Quick & Easy Image Transfers: Using Creative Collage | Leitha Matz | Skillshare

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Quick & Easy Image Transfers: Using Creative Collage

teacher avatar Leitha Matz, Maker

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Overview & Project Design

    • 2. Examples to Inspire You

    • 3. Materials & a Few Words on Copyright

    • 4. Physical Collage

    • 5. Digital Collage

    • 6. Four Ways to Transfer a Photocopy

    • 7. Direct Application of Images

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About This Class

Image transfer with photocopies is a simple way to create print designs that have a dreamy, evocative quality. In this class, I'm going to show you a few ways to do image transfers using collage design.

Collage is used everywhere from street art and advertising to clothing design, music and fine art. It's fun, and it's accessible: anyone from a kindergartener to a seasoned art professional can snip up pieces of the existing culture and reassemble them into electrifying new hybrids.

All you need is a piece of paper, fabic or wood plus a photocopy and a little acrylic gel medium. Very quickly you'll be able to make something beautful, disturbing or thought-provoking!

Meet Your Teacher

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Leitha Matz



I work as the head of product at a startup, but when I'm not at the office, I'm always making things of my own. I especially love illustrating, writing and design.

Here at Skillshare, I usually focus on creating classes in printing -- everything from stencils to woodblock.

I find printmaking inspiring because anyone can quickly start making successful prints with very few tools. It really opens the doors to producing a vision of your own on all kinds of materials: t-shirts, walls, stationery, stickers and so much more.

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1. Overview & Project Design: Hi, I'm Leyva and up down a number of classes here. It skill chair in different kinds of printing from would cut printing Maino cut to screen printing. But for this class, I'm going to do a technique that is photocopy image transfer, which is a little more modern on dso thes air kind of the effect that you can get with photocopy image transfers. So to do this kind of technique, all you need are some very common materials that you can pick up like an art store or, in some cases, even a regular department store, their common items that a lot of people just have around house already. For your project, you can use any kind of a design you want, but I'm gonna focus in this class on collage, which is an art form that I'm really excited about. What you start looking around. You're going to see examples collage everywhere. It's an advertising. It's street art. You'll see it in print design and buildings and on clothing and their countless directions . You can go with collage from heavy metal wallpaper to this vapor wave stuff that you see all over Tumblr. You might have already done some basic collage work when you were a kid, that's very common that people will do this kind of thing in, like elementary school on. That's part of the beauty of the art of it is. You can do something very basic. When you're a kid, you can do something much more advanced. If you know your professional artist on, you can get a lot of different effects from collage by doing different combinations styles in this class, I'm gonna show you how much fun you can have with different kinds of collage, both digital and physical. And then I'm going to show you the image transfer methods that you can use to put your collage onto surfaces like wood or glass or notebooks, whatever suits your fancy. But first, I'm gonna take you through a few examples of collage to get you excited about the project and making something of your own 2. Examples to Inspire You: early paper collage began in Asia. But some of my favorite collage artists are of the data group artist. The work of Hannah Ho, who worked in photo montage throughout her life, and Max Ernst are both really interesting. Both of these artists use collage to evoke political and social ideas, and it could be really dream, like some of the work by Ernst is particularly nightmarish. 2016 is actually the 100th year anniversary of the Dada movement, and so it's kind of cool to look back on these images and how they were new at that time and what that meant thes were images that people had never seen before, and they were doing things that really influenced movements like surrealism, collages also popular in advertising and design work like this wallpaper. But what's really exciting about collaged thes days is what's happening in street art around the world. You can see physical and digital collage being used on walls and in sticker art. These are just a few of the images of snagged in New York, Barcelona, London, Tokyo and here in Berlin, where street art is a major form of expression. Whether you use cut up photos or illustrations or magazines or old textbooks or newspapers . Whatever else inspires you, I hope that looking at a few of these pieces gives you some inspiration that you can use to bring your own ideas to life and the next video we'll look at materials. 3. Materials & a Few Words on Copyright : So let's talk materials. This is a really simple process, really. All you need is ah, photocopy or a laser print. It's really important that you use something that requires toner because it just provides a better transfer than something like an inkjet printer does. I have a name check printer, and so I just have to walk down to the copy shop on the corner and make Prince that way. So once you have photocopies, then you're ready to make a collage or bring a design to life on. Then the next thing that you're gonna need is material. To do the transfer, you can use acrylic gel medium. This is available. Like any art store. I have a Matt acrylic gel medium. You can also use a shiny acrylic gel medium. They're they're pretty much the same thing. You can also use acrylic leg in and maybe a neutral color. But the gel medium just gives you more options because it's clear, and so it gives you the option to do different things without disrupting the background. You can also use nail polish remover. Look for one that has acetone in it. Acetone nail polish remover can also be used to do transfers with laser prints on photocopies. Another way you could do these transfers is with clear packing tape. You can use contact paper as well. Either way, you wanna have the transparent kind. Andi, You can use this with photocopies or laser prints on. You can make really impressive stickers. I'll show you that soon. Another way to go about this is by using blunder markers, so blender markers again are something you would pick up the art store. This is a kopeck marker, but there are other kinds of blunder markers that use. I think it's I log on. That is another way to bring on image from a photocopy or a laser printed copy onto a surface. My favorite of these methods is the tape, because it doesn't have, you know any smell. It's like takes five minutes to do. But there's a lot of work that you could do with the acrylic trail medium that is a little more advanced. So the other methods acetone on the blender pen have their place, and I'll show you the effects that you get. I just find them a little more stinky on. I have to work loves to work with them, so those are just personal preferences. But I'll show you how each of them works, so the next point is a little more complicated because it's about materials. But really, it's about the legality of the materials that you're using now. I'm not a lawyer. Obviously, eso If you want really good advice on this, you might want to check with, You know, if you have a lawyer, somebody that you know. But that's what's relevant about that is, if you're using copyrighted materials. This is, unfortunately a super complicated topic, and there's no way that I or anybody else, can really say how a court would rule. In fact, they have changed over the years, their rulings, and they're always setting new precedents in the area of fair use and copyright. I mean, the safest thing that you can do is to use something that's completely out of copyright, and there's a lot that's available. I will post references for that in the resource is section so that you can have access to some things that you know you're in the clear to use. I've put additional copyright information links into the resource is section of the class. So if you're really interested, check it out there. But for this class, we're going to focus on artistic, noncommercial collage. More than likely, the only time this is ever gonna matter is if you make things for commercial use. You have a Nazi store and you are doing collage that integrates previous pieces of artwork into your work. You know, you could end up with a cease and desist letter, the likelihood of that happening for somebody who's making collage for themselves and their friends and, you know, they're just giving it away. This is probably not a concern for you. 4. Physical Collage: physical collage is the most basic form of collage. This is the form of collage people have been doing for centuries on. Really? All you need are a pair of scissors. Maybe you don't even need those. Maybe you just tear things apart. Uh, you need some glue or adhesive to stick things together on. Then you need some source materials. I have photocopies that I've taken from Theis Old East German Book of Sport and Wellness. I'm really excited about a lot of the illustrations in here. And so I will be using some of these materials to do physical collage and designs with these exciting little muscle men I have here. So sniffing out images with Paris scissors and pasting them down is it's something that anybody can approach. So you can have some cocktails with friends and everybody sits around and puts together collages. They're meaningful for them. Or, you know, maybe you have a group of kids and everybody wants to put together a collage is that they're going to make into craft that they do image transfer on later on. That's another fun way to approach it. But however you do it, I would recommend that you start out with some kind of a framework in mind. And by that I mean, I could spend, you know, all afternoon, going through all of the images in this book on Do you know if you've ever wandered around on the Internet for two hours and then woken up and said What the heck happened? That's the kind of effect that you can have with that unstructured searching. Another way to approach it that I would recommend is having just some kind of framework, some kind of a constraint that you're applying. So whether the constraint is, I want to make a specific thing. I want to make something that I'm going to put on this teacup than that's a project that you already have in mind that constrains the amount of space that you're going to use And, you know, maybe even the imagery that you're thinking about for your collage in another way, to think about adding a constraint is, you know, maybe you are constraining to a particular topic area. Maybe you're thinking specifically about Russian ballet or Kabuki theater or something else that you find really exciting. You know, in my case, it might be. I'm doing something with corporate culture and sport. You know, eso thinking about a constraint in particular aesthetic or time period can be another way to bring in the project to a reasonable level. Another way to think about creating a constraint is just pick out a kind of wacky notion, like I'm going to make something with Siegel's on surfing. You know, I'm going to make something with unicorns and normals together. It's up to you what you do for your constraint. But I do recommend that you at least have something in mind when you get going so that you don't get lost in the world research. So in the next video, we'll look at digital collage, which is a whole different form of copy and paste. 5. Digital Collage: so clearly for digital collage, you're going to need a computer and some image manipulation software. I'm using photo shop, but alternative programs like Sketch or gimp or pixel mater should work just as well. So as with physical collage, I'd like to start out with an idea of what I'm going to do. And here's the piece that I'm working with for this class. I've got a few images here that I've collected from an out of copyright image resource, and this is what I used to put together this final piece. As I click through these, I think you can probably see the elements that I chose. So what I did for the background was to copy some French newsprint several times to create ah, feeling of kind of overwhelming news. The serpent I took from this image on all I did to grab this was to take the polygonal lasso tool and cut all the way around the outside, much as I would have done if I used a pair of scissors. So I tried out this scene of Paris at night, and it really didn't fit into the background very well. So I abandoned this sort of mid course. Now this image really haunting. I wanted a couple of elements from So you can see I took the stormy clouds from the background and also the windy grass. So those are a couple of pieces that I snipped away from this image and then put into the final here and here, and you can see I'm manipulated those pretty heavily. And finally, the subject of this is really the lady in her garden. Now, this image here is pretty weird on its own. I mean, the heads on stocks are super creepy, But what I really wanted from this was just her kind of pensive, sad look. And so what I did is I again used my lasso tool and I snipped along thes seashells, the watering can and her body itself. And you'll see here in the final that I actually extended her lawn across a little more and and you don't see the joint here so much because the snake egg is in front of it. But that's something that I just wanted to do for balance in the in the final image. So I'm gonna take this apart a little bit as I brought these pieces in one by one. The first thing that I focused on was the lady and extending her lawn a little bit to accommodate this snake egg. I had this snake egg isolated and I isolated the lady. And so to make these pieces harmonize a little better the thing I did was just to turn this into, ah, fully black and white image under the mod area grayscale. After I'd done that, I have the lady I have the really disturbing serpent egg. I realized that I needed a little more going on in the background to suggest, you know, kind of disturbing weather. And so that's where I brought in the clouds and I brought in. The grass is so for the grasses. I just took a section from the left hand side here, and I repeated it across the image. You'll see that the clouds are essentially two layers that are very similar. When I brought in the newsprint, it was clear that my clouds and grasses didn't look quite puffy enough. So I have a little bit of back Phil here. That I think just helps to set off those clouds a little more make them a little more threatening. And finally, the last thing I did was to add kind of a gradation to make the lady her garden and the snake pop a little more. I'm still a little undecided on that. I kind of like it without the great Asian, too. So you can see I've combined a lot of different elements here, but I've kept them consistently in black and white just to give them a little bit more of a cohesive field. And this is all really the same kind of process that I would be doing if I were doing Ah, physical collage and the kind of cut and paste that I would be doing with scissors and glue . It's just that because I'm doing it here in a digital environment, I have a few more options with quick ways of adding effects and making color changes or changes in the size and the shape of the peace. So the next thing they will do with this image is printed out. I'll take it to the copy shop and then of the copy shop will be able to print it out with toner. And because of mounting this on would the toner is what is going to adhere to the board, and I'll show you how all that works in the next video. 6. Four Ways to Transfer a Photocopy: I'm gonna go through four different kinds of photocopy transfer. The 1st 1 you see here is my blender pen. And I'm just using that on a photocopy that is face down on the surface. So I'm doing here is rubbing the blender pen across the back side of the piece of paper and the toner that's on the photocopy is going to adhere to the surface. In this case, the surface amusing is some watercolor paper, and I can do checks as I go along. At this point, I'm getting a really good transfer coming through now. I could do the entire image, but in this case I want something that's just a little bit dreamy and suggestive. And so I'm going to leave this, as is. I'm gonna come in with ease pencils, which are actually watercolor pencils. So as I pencil in the colors, I'm able to come in with a little watercolor pen. Afterward, I can get the colors in the places where I want and do a little more emphasis on some of the shadows. And when I get is a kind of evocative, dreamy transfer that I can manipulate or add to another piece and I kind of like where this is going. So now I'll show you an acetone transfer. I'm going to do this on a piece of fabric, and so I'm gonna take this down really well, because it takes a little more effort to get the toner to adhere to the fabric. You'll see I'm wearing gloves here because the acid tone isn't very good for your skin. I'm just gonna lightly rep a credit card across the surface of the soaked acid tone area. Now you want to strike the right balance here. It's got to be heavy enough pressure so that you are allowing the toner to adhere to the subject matter. But you don't want it to be so hard that you're creating holes in your piece of paper. Just keep rubbing and keep checking. You can kind of peel it back and see how your progress is working. You can see here that I've successfully moved the image of the shot putters over to the surface, which is a cotton napkin that amusing, and at this point, you know, I could I could embroider it, or I could emphasize them a little more, but I could also just keep them settled using tape like this, packing tape or, you know, contact paper is a really easy way to do an image transfer and that you can use for this, like with this postcard that I'm using here from a local farmer. Or you can use images. You could use photo booth images. Those look really good with packing tape transfer. But all we really need to do is to cover the surface of the area that you're interested in doing the transfer on, and then you trim off the excess on. Do you soak it in water. I usually so good and watered and go get a snack. But by the time you come back, the water should have soaked sufficiently into the paper or cardboard or whatever you're using so that you can begin rubbing it away. Now, as I rub away here, you can see the image coming through. The image will stick to the packing tape or your contact paper, and you'll rub away all the rest of the material on. You know, do this gently. You don't want to pull the image off of the tape, but you know, work at it. until it looks good. When you've gotten all the material off the tape, you can dry it, and sometimes it will dry and become sticky again. And then you can just use it as is like a custom made sticker. If you don't have a sticky surface on it, I would suggest some spray adhesive. Or you can even use some acrylic gel medium on the back of it as a glue to affix it to a surface. I have another project here, too, with another sticker that I created of these swimmers, and I'm gonna put that onto a notebook and so you can see here in no time at all. I've created to really custom of things, so this is, ah, great idea. If you need, like a last minute gift for a birthday or something, and you want to make something that's really special and personalized for somebody, the last method I'll show you is the one using acrylic gel medium, which is really flexible as a transfer method. So I've got here a photocopy that I made down at the copy shop. It's a toner based photocopy. Again. You could use a laser print as well or you could use a photograph, but I find that laser printed photocopies are really easy to use and also cheap. So if you happen to, you know, mess it up in some way, then you can always start over with another photocopy instead of having ruined original piece. So take your surface. In this case, my surface is a board, and I'm putting all over my board a nice coating of theocratic gel medium. So I'm gonna place this image across the top of the acrylic gel medium and really press it in there, make sure it's smooth, make sure there's no bubbles and that you're getting a really good surface to surface contact. You're gonna wanna let that dry. I usually do this and let it dry overnight. But, you know, maybe you just need an afternoon. A lot depends on the humidity in the area in which you live. You can probably speed this up a bit by using a blow dryer to what's the acrylic Joe Medium and your image are totally dry. You're going to take this over to a sink, and you're gonna run some water on it. If you run some warm water on it. It will be just a little nicer for your hands on, and you'll begin scrubbing and you'll notice this process is very similar to what you saw with the packing tape image transfer. You just remove all of the paper material. I have a little brush here. You could use an old toothbrush to get things started. Eventually, you might want to move to using your fingers to rub off areas that are particularly delicate and then let that dry and see how it looks. In this case, I think I have a few more areas to clean up here, but the transfer looks really good. The image is reversed, so keep that in mind, particularly if you're working with anything that has text. So in the next video, I'll talk a little bit about direct application of images to a service, and we'll wrap up this class 7. Direct Application of Images: So finally, the easiest method of getting image to a surface is the art of deko podge, which is essentially just you taken image and you apply it to a service. There's no transfer going on. And when you're using something like Dick Kabbaj, you can use the trusty acrylic gel medium or something like mod podge, which is classic for a collage on surfaces. Something to think about as you're doing Data Pasha, if you're doing it on, say surface like a teacup, you want to think about doing it on the outside of the cup and using a sealant. There are Krilic or polyurethane seal. It's that can be used for services like this. Or if you're using a glass surface like safe, you have a vote of glass that you're gonna be putting outside. You might want to use a glossy acrylic sealants. For that. Do make sure that if you're doing anything that's going to come into contact with people's mouths, that you're using a food safe acrylic sealant and you'll see that labeled on the outside of the container. A lot of them are not food safe, so something to keep in mind. So you can see exactly how easy it is to do one of these transfers like this one that I did with the sheep on the tape image transfer took a total of maybe 15 minutes to complete eso This is something that you could think about using for If you want to put some branding materials on objects for, like, a company business presentation or if you need a gift for somebody or if you're trying to put together something that is going to represent an idea, you have options. You know you can put on image transfer on board. You can put it on fabric. You can put it on a notebook. Any any kind of a service that that you can think of is fair game for an image transfer. So thanks for enrolling in this class. If anything was unclear, please post a question in the discussions area on If you have something to share that you created, I love to see that kind of stuff. It's really exciting. So post that in the projects area of the sculpture website on In the meantime, happy creating