Tracing to art paper

I have done some art tutorials with and they are now live via my website. Look at the page on tutorials and follow the links to download the E-book showing you how to paint a Crab apple picture with coloured pencils. You can also link into one of the tutorials as a taster.

I have had some very positive feedback and essentially this blog is in response to one of these which asked how I transferred my image onto the final art paper.

An image can be transferred in so many ways depending upon how refined you need the transfer to be. The more you rub out on your art paper, the more you damage it’s surface no matter how careful you are. You can use tracing paper, a light-box, your window as a light box, or this way:

I compose a picture using various thumbnails. This leads to a general rough design which forms the basis of the final line drawing.

This is part of the line drawing of the picture I am in the process of doing now:


I trace the line drawing onto tracing paper, using a 0.3 clutch pencil.


I turn the tracing paper over and draw the line again on the reverse side, being very careful to trace accurately.


I then place the traced image right side up, on my art paper ( normally Fabriano HP) and, using a Decoupage tool, I rub across the lines. This transfers the graphite from the back side of the tracing paper to the art paper.



The image left on the paper can then easily be lightened with a putty rubber, without leaving any indentations on the paper.



I hope this helps those who wonder how best to transfer an image without damaging the art paper or leaving any indentations to get in the way.

6 thoughts on “Tracing to art paper

  1. Brilliant, thank you for this advice. I hadn’t thought of using a blunt tool rather than a pencil to get the image onto the paper. I’m slowly making my way through your blog posts and every one is so in-depth and full of interesting ideas.

    1. Thank you Lucy. I’m glad that you are finding bits and pieces to help you. Yesterday I was on the receiving end of a workshop and thoroughly enjoying myself. People were tracing over images in a labour intensive way, but I used my normal method and was done in the blink of an eye ( well at least quicker than many). But what is even more interesting is that you can use the same tracing several times without having having to redo the graphite line. Marvellous if you have to start all over again.

      1. That’s so good to know. I’m going to try it out today as I have a similar shaped tool from some ancient crochet supplies. I’m just starting out with botanical watercolour after enjoying drawing flowers and using coloured pencils for the past year. I’ve learned the hard way about embossed paper 😅

      2. Just make sure that no sharp or hard edge rubs the tracing or it will got through. If using a large crochet hook, use the biggest area of smooth surface.

  2. Very useful info – thank you. I’m just getting ready for a rather basic drawing course, so I’m finding your blog very helpful. 🙂

    1. You are very welcome Ann. Just remember that if you like botanical art I too have workshops in Bosham and an online course. It would be lovely to see you on either of these.

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