As usual, I do things a bit different than the rest of the world. To start, I do not freehand signs, in fact, I do not make signs, period.
Barb used to use carbon paper to transfer her designs, and have to admit, I think that is where I got the idea, because anything I don't freehand sketch, I now use carbon paper to transfer my design - all original designs, I have some saved on the printer, print one out when I need it, then use carbon paper to transfer it. These are ones with a lot of detail or such, that would take a lot of time to freehand sketch, and too easy to screw up.
Before I trace a pattern, I put a coat of Titebond II glue, thinned 50/50 with water on my wood. Dries very quickly. The reason for this is, once I trace the pattern, I go over it with a fine tip Sharpie marker, and the coat of glue keeps the marker from running, even the wide tip ones. The marker doesn't come off, but I still put maybe 3-4 more coats of the thinned Titebond over it.
I'll be sticking with the carbon paper, it's quite inexpensive, simple to use, and works out very well for what I do, and how I do it. I like it.
"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.