Tracing and my projector. This past week, when I attended the Illustration Master Class, I brought my projector with me. The reason for doing this was two-fold: 1) I needed a reliable method for transferring detailed drawings to my canvas and 2) I wanted it available in case there were other artists who wanted to see what the projector could do. It’s an expensive investment and this gave others an evaluation period before making their own purchases.
Needless to say, it was a big hit. The projector is the Artograph LED300 digital art project and can be purchased here (This was the best price that I found on the Internet and the Utrecht site is one of my standard shopping site). It should be noted that you only get the projector and some cables/USB drive. The tripod is my Manfrotto Bogen tripod that I use for plein-air painting. In addition, I had to purchase a HDMI cable and an AVI-to-HDMI cable so that I could connect my iPad to the projector. The connection for the iPad was required since I did not have my laptop with me. Everybody just put their image files on the USB key and projected it that way.
Here are some notes that may help to evaluate if it’ll work for you:
Avoid procrastination by transferring figure photos. Since I need to work on my figure painting (in addition to figure drawing), one of the first things that I did was to take a bunch of my figure photos and immediately transfer them to a 9 x 12 canvas sheet. Once that was done, I sprayed fixative on them and then set them on my shelf. This way, when I want to paint a figure, I can just pull one of the transfers off of my shelf, tape it to the board and then start painting. That immediacy helps stave off procrastination.
9 x 12 is the smallest reasonable size before losing detail. At this time, my two basic painting sizes are 9 x 12 and 16 x 20. I found that the projector does a great job on the 9 x 12 but, if I wanted something smaller, I would need to get it closer to the projector. This causes a problem. As you get closer to the projector, you start losing the detail and cannot focus it any more. So, everything is pretty fuzzy. If I’m working on a landscape piece, I don’t worry too much about it because I need the general masses. If I’m working on a detailed scene, this is an issue.
Downward facing camera works better than projecting on wall. When I first started working with the projector, I would project it on a vertical canvas. The issue is that this is a really tough and awkward angle to draw. So, I changed it to project downward and it is much more comfortable. The only issue with projecting downward is that, depending on the canvas size, sometimes the legs of the tripod get in the way. So, you have to do some finagling and adjustments. One of the tricks that I use is to angle the projector outwards from the tripod and then use the Key stoning feature of the projector to correct the image.
Even though the project is $645, it is well worth the investment. I found that I no longer have the issues of transferring details from my drawings or photos onto my canvas. When I was using a light table, the canvas was a bit too thick and I would lose some information. Definitely one of the better investments that I’ve made.