Drawings,tracings and tranferring

I’m still working on the new book.  It’s going to be a practical manual of techniques for painting flowers in watercolour.  There will be tracings!

The other day I was asked to produce some tracings.  I had learned about a simple method of transferring sketches early on in my study of watercolour.  It helped me greatly in my teaching, as I was able to produce a finished drawing from a rough sketch and then reproduce and share this drawing with students using the computer and photoshop.


I also used it in my own painting.  It’s great when you get those first ideas that you have when you produce your initial sketch.  But how do you then transfer them on to the piece of watercolour paper as a finished, tidy drawing?  I’ve developed a way of doing this.

Above is an example of the first stage of producing a sketch from some inspirational material.  I’ve sketched a design from my  photos with the help of some real leaves from the garden for reference.  I then tidy it up and produce a pen drawing.  Here’s an example.


Then this is how I transfer it.  I make my own carbon paper.  Using a graphite stick I put some dense scribble on to some good quality tracing paper.  Then I “set” this by scumbling over some methylated spirit on a piece of cotton wool and let it dry which only takes a minute or two.  This makes the carbon less likely to shed the graphite and dirty your work.



I can then place this carbon underneath my sketch/finished drawing and copy it on to my watercolour paper.  I use a biro to do this as it gives a clearer copy.

This is also how I produced the tracings for the book.

Here’s the finished painting of the sketch at the top of this post.  Clematis Montana on a trellis.


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