Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Easy Image Transfers Using Tracing Paper

Tracing paper is a thin, semi-translucent paper that is used to transfer images from one surface to another. While it has sophisticated applications for professional artists and architects, hobbyists and crafters will also benefit from having tracing paper on hand.

Using tracing paper is simple, although techniques vary slightly depending on the task to be accomplished. The only materials needed are a sheet of tracing paper, a sharp pencil, tape and the image to be transferred.

The basic tracing technique begins with taping the original image to a table with the blank tracing paper taped on top of it. The image is traced lightly with a pencil. The tracing paper is then removed and the back of the sheet is covered with a light coating of pencil lead, which is accomplished by holding the pencil at an angle and rubbing the lead across the surface of the paper. The tracing paper is then taped over a clean sheet of drawing or watercolor paper, coated side down, and a sharp pencil is used to go over the traced lines again. This process transfers a light copy of the original image to the new sheet of paper.

A second technique is used to create an image that is symmetrical. For example, if artists wish to create a complex pattern that has identical right and left halves, they may begin by drawing the right half on tracing paper. The paper is then folded along the vertical axis and the right half is traced through the left side of the paper. The paper is then opened out and the left half of the design is traced again onto the upper surface.

A couple of tips that go beyond the basics are:

- If the final image is going to be in color, use appropriately colored pencils as a transfer medium. This avoids having graphite tracings showing through the color.

- Use a stylus instead of a pencil to transfer the final image. This is cleaner and saves the pencil for actual drawing.

Tracing paper is a valuable tool for artists in many different media, and using tracing paper correctly is a skill that is easily acquired.


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