Sean O'Halloran: One Mark at a Time

After blacking the back of my enlarged, digital drawing with a piece of 6B graphite, I tape the enlarged image to my stretched sheet of Arches, making sure that the piece is appropriately positioned and that there is plenty of white space around the image area.

I use a colored pencil (green, in this case) to draw over the enlarged image, pressing hard enough to transfer the soft graphite from the back of the sheet to the front of the watercolor paper, but not pressing so hard as to emboss the surface of the paper. I use colored pencil so I can see what I have retraced versus what still remains. (Using a normal graphite pencil would certainly do the same job, but it's impossible to see what's been transferred.)

I've taped together a four-piece digital output of my revised sketch,
blackened its reverse side with 6B graphite, and taped
the resulting "transfer sheet" to my stretched watercolor paper. 

This image demonstrates how I revise my sketches using Photoshop.
I build the sketch in layers: Sean O'Halloran on one layer,
his wife and horse on another, fairies on a third. This way
I can manipulate the individual characters independently
of one another. You saw in a previous post how I enlarged
Sean O'Halloran in relation to his surroundings.
The resulting transfer is typically very light, as you can see—or almost see—here.
The transferred graphite line in barely perceptible
on the watercolor paper; you can just make out the cross
on the left, and the horse head in the upper center of the image.
Depending on the look I have in mind for the finished artwork, I might begin painting immediately after transferring the drawing, or I might work up the drawing with more detail than in the original. In this case, I used an HB pencil to complete details not present in my original sketches. (Working with watercolor, it's a good idea for me to have a pretty complete drawing in place before I begin painting.)

 I redraw the transferred image using an HB pencil, adding detail
not present in the original sketch.
 Here you can see Sean O'Halloran fumbling for his wife,
whom he is not able to see.
This is a detail from above.
Here is the nearly complete pencil rendering
on my stretched watercolor paper.