ART PROJECTORArt Projector None less than Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) himself invented and used such a device.

Modern technology has gone far to perfect the art projector. A photograph, magazine cut-out or any sort of picture is placed on the art projector and the image is projected horizontaly onto a wall or canvas, or down on a drawing table for the artist to outline.

The more high-end the projector, the sharper the projected image is. Basically, the higher the price, the more high-end quality you get. If you want to capture every hair and detail, go for something in the $300 range such as the Artograph DESIGNMASTER II or a Kopykake K1000 (both have both horizontal & Vertical projecting). If you need extremely detailed projectors to draw out, that's the Kopykake Kobra (Vertical projecting) or the legendary Artograph MC 250 (horizontal projecting). If you must have the top-of-the-line most precision projections, then look at the BUHL Projector (horizontal projecting). Mid-range very popular models include the Artograph Prism, the Artograph Super Prism and the Kopykake 300XK. If all you need is a basic projection of a Mickey Mouse image, then the Artograph Tracer Jr. will do the trick! (Lower-end projectors require dim-lighting in the room.)

Using a projector is not "cheating!" (Was Leonardo da Vinci a master artist? Did he cheat with his projector?) The art is in the painting, and we believe, most importantly, the paint blending to achieve the right shade of color (but that is another rant of ours'...)

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. Artograph® brings the benefits of 21st century technology and precision engineering to the tradition of art projection, and provides today's artists, crafters, and designers with an indispensable tool of the trade.

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

    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.

    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. Size your logo with accuracy or add your face to Mount Rushmore. Scale with exact precision or be fanciful and free. Above all, get to the fun part faster with a projector from Artograph®.

    Projectors are available in all types, shapes, costs and makes. Recognizing 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:

    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 layout 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.

    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?
  • Can the lights be turned off?
  • 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?….Click below to view our full-line of art projectors!


    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 ½ " 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 either a halogen or incandescent lighting system.
    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.
    Artograph® Projector that uses Halogen bulbs: MC 250™ Professional Projector

    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.
    Artograph Projectors that use Incandescent bulbs: Designer™, DesignMaster®, DesignMaster® II, Prism™ and Super Prism™.

    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 when choosing a projector. Happy Projecting!!


    Horizontal & Vertical Art Projectors

    HORIZONTAL ART PROJECTORS 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 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 FAQ’s

    Could I use my projector in a lighted room? Yes and no. For the clearest and brightest picture the projector should be used in a completely dark room. A reasonably clear picture can still be achieved in dim light, but virtually no picture can be seen in a fully lit room.
    Note: Projecting photos requires a totally darkened room.

    Why does the projected image shift during the tracing process? Shifting occurs because the photo or paper being enlarged is bombarded with heat from the lamp, causing it to expand. Thus, the projected image appears to shift.

    What can I do to prevent this shifting? To minimize shifting, after setting your projector up at the desired range, let the projector run for several minutes before beginning tracing.


    How do I do reduction with my Super Prism? To achieve reduction with the Super Prism, the accessory lens #200-728 should be used. This lens reduces down to 80%. The Super Prism includes this lens (since April 1, 1998).

    What is the difference between the Prism and Super Prism? The main difference between the Prism and Super Prism is in the lens. The Prism has a single-element lens with the projection range of 80% reduction up to 20 times enlargement, while the Super Prism has a three-element color corrective lens with the projection range of 3 times to 20 times enlargement.

    The Super Prism lens produces a very sharp and bright image. It is ideal for projecting photos or highly detailed designs. (The Super Prism includes an accessory lens that will expand the range to 80% reduction). Both projectors have a copy size of 7" X 7" and 500 Watts of illumination.

    Why can't I use the Super lens with the Prism stand? Because of the limited height of the Prism stand you are not able to back up far enough from the tabletop to achieve any amount of projection. The Super Prism lens requires a minimum of 32" to focus (this measurement is the distance from the wall or other projection surface to the edge of the lens).

    How far back do I have to be to get the maximum of 20 times enlargement? To achieve 20 times enlargement with the Prism the projector should be placed 14' from the projection surface. To achieve 20 times enlargement with the Super Prism the projector should be placed 16.5' from the projection surface. An approximate rule of thumb is every 9.5" away from the projection surface equals a 1-time enlargement.

    Is there a lens that does more than 3 times enlargement with the Prism stand? No, but the range of enlargement can be increased by simply swiveling the upper assembly of the stand over the floor. The Prism Stand is capable of 7 times enlargement onto the floor (from a 36" table). When doing floor projection, please make sure the table is sturdy enough to hold the projector in this position.

    Why am I unable to get 2 times enlargement with the Prism lens? Because of the stationary positioning of the glass lens within the lens barrel, combined with the convex shape of the lens, a "gap" is created when reversing the lens for either enlargement or reduction. The size of the "gap" is 1.65 to 2.24 times enlargement. Therefore, 2 times enlargement is not possible because it falls within this gap.


    Where does the original copy go? The art is placed underneath the projector. In other words, the projector has a 5" X 5" opening that sits on top of the art.

    Is there a stand for the Tracer? Yes, the Projector Floor Stand can be used for wall projection with the Tracer. Simply set the projector in the provided stand platform. The Projector Floor Stand rotates 360 degrees, tilts 15 degrees front to back, and adjusts from 3½ feet to 5 feet high, allowing for more versatility in the capabilities in the projector.


    What is the difference between the DesignMaster and DesignMaster II? The biggest difference between these two projectors is the stand and the lighting. The DesignMaster II stand is heavy duty and spring loaded to assist vertical movement, while the DesignMaster stand is manually operated. While in the vertical position the DesignMaster has the range of 70% reduction up to 4 times enlargement. The DesignMaster II has the range of 70% reduction up to 3½ times enlargement.

    Another difference is in the illumination. The DesignMaster features 25O Watts of illumination versus 500 Watts in the DesignMaster II. The DesignMaster II also has a micro switch, which automatically turns off the light when the door is open.

    Do both projectors also do horizontal projection? Yes, both projectors are capable of horizontal projection. Simply remove the projector from the stand and place it on a tabletop perpendicular to the wall.

    If so, what is the projection range? Horizontal projection range:

    DesignMaster - 70% reduction up to 30 times enlargement.

    DesignMaster II - 70% reduction up to 30 times enlargement.

    What are the major differences between the Prism series and the DesignMaster series? (See comparison chart below)The differences between the Prism series and the DesignMaster series can be outlined by the differences in their copy area, lighting, and both vertical and horizontal projection ranges, as follows:
    One other major difference between these two series of projectors is that the DesignMaster series comes equipped with the table stand for vertical projection. The Prism series does not.

    The Prism series is top loading and the copy area is glass covered, allowing for easier positioning of the original copy. The top glass also allows flush mounting for art and oversized artwork (the lid can be removed) and provides a platform for 3-D objects.
    Each projector of both series is also thermally protected.

    Model Copy Area Lighting Vertical Projection Horizontal Projection
    PRISM™ 7" x 7" 500-watts 80% - 3X 80% - 20X
    SUPER PRISM™ 7" x 7" 500-watts 80% - 3X* 80% - 20X *
    DESIGNMASTER® 6" x 6" 250-watts 70% - 4X 80% - 30X
    DESIGNMASTER® II 6" x 6" 500-watts 70% - 3.5X 80% - 30X
    * Reduction from 3x and less accomplished with accessory lens.


    Art Projector Glossary

    CANDLEPOWER: A term used for the luminous intensity of a light source. The intensity in any one direction from the standard candle is one candela (formerly one candlepower; cp).

    COLOR RENDERING INDEX (CRI): A measurement of the color shift an object undergoes when illuminated by the light source, as compared to a reference source at the same color temperature. Color rendering is measured on an index from 0 - 100, with natural daylight and incandescent lighting both equal to 100. Object people viewed under lamps with a high color rendering index (CRI) appear more true to life.

    COLOR CORRECTED LENS: A compound lens, the dimensions and materials of which have been so chosen that the lens is appreciably free of aberrations.

    COLOR TEMPERATURE: The chromaticity of an ideal "black body" when it is heated to a specific temperature in Kelvin (K). It is the measure of the color of light, not actual temperature.

    COPY BOARD: Area of a projector where original photo or artwork is placed or positioned.

    DIRECT PROJECTORS: Projectors, which project an image directly onto the work or drawing surface (i.e. drawing table or wall). The image can then be traced or re-drawn with a variety of mediums.

    EFFECTIVE COPY AREA: The area of the copy board that is seen by the lens. This area becomes the projected image.

    FOOTCANDLE: A unit used in measuring direct illumination. It is defined as the illumination produced from a source of one candela at a point on a surface of one foot away and perpendicular to the source of light. A lumen per square foot.

    FRONT SURFACE MIRROR: Featured in all Artograph projectors. A highly reflective mirror that has the silver coating on the front surface of the glass. Ideal for use in projectors.

    ILLUMINATION: The result of the use of light, illuminance, the density of luminous flux on a surface, is usually measured in footcandles.

    INCANDESCENT LAMP: The typical type of lamp found in the home. Usually has a lamp life of 750 hours. Soft white or photo type work best for projector use.

    INDIRECT PROJECTORS: Projectors, which projects an image up through a sheet of glass onto tracing paper. Once traced onto tracing paper the image is either transferred to a final drawing surface or used as is.

    KEYSTONING: The type of distortion created when the projector is not positioned perpendicular to the receiving plane (table or wall). Identified by having one side of the projected image larger than the opposite side (trapezoidal). Always measure all sides of your image to insure accuracy.

    LIGHT: The term generally applied to the visible energy from a source. Light is usually measured in lumens or candlepower. When light strikes a surface it is either absorbed, reflected or transmitted. Light is said to travel in straight lines.

    LUCICRAPH (LUCI): A popular name for an indirect-type of projector. Often used to identify all types of artist projectors.

    LUMEN: The unit that expresses the total quantity of light given off by a source, regardless of direction. A lumen is defined as the amount of light falling on a surface one square foot, every point of which is one foot away from a source of one candlepower. A uniform source of one candlepower placed in a sphere emits 12.57 lumens or mean spherical candela equals 12.57 lumens.

    LUMENS PER WATT (LPW): A measure of the efficacy of a light source in terms of the light produced for the power consumed. For example, a 100-watt lamp producing 1750 lumens gives 17.5 lumens per watt.

    LUMINANCE OR BRIGHTNESS: The light emitted, transmitted or reflected from a unit area of the source of surface is brightness. It is usually expressed in candles per square inch or Lamberts or foot Lamberts.

    OPAQUE PROJECTORS: A general classification of projectors, which project images from any solid or opaque copy such as photos or drawings. Opaque projectors require a darkened or totally dark room for best results.

    RATED AVERAGE LIFE: The operating life (hours) at which 50% of the lamps are still operating. Where a plus (+) is used in starting the life, survival rate is 67% at the standard time.

    SAFTEY OVERLOAD CIRCUIT: A circuit designed to shut off the projector when the projector has reached a set temperature. The projector will automatically turn back on once it has cooled down and reached a safe temperature for operation.

    SECOND SURFACE MIRROR: The type of mirror generally found in the home. The silver coating is on the backside of the glass. Not suitable for projector use, will cause a double image or a "ghosting" effect.

    TOP LOADING: This is a feature of a projector, which means that the original artwork or photo is placed on the top of the projector. The top-loading area is usually a glass surface. Top-loading units allow for easier position of originals and accommodate oversized originals as well.

    TRANSPARENCY PROJECTOR: Includes all models of projectors, which project transparencies only. Generally will not project slides without accessory attachments. Excellent for use in normal room light and where large images are desired.

    TUNGSTEN HALOGEN LAMP: A type of lamp, which contains the elements halogen gas and tungsten sealed in high-pressure envelope. Produces a high intensity light throughout its life.