ok - i posted this in my sketchbook, but since this is where a lot of people look for information on techniques, i thought it would be useful to post here...
doing an acrylic medium transfer is actually quite easy and quick. its just that the first time i did it it was for a bag with a really really rough surface which made everything a lot harder..
you can do this with photocopies of photographs, line art, paintings, whatever. and on almost any carrier, wood, fabrics, canvas, etc.
after you're done, you can go over the whole thing again and transfer another image if you want, or paint over it with acrylic, whatever.
i did this customized bag a little while ago, from a line drawing i did:
what you need for the acrylic medium transfer:
- a black and white (!) photocopy of whatever it is you want to transfer. mirrored of course, cause you're gonna print it... it seems to work best if the photo copy is not too old. for this tut i decided to use a blown up sketch i did on the train...
a contrasty source image will probably work better than some really weak greys. with line art i set the copy machine a bit darker, cause you loose a tiny bit of line weight in the transfer process. with a darker copy you can compensate for that.
-a carrier where you want to print on. i took a wooden panel and gessoed it twice (letting it dry in between). i didnt sand it cause i thought i might like an imperfect transfer.
-acrylic gel medium. i used golden acrylic regular gel gloss, but others might work fine too.
-a baren (i think thats the english name) to press on your print when you put it on your carrier.
-some old newspapers
-a sponge, bit of water, and some sheets of paper.
make sure your board or fabric, or whatever it is you want to transfer onto, is clean. ie. remove all dust, hairs etc beofre you start.
place the photocopy, copy side up and start putting acrylic medium on there. i use my fingers or a sponge to do this, depending on the surface.
do it quick and roughly even, no need to be anal about it. you can experiment with thick or thinner layers - which will affect drying time and when its best to pull away the paper. try out before you want to do an important piece. it works different for fabric or for board etc.
all done, and because i took time to wipe my hands and take a pic, i immediately started to flip the page, and position it on the board...
like so - it acts a bit like a sticker so be sure you tried out before where you want it on your board, and make sure you put it on like you would a giant sticker. meaning start from one side and make sure you get no bubbles.
then you take another piece of paper and put it between the copy and your baren or whatever it is you use to press and rub that print down. do it quick, and make sure you press down allover the print, without moving it of course. i mostly hold the art with one hand, and use one arm and my body weight to rub that stuff on there.
because i again take photos, i immediately begin peeling away the paper surface. what will happen, if everything goes right, is the upper layer will let go, while the bottom layer - with the photocopied art on it - stays on your carrier.
if you peel away too quick, you end up damaging your blacks, if you peel away too late, you end up with excessive paper, which is then more difficult to remove. try it a couple of times to get the timing right as it also depends on how much medium you put on there...
peeling - here you can see the upper layer and the bottom paper layer well
done, so far
now you need to get rid of the excess paper that is still covering you board and your art. this is the most difficult part. you can peel away with your finger, using your nails, or wetting your finger a bit, or with a damp sponge.
i mostly use an old construction-man glove that you can get here in japan. i wet it and go over the lines
you can see the effect of that here
the bigger patches where there is no art, just paper, i remove with the rough side of the sponge
looks done, but once that water you used to remove the paper dries, you start seeing a slight paper layer again. so you remove some more paper with the glove and water, all the time being careful not to rub too hard or you loose your blacks...
because i accidentally spattered paint on there i decided to add more paint splatter and drips.
and also used thinned black acrylic to paint over the black, saving me the work of getting rid of the last paper.
i sort of regretted this because i liked the rough, uneven quality of the transfer on un sanded gessoed panel. but there is no undo button so go with the flow...
you can of course go over your transfer with more acrylic medium, or paint over it, or do another transfer of a different image on top of this one. you can add a last gel medium layer if you want to seal that whole thing down (for outside use for example - which is what i did with the bag).
this is what the final looks like... right now. although i might go over it again with another transfer.
total working time, something like 20-30 minutes.
hope that inspires some people to try it out. again, you can also transfer black and white photos this way, and put it on your mailbox or car or whatever. try it out a bit before you commit to something irreplacable though. have fun.