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From Art Geek:

Graphite Transfers

Monday, April 11 2011 UTC

This is my first blog post in awhile. After going to the Pole, I got obsessed with photography for awhile, then obsessed with programming and cleaning up some old/crufty code at work, then obsessed with, well, not being obsessed.

This weekend I started painting again on a large canvas my friend Judy gave me, and made a pleasant discovery. I have been working with drawings and photos on Kimodesk transparent film on the canvas, cutting things out and rearranging them. One thing that has stymied me until now has been how to transfer such an arrangement to the canvas (I am not against gluing down the Kimodesk and painting on top of that, but it doesn’t always provide the surface I want). The traditional grid-and-transfer method is time consuming and sometimes irritating. Transferring photos is a great way to work, but to use that technique requires photographing or scanning drawings before they can be printed out and glued face down on the paintings and the paper backing removed.

Or so I thought until last weekend, until I tried the following simple procedure, which worked beautifully:

1. Start with some sort of drawing, arrived at by combining transparencies or some other way
2. Use a light box to transfer the image, flipped upside down; trace the drawing IN REVERSE (mirror image) in graphite on a new sheet of paper
3. Glue the paper face down on the painting surface (thereby turning it right side up) using acrylic matte medium
4. Allow to dry overnight
5. Remove the paper with the usual method (soak off, abrade w/ moist sponge, etc.)
6. Paint into the image. If you use acrylics, you can repeat this procedure ad infinitum.

The (reversed) pencil drawing seems to transfer with perfect fidelity. Skipping the tracing step and gluing an existing drawing down on panel, then removing the paper, ought to also work just fine. Your mileage may vary.

Simple before/after test image: source Kemodesk Image transferred to wooden panel using the graphite transfer method.

After noodling around with Golden Open acrylics on top of the transfer: