Mixed media collage - photo transparent application

by Julie Yonge

Mixed Media Art Questions for Milliande

I am an average Jo "at home" artist - making gifts for friends and charity work. I would like to make a collage piece where I take paper ephemera and put it down on a blank canvas in a collage manner.

I would then like to add a photo over most or all of the canvas that would let the paper ephemera show through so as to tell a story about the person in the photo.

The photo would be the final, most important element with all the other bits and pieces showing through. Would a gel transfer work for this? I am a little concerned about creating a gel skin and applying it because I don't want thick or showing edges.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance... Julie Yonge

PS Check out the beautiful work of Michelle Caplan.

Mixed Media Art Questions answered by Milliande

Gel medium transfers are notoriously temperamental and it all really depends on 2 things to have a successful gel medium transfer

~ first the surface that you are transferring onto
~ second the gel medium used for the transfer

The best and clearest gel medium transfers are achieved by transferring a design direct onto unpainted paper or canvas... the surface is absorbent enough to react with the paper and ensure a smooth transfer

With transferring onto canvas that has previously been coated with collage papers and ephemera it can be a little bit of hit and miss to get a clear transfer depending on the texture and structure of the ephemera and collage elements

EAch different element would potentially react to the transfer differently ..leaving uneven transfer pieces... one way to go around that is to coat the entire piece with an even layer of glaze or medium first and then transfer on top of that..but as to how clear the transparency remains when another layer is added on top is again a bit hit and miss

I would choose a photo that has a very high contrast.. can be adjusted in photoshop etc.. if it its to remain on top as a contrast to the background collage

Different gel mediums also react differently ...I prefer Goldens Soft Gel Medium in matte for the grungey look of the transfers..however the chalk content that makes the medium matte also leaves it slightly milky... and not soo seethrough

In contrast the Golden gel medium in Gloss gives a more transparent and less milky transfer ..but adds the gloss effect on top of you collage

Gel skins might be a good way forward if there is a bit of a heavy collage underneath... but personally have no experience making gel skins..however golden does have a video on youtube explaining the process which might be worth watching

All in all ..I would do a test collage with some images to play that are not important or treasured... seperate a canvas into like 4 different sections or so and treat each section differently to see which result you are most happy with

hope this helps
have a playful day


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Mar 11, 2010
Printer for Gel medium Tranfers
by: milliande

Each printer ink reacts differently... the easiest transfers can be achieved with cheap quality inkjet printers...as they ink is not that permanent and helps to be transfered smoothly ..however the light fastness of some of the cheaper inks is not as good -- so it depends on how durable the project needs to be

~ so for doing transfers in art journals etc that are not necessarily going to be exposed to the light ..the cheaper the inkjet printer ink the better often the transfer result

~ however if transferring onto a canvas or an artwork that is going to be displayed etc.. then sunlight can easily fade the image or yellow it with age... so a good quality inkjet printer will yield an image that is more light fast...but the transfer can be a bit hit and miss...as the ink is designed to adhere thoroughly ..I find I have to work relatively fast and with a fresh copy or printout from my printer to get a good result with a gel medium transfer

~ laser printer are the most durable printers ... however color laserprinters are relatively expensive to obtain ... often people choose to use color copies from a xerox shop etc to transfer images---again a clean image can be obtained , that is durable and light fast ...but not so convinient for instant home use

hope this helps
milliande :-)

Mar 10, 2010
About printing after step Photoshop
by: Massessi Malou (Anaïs)

Milliande thank you for your explanations.

But I ask myself another question, when working with photoshop an image to add contrast, we must then print it.
But here is my question: what kind of printer should I use?? Inkjet or laser?

Thank you in advance for your reply.


Malou (Massessi)

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