Portrait Study – Transfer the Drawing

This is a follow up from last week's post about my portrait study using Russian Sauce.

Portrait study by Christine Mitzuk using Russian Sauce on American Master's grey paper.
Portrait study using Russian Sauce on American Master's grey paper.

I went back in to the drawing with a fat tortillion and smoothed out the background. I'm liking it much better.

Next I transferred the drawing to a prepared canvas panel.

Materials Used
I used a sheet of acetate (3 mil I think), a Sharpie Fine Point (a color other than black or blue), a ball point pen, and a sheet of graphite or carbon transfer paper.

How to Transfer a Drawing to Canvas

1 Place the acetate over the drawing, making sure that at least one edge is lined up with the edge of the composition. In this case I placed it directly on the drawing.

The nice thing I'm finding about Russian Sauce is that it isn't as delicate as vine charcoal. I'm still careful with the drawing but incidental bumps or brushing against it don't wipe away areas like what can happen to a vine charcoal drawing. Mind you, that also means the Russian Sauce isn't as easy to erase as vine charcoal. When I've done a vine charcoal drawing, and want to keep the drawing clean, I'll spray fix the drawing before transfer. Another way to not scuff the drawing is to place 4 quarters at the corners of the drawing, rest a piece of plexiglass on them, and then put the acetate on the plexi. The larger or thinner the plexi, the more it bows and the touches the drawing. Plus during dry months, there seems to be more static that makes charcoal dust stick to the plexi.

2 Using the Sharpie, trace the big and necessary structural shapes. I use red or green so I can see what I've transferred in the next step. Also be sure to mark the crop or edges of your picture. You'll need them to align the drawing with your canvas or panel.

3 Align the acetate to your canvas or panel and tape one edge of the acetate to the edge of the canvas or panel . I used a linen canvas panel that I prepared. Slide the graphite or carbon transfer paper under the acetate so it's sandwiched between the acetate and the painting surface. Using the ball point pen, follow your Sharpie lines. I like to use red or green because the ball point pen is dark in comparison so I can see what I've transferred and if I've missed any lines.

Tools to transfer a drawing to canvas . The transferred drawing is on the left and the acetate with transfer lines in on the right.
Prepared canvas with transferred drawing, and transfer tools.

Why bother with all this instead of drawing directly on the canvas or on thin charcoal paper and transferring with that? It gives me the opportunity to have a nice drawing in addition to the painting. Also, in this case I did the drawing on thick paper so just transferring by using the drawing would be near impossible.

Next week, PAINT!