Cool Tools: Transfer Paper

Posted On: 07/12/16 By: Jennifer Dove

Transfer paper will take the “work” out of any art piece you create. The most enjoyable part of creating a personal masterpiece is not the set up, it’s the getting inky part! Have you ever thought about using transfer paper?

Oh, you say that’s cheating?  Whether you know how to draw or not, why not take away the tedious using a tool to make it quicker.  The end result is exactly the same but you have cut your time in half.  Would you brush your teeth with bark if you had a toothbrush available?  Why would we not just simply use this special tool to make things easier to create our masterpiece.  Take advantage of the tools we are given, I say!


Follow along with me and see the steps I have taken to create my latest masterpiece.

X-press it transfer paper used to create final piece tulips in vase


  • Your favorite marker paper (I used Copic Alcohol Marker Pad A3 11 3/4" x 16 1/2")
  • Transfer Paper – Graphite
  • Printer and printer paper as I am showing you how its done with Laser Printer (ink Jet preferred to shorten steps)
  • Stylus, pen or pencil
  • Copic Markers
  • Reference photo

Step 1:

Find your favorite photo that you would like to turn into personalized artwork. Resize the photo in the program you're most comfortable with.  I used Photoshop and enlarged the image to fit on two 8.5" x 11" pieces of paper to create a larger piece of artwork.

Step 2:

You can then print the image directly onto the transfer sheet using an inkjet printer and follow the simple instructions on the packaging.  **IF you do not have an inkjet then you can do what I have done.  Print onto regular printer paper using a laser printer.  

Step 3:

If you are using the printed transfer paper, just lay it onto your art surface. **If you are using the laser printed copies you will place your printed image on top of the transfer paper.  Tape them together so they do not slip.  Do not tape over any part of the image you wish to transfer.  This doesn’t work on glossy surfaces so keep that in mind when picking your “canvas” to do your artwork on.

Printed paper, transfer paper, and copic alcohol marker pad used to create an image of a tulip in a vase

Step 4:

The next step is simple.  Using a ball point pen, pencil or stylus begin tracing over all lines you wish to have transferred onto your art piece.  I traced all outlining portions of my image and did small broken lines in the areas I saw the most casting shadows to keep it all in perspective.  It is as simple as that!!

Step 5:

Once you have completed the tracing you can remove the transfer sheet.  You are left with the lines transferred onto your art piece.  You can now create!!  If you have created your piece using the laser printer technique, you can save your transfer paper for a few more future projects.

Step 6:

Now grab your favorite coloring medium.  Of course I used Copics markers but this would be perfect for use with Multiliners as well.  Create your piece using your favorite coloring style. 

Here are the colors I used to complete this piece.

Copic Markers used to color final image created using transfer paper

Leaves - Y00 G21 G24 G46 G28 G94 G99 R00 R02 R05

Tulips - YR00 YR01 YR02 R05 R24 R37 R59 V99 RV25 RV55

Background – E35 E55 E57 E59 E49 100

Vase – C5 C6 C7 C8 C10 100

Final art piece measures approx. 11" x 14"

tulips in a vase drawn using transfer paper to create line art

Prior to coloring you can erase the graphite lines left by the transfer paper if you think they might show through, but I found that the coloring went right over the lines and didn’t interfere with the artwork.

This transfer paper makes doing your large or small artistic creations such a breeze.  ANYONE can be an artist using this basic tool!

I hope you are inspired to get out and create! Have you used Transfer Paper before? Do you want to? Tell us about it in a comment below!

Jennifer Dove

Regional Instructor for the Copic Art and Design Education team


Tags: Copic, Copic Markers, Illustration, Inspire, XPress It, Latest,