There are several ways to get an outline of an image of an object onto good paper ready to make a finished drawing. And these are the ones I have tried:
1) I took and printed a photo which I gridded it up and used the grid to copy the image accurately onto good paper. This is a very process driven way of working and I ended up working from a photo rather than life which felt a bit sterile and mechanical. However, what I liked about the finished picture was the abstract nature of the piece of leaf I chose, so although the method did not suit I was interested in the effect and the finished image and I think that I will follow this up in the future.
2) I took a photo of a leaf, which I then ran through an app to get a black and white line drawing which was traced onto tracing paper and then transferred onto drawing paper. I ended up with an accurate shape that I enjoyed colouring but actually it did not teach me much about looking and seeing. So I learned that it is important to me to make the original image my own as well as the finished image.
3) I viewed the subject matter through a gridded transparent sheet and then drew the subject onto a matching grid on tracing paper. This was long winded and hard on the eyes squinting through the grid and copying, and it felt mechanical and hard work. I also ended up with an image that was rather bigger than life size, so my crab apples look like they have been dosed with steroids.
4) I took a leaf rubbing and traced the rubbing onto paper, but the leaf dried out, so when I came to resume my work the next morning the leaf had shrivelled unrecognisably – so my time was wasted!
5) I just sat down and drew the d**m thing! The easiest and the most satisfying; well I know that now as I have tried all the other methods! More importantly, my skill is improving as I continue to practice – that’s a really obvious observation but it is true, true, true – if you practice you get better! Doh!