5 Uses for Tracing Paper!

Tracing paper is a mega-handy item to keep stocked in your art studio as it has many uses! Here are my top 5 uses for it.

  1. If you’re like me and tend to rest your drawing/painting hand on the surface you are working on then this use is perfect for you! If you’re not careful you can end up smudging, smearing, or transferring your medium all over your piece with the edge of your palm/hand. By placing a piece of tracing paper underneath your hand you can work freely without worry of damaging your piece. The best part is that not only do you have a barrier to protect your art-in-progress, the transparency of the paper doesn’t obstruct what you’re working on so there’s no need to constantly stop and check your work.
  2. Tracing paper is great for traditional artists to “try out” stuff with their pieces without committing to them. Unsure of what colour to make a part of your art? Lay over some tracing paper and test out colours on it! Can’t visualize how an element will look with the rest of the composition? Draw it on tracing paper placed on top of the piece. It’s kind of like ctrl-Z for the real world! I personally use tracing paper for this all the time!
  3. Much like how it can protect your hand from smudging your work, tracing paper is a great way to protect art being stored in a portfolio. Sandwich pieces of tracing paper between drawings and paintings to keep them protected from each other. This is also especially helpful if you are working out of a sketch book in which pages are kept pressed together.
  4. Turn your tracing paper into transfer paper! Transfer (aka: carbon) paper can be a great way to easily move a rough draft from your sketch book to your canvas. Simply trace your image to one side of the tracing paper and then colour the opposite side with graphite. Next take your newly made transfer paper and place it graphite side down on your canvas/surface. Finally trace over your drawing transfer it. Actual graphite paper can be expensive, so this works great for artists on a budget or in a pinch!
  5. And the most obvious use for tracing paper is to, well, trace with it. Sometimes, when working with a reference photo, there are elements and colours that blend together too closely making it hard to see what kind of lines you need to draw. By tracing a simple outline of the reference subject, you can get a more accurate visualization of how the lines in the image should be conveyed in your own artwork.