Image Transfer

I never thought it would be hard to write about some special “skill” you have or thing you’ve figure out that probably no one else knows, but I guess it’s kind of like having a secret recipe. You want to have the best pie in the world and not have anyone else be able to duplicate it.

Well, I started this website with the purpose of maybe helping other artists become better by teaching them what I’ve learned so hopefully they don’t have to waste a bunch of time trying a million things out. So I will share my “secret” technique.

Initially I looked all over the web for the best way to transfer an image onto a painting. None of the explanations of how to do it were good enough. They all kind of made sense but they were missing a step, so it never completely came out right. So I decided to try my own technique.

1. Print out the image you want on tracing paper and let the ink completely dry. The kind of tracing paper you use is important (make sure you get the thinnest you can find). You have to be pretty careful because the ink will smudge very easily. You may have to reprint it if the printer smudges the ink.

2. Put a thin, even layer of gloss gel (I use medium gel brilliant, Liquitex brand).

3. Slowly lay the image on top of it and press out the wrinkles as best as possible. You have to be very careful on this part so you don’t smear the ink from your image. If it’s a larger image, I will usually spray it with a light coat of varnish before applying the image to my painting (this helps keep the ink from smearing).

4. Once you’ve pasted your image on, spray the top of the image fairly liberally with a varnish. I use an acrylic/oil/alkyl varnish – Winsor & Newton brand. This will set the ink and also make the picture translucent.

5. After that’s dry, you can paint over it, paste over it, put a gloss gel over it, etc. and the ink won’t smear. The image will be translucent and you can blend it in with the painting very well.

I include this technique in almost all of my mixed media paintings, and here are some examples so you can see how it looks when all is said and done:

Comments are closed.