This week's blog is brought to you by visual artist Lea K. Tawd.
Have you wanted to try your hand at some mixed media art but aren’t sure where to start? This is a fun and easy project that has endless applications.
For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ll be doing a transfer to use in my journal. But you can use this with almost any substrate—canvas, wood, paper, or any other sturdy surface.
Step 1: Prepare your image for printing.
The transferred image will be reversed, so if you are using text or anything else that you don’t want reversed, you will first need to flip it in the photo editing software of your choice. You’ll also need to re-size it so that it will print at the size you want. You may want to consider applying a filter if you want to change the photo to black and white, sepia, or another hue. I used an old print of my artwork, but you could use a photo or anything you can think of. Just be sure to avoid images that you don’t have the copyright to, especially if you are going to sell the finished piece. Once your image is ready, print it out!
Step 2: Prepare for transfer.
Carefully cut your image out or tear around it so that you will get more organic edges. Lay it face up on a piece of paper, an old phone book or magazine to protect your work surface. Using your brush, paint a layer of gel medium over the image. Let it dry completely! This may be overnight depending on how thick it is. If it’s a pretty thin layer, then paint another layer until the dry medium it is 1-2mm thick.
Step 3: Prepare your substrate.
If you want to, you can begin your work of art while you wait for the medium to dry. If I’m working on paper or canvas, I will add some paint and collage to get started.
Step 4: Transfer!
Decide where on your surface you want the image to be. Use the gel medium to glue your image face DOWN on the substrate. Use a bone folder or finger to push out all the bubbles and make sure it sticks down. Wait for it to dry completely.
Once dry, use a spray bottle or a little bit of water on your finger to lightly wet the paper that is stuck to the back of the image. Use your finger to gently rub in a circular motion to remove the paper. Continue this until all of the paper is gone. Sometimes I have a hard time telling if it is all gone—if this happens, let it dry and you should be able to see if there are still some remnants of the paper there. It takes some work but keep going!
Step 5: Play!
Add permanent ink, paint, collage, or anything else you can think of to finish your work of art. I haven’t finished mine yet, but you can see that so far I’ve added some paint and white ink. Have fun!