I mark most of my designs out. While it isn't my favorite thing to do, I take the time to do it to get the look I want and maintain some continuity throughout the design. Here is a quick tute on how I go about marking the dark fabric in my top. This is only one way of many that it can be achieved.
For this particular method, first thing I do is starch and press my top. the starch acts as kind of a film on the fabric which makes removing marks easier.
I draw out my design actual size. This was my first conception, a drawing based on the famous 19th century Japanese woodblock by Hokusai called the Great Wave of Kanagawa
This ended up being too complex and lifelike for the quilt so I modified it to be more stylized and fill in the background more. I draw on tracing paper so I can see through it for placement on the quilt. I usually make several copies because the transfer process ends up ruining the paper. The stylus gouges into it and tears it due to going over the same lines repeatedly:
I use wax free white transfer paper and a stylus to transfer the drawing to the top. I do this on a hard surface before loading. I used the table on the back of my LA where pantos go to do the marking. You can find this transfer paper at artist supply stores or on line. (for light fabric I would use Saral graphite paper). You can use a sheet over and over before it quits transferring.
Here is the drawing placed on the quilt with the transfer paper underneath. I go over every line with the stylus to transfer:
Here is the transferred drawing. As you can see the lines are very faint and hard to see:
So I go over it with a chalk pencil in white. I picked this one up at an artist supply store and really like it.
See how much easier the lines are to see
This design is going in the border of my quilt. It took approximately 4 1/2 hours to mark the entire border of a 94 x 106 quilt with a 10" wide border using this process. It is time well spent IMHO. Now I can load the quilt and start quilting. The bonus of tracing this design so many times on my top I now have a muscle memory for the design and have kind of figured out a thread path for continuous quilting (with some back tracking and echoing thrown in).
Here is the design all quilted out:
I don't stress about staying exactly on the line, in fact in many places the line was simply a guide to help me quilt the waves out. Most of the chalk and transfer lines brush out with a towel. The remainder will wash out. I will make sure to post the whole quilt when it is done.
Hope this helps people with ideas on marking a quilt.