How To Trace a Drawing

Creating a piece of art can be fulfilling. To see the end product of what you’ve made can be so exciting especially if you are not a natural artist. Tracing is a way to get started. Beginners can use this to get a feel of the strokes used in drawing or sketching raw.

  • What you’ll need. You’ll need tracing paper and a drawing that you particularly like enough to duplicate. Sharpen a pencil and get a hold of a good eraser. Simply, you can put your tracing paper on top of your peg and just follow the lines that you see through the tracing paper. Graphic design artists and professionals use a contraption called a light table specifically for this purpose. To make your own light table, look for a glass table in your home. This could be the dining table or the living room table, and put a table lamp under the table. Point the light source towards the bottom of the table so that it is shining on the table. Put your clean sheet of paper on top of your peg and place this on your makeshift light table. You should be able to see the lines clearer.
  • A different way to trace. If you don’t have tracing paper and can’t get to the store, you can turn over the paper where the pattern is, then use your pencil to shade in the lines of the drawing. Shade in the lines very well and as dark as you can without ripping the paper. Get another piece of paper and put the drawing with the pencil shadings on the paper. The original drawing should be facing you. Secure the two pieces of paper with a paper clip so that the two pieces don’t misalign. Now trace the lines of the original drawing so that the pencil marks on the back side will transfer to the new sheet of paper. Unclip the peg from the new sheet and use the lines that you’ve just transferred to clean up your drawing. Refine the trace lines and define the drawing from there.
  • Tips for tracing. When looking for a peg to practice on, try working on a drawing first, rather than a photograph. A drawing is easier to trace because the lines are so much more distinct. If you do decide to choose a photograph to trace, go for one that has just the right amount of lighting. To trace a dark or light photograph can be difficult because the lines won’t be so easy to distinguish.
  • Digital tracing. Technology can help you trace a drawing using the computer. An application called ArtRage will let you use visual elements such as watercolor, charcoal, and the like. You’ll need to upload your peg onto the computer so that you can open it on ArtRage. Once you’ve opened this on ArtRage, a virtual tracing paper will appear for you to use. Choose what kind of element you want to use. Using the mouse pointer, trace the lines of the peg just as if your mouse was a pencil. Then use the other tools to add character or to refine your drawing.

Be creative when tracing. You don’t have to trace every single line. You can experiment and play around with your drawing because creativity is what makes art unique.


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