Tracing Outlines of Famous Art Works

I have often made outline drawings of our art work for art appreciation lessons.  (The Van Gogh picture  “Starry Night”  is one of the most popular downloads!)

Creating an outline is a simple, really easy and frugal method to create an outlined picture which is instantly ready for your child to colour, apply art techniques, experiment with different art mediums, or to make your own version of the art masterpiece.

How to make an outline of a masterpiece tutorial:

  1. You need a tracing pad/ tracing paper (available fairly cheap at stationary or at large department stores) and a photocopiers or printer and prints of art works (postcards, calendars, books, prints).
  2. Select the picture you want to trace.  Size doesn’t really matter.  You can enlarge any small picture on your printer.  If the picture is larger than your tracing paper, just section off the picture and trace each section separately.
  3. Trace the main lines and shapes and outlines with a black pen or fineliner.  (Pencil prints out too faint) You can include major shadows or sketch or paint lines that feature strongly in the painting.)
  4. Draw a frame around the picture and write the artist’s name and the title of the work at the bottom. (I always try give reference and honor to the original artist.)
  5. Place your tracing paper on the printer face down.
  6. Print a copy.  Viola!
  7. Of course, you can enlarge your small tracing to fit the page.  Just experiment with about 120% or more and see if it needs to be made bigger/smaller.
  8. Make several copies for each child or family member.
  9. Have fun on your paper copy!

Why do we use tracings?

  • Create a reference to a famous work and add it to written biographies and narrations.
  • Apply techniques famous artists use
  • Learn to mix colours, do colour washes and paint in layers with details last
  • Make the art work “your own”
  • Focus on the original for clues and details
  • Use the original for some more contemporary art techniques (like a collage/ a mural/ coasters/place mats/ quilt designs/ build a 3D landscape, etc.)
  • Although many adults consider this just “colouring in”,  I encourage them to give it a try!  It is MUCH more difficult than it seems! 🙂

Hope this helps you create fun and easy art appreciation lessons for your family!

Pop over to my Art Page for all my other art appreciation lessons, free downloads and Charlotte Mason Fine Arts ideas.

Update:  I found an easy tutorial at quotidianmoments.blogspot where Willa shares how to make coloring  pages tutorial using Picnik

Blessings, Nadene

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