Sunday, August 29, 2010

Experimenting with Image Transfer

It's been busy here on the home front as I continue to prepare for October's Arts and Crafts Fair in Raleigh.  In an attempt to create some new pieces for the fair, I spent one weekend experimenting with image transfer.  I've always wondered how it was done, particularly when creating a mixed media collage.  I found the following video on Vimeo and was determined to learn how to do it myself:

Mixed Media / Image Transfer from Jarrod Renaud on Vimeo.

So with supplies in hand, I began to experiment.

Fun with Image Transfers

I began with taping down a piece of water color paper and saturating it with water.  I also trimmed some images that I wanted to transfer to my paper.

Tape Down Paper

Saturate Your Paper

Choose Your Images

Next, I began applying color to the saturated paper.

Add Color

Once the color and paper were dry, I began to spread a thick coat of gel medium evenly on my images.  Once the images were coated, I plopped them face down on my paper.  To ensure even adherence to the paper, I used a brayer to flatten the images.

Apply Gel Medium and Flatten

I allowed the images to dry completely.  Once the images were dry, I used a spray bottle of water to saturate the images.  Using my fingers and a sponge, I rubbed off the paper backing of the images.  As I rubbed the paper away, I could start to see mirror images of my... well... images.  This is what I ended up with:

Rub Off the Paper


The first few image transfers I created, I went back over with pen and ink to create details and faces.  Although I like the final pieces, I felt that the pen and ink work took away from the original images.

Thems Fightin' WordsJust Chillin'Coupledom

On my second round of image transfers, I tried something different.  Instead of coloring the paper first, I transferred the images first and did the water color last.  As you can see, the gel medium blocked the water color from saturating the paper.

My Hero!Missing CowboyAccessory DivaMy Other Car is in the Shop

Although I enjoyed experimenting with image transfers, I still think I need quite a bit of practice, both in patience and in technique.

This Is How I Roll
"Why not go out on a limb?  Isn't that where the fruit is?"
- Frank Scully


  1. Yep, you're sorta onto something here, and you are correct: It is very difficult to put something as concrete as pen-and-ink, whether as words or as an image, and get that to work with the more abstract stuff on the same page. The view of the one disrupts the view of the other.

    Nonetheless, it can work. It's a matter of making the edges fit such that the flow of the one leads to the flow of the other congruently. You don't want to threaten and tip the viewer's little canoe.

  2. Yeah, I'll have to keep experimenting. I think I'm going to try the transfers on canvas next. Image transfer is difficult to control on water color paper, but as a technique, it's addictive.



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