Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How to Transfer a Drawing to Watercolor Paper

Transferred sketch 

Many changes may be needed to be made to a drawing before it is ready to be used for a painting.  Although one can draw directly onto watercolor paper, often it is better to make all the changes, erasures, etc. on sketch paper first and then transfer the final drawing onto watercolor paper using graphite transfer paper. 

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to transfer your line drawings onto watercolor paper.
Materials needed:
  • Watercolor paper and watercolor board
  • Masking tape
  • Kneaded Eraser/Pencils
  • Ruler
  • Sketch paper
  • Graphite Transfer paper
  • Your sketch
Attach your watercolor paper to your board first.

Tip:  Hold the sheet of paper up to a light and look for the brand's watermark. If it reads backwards, you are looking at the back of the paper.

Place your watercolor paper right side up on your board and attach the paper to your board by securing all four sides with masking tape.

Tip #2:  To prevent the masking tape from tearing your watercolor paper when it is removed from the board, do the following.  Before taping the watercolor paper to the board, tear off the amount of tape needed for one side of the paper.  Place the tape on your clothing (to pick up a little lint and remove some of the sticky) before taping the watercolor paper to the board.  Continue taping all 4 sides. 

Prepare your sketch.

Center your drawing over your watercolor paper and tape it at the upper left and the upper right corners. The tape will serve as hinges. Lift your drawing and lay your graphite transfer paper face-down on top of your watercolor paper. 

Using a light to medium pressure, trace a few lines of your drawing.  Lift the sketch and the transfer paper to test the pressure of your marks.  If  they are too dark, ease up a bit on the pressure exerted during the tracing.  Dark lines can be difficult to remove.  If they are too light, increase your pressure slightly.    Do not press down hard enough to indent the paper. 

Lift the sketch  and check to see if all lines were transferred.  Make certain that straight lines are straight.  These can be corrected directly on the watercolor paper using a ruler. 

When you have checked for accuracy, remove any smudges with the kneaded eraser. 

You are ready to paint!

Happy Painting!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Do I need to be able to actually draw? Drawing and Watercolor Painting

Drawing and Watercolor Painting

I am often presented with this question from people interested in painting:

 Can I paint without being able to draw?  I can’t draw, but I would still like to learn how to paint. 

My answer:  Yes AND No.  Let me explain in the following blog post.

Drawing is an essential part of all art. In watercolor painting, drawing is used as a plan in order to save the precious white areas of your painting.  Typically white paint is not used in watercolor painting.  White areas remain white because no paint is applied – white areas remain unpainted.    With a good plan and just a basic sketch you can create a successful painting. 

Drawing is a plan for your painting.  You will be painting the image; therefore, you will only need an outline of the areas and shapes you will be painting.  Shadows and shading will not be needed in the drawing; those areas will be painted.    You will want to outline the shadow area to remind you where to paint the dark and light, but the drawing is basically only for your use.  You will determine how much detail you will need to include to create your painting. 
Below is an example of simple design that did not require much actual drawing skills:

Drawing takes time and practice; and like all things, you will become more proficient the more you draw.  Basic drawing skills can be learned with a little practice.  All pictures can be broken down into their component shapes:  circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, lines.  It is simply the combination of these items that will make up your drawing.  Yes, it is that simple.   IF you are able to analyze your subject you will find the shapes mentioned above.    It is simply a matter of putting these shapes together to form the whole picture.  

Paintings can be abstract without  details of a photograph.  Basically, it will depend on how much detail you, the artist, are interested in putting into your painting. 

Below is an example of a painting that was drawn first on a piece of sketch paper and transferred:

Another question I am often asked regarding a watercolor painting:

 Do I draw directly on my watercolor paper?

 Answer:  Yes AND No

Draw directly on your painting if you can draw your subject without needing to excessively erase.

If you selected a subject that has a good deal of perspective, the drawing may be difficult to achieve without multiple erasures.  If that is the case, it is better to drawn on a piece of sketch paper and then transfer your drawing onto the watercolor paper. 

The main concern is to not “rough up” or indent the paper.  When this happens,  the paint will pool into any crevices or darken in areas that have been damaged by the eraser.   Thus, your erasure marks will be evident in your final painting. 

Happy Painting!