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Art Tracing with Pencil

Apr 21 | What Different Can Do

This “Anyone Can Do It” craft is called Art Tracing. There are a number of ways to trace or transfer an image into linework from a photo or artwork but today we are going to walk you through how to trace using a pencil. You’ll need a photo or artwork of almost any item, maybe a family pet, a flower, or a favorite quote. We’ll be using a picture of our sweet service dog George! Here’s what you’ll need:


● Watercolor paper
● Watercolor paints and brush(es)
● Black acrylic paint
● Pencil(s)
● Photo of what your item/subject


1. Print out your image on standard printer paper.

The back of this paper needs to be COMPLETELY COVERED in pencil lead so scribble away! Don’t worry about it looking a certain way, just make sure it’s covered well. This will create a kind of transfer paper, so we will be able to trace a design through the paper.

2. Place your transfer sheet on top of your watercolor paper with the lead covered side DOWN so you can see your subject. From here, trace the outline of your subject with pencil right onto the picture.

This is where the magic happens… the lead on the back of the sheet will transfer your marks onto the watercolor paper! Don’t sweat the details too much on this step, that’s what the paint is for!

Once you have the shape of your subject, we need to make it permanent and we can do that by using acrylic paint to trace your subject’s outline. You can even dip the tip of your pencil into the paint to make some fine details like fur. Using this kind of paint for the outlines is perfect because it gives you a solid guideline to work with.

3. Time to paint! This part is optional but you can fill in your drawing with whatever colors you want!

Feel free to experiment and have fun with different subjects and colors!

Hope Blaszczynski
Assistant Camp Director