Master Facts: Learning from Michelangelo

Michelangelo self-portrait initial drawing

As can be seen on this self-portrait, Michelangelo transferred his original drawing from paper to the painting surface by pricking little holes along the lines, holding the drawing in position and then dabbing chalk over the drawing. The chalk would be pushed through the holes in the paper onto the surface, transferring the drawing and giving him the guidelines with which to start painting.

This is still a great way to push through a drawing, especially on a large scale piece. Bag some Cretacolor Graphite, Charcoal, Sanguine or Sepia Powder in a piece of thin cotton or muslin and draw it tight so the powder is held in a tight ball. Use this as your dabber to push the powder through the holes made in your drawing.