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Our Top 5 Recommended Books about Image Transferring and Alternative Printing Processes

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Finding literature that is helpful and inspiring to artists wishing to pursue alternative digital printmaking is important. The perfect art guide book is one that not only teaches you the ropes but gives you the knowledge base needed to excel in any given subject matter. Even more important is having the ability to go off on your own and experiment by combining your own previous knowledge with that of which you have just learned. In this article, we will share with you our top 5 recommended image transfer books. We have ranked them from 5 to 1 with 1 being the most recommended.

5. Jill Enfield’s Guide to Photographic Alternative Processes: Popular Historical and Contemporary Techniques (Alternative Process Photography) 2nd Edition


We recommend this book because it walks you through traditional image-making methods while introducing modern techniques in printmaking. Some older techniques can be swapped out for newer techniques using computer software and this book does a fantastic job of showing this. Learn how to combine digital manipulation techniques with traditional photographic processes to create work that pushes the boundaries of image-making.

4. The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes 3rd Edition


This book is on our recommended list because we feel that having a strong foundation in traditional image-making will help inform you when you are creating works with newer techniques made possible by recent improvements in technology. In the modern era, it can be quite refreshing to find yourself in a dark room and mixing materials in ways of the past. Combining these methods with modern ones can be powerful as there is so much room for exploration.

3. The Last Layer: New methods in digital printing for photography, fine art, and mixed media (Voices That Matter)


This is one of the books written by Bonny Pierce Lhotka who is a pioneer in the image transfer and alternative print community. This book is a great reference that includes details on new methods in alternative printing techniques. This is one of three books by Bonny which are all recommended by us!

2. Digital Alchemy: Printmaking Techniques for Fine Art, Photography, and Mixed Media by Bonny Pierce Lhotka


Digital Alchemy is another book by Bonny Pierce Lhotka and is perfect for someone just getting started in alternative printing techniques. She goes through step by step, explaining safety, materials, and methods. Be prepared to get supplies and really start experimenting with the multiple methods available. This is a great read and will be sure to inspire you with the examples provided within this book. You can really tell Bonny is an expert and you will feel as though you have a mentor right beside you to help!

1. Hacking the Digital Print: Alternative image capture and printmaking processes with a special section on 3D printing (Voices That Matter)


Hacking the Digital Print is for those of us who read Digital Alchemy and just couldn’t get enough! Bonny goes into further detail in this book as she shows you have to make your own tools to create your images. Going way beyond our imaginations, she introduces 3D printing techniques as well. This is truly an inspiring read that you must have. This book will surely get the gears turning in your head as you think of all of the possibilities these techniques will bring to your work. Be ready to experiment. Even Bonny herself says “Don’t bother reading this book unless you’re ready to get your hands dirty.”

We hope this article has helped you find the next excellent read on alternative print techniques. We know that all of the information found in these books is so valuable and will keep you preoccupied for weeks, months and maybe even years. These books aren’t something you read once and put on a shelf. They are a tool that you can revisit from time to time when you need to brush up on a technique or research ways to complete your next creative project.

Do you know of any other amazing books that we didn’t talk about? We want to hear about them! Comment below to let us know about these or what you think of the books we included in our list!

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Finding the Perfect Substrate

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Everything you need to know to make long-lasting works of art!

When it comes to finding an acid free surface there are 4 different categories to consider:

  1. Acid-Free: Acid-Free materials are going to be top of the line, gallery-ready materials. When making fine art, you will always want to look for these materials first. These can be quite expensive, so selecting the cheaper non-acid fee surfaces will be tempting. In this situation, remember that you get what you pay for. If you are making work intended to be sold at a gallery or to a collector, you will want to be sure you are using the best materials. 
  2. Acid Neutral: While these are still good quality, they contain acid and buffers to fight against it. For this reason, these kinds of papers are great for testing prints but not necessarily selling in a gallery. Acid Neutral paper is quite a bit less expensive so we recommend this for test prints. 
  3. Not stated: In some cases, the material won’t state whether it is acid-free or not. In this case, you can assume it is not acid-free. You can still use these but it is not good practice to submit to galleries or sell to collectors. 
  4. Specialty Surfaces: Sometimes, you will come across a material that is not guaranteed to be acid-free in any form. In this case, there are tools you can use to test the PH level of the material. These surfaces can be differentiated from Category 3 because there might be a reason you might need to use these materials. For example, you may want to transfer your image to an aluminum substrate. This is an aesthetic that can not be created using paper. While the acidic qualities are a bit unknown, it doesn’t mean that the metal will deteriorate quickly.

Archival Substrate Examples:
Acid-Free Watercolor Paper
Stretched Canvas with Archival Quality Gesso
Plexiglass

Do you have the perfect substrate picked out? To use any of the tutorials available on our site, your images must be printed onto DASS Transfer Film using an Inkjet Printer. Through our company, Kirkpatrick & Co. Specialty Printing, we can print your images to this film for you. Order your print today

We are here to answer any questions you have along the way. Follow us on Instagram to see what others in our community are making and join in on the conversation!

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One of a Kind Fine Art Prints For Digital Artists

One of a Kind Prints For Digital Artists
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As an artist, we guarantee that you have spent hours contemplating how many limited edition prints you should run of your piece. Is the amount I am printing too many? Will running so many prints devalue my work overtime? This is especially problematic for digital artists since their work’s “original” is trapped behind a computer screen. The artwork is not physically in existence to be sold until it has been printed. That being said, what makes the print of any value once it is printed if there is a file that can be reproduced at ease?

Gateways- Perspective by Kerry Kirkpatrick [Limited Edition Print on Archival Paper]

For digital artists, this is where running limited edition prints come into play. Limited edition prints are created using archival inks and papers and are suitable for sale in galleries. Now, it is certainly possible to mass-produce these images with lower quality ink and paper and sell them at a much lower price point. These can be mass-produced since there is no promise of them being a limited edition print and they will not last over time. You can think of these as a poster rather than a fine art print.

Now, what if we could take those limited edition prints a step further? If you made them your one of a kind print they would be considered an original much like you would consider an acrylic painting to be an original. Using DASS Transfer Film, this is now a possibility with digital art. Because of the unpredictability of the image transfer process, there will always be variations in how the final print turns out. For example, looking at two separate transfers of the same image, you will notice differences in how the image is transferred. You can see how this might be the case by looking at this digital image versus the image once it has been transferred to metal.

Another benefit of using image transfers in your fine art process is it helps you fight against illegal reproductions of your work. In the digital age, it has become very easy for people to download images and then re-upload them to be printed and sold illegally. The aesthetic feel of image transfers rarely translates through scans or photographs. However, this is highly dependant on the substrate or surface the artist has chosen to transfer their image on. On rare occasions, reproductions could be possible but that is very rare. More often than not, photographs won’t do a piece justice compared to viewing it in person with all of its unique characteristics.

Inkjet Prints Transferred to Aluminum
Inkjet Prints Transferred to Aluminum

Now that you know the benefits of image transferring, perhaps you will consider using it in your artistic practice. If you are already using these methods, you should now know that your prints are quite valuable and unique. Don’t forget to keep this in mind when pricing your prints. Your artwork is very unique and should be priced as such. Let us know what you think about digital art and limited edition prints. How do you avoid theft and illegal reproductions?

To perform transfers like these, your images must be printed onto DASS Transfer Film using an Inkjet Printer. Through our company, Kirkpatrick & Co. Specialty Printing, we can print your images to this film for you. Order your print today.

Be the first to find out about new deals & tutorials by signing up for our newsletter! We are here to answer any questions you have along the way. Follow us on Instagram to see what others in our community are making and join in on the conversation!