In order to begin painting we have to have a plan, a sketch or outline or drawing to guide us, One way is to draw a sketch right on the watercolor paper before you begin to paint. Unless you are a very good artist though, you will probably want to erase some of the pencil marks and you will mess up the paper. Another way is to have a sketch already drawn and ready to transfer onto the watercolor paper. Another way is to transfer a photo onto your watercolor paper. What you decide to do is up to you however, one fact remains certain, you will have to transfer the image from your drawing, sketch. or photo, onto the watercolor paper. Here is how we do that


     There are different types of tracing paper available. The one I prefer is called ChaCo paper. (That is the name brand). It is a semitransparent blue paper that you put between your sketch and the watercolor paper. When you trace over the sketch, pale blue lines are transferred onto the watercolor paper. The really good thing about ChaCo paper is that the blue lines that are left behind, disappear when water touches them. So you have no pencil or carbon lines to deal with. When using any product that is made out of water, (such as artist's masking fluid,) you must go over the blue lines very lightly with a mechanical pencil. That way, you will have pencil lines to work with after the masking fluid (water based) is removed. When I refer to tracing paper, I will always mean ChaCo paper unless I specify something else. There are a couple of tricks to using ChaCo paper. One is that there are 2 sides of each sheet of ChaCo paper. One side is velvet, the other side is slick. The velvet side is the side that goes against the watercolor paper. The other trick is that if you spill water on your ChaCo paper, it is ruined. So be careful.



    So when I include a sketch, usually a black and white drawing, you can  print it out, lay it on the watercolor  paper, and trace it out using your ChaCo paper.  You will then be ready for the next step.

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Gene Drake

Cave Junction, Oregon 97523

Phone: (541) 592-4298


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