Making many copies of my own artwork provided freedom—I found myself taking risks because I wasn’t worried about losing the original drawing.

Artwork exercise: The study of a face – I drew the original picture of my grandfather in pencil and charcoal from an old photograph. I was happy with it, but it was small and frankly, I want BIG. And I want to use and compare different mediums without worrying about the actual drawing every time. So I decided to make copies to work from.

Here’s what to do:

  • Draw the original picture in one dark colour to be photocopied
  • Photocopy the drawing onto a transparency film
  • Put the film onto an overhead projector and resize the projected image onto a larger piece of paper (clipped to an easel)
  • With the image reflected onto the paper, use willow charcoal to copy it
  • When you’ve finished copying, flip this paper onto another piece of the same sized paper, with the image facing down. With your hands, rub the back of the paper with the image on it to transfer it onto the next piece of paper
  • You now have two enlarged copies of your drawing, but to make more, just repeat the previous step until the charcoal is too light to transfer anymore. I can get about 6 copies before I have to darken the charcoal again
  • To darken and continue making copies, redraw over the image with more willow charcoal and repeat the rub/copy process
  •  As a final step, I spray fixer (or hairspray) over the charcoal copies so that I don’t lose the images. Some of the mediums that I will use are quite watery and might compromise the image, so the fixer means the charcoal wont mix in with the medium

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