View Full Version : Newbie Questions

08-23-2000, 09:05 AM
OK I've decided to take up watercolor seriously after playing with my 5 year olds set. I got a good book, paints, brushes and everything else. While at the store I saw a cheap opaque projector. I uses a standard household bulb. My question is whether its any good or appropriate for tracing. Does anyone out ther have any experience with these? I know, I know. You should draw everything freehand so you'll learn how to draw. Please dont lecture me. :-)

08-23-2000, 02:08 PM
I have the same projector, Lynda, sounds like. The only other problem is that because it is so cheap it doesn't have an internal fan and it gets very hot. Your source photo will begin to curl. It helps to tape the source photo down and I also use a small fan placed near to help keep it cooler. I forget I have that thing. I should drag it out and get busy.

08-23-2000, 03:49 PM
I have the same projector. Mainly I use it with my thumbnail sketches, and it works fine for that. I agree that you need some sort of small fan to keep it from getting too hot. Most artist I have known, including my mentors, use some sort of projector or transfer medium from time to time.


08-23-2000, 04:00 PM
There must have been a real sale on those projectors at one time or another! because mine is the same...and no there is absolutely no guilt factor involved...lol!

Now with my computer I can take a photo, scan, turn the digital file into a black and white line drawing (or at least into b/w)) and make it the size that will fit the projector. Like making a little sketch!

I also do the size in proportion to the canvas (making it larger for this) and mark the picture into four areas (like +). Then I project each quarter onto the canvas...I do this if I want to grab more of the detail.
Believe me when you do as many projects for schools and church as I have, you take every shortcut possible!
The best thing to use is an overhead projector! Transparencies are tops for tracing with! This is good for 8 foot projects ...!

08-23-2000, 04:03 PM
A tip!

I set my projector on an adjustable ironing board so I can move it up and down without a lot of books stacked up!

Also, draw in the largest outlines first and basic shapes needed to get the drawing shaped up....then just do the details without the projector. Step back often and check you proportions too..especially if you work from section to section.

Now I remember why I decided to paint abstract!

08-23-2000, 05:03 PM
The ironing board is a great idea, carly. I will have to try that. I work in sections for large pieces too. I painted murals in SF for about 15 yrs, and that is where I got my sectional experience.....lol


Lynda Mortensen
08-24-2000, 12:03 AM
Hi, welcome to WetCanvas! Is the projector you have seen a 'Projecta Scope' by any chance? (about $19.99). If so - I bought one of these a while ago and it's OK for the price - nothing fancy, but it works OK. I tape my paper to the wall of the downstairs bathroom (no windows in there), then shut the door and turn the light off - it has to be really dark for the projector to give a good image. The only problem I found with it is that you can only work from very small source pictures. Dick Blick is offering the Artograph tracers at sale price at the moment and these are probably of a better quality - they have the junior model at $29.90 and the standard model at $47.90 (website address is www.blickstudio.com (http://www.blickstudio.com) ).
Don't feel guilty about using these to help you draw - they are a good learning tool and you will learn a lot about drawing from using them. Good luck

08-24-2000, 06:24 AM
The projector I have cost around $70.00 about 5 years ago...only used a few times. I got really tired of having to get the room dark enough, and the bulb getting hot so fast.
Carlys use of the scanner is the same method I use too...and my projector has been permanently packed away http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
Don't fret about free hand drawing... most of my students put off trying to paint for years and years....simply because they "couldn't draw a stick"...
We blow up their photo references, and use graphite paper (never carbon) on watercolor paper - mostly for the major outlines. They learn to draw in the details as they go.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Carol

08-24-2000, 07:28 AM
I have one of the $50 tracers also and, because of the heat on a photo, scan and print and them use the printed page. The good tip I just picked up is to use it for the large shapes only and then freehand the details. I was getting bogged down in the dark on details. One thing to be careful of is that you have the projector parallel to the wall - I found that out the hard way when I realized that my building was warped.
If you have Correll you can scan in your image and print it on multiple sheets to the size of your watercolor paper, then tape them together. Then tape the image to a large window and put your watercolor paper over to trace. Hope this makes sense.