Please note that this process is not original to me. I coalesced bits and pieces from various Internet artists. I typically draw and paint freehand. Sometimes when I make artwork for others I will use a light box to transfer the drawing to artist quality paper. Usually, I don’t like doing this because I feel it loses a bit of the “liveliness” of the original. I considered using my large light box, but I felt this process would not work well for this project. The following description captures the process I ended up using.
I took a photo of the original pencil sketch (I always feel this sketch has the most “life”) and imported it into Photoshop Elements. I made any necessary edits. While in the on site layout stage, I found that some of the pups needed to face in the opposite direction, which is a very simple edit in Photoshop.
Our flat screen TV also functions as a monitor for the computer (thank you Lisa Clough “Lachri”!). I enlarged the image to be the size I wanted on the TV. Since our TV was not vertically large enough to display the entire image in the desired size, I scrolled to the top or bottom of the pup. Using removable tape, I attached a large piece of newsprint to the TV over the image. I traced about 60% of the image very lightly with a pencil before I scrolled to the remaining portion of the image, moving the paper (aligning it with the image) and completed tracing the rest of the pup.
I removed the newsprint and redrew the image a bit darker. I often needed to tweak or modify the image. Once I had the pup looking as adorable as possible, I cut out the outline of the stencil. This is the version I tested on the wall. I repeated this process if necessary.
I transferred the final stencil to the watercolor paper by tracing around the outside of the newsprint stencil. I transferred the interior details using Saral transfer paper and a stencil tool (a blunt pencil also works). I cut out the final watercolor paper stencil, sometimes cutting the legs or tails separately so I could more easily adjust their positions on the wall, if necessary.
Using a light touch, I attached the final stencil to the wall with blue painters tape and traced around the outside of the stencil with a pencil. I transferred some interior features using Saral transfer paper. Now I was ready to do the scary part – paint!
Note: as I built more confidence, I created the watercolor paper stencil directly from the Photoshop image for some pups, bypassing the newsprint stencil. The TV image was bright enough to allow tracing directly onto the watercolor paper.