Hand Coloring

Discussion in 'Alternative Techniques & Photo Gallery' started by tundrakatiebean, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. tundrakatiebean

    tundrakatiebean TPF Noob!

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    I'm hand coloring part of a print for a film class that I'm taking (the assignment is experimental). The print is of my grandparents in front of a rhododendron bush, so lots of leaves. I'm planning on using marshall oils for my grandparents and I would like to do something different to the leaves, but I'm not sure what. I would really like the leaves to be vibrant and lively in relation to the 'washed out' and subtle look of the oils to make a statement about the liveliness in contrast with these two little old people.



    Anything you guys think I should look into?

    ETA: I should mention that I am using RC paper, so no pencils :p
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    :scratch: The use of oil pencils has more to do with the surface of the paper, regardless of whether it's RC or FB. If you are using an RC paper with a semi-gloss or glossy surface, your results with the regular oils will be poor, I'm afraid (and yes, virtually impossible with the pencils). Both do better on a surface with some tooth.

    If there is a way to get another print made for your hand coloring, look for a semi-matte or matte finish. Kentmere Fineprint Finegrain is a neutral tone paper, with a beautiful matte surface. It has a nice texture to it that readily accepts both oil and oil pencils. Currently my go-to paper for hand coloring.

    If the image can't be reproduced, and you are stuck with a hard smooth surface, you can try spraying a "workable fix" type of spray over the surface to add some tooth. Give it a couple of passes, first horizontally then vertical, letting the coats dry in between. Use a matte-surface spray, and once it dries you should be able to use the pencils, too.

    For the leaves: for the brightness you want, again you have options. If you can solve your paper problem and be able to use pencils, try dotting several of the leaves with the Prismacolor wax pencils. (These pencils are great, but they don't blend as easily as the oil pencils so use them sparingly.) Apply a wash of your base green color over the leaf area, and let it dry down a bit. Using a variety of pencils, dot several leaves with bright "sunshine" colors to achieve the look you're after.

    Wax pencils, pastels, or even the Marshall's "extra deep" colors have deeper pigment and should make the leaves pop for you. Good luck with it - coloring vintage images is a blast.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. tundrakatiebean

    tundrakatiebean TPF Noob!

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    Oops, sorry :oops: I'm still really new at this. My teacher requires us to use a gloss surface, I'll ask next class if she would grade me down for a different paper. She did do a demo of the hand coloring on a gloss surface and I don't think she would suggest us doing it if she thought we couldn't handle it...I'll talk to her on Monday.

    Thank you for your help :)
     
  4. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    With oils...? I confess, I don't know why anyone would bother. Think of trying to get oil to absorb onto a surface of glass....it will just slide around (ok, glossy paper is not as hard as glass, but you see what I mean? It acts as a barrier to letting the oils absorb into the paper.)

    I hope you pop back in with her answer. It just seems like she's making you work too hard! :) Traditonal hand coloring is wonderful and you can easily get lovely results with the right tools!
     
  5. tundrakatiebean

    tundrakatiebean TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, I get it :) thank you for letting me know. It's possible that since we've been using this paper all semester (only 2 weeks left) that she doesn't want us getting stressed over trying to get used to a new paper for the last project. I can be very persistant though (or stubborn depending on who you ask). I'll definitley let you know what she says!
     
  6. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks! I'll be interested in seeing your results, too. :)
     
  7. tundrakatiebean

    tundrakatiebean TPF Noob!

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    I didn't get a chance to talk to my teacher on Monday, so I'll ask her today during lab since she'll need to be sitting next to me while I use the oils (school rule). I will have to use the gloss surface now since I am out of time for the semester and don't have time to print anything else (the darkroom closes this friday). Even if the glossy does cause an issue I will know in the future why :p This is the picture I'm coloring, sorry for the crookedness - I have no scanner skills

    [​IMG]
     
  8. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    These are your grandparents? awww....what a sweet shot! Makes a great image for handcoloring.

    Well, do your best and maybe she can give you some tips while you apply the oils. Just be prepared for them to feel very fluid and start with a SMALL amount...like, a few dots of flesh tone on the faces, no more. If you apply too much, with this glossy paper you'll be trying to blend forever. ;)

    Good luck with it! Post the results if you can (the oils will need some drying time for a couple of days).
     
  9. tundrakatiebean

    tundrakatiebean TPF Noob!

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    I hand colored today and it wasn't too bad :) It's drying in a safe place and I'll scan it when it's all done!
     
  10. tundrakatiebean

    tundrakatiebean TPF Noob!

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    Completed! I used gel pens for the background, it looks really nice in real life, gives a little bit of a shimmer.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hi Katie - you got a nice result! :) Considering the paper you were given for this project, you should be satisfied. The oils are just not going to act the same on glossy paper as they will when using a matte or semi-matte.

    You showed good attention to detail with Grandma's buttons. You achieved a nice, even application over her dress, too. Now, Grandpa's jeans look a bit more uneven; there is a lot of gray showing through. Again, this is probably because the paper surface makes it so hard to get an even wash. The flesh tones are a bit muted here, but again, you have as even an application as can be expected with this paper. Warmer flesh tones usually require a few layers to build up some depth - very hard to do with glossy paper. However, my monitor at work is pretty poor, so I'm sure the print is warmer "in real life" than it's showing onscreen for me.

    I hope you get a chance to do some more hand coloring with different paper! This is such a nice portrait, and you are very neat in your approach. You would be amazed at how different the oil application feels and how the colors can pop. (I'm a broken record, but I can't stress it enough.) ;) I'd love to see more work from you!
     

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