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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Making your own Graphite Transfer Paper

Transfer paper is used by artists to transfer their image to the final drawing paper or canvas.  It is invaluable and saves a great deal of time and money as drawing directly onto your canvas can leave eraser lines that can ruin a very expensive piece of paper or canvas.  Plus it is just makes the whole process much less intimidating to start with a refined sketch with all the problems worked out prior to putting it on the canvas or paper.

Making your own transfer graphite transfer paper is easy & relatively quick if you don't mind a bit of graphite on your fingers.  It will save you a lot of money in the long run and can be reused many times.

Making your Graphite Paper
  1. start with a plain piece of regular cartridge paper and a 2B or 4B pencil or whatever pencil you have on hand
  2. sharpen the pencil to a fine point as it will reveal the most amount of lead
  3. hold pencil at an angle and draw on paper using a cross-hatching movement laterally, horizontally and diagonally
  4. smooth out graphite with a paper towel or chamois
  5. repeat steps 3 and 4 several times until the paper is completely covered in graphite
  6. optional #2- if you want to keep your hands clean when using, tape a thin strip of low take painters tape around the edges & fold so it covers the front and back of the paper. This provides more support and a "handle" to hole the paper more easily
  7. option #1 - if you prefer, you can use graphite or charcoal powder that you can pick up at any art store rather than a pencil to give a more even coat more quickly.
The paper can now be used to transfer several sketches.

Transfering Your Sketch
  • Draw out your subject on a separate piece of paper, cartridge paper works just fine as can put up with alot of erasing
  • lay your graphite paper on your substrate (canvas or fine art paper)
  • lay your sketch on top of your graphite paper
  • tape at least one side down with low tack painters tape to hold it in place
  • draw over the lines on your sketch firmly but not hard enough to emboss the art paper as you will end up with indents that can detract from the final piece (of course this could also provide interesting texture depending on your subject & medium)
  • remove both the sketch and the graphite paper both of which can be reused for another time

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