enter image description here

Above is a miniature example of my problem.

For an arts and crafts project, I need to trace a shape on a paper (which in this case is a triangle), on to a black illustration board, and the shape on the black illustration board must be visible.

Any solutions?

2 Answers 2


There is a technique used often during the renaissance that allowed artists to transfer their 'cartoons' (a full-size and often completed drawing of the composition) to walls or canvas (see here, for example).

This technique is known as pouncing, and involves perforating the lines of the cartoon (in your example the triangle), fastening it to the surface of the support (i.c. the black illustration board), and wiping charcoal powder along the surface so it penetrates the holes.
The resulting dots of charcoal powder on the support can then be connected by pencil or brush.

In your case, you only need to replace the charcoal powder by chalk powder.

enter image description here
Detail of drawing by Raphael. Source.

Alternatively, what you can try is covering the back of your design with chalk powder, laying it on top of the black illustration board, and using a somewhat blunt pencil or tortillon to trace the lines of your design. Depending on the surface of the illustration board (that I'm not familiar with) you might be able to get a somewhat legible tracing.


I don't understand why you don't make a cardboard template. This seems like the most simple solution. Drawing with pencil on the board should be visible enough. If not, use it as a stencil by applying a thin layer of paint and pushing it onto the black board.

There is also different kinds of transfer paper for this purpose. The most common are graphite paper or yellow carbon paper. Some packages of transfer paper even contain black and yellow ones. Searching online you'll find a lot of products and with some luck you can get it in a local office supply, art or craft store. Even some fabric and sewing stores offer yellow transfer paper.

If you don't want to buy any special product for this purpose, you can recreate a similar effect to graphite paper with a soft pencil. Fill the back of the paper with a soft pencil and really push it down to apply a thick and even layer of pencil lead. Then position the paper on the black board (right side up) and trace the lines with a hard pencil or ballpoint pen, like you would do with carbon paper. The effect is not a strong as with carbon paper, but the silvery reflective pencil lead should still be visible.

  • I would recommend a graphite paper (a commercial version of your third option) over carbon paper, which can be oily
    – Allison C
    Jun 29, 2022 at 13:52
  • I have used the "white" version of Saral Wax Free Transfer Paper to transfer an image to black paper and it works very well. My only complaint is that it can be a bit "waxy" and may affect the medium being used to draw with.
    – agarza
    Jun 29, 2022 at 14:40
  • 2
    The 3rd option works really well - pencil shows up nicely on black surfaces. Of course you don't need to fill the whole sheet, just a strip under the lines you want to transfer, and it needs no special equipment (a soft pencil on the back helps, but any pencil will do - I just tested using an unlabelled, probably HB or no. 2 for both sides)
    – Chris H
    Jun 30, 2022 at 11:46

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