To transfer a sketch to lino is a really useful little bit of knowledge. It’s a super simple process as well as long as you have some graphite paper and a trusty roll of masking tape. I prefer to draw straight onto the grey lino that is widely available, but the purpose of this blog I sketched onto a loose piece of paper and chose a piece of japanese blue and green lino to transfer my design onto using white graphite paper. I thought that this would show up nice a clearly for anybody reading the blog. If you are the type of person who like to carry a sketch book with you, this might be a very useful article to read, and I hope you enjoy it.
So having cut a piece of graphite paper to size, the first thing to do is sandwich the graphite paper between your sketch and the sheet of lino. Make sure the graphite paper has its shiny side facing the lino as this is the side that has the graphite on it that gets transferred onto the lino as you trace your drawing.
So, place your lino on top of the graphite paper and leave enough of the graphite paper so you can wrap it around the back of the lino and fasten it down in place. When you start tracing you really don’t want the layers to move around as this will mess up the composition.
So here you can see the lino fully taped to the graphite paper. I think the images above and below are possibly the most boring photos I’ve ever taken.
Repeat the process for the piece of paper with the sketch on it and make sure that it is really securely taped down in place. I should also mention that this layer doesn’t have to be a sketch, you could tear out a picture from a magazine or a newspaper and use that, or a photo of your beautiful mum so you can give her a nice lino print portrait for her birthday.
Now you have to trace your sketch. Make sure you press down with a reasonable amount of force as you want to make sure that as you trace the lines you are impressing the image onto the lino beneath.
This step is also where you can make any amends to your drawing if you want. This can take a while and be a little tedious so it’s best done with a cup of tea and some biscuits. If you don’t want to affect your sketch too much by drawing over it again you could add a layer of tracing paper over the top and trace onto that. You want to be able to see where you have traced and where you have not, so you don’t miss any vital parts of the composition.
So you are about to reveal your transferred drawing onto the lino – the moment of truth…
Like me, you may find that despite your best efforts the transferred image is not the carbon copy you were hoping for. I have done this before onto the grey lino i mentioned before and it worked a lot better. The japanese lino I was using here has a plastic layer which I think resisted the graphite. Despite this, I did get the main proportions of my image transferred onto the lino without having to start my drawing completely from scratch.
In order to finish off the design on the lino I had to grab my pen and fill in areas that had not transferred that well. You can see on the image below where I have had to go and redraw the face of my rocker.
That’s basically it. Once I had redrawn a few areas I carved my character out and ran off a few prints.
If you fancy trying this, I really would recommend using the grey lino. As a material it works better with the graphite paper when you transfer the design. You can pick up transfer paper at most art shops, but if you can find an art shop near you that stocks it then you can always buy online. So what are you waiting for? Go a grab your old sketch book and transfer a sketch to lino yourself, it’s easy!