Monthly Archives: April 2016


I've been curious about creativity lately: where it comes from, stumbling blocks, how to develop it, how to sustain it, how it works in different disciplines.

First I heard about the concept of "creative confidence" through a TED Talk with David Kelly titled How to Build Your Creative Confidence.

You can also find an article on the Harvard Business Review website

A lot of people equate being creative to something reserved for art/music/theater. I like that Mr. Kelly talks about creative confidence in the broader sense of challenges, and solution finding, not only making pictures. I also like that instead of "problem solving" they have reframed the idea of "problem" as "challenge".

There's also a book out on the same topic "Creative Confidence" by brothers David and Tom Kelly. You might be able to do what I did and listen to it through your local library service. There were some excellent examples of creativity in action in science, medicine, and business. You can learn more about the book on their site

If you don't think you're creative, I encourage you to take another look. You might like what you find.

Time to transfer the drawing to the canvas and then paint! Here's a quick run through how I transfer to canvas. I hope you find it useful.

I stretched oil primed, portrait grade linen over stretcher bars. To transfer the drawing I'm using:

Step 1

Support the Canvas

I place a book or a stack of magazines under the stretched canvas. Choose something that will fit within the cavity created by the stretcher bars. This gives me something to press against while transferring the drawing. I suggest using something you're not worried about because when you press with the pen to transfer, it's possible you can put grooves into the underlying support (the book or magazines) so I don't press too hard. Plus the transfer paper I use is nice and dark and doesn't require much pressure.

Step 2

Tape an Edge

I trim the tiled, print of the drawing to match the canvas size. Tape one edge of the tiled drawing to an edge of the canvas (a long edge seems to work best).

Step 3

Sandwich of Canvas, Transfer Paper, and Drawing

Make a sandwich. Place the graphite paper between the drawing and the canvas with the dark side facing the canvas. I use the store bought graphite paper because it doesn't smear when I paint.

Step 4

Tracing with a Pen

Using the ball point pen, I trace the printed lines. Here's where taping the drawing to the canvas on one edge comes in handy. It makes it a bit easier to check where you are with the tracing and transferring.

Step 5

Transferred Drawing

I'm now ready to paint. When I use the store bought transfer paper I find that I don't need to seal the lines. They don't seem to smear when I paint in oils over the top.


You need to enlarge and transfer a drawing to your canvas but your usual printing service is currently unavailable. Not a problem. My solution: tiling.

I scan my drawing and resize it to the desired painting size in Photoshop, keeping the resolution somewhere between 150 - 250 ppi. This resolution works just fine on my home office printer. My goal being I want to have a fairly clean, not fuzzy print of the art.

Next I chop up the image in Photoshop, leaving about 1" of overlap where the sections will be joined together.

Here's a screen shot of the image in Photoshop. The blue lines are guides so I can see the 1" overlap and keep it consistent when I cut up the image to make 4 separate images.

Then I print each section out on regular 8.5"x11" 20 lb printer paper. Some programs and printers can do this for you but my printer doesn't have that feature so this solution works great for me.


(Edit: a friend pointed out that there's another way to print the image in pieces. She wrote: Save as a .pdf in the size you want to print and open in Acrobat [I tried it out in Acrobat Reader]. When you select print it will give you the option to print as a poster on multiply sheets including asking about how much overlap you want. Also, if you need to drop a grid overlay on an image, Gimp makes it easy and free. Go to Filters>Render>Pattern>Grid. You can adjust the thickness of the lines and the size of the grid squares. The grid makes lining up pages easier, too.)

Next: tiling.

Don't have a light box, or your light box isn't big enough? No problem, use a window. I tape up the first piece (top right portion of the full picture) onto the window, then with the paper back lit from the window I can align the drawing as I place the additional pieces. I'm using the cheap blue house painters tape but I suspect you could use masking tape. Clear plastic tape might pose a problem when transferring because it's a little too rigid. I want something that won't resist my hard pencil or pen.

I cut away excess white paper where a sheet is placed on top of the previous sheet of paper. This helps align the drawing.



I trim the upper and right edges of the final piece so there's clean overlap.

The last piece. I trim away the excess paper on the upper and right edges so I have clean alignment with the pieces it will lay over.
I put tape on the back of the connection piece, hanging over the edge a bit so the final piece can be stuck to it.

I tape both the front side along the overlap seams, as well as behind. In this way I overlap and connect the 4 sections without leaving too much flapping around. I don't put a long strip of tape along the seams because it interferes too much when I transfer. I'm going to move a few of the pieces of tape on the back into areas where there aren't any lines, or at the very least reduce the size of the tape.

Front of the tiled image still taped to the window.

Now I have a full image ready to transfer to my painting surface. I'm really looking forward to painting this one!

The full image tiled.