Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Transfers and Altered Images by Chris Cozen

Known for their wide variety of craft books, Design Originals has recently published Chris Cozen’s second book, Transfers and Altered Images.

This 35 page, soft cover book provides a basic introduction to making transfers using acrylic gels and mediums. While Chris Cozen is a working artist for Golden Artist Colors, she states that products from other manufacturers will yield similar results when following the directions given in this book.

The Transfers and Altered Images book is divided into two sections; “The Process” and “The Application”. The first thing that Chris explains in the book is the different acrylic products that can be used to make transfers along with the effects of each one. She then begins to teach how to do the two basic transfers; Face to Face Image Transfers and Gel ‘Skin’ Transfers. This is also known as “The Process”. Once the transfers have been created, Ms. Cozen then begins to demonstrate how to stack, overlap, paint, and create compositions using your transfers.

The final portion of the book is devoted to creating ‘faux’ transfers using rubber stamps and Digital Ground products. Of course we are not all perfect and so failed transfers are bound to happen once in awhile. Chris then shows how she has taken what would be considered a ‘mistake’ and turned it into a piece of art worth of display.

After reading through this book I felt empowered to create beautiful transfers just like artist, Chris Cozen! It did not matter that this artist has 30 years of experience; her easy-to-understand instructions made me feel as though I could be an accomplished transfer artist in 24 hours! It was time to begin my journey…..

It did not take me long to realize that you cannot become an accomplished transfer artist overnight – literally. The use of toner or laser prints should be used to achieve the best results of which I had neither. The nearest copy store is a 25 mile drive from my home, so I decided to go ahead and try my inkjet printout even though they would be a bit fuzzy. My first attempt was to use my inkjet copy using the Soft Gel (glossy) on a piece of canvas paper to create a face to face transfer. Once the gel was dry I removed the paper backing according to the directions and I was less than pleased with the results. I then decided to try this same transfer technique using a piece of scrapbook paper and voila! It was a success!


My next attempt would be to make a gel skin of my inkjet print by using Clear Tar Gel along with the Glass Bead Gel. This is where patience is needed, of which I seem to have very little. I tried to let my images sit but the temptation to touch it was just too much, therefore I ruined my pieces by trying to remove the backing before my images were completely dry.

While working with the Clear Tar Gel I accidentally dumped the product onto my Teflon craft sheet so I poured most of the product back into the jar but left some on the sheet to make a clear gel skin for later use. I then decided that I would make a trip to the copy store to get toner copies to work with. By the time I arrived home with my toner copies, it was late in the evening so I prepped my copies with Clear Tar Gel and set them aside to dry overnight, (I had decided that I would use gel skins for my projects). By the next morning, my Clear Tar Gel skin that I was making on my craft sheet was still cloudy which meant that it was not quite dry. This was due to the humidity in the air from all of our recent rains but once I turned on the A/C to draw the humidity out of the house, my ‘skins’ began to quickly dry.

My Teflon craft sheet was not clean when the Clear Tar Gel was accidentally dumped onto it and I was curious to find out if the color would transfer onto the skin. As I lifted the skin from the craft sheet I found that the color did transfer which gave a transparent skin color in various places. I liked the results that I achieved from this accident.

I then removed the backing paper from my Clear Tar Gel copy ‘skins’ and they both produced excellent results and now I was finally ready to begin putting my projects together.

For my first project I used an 8 x 8 inch piece of acrylic and made a face to face transfer on the back using Soft Gel (glossy) and sheet of scrapbook paper. Since the Soft Gel dries rather quickly this process did not take long. Once the transfer was complete I positioned my Rooster ‘skin’ onto the front of the acrylic. Because the ‘skin’ was transparent it allowed the patterned paper to show through but it muffled the focal point. Since I had not adhered the Rooster ‘skin’ to the acrylic I removed it and used a buff colored acrylic paint to color in the backside of the rooster. This made the rooster less transparent and did not allow the patterned paper to muffle the image. After the paint was dry I used more of the Soft Gel (glossy) to adhere the Rooster ‘skin’ to the front of the acrylic sheet. I added some die cuts along with a fabric hanger and my project was ready for display.

  Tammy_DO2 Tammy_DO3
Title: Rooster
Products used: Acrylic Sheet (Grafix)
Patterned Paper (Daisy D's)
Die Cut Flowers and Letters (Daisy D's)
Acrylic Paint (Claudine Hellmuth)
Rooster Image (Google images)
Tar Gel (Golden Paints)
Soft Gel (Golden Paints)
Fabric (Misc)

Now that my first project was complete, I was more than ready to start on my layout. I have an 8 x 8 inch album dedicated to my grandmother. I love this whimsical picture of her and my grandfather at Knott’s Berry Farm in the 1930’s. Since I had made a skin of the photograph I knew that it would be transparent and objects behind it would show through. It seemed that a love note would be the perfect backdrop for this photograph so I used a word stamp on the Clear Tar Gel skin to resemble a letter. Remember that this skin was discolored? Well, it worked perfectly in this layout to give it the aged look that was needed. I then used a portion of the face to face transfer I made using a piece of canvas paper and scrapbook paper and placed it behind the photograph as well. A few more embellishments and my page resembled a small vintage collage.

Title: Romance
Products used: Cardstock (Prism)
Canvas Pad (Frederix)
Clear Tar Gel (Golden)
Soft Gel (Golden)
Stazon ink (Tsukineko)
Walnut Ink (Ranger)
Patterned Paper (Pink Paislee)
Rubberstamp (TAC)
Marker (Copic)
Pen (Micron)
Trim (Memoryvilla)
Misc other

Exploring the world of Transfers and Altered Images was a great experience and one that I probably would never have ventured into had it not been for this book. Although my experiences started off a little rocky, in the end I was completely satisfied with my results. Ms. Cozen gives plenty of tips and suggestions throughout the book to help make your transfers successful.

One area that I did not cover in this book was the use of Digital Ground Products. According to the book, this product allows you to use your home printer to create ‘faux’ transfers on any number of surfaces including aluminum foil! Now that sounds like an area I would love to explore!

There is a wealth of information contained within these 35 pages. If you love exploring different art mediums then I suggest that you pick up a copy of Chris Cozen’s Transfers and Altered Images book, published by Design Originals.

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