Transfer Drawings

Transfer drawings are a very simple form of printing.

The process is soaking a photograph, printed preferably on to normal paper, in a solvent such as white spirit. Then by laying the soaked piece on to another piece of paper and fixing it down with tape, a print can be made by applying pressure to the back of the photograph.

The interesting part of this process to me is how pressure is applied to the soaked paper because different effects can be created. The back of a spoon is quite effective, but I became more interested in using pencil and pens, and varying the pressure applied. In some cases this bleeds through to the print, as seen below.

As far as I can tell this process was invented by Robert Rauschenberg in the early 1960s when he decided to make a series of drawings illustrating Dante’s Inferno. In typical Rauschenberg style he mostly composed these using transfer prints with very little actual drawing.

He used photographs from newspapers and glossy magazines. The illusionistic use of pen as applicator of pressure is particularly evident in a series of later drawings by Rauschenberg at the end of the 1960s.

I think this process is brilliant as it is quick and easy but creates great looking results. The resultant prints have a very 1960s pop art feel to them, or resemble very worn old photographs. The process also lies somewhere between drawing and photography, and thus keeps some advantages of each; the prints on paper resemble drawings but have the realism of photography.

Robert Rauschenberg- Untitled

 

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