How to Use Transfer Paper to Turn Photos into Coloring Pages

Nigel Gough | August 24, 2017

Want to turn your favorite photo memories into line art for coloring? Easily transform any image into a blank coloring canvas with the help of X-Press Transfer Paper!


Do you have wonderful pictures you would just love to render with Copic markers, but you feel unsure about your ability to just get the linework down on paper? I understand; it can be scary to put that first mark on a clean white page! But fear no more…I have a tool that can get you rendering anything you want in no time: X-Press It Transfer Paper! 

Supplies Used

Copic Colors Used

How to Transfer Your Image 

Step 1: Stack Your Sheets 

photo-to-line-art-transfer-paper-supplies.jpgTake a sheet of X-Press It A4 Graphite Transfer Paper and a sheet of paper for your marker rendering. In this case, I’m using Copic sketch paper.

Next, turn the gray side of the paper down so that it’s facing toward the sketch paper. Take the image you would like to copy and turn that face-up so that you can see the image.

So, now we have a sandwich with Copic Sketch Paper at the bottom, Transfer paper (gray side facing down) in the middle, and your photocopy at the top (facing up so you can see the image you want to transfer).

Step 2: Hold It Together

Take a little Scotch tape and gently tack the top edges of the transfer paper and the photocopy down onto the sketch paper. 

Step 3: Outline Your Design  

transferred-photo-flower-photo-with-red-ink-outlines.jpgtransferred-photo-line-art-with-red-outlines.jpgNow grab a simple ballpoint pen. Red is perfect because you can easily see the line you have made on the photocopy. Now with a firm hand (not too heavy), simply trace the linework on your image. The pressure of the ballpoint pen is enough to imprint an image onto your sketch paper.

If you want to see how you are going (just in case you think you may have left off a few lines), with the photocopy and transfer paper tacked down on the top edge, you can just lift up and check out your work. The red ink on the photocopy also makes it easy to check your progress on the top sheet.

Step 4: The Big Reveal

Once you have finished transferring the image, simply remove the Scotch tape to remove both the photocopy and the transfer paper, leaving behind the final linework on your sketch paper ready to be rendered. 

While it’s not absolutely necessary, I recommend taking a kneadable eraser and gently pressing the linework to remove any excess graphite before you commence your rendering. flower-photo-outline-created-with-transfer-paper.jpg

It's that easy!

(PRO TIP: The great thing about X-Press It Graphite Transfer Paper is you don’t throw it away after you have used it just once. The graphite on the paper is very durable, so you can use it again and again. And again!)

Step 5: Render Away

Once you have finished transferring your image, you can start rendering with Copic markers as you would with any image.


In this case I wanted to use the colors on the photograph as a guide.

My Copic color palette is noted above. In addition, I have also used a little blender ink on a cloth for texture, some Copic White on the water droplets, and 0.5 / 0.3mm Multiliners in Warm Gray to line out some areas of the image.

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Topics: Illustration, Copic, X-Press It

Nigel Gough on August 24, 2017

Nigel Gough is a Registered Architect, Industrial Designer and Concept Designer that and has been working in the industry since the mid 1980’s. works with Imagination International as an educator creating classes on architectural and product design. In addition to his position at NGI he has also been an active member of the Australian design visualization community as a long standing Lecturer in Design Visualisation at the Queensland University of Technology and as an Executive Member of the Australian Association of Architectural Illustrators AAAI Inc. As testimony to his experience and passion for design visualisation he has received a number of national and international awards including numerous awards of excellence in the renowned Architecture in Perspective Competition run annually by the American Society of Architectural Illustrators ASAI .