.

There you have it! That is how I transfer my line work and begin a final painting!

Want to see more tutorials or learn more about my process? Send me a message or leave me a comment! I am happy to whip together more content for you. :)

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