Friday, August 22, 2014

Impressed Line Technique and mini-lesson

two of our Barred Plymouth Rock hens out and about
Excerpt from the Friday August 22nd issue of my TMS newsletter:
This week’s newsletter is for those of you that work on paper and it contains a mini-lesson on the how to get a drawing down onto your paper without damaging the surface.
Plus there is a show and tell example of the Impressed Line Technique.

Lucille in Quebec wrote me and asked this:

“I am new to working in coloured pencil. My problem is that I end up with lines in my paper from my drawing. I can see them once I start using my coloured pencils. The pencils don’t cover up the lines. What can I do about this? Is there something you use to fill in these lines?

Great question Lucille and thanks for asking.

 The reason you have lines on your sheet of paper is because when you created your drawing, the pressure of your pencil scored the surface of your paper.

Rather than try to find a way to deal with these lines, I would suggest not making them in the first place.

The easiest way to avoid this problem is to create your drawing on a different sheet of paper. Then transfer that drawing onto your ‘good’ paper.

This does add another step to the creative process but it spares you from having to deal with lines showing up where you don’t want them.

Also, most of us do not draw without ever needing to change or correct something.

 If you are drawing on the paper that will be your finished work, this can be a problem. Even the best paper doesn’t take a lot of erasing well so if you make changes to your drawing as you go, erasing some lines, and adding new lines, you risk damaging your paper’s surface texture.

Therefore, the huge advantages to transferring a drawing are that you are going to keep your paper in great condition AND you won’t have etched lines showing up in your work!

 How to Transfer Your Drawing:

1)    The simplest way to transfer a drawing is through the illumination method. If you have a light box, that will work great.

 But you don’t need a light box, you can use the light coming through a        window or sliding glass door.

Secure your preliminary sketch or drawing to the window with masking tape. Place your paper over top of the sketch and secure it with tape as well. Trace the outline of your drawing, using the lightest pressure possible. I like to use a soft erasable coloured pencil, such as the Col-Erase brand (made by Prismacolor) for this but you could use a graphite pencil or a light coloured coloured pencil.

This method only works if you are able to see through your paper. But before you despair, check your paper. You may be surprised at how well you can see through print making paper. For example, Stonehenge (a brand of paper lots of coloured pencil artists use) feels thick and appears to be a dense paper but you can see through it very well.

2)    Another method of transferring a drawing is to use a sheet of transfer paper. You can purchase transfer paper in either rolls or sheets. This method is useful if you cannot see through your paper. You probably used tracing paper as a child and this works the same way. You slide the sheet of transfer paper in between your drawing and your ‘good’ paper and you then trace the drawing outline as you would in the illumination method. Again, use very light pressure.

You can make your own graphite transfer paper by covering one side of a sheet of tracing vellum with graphite from a lead pencil. Polish with a tissue and reapply. To be honest I don’t make my own transfer paper as the process is just too messy for my liking.


3)    Another method which I have never used because it also sounds messy, is applying graphite to the sketch. Here is how it works – you do your drawing on tracing paper. Place your tracing paper drawing facedown and apply a dense layer of graphite on the back side, on top of the sketch lines. Turn the sketch right side up, place on top of your chosen paper. Secure with tape. Then redraw each sketch line lightly. If the lines are too dark, you could lift the excess graphite by dabbing with mounting putty or a kneaded eraser. I would suspect there would be some smudging of graphite both in this method and in the home made graphite transfer paper method mentioned above.


4)    Finally, here is a method that is rather crackers but I will share with you because maybe it isn’t crackers to you! J Warning, this method means your final drawing will be reversed from your sketch! Ha.

 If your drawing is done using a soft graphite pencil on a sheet of tracing paper, you can simply place your drawing face down on your good paper and trace over your lines. Tape your sheet down so it doesn’t slide around and use light pressure. If you have a heavy touch, use a soft coloured pencil for the transfer. You don’t want to create any impressed lines. And again, your final drawing will be reversed from what you originally drew.

So obviously you have some options when it comes to picking a method for transferring a finished drawing to the paper you have chosen for your artwork.

I use a light box and when I didn’t have one, I used a window. Nice and clean and no smudges to lift off.

As I mentioned above, transferring a final drawing with very light pressure will preserve the texture of your paper and it will stop you from creating impressed lines.

 But what about when you want to impress lines?!!!

When scoring the paper is a good thing – Impressed Line Technique
 Here is an example of how scoring the paper, called the impressed line technique, can be used to your advantage.

The maple leaf below is an exercise my students work on in my Coloured Pencil Basics Course.

You can clearly see all of the light coloured veins in the leaf which is our intention in creating this drawing.

To start, the leaf is coloured a light green colour.

Then the veins are scored into the paper, creating etched grooves.

 When the various shades of green pencil pigment are applied, the pencils skip over the grooves, leaving the veins to show through. Pretty cool huh?

Impressed line technique, leaf project, Copyright Teresa Mallen
You can use this technique to add texture and detail to tree bark, rocks, brick pathways or to depict cat whiskers etc. I am sure you can imagine how this technique has many possible uses.
FYI: Just two spots are available for September’s CP Basics class. If you are interested, check out the complete course details by clicking here. My intention is to give you the skills and know how you need to get you better at what you do. AND we have fun! J
If you have any questions about the course, I would love to answer them for you. It is what I do. Just write or call...
My contact info is here.
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Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

I use method 4 when transferring, seems to work the best for me :)

Teresa Mallen said...

Now you're pulling my leg, no?

And now that I have just typed that, I am thinking I need to look up the origin of that expression!

Seriously, you can draw something, knowing that you want it to be reversed in the finished artwork? I am in awe!!!! :-)

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

if I want something facing a certain way I know I need to draw it in the opposite direction, not difficult, just need to remember to draw things the right way first :) (and sometimes I forget lol)