Acrylic transfer/mixed media tutorial part 1

This is my first attempt at a tutorial of any kind, so bear with me. Over the last holy weekend I had 5 days of vacation, so i thought that I’d put it to good use by creating a painting. I was inspired by this article on PCIJ about political dynasties, and while reading it I had the image of a political machine, literally an old clunking gears and pulleys machine clunking out winners. So I googled up old machine and found this image, which thought was perfect:oldmachine2.jpg

So I had my machine. But now I wanted to give it a halftone effect, just for kicks, and remembered the software called rasterbator which takes any images and converts it to a huge halftone copy spanning as many sheets of paper as you want. Just a quick plug, these rasterbator guys are AWESOME. They put together this software and are giving it out for free and all they ask is that you show them what you’ve made with it. So rad. So anyway I’ve got the idea and the image and the rasterbator download, it’s time to buy materials.

<-The rasterbated image.

Now I’m no professional artiste, and this is the first time I’ve really painted in a LONG time, so I’m trying to do everything on the cheap. First off, I need a surface to paint on. Canvas is ok, but expensive if you want the really big kind, and I wanted the really big kind. Plus, I love the texture of wood, so I went to the local hardware store and bought plywood (they come in one size 4×8 feet but I had the guy there cut it in half so I’d have two 4×4 pieces), some white latex acrylic paint, thalo green latex acrylic paint, acrytex (think of it as ink that you use to color the white latex. el cheapo), acrylic emulsion, some paintbrushes, and thinner. All in all I think I spent around 1500 pesos, which isn’t too bad.

<-the materials

Now I wanted to use an acrylic transfer effect, which simply explained is the process of transferring a photocopied image onto an acrylic latex medium. There is expensive acrylic medium specially made to do this but again I am el cheapo so i try to do it with acrylic latex paint. The gist of the process is this. Photocopy the image you want to transfer to the medium (acrylic latex paint). Paint over the image, then paste it onto the surface (the wood). Rub against the back of the iamge some so that it gets into good contact with the surface, wait for it to dry, then peel it off to see the image magically appears on the paint.

fig1.1 it’s pasted.

fig1.2 I peel it off…painfully.

Unfortunately, life’s not that easy. You literally have to rub the paper off with your fingers little by little, trying to make sure you have enough pressure to get the paper off but not so much so that the acrylic itself comes off, taking the print with it, like so:


Unfortunately, this is bound to happen, and I don’t know of any way to make sure it doesn’t. I just tell myself it adds to the “street art” effect and push on, until I get this:

<-after a hard day’s work.

The annoying thing is that no matter how hard you try, there will be little paper fabrics still sticking to the image. If you try to get them off you rub off the image itself, so you’re stuck in a lose lose situation. I found that soaking a sponge in water and scrubbing off the paper that way helps a little, but you have to be really careful you don’t fuck up huge swaths of the image. When the paper fabrics dry they take a lot of the black out of the print, so the solution I came up with is to simply paint of the image and the wood itself with a clear acrylic emulsion. The emulsion “wets” the paper strands, making the image look much darker. When it dries, it will maintain that “wet look” to a certain point, and give your wood a glossy look to it, as well as waterproofing it some. Just be careful what brushes you use, because the cheap ass brushes I used shed hair like a sick dog.

<- tada! all shiny and black!

Ok, that ends part 1 of the tutorial. I’m hungry and i’m gonna go have dinner now. part 2 tomorrow. Maybe.


One Comment to “Acrylic transfer/mixed media tutorial part 1”

  1. Looks great, Ryan! Can’t wait to see part 2!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: