Thursday, 5 January 2012


The traditional approach to cartoons meant three versions were necessary. One with all the drawing details, one with the cut lines, and one for layout and leading.

If you are doing a leaded or copper foiled panel without details for painting on glass two copies are the maximum required. I make do with one original, as I have no place to keep the glass pieces laid out while cutting and beginning to lead, nor do I make templates for cutting.

The paper you need is one that is stiff enough to avoid changes in shape or wrinkling with changes in humidity. The paper also has to be robust enough to stand up to lots of movement. Cartridge paper from a roll works well, but is often seen as expensive. Brown wrapping paper is usually stiff enough, although thinner than cartridge paper.

Tracing paper is very useful, if you do not have a light box, as you can trace details from one version of a cartoon – whether new or from an old one – into another. However it changes shape when exposed to high humidity. To transfer the cartoon to more stable or more opaque paper, you can use a pounce wheel to transfer through the tracing paper for the final cartoon.

Two pounce wheels

If you have a light box you can use it to make the transfer, or you can stand at a window with the two sheets of paper taped together to trace the design onto the final cartoon paper.

If you need to make pattern pieces you will need a second copy to cut up. Here you need paper or card that lies flat. You may also find it useful to cover the main cartoon with a water proof covering if you are going to do a lot of grinding and fitting over the cartoon. You can do this by oiling your paper (as for stencils) or by sticking clear vinyl over the cartoon.