I normally get the cheapy-cheap supplies because it usually doesn’t matter but I have actually noticed a difference in quality when it comes to gel medium. I use the Golden regular gel (matte) but I know other people have their preferences – feel free to leave a comment with yours!
- Image or Text Transfer
A gel medium transfer is an easy/cool way to transfer an image or text onto another surface. I usually use it to add a little ghost of text to my pages.
The lazy Mariza way (is there any other way?): Apply a layer of gel medium to the surface onto which you want to transfer your image. Place your image (face-down, obvs) on the gel and let dry. Peel the paper off, et voila! You can see me do this in the video below – I peel the paper off and then spray with water to help me rub off the remaining paper. I’ve also been known to start peeling before the gel is dry which gives a more inconsistent/ripped look.
This works best with uncoated magazine pages etc or laser jet printouts (ink jets don’t work as well).
The more thorough way to do transfers, or so I’m told, is to apply several thin layers of gel medium to your image (letting dry completely between each layer) and then submersing the paper in water and completely peeling everything away. This site has a really good breakdown of this.
You can build up the medium to add another layer of texture to your pieces (this works best with heavier matte gels). For example, you can apply the gel with a palette brush or credit card to get a scrape-y texture. One of my favorites is to rake my fingers through the gel and leave the ridges. The image below is kind of a combo of transfer & texture – I was doing a haphazard gel medium transfer but lost a lot of the text and just left the gel medium as-was rather than smooth it out, resulting in the textured look.
Gel medium can seal layers and prevent blurring or blending; it can also cause a sort of floating effect (that is very difficult to see in videos or scans, sadly). This one is pretty straight-forward: put down a layer, cover with a thin (or textured, if you want!) layer of medium, let dry, repeat. I use this method somewhat regularly but you can’t always tell since I tend to edit out the gel medium parts because watching gel medium dry is about as interesting as watching paint dry.
I also use this technique in a more recent video.