How to Transfer Drawings to Sanded Art Papers

How to Transfer Drawings to Sanded Art Papers

Do you know how to transfer drawings to sanded art papers? Is the transfer process any different than transferring drawings to regular papers?

That’s what Teresa wants to know. She asked the following question.

Hello ,

What kind of digital projector do you use for art? Or do you even use one?

The reason I ask is because I completed my first colored pencil portrait with Powdered Blender on Uart 400 sanded paper. I could not use graphite tracing paper on it to transfer the line drawing, so I just drew it directly onto the sanded paper with a graphite pencil. HUGE MISTAKE!!! It does not erase! But I finished it anyway hoping the lines would be covered by the colored pencil…they did not, but were a little less noticeable. Lesson learned there.

I loved the sanded paper and want to do more. So I researched on how to transfer my image. Digital projectors were the way to go. But there are SO MANY out there!!! And they are VERY expensive!!! What am I looking for?

Thanks, Teresa

Thank you to Teresa for her questions. Let me tackle her question in two parts.

Art Projectors

I can answer the digital projector question easily. I don’t use a digital projector, and never have.

However, I have heard, read, and listened to enough art lessons, podcasts, and videos to know that many artists who do use projectors use one of the Artograph models. Dick Blick has a great selection of projectors by Artograph and others.

An art supply store is probably going to be your best choice for finding a projector made for art. You don’t have to buy there, but you if start your research there, you’re more likely to find what you’re looking for without the hassle of wading through movie projectors and other types of projectors.

Any time you start looking at digital equipment, especially the latest models, you’re going to be looking at expensive equipment. I took a quick look at the digital projectors on Dick Blick and the only one they offer is $550.

Opaque projectors are less expensive, ranging from $60 to $250, but that’s still a lot of money if you don’t have it.

What I’d do is look at those new models and see which one best fits your needs. Then look for the previous versions of that model. Once the latest version is on the market, everything else becomes less expensive. Sometimes, it falls into the range of “downright cheap!”

It’s still good. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. It’s just not “the latest” anymore.

How to Transfer Drawings to Sanded Art Papers

I understand Teresa’s sentiments about sanded art papers. They’re fast becoming my favorite drawing surface, too.

But they can be difficult to transfer onto. I’ve tried and failed too. Here’s what I’ve found works for me.

Sketching Directly onto the Paper

To date, most the artwork I’ve done on sanded art papers has been landscapes. When I do landscapes, I sketch out the basic composition directly on the paper, and then develop it as I work with it. That’s one of the great pleasures of using sanded art papers.

Sketching directly on the paper is a great way to get your line drawing on sanded art paper.

However, I do my sketching with a colored pencil, not graphite. And I usually use a color that blends into the finished drawing or that is a good base color. Since I start many landscapes with an umber under drawing, I usually sketch with the under drawing color.

I’ve used this method on Uart, Fisher 400 (shown above,) and Pastelmat. I have no doubts that it works with any type of sanded art paper.

Transfer Papers

I have also transferred line drawings to sanded art papers with homemade transfer paper, which I make by shading a piece of ordinary printer paper with graphite.

How to Transfer Drawings to Sanded Art Papers
To transfer more complex designs, I shade graphite onto ordinary printer paper to make my own transfer paper.

The first time I tried this method of transfer, I used the transfer paper the same way I use it on traditional papers. That is to say, I used normal handwriting pressure or a little lighter and simply traced over the lines on the line drawing.

That did not work very well. The transfer wasn’t very dark or very clear.

So I tried again with medium-heavy to heavy pressure. The transfer worked best if I drew straight lines instead of markings to indicate texture. I had to go over some of it twice, and also had to clean up smudges afterward, but that was easily done with mounting putty.

This is what the transferred drawing looked like. Dark enough to see clearly, but not smudged or dirty, thanks to the mounting putty.

This drawing was transferred to Pastelmat with home-made transfer paper.

I last used this method to do a horse portrait on Pastelmat and it worked great. I was able to lighten the transfer lines with mounting putty.

Commercial transfer papers work pretty much the same way, though you have to be careful to get the greaseless type. I prefer making my own transfer paper, or carboning the back of a drawing because it’s inexpensive, easy to do, and easy to clean up after.

Removing Smudges from Sanded Art Paper

Teresa mentioned having no success erasing graphite from sanded art paper. She didn’t share specifics, but my guess is that she used a regular eraser in the normal way. I’ve done that and my results with the eraser were no better than my initial results with transfer paper.

Sanded art paper is so different from traditional drawing papers, that even normal procedures like transferring and erasing must be adjusted to be useful.

The grit of sanded art paper chews up erasers and usually leaves a mess of eraser material and graphite. Color can be lifted quite easily from sanded art papers, but “lifting” is the key.

Don’t try “rubbing out” color. Instead, lift it off the paper. Mounting putty is the best tool because the stickiness grabs hold of graphite (and color) and lifts it up out of the grit without smearing. Just press and lift, press and lift.

How to Transfer Drawings to Sanded Art Papers
Remove smudges with mounting putty.

And clean the putty frequently to avoid putting color back onto the paper.

How to Transfer Drawings to Sanded Art Papers

Digital projectors, opaque projectors, and other electronic devices are great ways to transfer drawings to sanded art papers.

But before you go to the expense of time in researching or spend money buying a projector, try these two methods of transferring drawings to sanded papers. It may very will be that all you really need is a slight adjustment in the way you use your tools.

Do you have a question about colored pencils? Ask Carrie!


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