I'd like to try my hand at this on some 4x5 contacts of flowers to start with, and would like to hear your thoughts on the subject and any tips regarding paper choice, and coloring media to use. Also, what's the life expectency of a colored photograph? How hard is it to correct mistakes?
I've used the Marshall photo oils. They seem to have excellent keeping properties and they are translucent, so the gradation of the print comes through. Some people do use traditional oil paints, and opaque oil technique. I haven't done it for ages, but when I did, I was printing on Oriental Seagull mainly. I think any fiber based paper should be fine. I'd use a glossy surface paper that's been air dried.
I used to teach handcoloring, which seems like a million years ago! Like David, I preferred marshall's photo oils for ease of use, including correcting mistakes. I avoided using the additional chemicals they provide in the kits (PM solution, etc) in favor of simply using a kneadable grey rubber eraser to remove unwanted color from the print. Oils are also great for being able to layer and build up color, as well as to rub it down to brighten highlights.
Personally, I preferred to use matte finish fiber paper. Glossy didn't have enough tooth for my taste, so it couldn't handle as much layering as matte generally can. Matte also generally accepts colored pencils better, too, which is great for fine detail.
You might consider using 8x10's for your first few attempts -- the smaller the detail you're trying to color, the more difficult it is.
What is this opaque oil technique David? Is it the same thing that Jack Spencer does?...I gotta tell you, his prints are awesome! I always wondered how he did them, or what technique he uses.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
several ways to hand color. You can use the commercial photo oils like Marshals or you can use the dyes meant for retouching colored prints, special pencils for photos or go different and get regular water colored pencils, and water color paints. Tranclucent types are the best. Use mat fiber paper. Avoid that spray gunk to help make any surface receptive to hand coloring it is a waste of money, stinks, and bals up into tiny gum like crap on the paper when you use any substance that is not bone dry. Get a really good fexible head table lamp. Lots of cotton balls, and q-tips. I found to do really small areas, I got toothpicks and took some of the cotton wool and wrappred around the tip in the size I needed. You can also ues a very light touch with a really sharp pencil. If you use the pencisl, work with a drop or two in the cap of the liquid PM (oil medium) so you can just touch the tip of the pencil in it. This allows the pencil to flow better and adhere quicker with less effort. have some Marlene solution on hand. When you make a mistake you can clean it up with the marlene. It is like hand coloring's verion of an eraser. It won't work if the colors have set for a few days. The color should last many years, if you spray it with a protective UV spray. Never display it in direct sunlight or where it will have a large amount of reflected sunlight.
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I suggest starting with Marshall's pencils and their PMS solution, especially if you are going to be working on 4x5 contact prints. You must use matte FB paper - RC is much more difficult, and glossy is impossible. As someone else pointed out, the sprays that they sell to give glossy prints a matte surface don't work for coloring.
The key is practice. The process is quite easy - easier to do that to talk about. If you can find a half-day class, that would help get started.
After you get into coloring, you will find that your collection of pencils will expand (you fill also find your self stalking AC Moore and Michale's to see what they have in their leftover bins). Marshalls Oils are another route, but my experience is that they work better when you are working on larger prints - pencils are perfect for 8x10 and smaller.
I've also tried to use conventional oil paints with various media to make them transparent - with mixed results.
I prefer Marshall oil pencils and fiber matte paper.
I found that color dyes (retouching) worked better on some RC prints I once did.
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You can also use Prismacolor pencils if you already have them, but definitely use the PM liquid. Use a piece of plexiglass and some artist tape to hold the print down (also keeps the stuff off your furniture). If you're using the oils and don't finish, you can wrap the lot in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer until you can get back to it.
May I suggest a book from one of my favorite photographers--
Originally Posted by waynecrider
"Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect."
Browisng AC Moore the other day I came across ZIG photo-markers.
These are pigment markers for coloring BW photos. Easy to apply, broad and thin tips.
Bought one of the sets and liked the results a lot, even though I can;t say anything about permanence
Mama took my APX away.....