Oil Transfer Method

TRANSFERS IN MORE DETAIL

Hello artists.

So today we’re going to talk about some other methods of transferring your design onto your ground – whether you’re ground is a panel, maroflaged canvas, or is just a canvas or linen. This technique is more suited to smoother grounds than coarse weaves.

LIGHT ON DARK OR DARK ON LIGHT

Now, first thing that we can think about is what is the colour of our imprimatura. What ground are we working from? Are we working from a very dark imprimatura? How we working from a very light imprimatura. And so this kind of consideration would change whether our cartoon is going to be made of dark lines or is going to be made of light lines.

Because obviously, if our canvas is a mid-tone or light, we need our lines to be dark to see them. Or if our ground is dark, we would need the lines to be light to see them. So it’s relative.

CHARCOAL TRANSFER

One of the easy traditional ways of transferring is to cover the back of your drawing or best cover the the back of a copy of photocopy or a print of your drawing with vine charcoal and press down the design with HP pencil. And that way we’re pressing the lines of charcoal down into our canvas

INDIA INK

Then we can ink in those lines with India ink. We want to make sure the India ink is waterproof if we’re using any acrylic and premature, we don’t want our lines to wash away, so it’s always important to check the brand to particular, type of ink.

DON’T OVERSTRETCH BINDER

You’re using to make sure that it stays put under both water-based paints and an oil-based paint. I found that traditional shellac. India ink is very good for this because the shellac binder holds fast under both, water-based paints and oil-based paint. If we water down the ink too much though, we dilute the binder

So you have to think ‘oh, if I dilute the binder of the ink, if I water down my ink, then I’m watering down its binding power’. So even with a shellac based ink, if you overstretch the binder, it’s going to be fragile under the influence of acrylic paints or oil paint.

We don’t want to stretch our ink with too much water, but use it fairly strong and that way the binder should be able to withstand brushing over it with an acrylic paint or an oil paint.

CREATING LIGHT CARTOON LINES RATHER THAN DARK

For instance, we might have our imprimatura or several layers of paint already down. So we’d working on a panel that’s already dark with paint and in that situation tracing or pressing down charcoal into oil. Paint is not particularly to be recommended because we might end up with a dirty look of the charcoal in paint.

So the options could be possibly working with chalk white chalk or using a pre-made product called trace down or a white copy paper. If it’s not available, we can use titanium dioxide powder on the back of our printout or our drawing instead of charcoal in order to get those lines down.

USING CHARCOAL, CHALK OR DRY TITANIUM DIOXIDE LACKS BINDER

Using rubbed in titanium dioxide powder, indeed we’ll end up with white lines on dark imprimatura or dark paint. However just using titanium dioxide powder on the back of a drawing has its drawbacks and that would be that we risk smudging titanium dark side powder into our paint or into our imprimatura where we don’t want it. And the other deficit is that titanium dark side powder being pressed down without any binder is essentially loose. So it’s going to wash away or come off when we try and paint on top of it.

CURRENT RECOMMENDATIONS

So, my current recommendation is to look into oil trace downs, or oil tracings, which is where we take our design and/or, a copy of our design, as I would recommend because we don’t want to sacrifice our original drawing, when we can just make a copy.

So we take that copy. And we cover the back of that copy with a very thin lean layer of oil paint and that might sound like a strange idea because putting oil paints on the back of a piece of paper will make the paper buckle up and or degrade.

Yes, it will sacrifice our print, our copy of our design. It will essentially wreck the print, but allows us to go and press all lines down in oil paint.

CHOICE OF PAINT

We’re also able to choose very precisely the colour of the trace down lines that we want to make because we can choose which oil paint we want to use.

So for instance, you could use say on a very dark brown imprimatura you would be able to trace down opaque yellow lines or you’ll be able to trace down opaque red lines. That is something that you as the artist can see. But once you’ve painted on top of it, other people won’t see those lines.

CHOOSE OPAQUE PAINT

You will hit trouble seeing your lines if your choice of paint does not have enough contrast or opacity against the imprimatura or paint layer you are placing it on. Iron oxides (the non-transparent variants) like venetian red, gold oxide, mars violet work well, as does titanium dioxide and raw umber.

CLEANER AND MORE CHEMICALLY COMPATIBLE APPROACH

So the oil transfer results in lines that are more able to chemically bind with later layers of oil paints and we reduce the amounts of dust of either charcoal or titanium dark side or chalk. We just get the oil lines down.

PROCESS

So it’s a fairly simple process. We get our prints out or our copy of our drawing, we cover the back with a lean layer of oil paint.

KEEP IT LEAN

So we’re not using lots and lots of cold, press linseed oil and we’re certainly not using glaze medium, we use the smallest amounts of oil if at all, that paints can move so that we can cover the back of our drawing.

WAIT A BIT TO LET PAPER ABSORB EXCESS OIL

We leave the paper to soak in some of that excess oil and we do that so that when we place the drawing are designed to copy paint side down, we’re not going to end up with splotches of random paint.

The paint will have already soaked into the paper to some degree.

TAPE DOWN PAPER PAINT SIDE DOWN AND PRESS LINES DOWN

Then once we’ve taped that in place, then again we just use a nice, sharp HP pencil or something else with a good point. And we press down our lines and then we have a oil-based transfer.

We leave those lines to dry for a day or two and they’re pretty permanent because they are oil paint lines.

EFFICIENCY

this is a very nice way to go because it avoids the redundancy in having to use lots of charcoal, getting charcoal in our paint or on our canvas, and then having to ink in those lines for permanence.

So potentially we don’t need to do that anymore. And also, it lets us add further designs to later stages of the painting. Which, if we were using charcoal would not be advisable or chalk would not be advisable because it would be more messy.

This way, we can get very precise lines in oil, paints of any colour we choose. So from here I would say having looked at the charcoal and inking in process it’s possibly an approach that we could depreciate in favour for this approach.