Starting Hand Coloring
I'd like to get started with hand coloring. My issue are: One, I'm not particularly handy with pencil or brush (there's a reason I chose the camera). I did some cartooning in high school, so I can probably "color in the lines" -- but that's about it. Also, I don't see myself doing this very often (at first), so I don't want to make a big initial investment in media that's going to dry up or otherwise go bad. I was thinking colored pencils might be a good start. The paper I've chosen is Ilford MG Art 300, for it's classy appearance and toothy texture.
My searching hasn't turned up many examples of this combination (pencil + Art 300), so if someone has something to share along these lines, I'd be most interested to see it. I'm also interested in recommendations for media (perferably archival) -- if it's colored pencils or something else.
I do a lot of hand coloring, but have only used Art 300 a handful of times. Because of the rougher surface, it's harder (not impossible) to get smooth, even tones. If you have a smoother, matte surface paper, I'd recommend starting with that. MGIV, or MGIVWT are perfect surfaces for hand coloring.
Pencils are a good way to start. I like to use a duller point (rather than sharpened) to apply the color. I have a piece of 220 grit sandpaper I use to dull the point. When the color is applied to the print, it will be uneven. To even the tones, I use Eraserstik style erasers to smooth it out. A light hand is necessary. I also use the sandpaper to clean the residue off of the erasers.
Any colored pencil will work. Marshall's, Prismacolor, Crayola, etc. Walnut Hollow makes some nice oil pencils, too.
Here's one I did on Art 300 (I have many more examples in the Gallery done on other papers, mostly MGIV and papers hand coated with Liquid Light.)
Walmart or the like can furnish you w/ some cheap oil or water colour tube kits. I prefer that to pencils. You can just use a Q-tip to put the colours on with. Mistakes can be wiped off quickly w/ the oils. For large areas use a large soft brush, cotton ball, or whatever. If you're using a water based paint you're really going to have to be quick. I assume one could use acrylics if thinned enough, but again, they dry really fast. The oil paints will allow you to push things around at your leisure. Your local library will have good books w/ illustrations that help (there's always youtube videos as well). Just start w/ photos that are duds until you get the feel of it, then bring out the good stuff. It helps to spend 20 minutes or so doing warm ups before getting started on the good ones to get into the swing of it.
I really wish I was in PA now - we could meet up. It's easier to show you than to explain in text.
I've used Art300 with ordinary colored pencils (Prismacolor brand, IIRC, and possibly fairly old) - eddie is right on how getting it smooth is tougher than on regular paper. But I was able to get some I liked, I think. My best ones have been with Marshall's photo oils on Ilford FB (both matte and glossy - the matte takes more color, but has a duller look overall). The general concept is that you can always add more color, but it's tougher to take some off. Start with a light touch. I use make-up applicators that are like fine pointed Qtips when I use oils.
I can't help with the archival end of it - I just try to make sure the print is good first.
There might be examples in my gallery here and a page of them on my website. Holler if you need details on any of them.
I often hand color photographs. I either use mat paper or spray the finished print with a mat clear coat. Then I use Prisma artists pencils. http://www.amazon.com/Prismacolor-Pr...artist+pencils. I also use ordinary Crayola crayons.
You don't have to be real good, just color the areas you want. Especially with the crayons, if you don't like what you did, a little solvent, like mineral spirits on a cloth will wipe it right off.
A good book will help. Check this: http://www.amazon.com/Handcoloring-P...ng+photography
Look on my web site for my hand colored photos.
Also, don't think you have to color the whole thing. I think just selective areas are more effective.
Just experiment and have fun!
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A pity that the books are so expensive at one cent I agree about being selective. One of the best coloured prints I ever saw was two London buses crossing a bridge over the Thames with only the buses in colour.
Originally Posted by bsdunek
It must have required a lot of patience, small brushes and probably a magnifier but the buses really jumped out at the viewer.
Thanks, everyone. So many options. I think I'm going to start with a 24 pack of Prismacolor pencils. Watercolors are appealing too, because the look I'm after is one where the colors add some separation and interest without being overwhelming.
The suggested book is on order from library.
Bethe, I'm sorry we never hooked up while you were here. I would love to see how you work in this medium. Your hand-colored flowers are beautiful.
Eddie, your stuff is also amazing. I enjoyed perusing your gallery images. Lots of inspiring ideas there. Thanks for the link.
I once used Marshall's Photo Oil Colors, without any experience at all, I got magical results. I see they are pretty expensive (about 20 US dollars for the cheapest set), but don't think they ever "go bad" do they?
Bill- they can dry up over time. As long as the tube is pliable, they're OK.
Any oil paints will work. I use Winsor& Newton, Grumbacher, Pebeo, etc., as well as Marshall's. They all work well.
We will be back. I just don't know exactly when, yet.