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Submitted on
October 9, 2013
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3.5 MB


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Line Transfer  [Tutorial] by TeaKitsune Line Transfer  [Tutorial] by TeaKitsune
Art Tumblr | Etsy | Facebook Page | Furaffinity |

Original post can be found on my Tumblr.

Line Transfer Tutorial

Occasionally I get asked how I go about transferring my sketches onto illustration board. This small tutorial will explain the process.

Materials Needed:

- Illustration Board (or what you’ll be transferring your sketch onto.)
- A printed copy of your sketch
- Transfer Paper - I use Woodcraft Pattern Transfer Paper
- Tape
- Red Pen

Why Woodcraft Transfer Paper?

My father, who is a skilled woodworker, first introduced me to this transfer paper years ago and after trying other artist transfer papers since then, I still use this brand. The lines do not smudge or smear even when wet media is applied. They are dark enough to see while painting, and light enough to cover up if needed. The backing of the transfer paper also does not rub off onto the surface below unless pressure from a pen is applied.


1. First, I cut and prep my illustration board. I have to tape off and tea stain it before I can transfer anything. Then, I make a printed copy of my sketch. Once that is taken care of, I gather the rest of my supplies.

2. I tape my sketch to the transfer paper. These transfer sheets can be reused up to 2 - 4 times, depending on how detailed your sketches are.

3. I line up my sketch and transfer paper on top of my illustration board and tape it down. This is to prevent it from moving.

4. Using a red pen (I prefer a fine pointed gel pen), I trace over my printed sketch. This requires some pressure to make sure the line art transfers to the board. Tracing over lines using a colored pen also helps me see what is already done.

5. I do a quick check to make sure everything is traced.

6. Once that is done, I pull off the printed sketch and transfer, and can begin painting!

7. I keep my transfer paper afterwards in case I need to use it again. I also store away my printed sketches used for the transfers. (I like to keep all preparatory work done for my paintings.)

If anyone has questions, feel free to comment!

Artwork © Sarah Graybill
Do not take, use, reupload etc. my work without my prior written permission.
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MapleJazz Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Just to verify: it's board, transfer paper then sketch copy on top for layout right? Just figuring the layers. Also I'm seeing comments on it being at michaels. Are you getting this at a US or Canadian michaels? I know the stores are different sometimes
TeaKitsune Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes, you have the layers correct. I also get the transfer paper at Michaels in the USA, but unfortunately at my store they stopped carrying it. :/ I'm not sure if it's a decision among all stores or not. I have seen it available though online for purchase, specifically through Etsy.
TheVioletFox Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
This would work so much better for my watercolor works. I have a heavy hand and when I sketch in pencil, I end up leaving all these ruts in the paper. Now I can do my sketches elsewhere, or even digitally, first. This is an absolutely brilliant idea, especially with how expensive watercolor paper is to ruin.
TeaKitsune Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm glad it will be of use to you! I had the same problem when I worked directly on paper, especially when I used a lot of colored pencil (left the impressions on paper, colored over, and saw them very easily.) The transfer paper does come out rather dark, almost like the ink of a regular pen, but you can lighten it a little by erasing, or pressing lightly, just in case you don't want the lines to show up too much before you paint over with watercolor :)
whitew3r3wolf Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is so helpful, thanks for sharing!~ <3
I totally had given up on transfer paper because of its dark smudgey lines :/ I have a new hope! :dummy: I'll have to try that brand out :}
Also, very smart of you to use a red pen to see where you have draw... why didn't I ever think of that XD
TeaKitsune Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
No problem! Yeah, a lot of artist papers I've tried create smudged lines :c I didn't like it at all, but this stuff doesn't!

lol It took me a little bit to select a colored pen to help me see what I was tracing. My first few times were done in all black, which became confusing.
whitew3r3wolf Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome I'm definitely going to have to get some :} I'm sick of drawing directly on my good paper and having to erase on it 5 billion times :XD: lol
xxice-maidenxx Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks for this! I've been wondering hiw to do this!
TeaKitsune Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
No problem! :)
lineCra Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Professional Artist
I've used this brand of Transfer Paper for a woodblock. It is amazing and makes image transfers so much easier.
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