Artograph Projectors

On This Page:

- Common Uses/Applications For Projectors
- Choosing an Art Projector
- Horizontal & Vertical Art Projectors
- Art Projector Comparison & Selection Guide

More in This Section:

- Artograph Projectors

Art projectors project an image onto a work surface for tracing and visualizing. This allows the artist, crafter, or designer to size, view or lay out a particular design with incredible speed and accuracy, while maintaining integrity and control. An image can be reproduced exactly or used as a proportioning guide to aid in the creation of a new design.

Common Uses/Applications For Projectors

Art projection has been used in fine art painting since the Renaissance. The earliest form of the camera obscura pinhole viewing system, used to project and visualize images, dates back to the 1500s. You'll also learn the basics of how to use a projector and common tips and applications to jump start your creativity.

Art projectors have an almost endless array of uses and applications...

Tips Tips Tips
Size up
The fast, easy way to enlarge and project photographs, prints, patterns, designs and sketches onto any surface. Transparencies are no longer necessary.
Find the best composition
Arrange the elements of a painting, decide on the best composition and see how an additional feature would look in the picture, before it's committed to the surface.
Define features
Enhance and define features and tonal range in portrait painting when working from a photograph or sketch.
Tips Tips Tips
Brush up your drawing skills
Trace around images to improve hand and eye coordination, understand perspective and draw better.
Paint on a grander scale
Free up your creative skills and gain confidence to work on larger paintings and murals.
Repeat success
Transfer an accurate repeat image for cartooning or decorating walls, furniture, fabrics, pottery, cake icing - in fact, just about any surface to be hand painted.
Save Time
Produce paintings and decorative work faster - for fun and profit.


Basic directions to get you started...

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
1. Simply place the original in the copy area of the projector. 2. Enlarge the image by changing the projection distance. 3. Adjust the lens to sharpen focus, then trace around the outline, drawing in as much detail as you need.


Choosing an Art Projector

Projectors are available in all types, shapes, costs and makes. Recognising the need for a projector and making the right choice is a very important decision for today's busy artist, crafter or designer. The right projector can greatly increase and improve productivity and creativity. With so many projectors on the market, the decision can be a difficult one. Here are some considerations to make your choice the right one:


Why a Projector?

Projectors primarily do one thing - they project an image of something onto a work surface for tracing, scaling and viewing. This allows the artist, crafter or designer to size, view or lay out a particular design or composition with incredible speed and accuracy, while still maintaining creative integrity and control. The image can be reproduced exactly or can be used merely as a proportioning or layout guide to aid in the creation of a new design. With roots as far back as 1000 AD, the projector allows the artist to be more productive, efficient and creative.


Choosing a Projector

You must first determine what your needs and limitations are. Below are some things to consider to help you get on the right track:

  • How much do I want to spend?
  • Do I want the image projected onto a tabletop, vertical surface (i.e. canvas, easel, wall etc.) or both?
  • What is the maximum size of my original copy that I want projected?
  • Do I want to enlarge my original, reduce it, or both?
  • To what size do I want to enlarge or reduce?
  • Do I want a portable or stationary projector?
  • What are my ambient or room lighting conditions?
  • If the room lights cannot be turned off, or there is a window, how can I darken the room?
  • What are the size limitations, if any, of the room I will be using?

Once the above needs have been thought out, you can begin to shop around and ask the right questions.

Ready to begin shopping? View our full-line of art projectors!


Other Features to Consider

  • Copy Size: Look for a projector with a copy area that will accommodate the bulk of your copy needs. Usually, projectors with larger copy areas are more expensive. The largest copy area available in opaque or art projectors in today's market is approximately 10" square. However, there are always ways to get around a projector that has a small copy area. For example, if the projector is top loading, the original can be moved around and projected in sections or simply reduce the original copy on a copy machine to fit the available copy area and enlarge as needed.
  • Lighting: Projectors come equipped with a variety of light sources including incandescent, fluorescent's and halogen type.
  • Incandescent bulbs used are similar in appearance to the types used in the home, but are a larger wattage and provide photo quality lighting. Though they are not as bright as halogens, they produce an excellent image, and are both inexpensive and readily available at local camera or theatrical lighting stores.
  • The Artograph Super Prism™ and the now discontinued DesignMaster and DesignMaster II use Incandescent bulbs.
  • Fluorescent lamps can often replace incandescent lamps and offer a cooler, longer lasting and an energy efficient alternative. They are ideal for use in smaller projectors but they usually do not put out the lumens (brightness) that the larger projectors require.
  • Halogen offers a very bright white light, excellent for use in reproducing photographs and/or highly detailed images. Although superior performers, halogen bulbs are expensive to replace and usually only available from the manufacturer. Be sure to ask for replacement bulb costs, and if purchasing, buy a spare. A couple of cautions with halogen bulbs: Do not jolt the projector while it is in use or still hot, and do not touch the bulbs with your hands. This will either blow the bulb or shorten its life.
  • Lens: The lens is where the construction of any projector begins. Generally, the more elements the lens has, the better the resulting image and greater the cost. Try to get a projector that has a multi-element lens. However, it is most important that the lens be precision ground and designed specifically for the projector. All Artograph Projectors feature precision ground lenses that are individually designed for each model.
  • Mirror: Be sure the projector you choose features a front surface mirror. Front surface mirrors have the reflective coating applied to the front of the mirror instead of the back. This type provides the sharpest and brightest image. All Artograph Projectors incorporate a front surface mirror.

The above information should offer some ideas of what to look for and ask for when choosing a projector. The best way to finalise the right projector decision is to visit us and request a hands-on demonstration.


Horizontal & Vertical Art Projectors

Horizontal Art Projectors

Horizontal art porjectors are used exclusively for enlarging images onto a wall, canvas, and other vertical surfaces. They are most popular with home decorators, muralist, and fine artists. Horizontal projectors will save countless hours over the typical grid or measuring methods. The best horizontal projectors incorporate multi-element lenses, halogen or high output incandescent lighting. Available in compact tabletop models.

To create reduction without a special lens, simply remove the lens from the projector and extend it away from the projector with either a homemade tube or mount it on a book or raised surface in front of the lens cone or opening. If you are using a top-loading projector raise the copy area with a box.

  • By moving lens nearer or farther away from opening varying reduction of copy can be achieved. To control light scatter, roll a cardboard tube around lens and use to bridge distance from lens to projector.
  • Another way to reduce is to raise the copy above the normal copy area. Build a cardboard box the same size as original copy area and mount over copy opening. By mounting your copy at this new higher level, you will create a reduced image. Size of image will vary with height of box.By combining this technique with #1 above will allow greater reduction.

To project small 3-D objects, mount object onto top copy area and cover copy area and object with box (to prevent light spill). Focus as usual. Some bottom loading projectors can project small 3-D objects simply by setting the projector onto the object.

Image size is achieved by moving the projector closer or farther away from desired surface. To ease sizing when projecting onto a wall, mount projector onto rolling cart or use Artograph's Projector Floor Stand.

If using certain size images frequently, mark floor with yellow tape. Position tape at desired distances and mark image size i.e. 10x simply move cart to tape mark to attain size.

Always ensure that projector is perpendicular to image plane to prevent key stoning. Project grid onto wall or vertical surface and measure each corner square for like size and shape.


Vertical Art Projectors

Vertical art projectors attach or mount over a drawing table or horizontal surface and allow the artist to both enlarge and reduce. This type of projector is very popular and ideally suited for the graphic artist/designer and illustrator, and is available in several styles and prices. Projection range varies with projectors. There are also versatile units, which will project both vertically as well as horizontally. (Designer™*, DesignMaster, DesignMaster II, Prism™* and Super Prism™*)

*Optional Vertical Stand required

Always have extra bulbs on hand for emergency.

Never mount rare photos or artwork. If you are enlarging, the copy board is closer to the bulbs and the heat. Your best bet is to have the photo or artwork copied, and then use the copy in the projector.

Never block or cover up vent holes. The cooling mechanism is carefully balanced with the heat output.

To determine a particular scale of a projected image, mount a 6"ruler next to copy or draw 1 "grid lines onto the copy board itself.

Keep lens and mirror clean for best image. Treat and clean the special front surface mirror with same care as lens surface. Clean the lens more frequently in dusty or smoky environments. Always apply cleaning solution to cleaning cloth, never directly to lens or mirror.

Make sure the projected image is square to tabletop. Mount a grid with 1/2 or 1" squares onto the copy board and project at maximum enlargement to tabletop surface. Measure projected squares in each corner to ensure they are of the same size and shape.


Art Projector Comparison & Selection Guide

Model Copy Area Lighting 3-D Vertical Projection Range Horizontal Projection Range
Super Prism® 7" x 7"
18 x 18 cm
Photo Lamp
Yes 4/5x - 3x* 4/5x - 20x
Designmaster® II 6" x 6"
15 x 15 cm
Photo Lamp
No 3/4x - 3 1/2x* 3/4x - 30x
Designmaster® 6" x 6"
15 x 15 cm
Photo Lamp
No 3/4x - 4x* 3/4x - 30x
Tracer® 5" x 5"
13 x 13 cm
Yes n/a 2x - 14x
* Vertical projection requires optional stand.  * R=The Designmaster and Designmaster ll have been discontinued.

Back to top

All web site design, text, graphics, selection and arrangement thereof and software are the copyrighted works of Artograph, Inc., © Copyright 2007.

 Click here to see our range of Artograph Projectors

View All Brands