Image Transfers and Art Journaling: A Blender Pen Technique and More

Whether you make journal pages to create art, to experiment, or a little of both, it’s fun to make image transfer techniques part of the mix. Image transfers can give your journal pages depth and interest whether you use them in layered backgrounds or as focal points.

image transfers on journal page dea fischer
Dea Fischer used three image transfer techniques in her ‘Dictionary of Sorrows’ journal page spread.

There are many ways to make image transfers. You can use everything from a water-based inkjet image transfer to photo transfers using an emulsion transfer technique.

Here are two examples of journal art using image transfer techniques. In the first, Dea Fischer uses three kinds of image transfers to create her spread in the round robin project “The Dictionary of Sorrows.”

“I worked the piece in multiple layers, journaling in indelible ink onto tissue paper, and then layering in image transfers,” says Dea.

The door image is a gel medium transfer or ‘skin’ she created from a photo she had taken of a doorway. The piece also contains a ‘quick and dirty’ gel medium transfer method; Dea printed some text in reverse and then transferred it onto the surface of the piece as a final layer. There is also a subtle blender pen transfer of a map in the background, laid down over the background layers and before any surface layers were created.

Because of the layering, Dea’s image transfers have a subtle effect on this piece of artwork. Contrast that with Seth Apter’s journal page, which puts the image transfer front and center-even though Seth used one of the same techniques as Dea, a toner transfer method.

Image transfer ideas | Seth Apter
Seth Apter used a toner transfer method with a blender pen
on the image of the feet.

“The image of the feet, anchoring this page about balance in my art journal, is an image transfer that was made using a Chartpak blender pen,” says Seth, who outlines his steps for us.

1. I first photocopied the image that I decided to use, as you need a toner copy for this process to work. Images printed on an inkjet printer will not transfer. It is also important to remember that the transferred image will be the mirror image of your original copy.

2. Next I laid the photocopied image on the journal page, toner side down.

3. Using the heavy tip from the blender pen, I then repeatedly burnished the back side of the photocopy. When you begin to see the image appear on the backside of the copy paper you know it is transferring. During the process, I lifted the corner of the paper periodically, careful not to move the image, to see when the transfer was complete.

Note: This is a very simple, no-mess process but it is important to do it in a well-ventilated area as the xylene in the blender pen is toxic, Seth says.

Image transfers are, by nature, imperfect. Therefore, your art journal is a great place to experiment with different image transferring techniques. For more art journaling ideas and techniques, we have an amazing deal for you on some of our favorite products.

For a limited time, we’re offering Expanded Art Journaling: Beyond the 2-Dimensional Page, a bundle of art journaling expertise and inspiration are available including PAGES 2011 download, Seth Apter’s book The Pulse of Mixed Media and his video Easy Mixed Media Techniques for the Art Journal, plus several other top mixed-media videos and books. There are only 100 of these bundles, so get yours now.

P.S. What’s your favorite image transfer technique, and why? Leave a comment below.


Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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