MAU Art & Design Glossary

Transfer Technique




Transfer technique (or trace technique), is a type of monotype printing method. Ink or oil paint is spread evenly with a roller on a resin or glass plate and paper is then placed over the top. By applying pressure from the back of the paper by, for instance, drawing on it, the ink is transferred from the plate to the paper.

Works produced using this technique exhibit lines with unique tones that are different from those drawn directly on paper. Monotype prints, including those using the transfer technique, cannot be reproduced like they can with ordinary prints, so the same image cannot be produced twice. In this way, because this technique permits work to be produced once only and allows relative freedom of rendering compared to other types of prints, it is a more pictorial technique of expression than most other printing techniques.

To produce prints using this technique, first of all, prepare an acrylic resin or glass plate cut out to the size of the image (A cut out from a card case would suffice). Then, put some planographic ink or ink for copperplate printing and some oil paint (after draining excess oil on newspaper, etc.) on a paper pallet, and mix these well with a spatula. At this point, if the ink is too hard, add some plate oil, and if it is too soft, a small amount of magnesium carbonate, to adjust the hardness. Load this ink on a hand roller and spread it evenly over the plate. After that, place a piece of paper gently over the top and then draw on the back of the paper with a pencil or the finger. In this technique, the ink will be transferred to parts of the paper where pressure was applied from behind. The amount of ink transferred will vary depending on the drawing tool used, the amount of force applied and also the type of paper selected, so it would be a good idea to try various combinations.