View Full Version : transferring a sketch over dry acrylic??

11-26-2009, 10:41 PM
Hello to all! I am fairly new to acrylics and I find if I transfer my sketch to my painting surface in the very first step, I tend to quickly lose the sketched outlines, especially when I paint the sky over the sketched trees for example. My question is: is there an easy way of transferring my sketched image lines over dry acrylic paint, paint some more and let that dry, then transfer more over the top of that after it has dried until I have all the details in? Or am I asking the impossible? Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated!! :)

George Servais
11-26-2009, 11:07 PM
I do that all the time. My first sketch is very rough just to locate objects and to work on composition. I generally lose much of the sketch. If the background is dark I will use a conte pencil (white ) or chalk. I mainly us #2 soft vine charcoal which is easy to dust off or cover up. Contrary to popular belief it does not dirty up the colors (provided one uses a light touch) also the technique I use is fairly heavy and the paint covers it well. When I am done a damp paper towel will wipe any leftovers off very easily.
If you are using drawings to trace from you can use carbon paper provided it not the waxy kind. Use WAX FREE artists graphite paper which is usually available in any good art supply store. Artist graphite paper comes in both black and white.

11-26-2009, 11:52 PM
I use a tailor's blue chalk pencil if I'm working on a white canvas and the white chalk pencil if it's a darker canvas. The chalk is non-waxy and tends to not disappear or bleed through. The artist graphite paper is good too.

11-27-2009, 03:36 AM
Some other ideas, albeit less straight forward:

1. Projection - if you have a projector, you can project your sketch onto your canvas to recreate the details that your painting session covered up. Either a digital photo of your sketch via a digital projector, or a transparency sketch via an overhead projector.

2. Gel transfer - Take a digital photo of your sketch, make it black and white, print it with your printer and use an acrylic gel transfer to transfer it onto your image, or better yet, print it directly onto a thin acrylic gel skin treated with a digital ground and then apply that to the painting.

3. Underpainting - (not quite what you were asking for) use a monochromatic underpainting as a first layer and glaze acrylic colour over it to never lose your sketch.

4. Textural underpainting (also not quite) - use gessos, gels, papers, and/or modeling pastes to create a colourless underpainting, almost like relief sculpture, as a base layer that will maintain your sketch details.

11-27-2009, 09:11 AM
Thank you so much guys for the great advice and for taking the time to respond.....very much appreciated!!

11-27-2009, 10:31 AM
I use a little soapstone pencil, it's in a plastic holder. It's great on dark backgrounds but will say is easily removed, no tell tale lines or wax but in being so easily removed you have to sketch in degrees. I generally just have an outline in the beginning and most of what I proceed in doing is with a brush, so I literally in a sense draw with my brush as far as details. But the soapstone is a neat little pencil to have on hand. White Saral transfer paper will work too and it as well has no wax.


11-27-2009, 10:35 AM
I make my outline on a separate piece of paper first. Then I can paint a complete background and transfer the outline with black or white graphite paper. Or use it to replace lost lines. Most of my paintings are small, but if they are larger, then I just draw the parts that I really need.

I also use black paint in places to make sure I can still see certain things after painting over it.