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9 Best Art Projectors for Artists and Tracing in 2024

Iva Mikles
9 Best Art Projectors for Artists and Tracing in 2024

Hey there, welcome to my list of the best art projectors for artists and tracing.

I am a working artist, and I’ve tried a few projectors to trace and paint my art. I’ve also collected suggestions from my artist friends and YouTube videos where our fellow artists share experiences with their projectors.

This is how the list of my 9 favorite projectors for artists came to be.

I hope it helps you get the right one for your art, too!

BTW #1, #2, and #5 are projectors made specifically for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and murals.

Best Projector for ArtistsArtograph Inspire
Best Portable Art ProjectorArtograph Flare
Best Projector for TracingArtograph LED Tracer
Best Mini Projector for ArtAaxa
Best Budget Art ProjectorAuKing

The 9 Best Projectors for Artists Compared

This is a quick comparison of my favorite art projectors. Find more details on them below.

My Pick
  • Description:

    My Pick for the best digital projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and murals

  • Why should you get it?:
    Because I have it, and it's awesome - super bright - works during the day and at night; vivid colors; great throw distance; the built-in grids will save you a ton of time; it connects to (almost) anything; will probably last you a lifetime
NEW
  • Description:

    Best portable projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and indoor murals

  • Why should you get it?:
    Because it's amazing improvement to it's predecessor Flare 450 and works almost as great as Inspire 1200 above
Alternative
Alternative
Best for tracing
  • Description:

    Best opaque art projector for tracing, enlarging, and transferring artwork

  • Why should you get it?:
    Because you are fed up with the grid method and just want to trace your art 🙂
Opaque XL
  • Description:

    Best XL opaque art projector for tracing, enlarging, and transferring artwork

  • Why should you get it?:
    Because you want a classic opaque projector that can both reduce and enlarge
Best mini
  • Description:

    Best mini projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and indoor murals

  • Why should you get it?:
    Because it's super tiny, has a great price point, and is wireless
Budget
  • Description:

    Best budget projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and indoor murals

  • Why should you get it?:
    It's super cheap, and many artists use it on a budget
Splurge option
My Pick
Description:

My Pick for the best digital projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and murals

Why should you get it?:
Because I have it, and it's awesome - super bright - works during the day and at night; vivid colors; great throw distance; the built-in grids will save you a ton of time; it connects to (almost) anything; will probably last you a lifetime
NEW
Description:

Best portable projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and indoor murals

Why should you get it?:
Because it's amazing improvement to it's predecessor Flare 450 and works almost as great as Inspire 1200 above
Alternative
Description:

Almost identical to Artograph Inspire 1200 but without the valuable built-in grid overlays

Why should you get it?:
Because it's cheaper than Artograph Inspire 1200 and you don't need the 32 grids
Alternative
Description:

Almost identical to Artograph Flare 450 but without the valuable built-in grid patterns

Why should you get it?:
Because it's cheaper than Artograph Flare 450, and you don't need the 12 grids
Best for tracing
Description:

Best opaque art projector for tracing, enlarging, and transferring artwork

Why should you get it?:
Because you are fed up with the grid method and just want to trace your art 🙂
Opaque XL
Description:

Best XL opaque art projector for tracing, enlarging, and transferring artwork

Why should you get it?:
Because you want a classic opaque projector that can both reduce and enlarge
Best mini
Description:

Best mini projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and indoor murals

Why should you get it?:
Because it's super tiny, has a great price point, and is wireless
Budget
Description:

Best budget projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and indoor murals

Why should you get it?:
It's super cheap, and many artists use it on a budget
Splurge option
Description:

Best video projector for artists, gaming, and movies

Why should you get it?:
Because you are fancy and want bling ... seriously ... because you just want one awesome projector for everything ...

#1 My Pick: Artograph Inspire 1200 Digital Art Projector

My Pick
Artograph Inspire 1200 Digital Art Projector

Best digital projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and murals

Quadcast RGB LEDs with 30k hours lifespan || Throw distance from 16″ (A3) to 200″ (5m) || Throw ratio 1.2:1 || 32 built-in grid patterns || Portable || 3h rechargeable battery run time || 4k resolution || Vertical keystone || Many connectivity options including USB-C

Artograph Inspire 1200 is a portable, rechargeable, and powerful digital art projector you can use indoors and outdoors.

If you are an advanced or professional artist painting on canvas or making wall art, it could save you a lot of time in your process.

Direct connection with my iPad - Artograph Inspire 1200 - ©Art Side of Life
Artograph Inspire 1200 connected to my iPad – ©Art Side of Life

I have been using it since its introduction to retail at the beginning of 2023. To learn more, read my in-depth review of Artograph Inspire 1200.

I found it great for scaling up and tracing portraits, landscapes, and murals in my studio, office, home, and outdoors.

It projected my artwork exceptionally well, with accurate colors and details without pixelation. It worked really well in a dark room but also during the day. I appreciate that because I don’t like working in the dark.

Perspective grid - Artograph Inspire 1200 - ©Art Side of Life
The perspective grid is of great help – Artograph Inspire 1200 – ©Art Side of Life

I’d definitely use it for live workshops in mid-sized rooms with audiences of up to 25 people.

With the included USB-C port, I could easily connect it to my iPad Pro or MacBook, which makes it my ideal pick.

ProsCons
➕ Quadcast RGB LEDs (30k hours lifespan)➖ Mounting plate (included) is needed for a tripod
➕ 4K resolution➖ Remote control doesn’t include keystone buttons
➕ Powerful and portable
➕ Rechargeable battery (3h runtime)
➕ 32 built-in grid patterns
➕ Digital focus adjustment with remote control
➕ Vertical keystone adjustment
➕ USB-C port
➕ Solid build

Specs:

An artist who uses it:

This has become my favorite digital art projector. It has a great throw distance and projects well in dark and lit rooms. I can also use it outdoors. The resolution is amazing, and I can take it anywhere with me. The 32 built-in grids are so helpful, totally speeding up my work.

#2 Portable Pick: Artograph Flare 500 Digital Art Projector

💡 Heads up: The Artograph Flare 500 is the new model that took over from the Artograph Flare 450 in late 2023. It’s got some cool upgrades like max. 4K resolution, digital focus controls, a better remote control, and 36 grid patterns.

NEW
Artograph Flare 500 Digital Art Projector

Best portable projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and indoor murals

Easy to carry, weights less than 1lb (~400g) || 2 hours rechargeable battery run time || Triple RGB LEDs with 30k hours lifespan || Max 4K resolution || Throw distance from 10″ (A4) to 150″ (4m) || Throw ratio 1.2:1 || 36 built-in grid patterns || Vertical keystone || Many connectivity options

Artograph Flare 500 is a lightweight, portable, and rechargeable mini digital art projector you can carry anywhere.

I think both beginners and advanced artists will find it useful. Beginners can learn the art fundamentals, and advanced artists can use it for their traveling projects.

Projector Box Remote Control - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
Projector, box, and remote control – Artograph Flare 450, the predecessor of Flare 500 – ©Art Side of Life

I have been using the Flare 450 (predecessor of Flare 500) for quite some time now. To learn more, read my in-depth review of Artograph Flare 450.

Once I got the hang of the remote control, it was great for scaling up and tracing portraits, landscapes, and murals on the desktop, in the studio, office, or at home in good light conditions.

It worked better in a dark room, but it didn’t lack much, with a bit of daylight coming through.

12 grid patterns - Artograph Flare 450 - ©Art Side of Life
So many grid patterns – Artograph Flare 450 (predecessor of Flare 500) – ©Art Side of Life

I can also imagine using it for live workshops in smaller rooms with audiences of up to 10 people.

ProsCons
➕ Triple RGB LEDs (30k hours lifespan)➖ Less powerful than bigger models
➕ Lightweight and portable
➕ Rechargeable battery (2h runtime)
➕ 36 built-in grid patterns
➕ Vertical keystone adjustment
➕ USB-C port
➕ Improved remote control (compared to Flare 450)

Specs:

An artist who uses it:

I’ve used the Flare 450 (predecessor of Flare 500) mostly in my studio because it’s not as powerful as the Artograph Inspire 1200 above. It still projects well in both dark and lit rooms. I love that it’s so small and lightweight that I almost forget I have it in my backpack. I can carry it anywhere. It fits easily on any tripod and lasts over 2 hours when fully charged. Pretty awesome mini and portable projector!

#3 Alternative to Inspire 1200: AAXA M7 Digital Projector

AAXA M7 Digital Projector

A cheaper alternative to Artograph Inspire 1200

Same specs, but without the valuable built-in grid overlays

I think there is some design licensing deal between Studio Designs (who now own Artograph) and AAXA because AAXA M7 looks almost identical to Artograph Inspire 1200.

Specs are the same; the only design difference is that to attach the tripod, you must first attach the mounting plate to the Inspire 1200.

Other than that, there are some software differences in the main menu, and the M7 doesn’t include the 32 valuable grid overlays.

If you want the grids, get Artograph Inspire 1200. If not, get AAXA M7.

ProsCons
➕ Quadcast RGB LEDs (30k hours lifespan)➖ Remote control doesn’t include keystone buttons
➕ 4K resolution➖ No built-in grid overlays
➕ Powerful and portable
➕ Rechargeable battery (3h runtime)
➕ Digital focus control with remote control
➕ Vertical keystone
➕ USB-C port

An artist who uses it:

Artist “I am Detour” tested AAXA M7 digital projector during the day and at night and had great results. He liked how well the M7 performed in his studio during the day. He also liked how it worked at night when he projected on the wall in darkness. And also when he projected on a wall with flood lights. It became his new projector!

#4 Alternative to Flare 450: AAXA P300 Neo Digital Projector

AAXA P300 Neo Digital Projector

A cheaper alternative to Artograph Flare 450

Same specs but without the valuable built-in grid patterns

Like the above, AAXA P300 Neo looks almost identical to Artograph Flare 450. The specs are the same. For the experience and how well it performs, read my Artograph Flare 450 review.

There are some software differences in the main menu, and with AAXA P300 Neo, you won’t be getting the 12 helpful grid overlays.

If you want the grids, get Artograph Flare 450. If not, get AAXA P300 Neo.

ProsCons
➕ Triple RGB LEDs (30k hours lifespan)➖ Remote takes time to get used to
➕ Lightweight and portable➖ Missing USB-C port
➕ Rechargeable battery (2.5h runtime)➖ No built-in grid overlays
➕ Vertical keystone adjustment

#5 Best for tracing: Artograph LED Tracer Opaque Art Projector

Best for tracing
Artograph LED Tracer Opaque Art Projector

Best opaque art projector for tracing, enlarging, and transferring artwork

LED light with 5,000 lumens and 10k hours lifespan || 2x - 14x enlargement || 5″ x 5″ (12 x 12 cm) copy area

Please note: This is not a digital art projector

Artograph LED Tracer is an opaque art projector. It’s not digital. But it uses LED light! The LED light and the mirrors project your paintings, drawings, or printed photos on the wall.

It’s a low-cost and low-tech solution if you are fed up with the gird method and don’t want to draw the grids yourself manually.

ProsCons
➕ LED light with 5,000 lumens➖ No grid overlays
➕ 2x – 14x enlargement
➕ Easy to use

Specs:

An artist who uses it:

Artist Christine Morgano tested the Artograph EZ Tracer (basic model) in her studio and was quite happy. She got it because she was fed up with using the gird method and drawing and transferring the grids herself. She tested it during the day with the blinds shut, and she was very happy with the results and the projected image’s brightness. FYI – the Artograph LED Tracer has the LED light included.

#6 Best XL opaque projector: Artograph Super Prism Opaque Art Projector

Opaque XL
Artograph Super Prism Opaque Art Projector

Best XL opaque art projector for tracing, enlarging, and transferring artwork

2x 250W Halogen lamps || Super Lens: 230 mm f/4.5, 3-element color-corrected, precision-ground lens for extra sharp images || 3x - 20x enlargement and 80% reduction || 7″ x 7″ (18 x 18 cm) copy area

Please note: This is not a digital art projector

Artograph Super Prism is “the” classic opaque art projector from the “early” days. It’s not digital. It uses halogen lamps, very powerful at 250W each, and mirrors to project your paintings, drawings, or printed photos on the canvas and wall.

It’s very low-tech. Everything is manual. Compared to the LED tracer above, it has a bigger copy area, and enlargement capabilities (up to 20x). It includes up to 80% reduction, too, if you have a bigger photo and want to trace it on a smaller canvas.

I was surprised that it projects colors quite accurately, and the projections are very sharp. The “super” lens from which it got its name helps a lot.

Overall, great upgrade if you want something bigger than the LED tracer. However, be aware Artograph Super Prism is quite an old model and might not be that easy to service.

ProsCons
➕ 3x – 20x enlargement➖ Expensive and bulky
➕ 80% reduction➖ No grid overlays
➕ Extra sharp images➖ Requires dark room
➕ Easy to use

Specs:

An artist who uses it:

Amy Gardner Dean (Jerry’s Resident Professional Artist) shows the Artograph Super Prism opaque projector and how it works. When she turns it on in a lit room, there is nothing to see. She has to switch off the lights to see a projection of one of her lettering artworks. When she tests projecting a photo, it’s surprisingly good, considering it’s an opaque projector. The color-corrected lens surely helps!

#6 Best mini: AAXA P8 Smart Mini Digital Projector

Best mini
AAXA P8 Smart Mini Projector

Best mini projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and indoor murals

Compact and lightweight || Triple RGB LEDs with 30k hours lifespan || 1920 x 1080 resolution || Throw distance from 16″ (A3) to 120″ (3m) || Many connectivity options incl WiFi and USB-C

I also wanted to include a mini projector for artists because sometimes you don’t want to enlarge images onto the canvas or wall but rather want to trace them on a simple A4 or A3 paper.

I think AAXA P8 mini projector will work great for this.

It’s super small and super light, so you can attach it to a tripod or table rig and make overhead projections.

Specs:

ProsCons
➕ Triple RGB LEDs (30k hours lifespan)➖ No built-in grid patterns
➕ Super lightweight➖ No rechargeable battery
➕ Vertical keystone adjustment➖ Images may get pixelated when projected on a bigger wall
➕ WiFi and AirPlay➖ Included tripod is flimsy
➕ USB-C port

An artist who uses it:

Artist “I am Detour” tested this AAXA P8 mini projector in his studio, and he liked it. He got it because his studio is not that big to use a huge projector. He used it during the day and at night, and it performed quite well. The colors were quite accurate. The only thing that didn’t work well was that his image was pixelated when projecting on the big wall, but he mostly uses the projectors to throw down his outlines, so he didn’t mind that much. He was positively surprised by the WiFi and AirPlay function so that he could connect his iPad to the projector without any cable.

#7 Budget option: AuKing M8-F Digital Projector

Budget
AuKing M8-F Digital Projector

Best budget projector for artists, tracing, canvas painting, and indoor murals

Compact and lightweight || LEDs with 55k hours lifespan || 1920 x 1080 resolution || Throw distance from 35″ (±A1) to 170″ (4.5m) || Many connectivity options || In the UK under brand XuanPad

Most of the digital projectors on my list are quite expensive. And if you are an artist on a budget or you are just starting out, it can be hard to justify the purchase of an expensive art projector.

That’s why I did some digging for more affordable digital projectors that actual artists use and are satisfied with. Because, as you know, cheaper tech can have all kinds of problems.

The AuKing M8-F digital projector seems to be doing alright for many artists.

The specs are not as good as Artograph or AAXA projectors above, but for the price, it can be a solid art projector for tracing.

ProsCons
➕ Bright with a good contrast ratio➖ No RGB LEDs
➕ Affordable➖ No battery
➕ Portable➖ Remote control is pretty much only for “play” and “stop”
➕ Micro SD support included

Specs:

An artist who uses it:

Artist Fulton uses this AuKing projector to trace photographs for his portraits. In his demonstration, he mentioned he had a bit of a challenge focusing his image right, and it took him some time. What I noticed is that when he turns off the lights, the projector is pretty bright but with washed-out colors in the main menu. I’d be concerned about this because correctly represented colors are important to me. On the other hand, the contrast is good enough for tracing black and white images

#8 Splurge option: Optoma HD39HDR Video Projector

Splurge option
Optoma HD39HDR Home Theater Projector

Best video projector for artists, gaming, and movies

sRGB color wheel || Lamp emits 4,000 lumens with 50,000:1 contrast ratio || 1920 x 1080 resolution || 1.3x zoom || Vertical keystone || 1.12:1 Throw ratio

If you are looking for a new gaming and movie projector which will work great for your art projects, go for it.

It’s a great multi-use projector for tracing, canvas painting, and murals.

ProsCons
➕ Superbright with super high contrast ratio➖ Color wheel instead of RGB LEDs
➕ 1.12 throw ratio➖ Not portable
➕ Quiet
➕ WiFi and AirPlay

Specs:

An artist who uses it:

The artist Alpay Efe uses this projector to enlarge and trace his amazing portraits. His videos are super helpful for anyone considering to be a professional artist.

Main Criteria for Choosing a Projector for Art

When considering the best projector for your art, I recommend that you always look at the following criteria:

LED Lights

It’s crazy, but some projectors still use incandescent lights, which are hotter, less color-neutral, less stable, hard on your eyes, use lots more energy, and have only a fraction of the long life of the newest LED bulbs.

Always aim for the RGB LEDs, which project colors more accurately than projectors with color wheels. They come as “triple RGB” or “quadcast RGB” LEDs. The triple RGB LEDs include three red, green, and blue LEDs and quadcast RGB LEDs include four red, green, blue, and yellow ones.

This ensures the projected image is vibrant and as color accurate as possible compared to the original.

Brightness (Lumens and Contrast)

You may think of projecting in a dark room and not be too concerned about the projector’s brightness, but it’s nice to use your new projector in a lit room or with a bit of daylight coming through.

I, for example, don’t enjoy painting in a dark room, so I always want a projector with enough brightness to project my artwork accurately.

Brightness is shown in lumens which measure how much light the projector emits. They also influence the contrast ratio, or how dark your artwork’s blacks are and how light your whites are.

The projectors for artists tend to have fewer lumens than movies and gaming projectors, but thanks to the RGB LEDs, they project very well in lit rooms and daylight, too.

Resolution

The resolution only applies to a digital projector, which will be projecting digital files.

You can easily see that the sharper projectors make your art sharper without too much pixelation so that you can trace them accurately.

I always work in large Procreate canvas sizes, aiming for digital projectors with a minimum 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) resolution.

Connectivity

Since Apple no longer includes USB ports, I am too picky about any art tech I need to connect to my iPad Pro and MacBook.

I prefer digital projectors with USB-C connectors or HDMI, at minimum. If I can use Wi-Fi or AirPlay, that’s even better. Other than that, I want the digital projector to have a USB port and slot for a memory card, so I don’t have to use it with a cable all the time.

Projection Image Size and Throw Ratio

Projection image size and throw ratio are about how large an image you want to project and how far away from the wall the projector will have to be.

In practice, you want the digital projector to have a throw ratio between 1.1 and 1.2:1. So, for example, with a throw ratio of 1.2:1, if you want to project a 120″ (3m) image, you don’t have to be more than 140″ (3.6m) away.

How to Get the Best Results from an Art Projector

While it is very little to using an art projector – pretty much either open your digital file or lay down your opaque image, turn it on, and trace away – there are still a few things you can do to make sure you are getting the best performance and results and to make your work easier and more effective.

Make sure the projector doesn’t get moved when you’re working

Even the tiniest shift when you’re in the middle of tracing or, even worse, painting a mural onto a wall can be disastrous!

Use a good, solid tripod instead of a table

Not only for stability but for precise adjustability of height and angles. I recommend Artograph digital projector table stand, which extends to 49″ (125 cm).

Artograph Digital Projector Table Stand

Metal three-section monopod base with a padded bottom to protect floors

Two extensions with rubber twist locks allow you to extend to 49 inches high (1.25m)


Use projection grids

To make your life easier, use the built-in grids. They come with Artograph digital art projectors.

When possible, dim the lights

Even though digital projectors, in particular, are super-bright, you may find that your projected image is clearer, has brighter colors, and is easier to see and easier to paint or trace with slightly dimmer ambient light.

You still need enough light to see your supplies and paints and what you’re doing, of course, and to make sure you don’t trip over the tripod or any cables or step on any cats 🙂

Try projecting in different colors

If you are drawing a black-and-white image, try projecting in different colors – depending on the wall or material you are beaming onto or through, the quality of ambient light, and even to some extent, the original image.

Different colors might make things clearer, more contrasty, and easier to see.

Frequently Asked Questions

What projector do artists use?

The artists use Artograph Inspire 1200 digital art projector and Artograph LED Tracer opaque art projector.

What is the best opaque projector?

Artograph LED Tracer is the best opaque projector for artists. It comes with a bright LED bulb and can enlarge up to 14x.

What is the best mini projector for artists?

Artograph Flare 450 is the best mini projector for artists. It is bright enough to work in dark and lit rooms, accurately projects colors, supports full HD resolution, and has 12 built-in grid overlays.

What is the projector for enlarging art?

The projector for enlarging art is either the opaque art projector Artograph LED Tracer or digital art projector Artograph Inspire 1200.

Is it cheating to use a projector for painting?

No, it’s not cheating to use a projector for painting. Artists at all levels, from beginners to professionals, use projectors to make their lives easier. Projectors save time because they help you get perspective, composition, and proportions right the first time.

Do real artists use projectors?

Yes, real artists use projectors to make their life easier while working, for example, on wall art, murals, and large-scale artwork. In this case, the art projectors help artists mark the outlines, proportions, and compositions properly. Beginner artists use projectors to learn the art fundamentals by tracing and copying art on a larger scale.

I hope my guide helped you to choose your new art projector and you will have a lot of fun painting on canvas, walls and making murals.

Lis cet article en français 🇫🇷 Le meilleur projecteur pour dessiner

Iva

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »

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