Friday, September 3, 2010

Projection and Transfering

A projected and traced image for a large painting by Sara Star
When I make a drawing for a new painting. I usually work at a size that is comfortable for my hand. Usually I draw 11 x 17 and smaller. When I am painting a picture the same size, I then make a photocopy of my drawing and use graphite transfer paper to transfer the image onto the painting surface.

Graphite SARAL TRANSFER PAPER-Tracing-Sketch-Drawing

I lay the transfer paper between the primed surface and my drawing and trace over the drawing with a pen or a stylus. I prefer drafting transfer paper because it is wax free. The wax can cause resist problems with my thin washes of acrylic paints. When I want to transfer an image onto a dark surface, I coat the back of the drawing with white conte crayon instead of using the dark transfer paper.

For blowing up an image there are several options. The classic option is to draw a grid on your drawing and a larger grid on your surface. This requires a lot of measuring, and counting. I find mathematical thinking pulls me out of the right brain thinking of drawing and I am likely to screw the whole thing up. Also, I don't like getting rid of the grid lines later.

For pictures around 3 feet tall, I scan my drawing, and then use a picture or publishing program to print it to size on tiles of paper and I tape the pieces of the picture together. Then I use the transfer paper method.

However, I sometimes work very very large. In these cases, I seek out projection equipment. At University, I had access to flat head projectors. Often for these I had to reduce the size of my drawing to fit into the projector, and then I hung the canvas on the wall and adjusted the projector to show my image. Then I would draw the image on with a soft conte or charcoal. It is important to use something soft that won't press the canvas in while you are drawing--moving the canvas moves where the projection falls.

Projecting an image with an InFocus Machine

However, I don't always have access to the flat head projector. And I have learned to make due with and even prefer to use In Focus Projectors. Often local libraries, community centers and nearby colleges have rooms with In Focus Projectors. I can balance my canvas on the chalk board and then project a scanned image of my drawing onto the canvas. The image projected by an In Focus projector is even more fiddly than with the flat head projector, and so I prefer to paint on the image as I trace to avoid pressing on the canvas at all.

My post on creating a drawing for a large painting

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