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Posted on Dec 10, 2013 in DIY, Studio | 0 comments

DIY Character Canvas Painting


Canvases are a great way to spruce up the home.  We actually have quite a few photo canvases hanging around our house.   They are durable and the style is very clean.  Recently, I decided to add a few canvases in our bedroom.   I am obsessed with a few cute characters, namely my favorites are Miffy, Lotso, and Monokuro Boo.  I actually have quite a few stuffed animals of them.   So, I decided to create a set of canvas of them.   Aside from Lotso, the other 3 canvases were actually very simple line drawings.

I don’t like my free hand drawings, because I actually want the canvases to look good.  Ha.  So, I printed out pictures of each one to replicate.   Lotso was the hardest and I could not find anything of him online that I liked.  So, I ended up printing out a photo of my own Lotso instead.   See how I got this done and my failed attempts/lessons at the end!  🙂


 Items Needed: 

  • Charcoal Pencil  (or a regular pencil)
  • Translucent Marker Paper (or any paper)
  • Print outs of the subject
  • Canvas
  • Something pointy (I used the end of my thinnest paint brush)
  • Masking tape






PS-CharacterCanvas-005Step 1:  First, print out copies of what you would like to replicate on the canvas.   Since my canva size was quite small, I printed it out the exact same size as the canvas. (The bottom b&w photo that’s half cutout is the actual photo that I used for this project.)

PS-CharacterCanvas-008Step 2:  Make the Graphite transfer paper.   Fill up your transfer paper with charcoal to approximately the size of your canvas.  I smudged the charcoal with my finger to smooth out the charcoal.   Using the transfer paper was great because it was a little bit transparent and very easy to smudge.   (I *think* you can use pencil and paper to accomplish the same effect.  Just be sure to apply more pressure when filling with pencil since it’s not as easily transferable as charcoal.  Let me know if it works!)   The good thing about the this is you only have to make it once because this piece of paper is reusable!

PS-CharacterCanvas-009Step 3 (optional):  Test trial before making the permanent mark!  Ok, let’s give this a try on paper first!   Lay the charcoal-transfer paper face down on top of your notepad, so the charcoal is touching the surface you would like to draw on.  Lay your print out/picture on top

PS-CharacterCanvas-011Step 4:  Use masking tape to secure everything in place.  You do not want any of the papers to shift around when you are tracing.

PS-CharacterCanvas-012Step 5:  Get your pointy tool of choice ready!

PS-CharacterCanvas-013Step 6:  Trace along the lines.

PS-CharacterCanvas-014Step 7:  Let’s take a peak.

PS-CharacterCanvas-015Step 8:  Lotso’s nose looks good!  Trace over the rest of the lines.

PS-CharacterCanvas-016Step 9:  First trial, success!    Transfer paper has my stamp of approval!   Let’s get started!

PS-CharacterCanvas-018Step 10:  I basically replicated the same steps on my canvas.   So, I won’t bore you and show you the steps again…..   After this part, it was on to painting fun!



PS-CharacterCanvas-021Mission accomplished!    Family canvas set all done! 🙂



And of course, being the super star, he insisted on posing with his portrait here….


 ~ ~ ~

Trial & Error (The failures):   Before actually using the charcoal technique, I tried a few different ways to copy the pictures to the canvas.  Below are a few of the attempts… 😉


PS-CharacterCanvas-004It might look silly that I try to exactly match my Miffy canvas to the print out.  Especially when it’s literally just two dots and an X.   But, it was my practice before the Lotso canvas which I still did not know how I will replicate at the time.    So, my first try was grid lines.  I thought it would be a GREAT idea.  Since the grid lines will let me know where to draw each part.  Great-Idea-Failed when I realized erasing pencil lines (even lightly touched lines) from white canvas is not easy.   Especially when most of your canvas will be left untouched in such case as Miffy’s canvas.  I solved this issue with extreme erasing until my arm hurts (Haven’t done that since 3rd grade!)  At the end,  a thick layer of white paint solved the problem.


PS-CharacterCanvas-003Next, I practiced drawing Monokuro Boo by cutting up holes into the actual print out.   That worked… but seriously, how am I supposed to replicate that with Lotso?   No idea.

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