Monday, March 17, 2008

Tips n' Tricks: Tracing on Opaques

For a recent SoulPerSuit card I was making, I envisioned a sturdy tree full of branches with roots spreading out to the sources of nourishment and vitality. I also thought it'd be cool if my tree could be metallic to symbolize how a Christian can be a reflective light of wisdom in a dark world.
I decided that metallic ink on black drawing paper was a good combination and began sketching a branchy winter tree on scrap paper.
Turns out I really liked the look and the balance of the branches I'd drawn, but there was a problem- my awesome tree was sketched on white paper, and I really wanted my SoulPerSuit card on black paper.

After noodling on things for a bit, I remembered a great trick my junior high art teacher taught me. It works really well so I wanted to share it with the world.

Taking regular, everyday white chalk, I flipped my tree sketch over to the back side and rubbed it with chalk. Making sure I covered all the drawn lines, I chalked the entire back of my tree.

My black drawing paper awaits.

I gently taped my tree sketch to my black paper, with the tree sketch now right-side-up so the chalked area is touching the black paper.

Using a ball point pen in a different color than my pencil (to make it easy to tell where I've already drawn), I traced all the lines of my tree. When I did this, the ball point pen acted as a stylus to force the chalk off of the back of my sketch and onto the black paper in all the areas I wanted lines.

The beginnings of a tree on black paper.

There are some areas of smudgy chalk, I know. That's typically where my hand rested as I traced with my ball point pen. Never fear, it's very easy to clean up with an eraser.

Once the tree lines were chalked on my black paper, I used metallic silver Windsor and Newton ink to brush over all of my lines. For this particular drawing, I used a variety of brush widths for the tiny ends of the branches all the way down to the fat tree trunk. They were just regular old round watercolor brushes dipped in the ink well and brushed on like paint.

My tree, partially inked.
Can you tell which part has the reflective metallic ink?

Chalk does not resist ink so I could paint right over it, and if there was a part of the tree that I decided not to ink (or thought maybe my chalk lines were too fat), I just worked around that area and erased my chalk marks after the ink was completely dry.

The finished product.

** I used the exact same method on the calligraphied words. My handwriting is not the neatest, so I chose to print my verse in a pretty font, chalk the back of the printout and use a pen as a stylus to get the beautiful font onto my piece of art. Then I carefully inked my lettering, waited for it all to dry, and erased the stray chalk marks.


Violet said...

Beautiful work!

rhon said...

Wow! This is a really powerful visual. I love monochromatic images. I've done a lot of tracing but I never thought of using a different colored pen to do the tracing so that I could tell what I had traced and what I hadn't. Thanks for the tip!

San said...

I don't know which I like better. The art lesson or the art!