Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists


“A dreamer is someone who can only find their way by moonlight and their punishment is that they see the dawn before the rest of the world.”  Oscar Wilde



What is a Photo Transfer?


The subtle lovely image above looks just like a drawing!  It is in fact, a photo transfer.  Here I will show you how in this easy exercise which takes about 15 minutes.   You will need to prepare first by making a colour photocopy image to work from (I did mine at the local library.)  Photos of relatives, babies and children work really well with this process and with a frame around they look fantastic for a bedroom or wherever.

You will need:

  • A coloured photocopy of a subject you like.
  • A small bottle of Acetone (available from the hardware store)
  • Good quality artists paper (I used cartridge paper)
  • Clean rags
  • Rubber gloves
  • a 6B pencil or similar
  • an artists’ board or firm piece of cardboard to work on.  (I used a resin plate I had for mono printing.)

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As I was working on  a childhood theme at the time, I decided to use this colourful romper suit to work from.  My mother had made one of these suits for me from an Enid Gilchrist pattern book when I was a child.  Working on this created wonderful memories of play, freedom, adventure, sunshine, climbing, playing, freedom and fun.

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Firstly, I cut the cartridge paper to fit the photocopy (in this case A4)  and placed the romper suit image on the board face up.   Make sure the board is clean of dust and debris.  Next I placed a white piece of cartridge paper on top of the play suit image.

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Next I wet a clean rag with the acetone and rubbed it over the top piece of cartridge paper where the image would have been underneath. I could see the shape of the image underneath as I was doing this

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Next I went over the top page with a 6b graphite pencil held horizontally so as not to tear  it.  I pressed firmly and carefully at this stage making sure to cover the entire area where the image would be.  The wet top page dries off quickly so there should be no problems at this stage.

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Next I peeled the acetone soaked top page off to reveal a beautiful shimmering image of the romper suit complete with subtle shadows.

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I then decided to take the work further by cutting around the original image with Photoshop to isolate the play suit (below right.)

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The image on the left was what I came up with.  I preferred the first attempt myself although if you are a “neat freak” this process may appeal to you. Voila!  This was so easy I am going to do some photo transfers of children and give them as gifts for Christmas.

For more on Enid Gilchrist diy patterns and rompersuits see

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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The private property aspect of creativity must be destroyed, all are creators and there is no reason of any sort for this division into artists and non-artists.” El Lissitzky

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“Contemporary art is a conscious and organized life that is able to see and build. Any person who has organized his life, his work and himself is a genuine artist.”  Alexander Rodchenko