Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Ink Transfer Comparisons
(Image on the right is an emulsion lift transfer. Image on the left is a transfer from transfer film. Click on the image to see it larger).
Recently, I started experimenting with "emulsion lift" type ink transfers rather than transfers made by printing on transfer film and transferring the ink to various materials (in this case, baltic birch plywood).
The emulsion lift transfer is made by printing an image onto paper, then applying multiple coats of acrylic gel medium on the paper. You then soak the paper/gel combination in a tray of warm, distilled water until the paper itself becomes saturated enough to remove by lightly rubbing it off with your finger. What you are left with is a "skin" or emulsion with the image on it. This skin can then be transfered to any media by adhering it with another coat of acrylic gel medium (on the media you're transferring to). The acrylic gel acts like a glue to hold the skin in place and dries clear. The whole thing has a slightly milky look to it and the image itself is less defined than it would be if you did a transfer directly from transfer film. You can also leave some of the paper in place to create a "look" rather than removing it all in the soaking stage. And after the piece has thoroughly dried, you can apply an additional coating such as varnish or a textured coating such as encaustic wax to enhance it further.
Anyway, the whole process is explained much better on the Alternative Photography website. Check it out here. There's also a tutorial about direct ink transfers to wood. This is the method that I pretty much use for my transfers.