We all scream for Xylene!

The other day I found a confusing post about something that really caught my eye. Apparently you can use ink blender pens to do image transfers? Color me intrigued! I scoured the internet for more info, as that post was a little bare for my taste. I found out that you need a few things to get started. Naturally, I was all over it. photo 2

Above is a photo of my workstation for the day. Items pictured are:

  • My sketchbook. It has bristol paper, so it'll handle both paint and pencil.
  • A few images to transfer, that I cut out of a local newspaper.
  • Packing tape, to secure the images.
  • Scissors, for...cutting more pictures out.
  • A popsicle stick to press all the bubbles out, if there are any.
  • My lino press, for the same purpose as the popsicle stick. (I ended up using neither.)
  • And most importantly: A BLENDER PEN.

The reason Chartpak is recommended pretty much across the board is because of a chemical called Xylene which is instrumental in the ink transferring process.

I wasn't thinking enough ahead to take step-by-step pictures of the process, so I'll do my best to explain.

  1. FIGURE OUT WHICH PICTURE YOU WANT TO USE. I'd read that pictures from newspapers seem to work the best, so I tried those first. I had absolutely the worst luck with them! The other thing I'd read was that you should only use laserjet, or copier printed images instead of inkjet. The next few pictures I tried were just some I had stored away in my reference box, and those worked the best of all. I have no idea which type of printer they came out of.
  2. TAPE THE PICTURE TO THE PAPER. If you're at all worried about if you'll manage to keep it in the same spot the entire time you're coating it with ink, (as I am) this step is important. Make sure that the tape you use isn't covering an integral part of the image, because the ink won't be able to soak through the tape. It also doesn't have to be a lot of tape either. A little strip on the corner that just holds the image in place should do it.
  3. OPEN A WINDOW. Believe me when I say those markers smell HORRIFIC. Pretty sure I have a bit of a contact high right now, and it's not at all pleasant.
  4. COAT THE IMAGE WITH YOUR MARKER. After futzing around with a few different styles, what ended up working best for me was coloring right over the important parts of the image with a healthy glop of ink. I tried doing alternating vertical/horizontal lines, but those didn't work as well as just throwing caution to the wind and coloring like I was in preschool. The other thing you can do is peak a little to make sure the image is transferring properly. A few times I'd noticed that some facial intricacies hadn't come out as detailed as I would have liked, so I was able to just glob a few more coats on before taking the tape off.
  5. TAKE A SECOND AND MARVEL IN YOUR ARTISTIC PROWESS. You know, because you're awesome!

Before I'd messed with things a little, I was all ready to right a blog that was like, "I had higher hopes for this experiment." After testing different pictures that I'd had laying around, I was absolutely delighted to find this was a totally viable method of image transferring! In the past I've messed with a plethora of methods of polaroid transfer, so it's nice to find something that isn't as expensive and delivers a comparable result.

Here's how my end product turned out: photo 1

The fuzzy, non-identifiable images are all pictures that I cut out of the newspaper. (Wah-wahhhhhh...) I kept the two scraps of Gillian Anderson, as well as the Alice drawing next to the transfers so you could get an idea of how they turned out vs. the original image.

I HIGHLY recommend giving this a try. After I was able to figure everything out, it was a blast! Don't give up hope if everything looks terrible at first, keep working with it until it does; because the results look awesome.

Happy blending~!