Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nifty Tip - Never Do Work Twice If You Can Do It Once

Phoenix color studySo as many of you may know, my beloved Moleskine sketchbook is where I work out most of my ideas as preliminary sketches and color studies.  Example: the sketch for my next painting, which is of a rising phoenix.

I was really happy (and surprised) that the first freehand sketch came out well and really didn't even want to think about trying to redraw it on a 17x24" wooden panel.  My strength lies in color and not in any actual drawing skill, so I knew that if I tried to draw it again, not to mention on a large scale, I'd scuff up the board, go through most of a new eraser and end up crying.

Instead, I scanned the sketchbook page into my computer and then resized it a bit.  Then I got all old school on it, using the "poster" layout to print the original 5x8" image across 9 sheets of paper.  A little bit of tape and voila!  My sketch is now 17x24" and ready to be transferred onto my wood panel.
How to transfer your 5x8" sketch onto a 17x24" panel.

I simply placed the image where I wanted it and taped down one edge to keep it from shifting.  Then I sandwiched a layer of wax-free graphite transfer paper  (purchased on a roll from my local art supply store) underneath and used small pieces of tape to hold them in place.  Using a hard pencil (2H or so), I just traced over the outline of the image, then removed the layers of paper and graphite paper.
Graphite transfer
As you can see, the tracing leaves a light outline of the drawing which I can go over with a softer pencil for a nice clear outline (the graphite can rub off and become difficult to see if you rub over it with your hands).  After that, all I have to do is warm up the woodburner and go to town!

Oh, and you can use this technique on canvas boards and it works really nicely on gessoed canvasses too!

☠   ♡   ☠   ♡   ☠   ♡   ☠


Pyrography in progress:
Pyrography in progress

Erase graphite & pencil markings:

Give it a light sanding:

Now get painting (after a few swatch tests, of course)!
Ta da!

TA DA!!!!
phoenix painting (18.24")


  1. hey Krissi: did you know its really easy to make your own oil/wax free transfer paper? all you need is tracing paper, rubbing alcohol, a cotton ball and a little chalk or pastel or conte or charcoal dust (i scrape a stick of one of the above over an old tea strainer screen). Wet a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol then dip it into your pigment dust, rub the cotton ball over the tracing paper then allow to dry. Cheers! Patti