Be Careful When Drawing On Watercolor Paper

Step 1

I’ve decided to enlarge and transfer Franklin’s photo, 6″x 9″, to a 22″ x 30″ sheet of 140 lb. CP Watercolor Paper.

Because I want the bear to be accurate and I don’t want to erase on the watercolor paper, which would damage the tooth of the paper and adversely affect the watercolor’s appearance, I first worked on tracing paper and then transferred the image.

Click on these following links for more detailed, how-to info:

Lady Amethyst: to see photo of using tracing and transfer/graphite paper.

Theses are tools I relied on for my earlier work when desiring more representational results. For the last few years I’ve mostly painted without sketching using alcohol inks on Yupo/ceramic tile and with watercolor, as shown in 2015 30 In 30.

Now, I’m wanting to go in the direction of blending a representational subject into an interpretive setting. With oils, I enjoy working out the composition directly on the canvas as with, You Gotta Start Somewhere, because making initial adjustments doesn’t damage the painting surface. With watercolor, I sometimes use either the Grid Method or an Opaque Projector.


Click on the links below to learn more about these two popular enlarge and transfer methods:

1. Grid Method

2. Opaque Projector

The Opaque Projector is quicker and the one I used this time. This is considered cheating by some. Read more about the ongoing:

Big Controversy: Should Artists Use This Tool?

After clicking the above, Artist Daily (Nov. 2014), link, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the comments section to read most recent perspectives and opinions. Norman Rockwell, too…Oh, my.


The last and the next few blog posts will focus on the stages of painting Big Bear.


4 thoughts on “Be Careful When Drawing On Watercolor Paper

  1. THANK YOU for your blog today! That is the best explanation of the grid system I have seen! I’m looking forward to following along as the Big Bear comes alive!

  2. There are too many comments for me to find yours – so I’m curious what you wrote. But I think the controversy is funny and even artist-centric and kind of insecure. In my experience art is about touching and connecting with people. Art is about people. Whether you trace or draw really isn’t the question, it is whether you created connection, an experience, an emotion through art. Even the great masters were trying to achieve emotional manipulation of some kind – along with fabulous technique but without some connection their art was not useful to the time (art was propaganda of course) and they knew it.

    When I see your paintings, I feel connected. I’m interested in how it is done, but the impact is the point.

  3. Thanks for commenting, Marika. I didn’t make a comment on the Artist Daily site, guess I should. Before beginning a painting, I ask myself, what is the method, medium, etc. to best express what I’m feeling and want the viewer to feel. Sometimes it’s free flowing color other times it’s more deliberate detail. Wonderful to read you feel a connection with my paintings 🙂

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