Tips For Using Tracing Paper

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Duration: 7:43

Tracing paper is an essential tool for artists that allows them to transfer their designs to their final paper or helps them sketch out ideas before committing to them, which is often how artist Mia Whittemore uses it.

When Mia is working on a sketch and isn’t sure what to put in one part of it, she overlays a bit of tracing paper on her working sketch and draws her ideas on it. Because the tracing paper is transparent, she can audition new flowers and judge whether she wants to keep them in her final drawing. Unlike thick textured sketch paper, tracing paper is smooth and allows for easy and complete erasing.

Mia also loves doing symmetrical designs, which are made much easier with tracing paper. Mia folds her tracing paper in half, opens it up, and draws on just one side. To finish the design and make it symmetrical, she folds the tracing paper back up with the design on the outside and then traces it to the other side, thus mirroring her design. Don’t worry if the lines aren’t exact, says Mia, it will look nearly identical and you can make any minor adjustments on the final paper. Use a soft pencil, says Mia, when drawing lines on tracing paper. A 2B or 3B will make for easier transferring, should you decide your design is finalized.

Once the design is fully on tracing paper, place it graphite-side down and then draw over the lines again from the other side to transfer. Don’t worry if you go out of the lines here, only the parts on the other side that have pencil on them will transfer. A light outline will be transferred, making erasing and adjusting it very easy.

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