Tag Archives: digital photo colorization

How ’bout a sandwich? a hand colored one no less!

No, not the kind you eat, the kind you make w/ 2 B&W negatives. Here’s the negs that went into this one:



When i first started hand-coloring my prints, i didn’t plan at all – i just had an idea in my mind’s eye, and flat out did it.

Once I started doing assignment montage illustrations, i’d put a piece of tracing paper over the print, and rough out what i thought it should look like w/ colored pencils. I was on a deadline, couldn’t afford to blow it. But I’d still attack art prints the same old way, on a wing and a prayer.

But more recently I’ve had instances when i only have one final art print, and started planning alot more.

I always scan the print at hi-res/B&W/tiff, so it’s archived. Then i make a reduced size file of that, and go to work w/ photoshop, the main tools are hue-saturation and selective color layers, created by selecting areas with the magic wand tool. Just picking the larger areas, don’t bother w/ details, that comes later. 

The order of the layers makes a difference, try it out, you’ll see what I mean. (It may depend on the version of P’shop you are using.)

Then i make a print on copy paper, and dig into that with colored pencils.

It’s also possible of course to make a few variations of the P’shop file – easy to get lost in tweaking perhaps, but i don’t, i just don’t have the patience. Sometimes i’ll ‘paint’ a bit on the layer mask to blend, soften edges, but if it takes more the the time it takes to smoke one cigarette?. I’m done, that’s it, fini!

I had these 2 sandwich prints:



The negs were shot in Joshua Tree NP in So.Cal., it’s one spooky place. I had two shots of the round stones, sandwiched on the same landscape. I was printing on a new paper for me, a fiber based textured matte, which i wasn’t sure how much I’d like – the scanner i use sidelights whatever you’re scanning, really emphasizing texture, and this texture is rather pronounced.

So when i print these out, *and hit ’em w/ colored pencils*, i am still lacking any clear cut answer, path to the finish. 


But after some thought, i finally decide to do this one:


I like the way the two stones look.. sort of transparent.

Here’s the final:


And the final w/ a bit of digital icing on the cake:


I guess if these prints could talk, they would say ‘what a long strange trip it’s been’!

RE: ‘materials/supplies’ – I recently bought some watercolors for all of $10, 12 tubes, all ‘classic’ colors which i like. (The marshall watercolors I’ve been using for years are about gone.) They don’t work well on the papers i am using, sooo… a few words to the wise?

‘You get what you pay for’… and… ‘always ‘test’ first, on a scrap.’


A desert ‘fantasmagorica’ …a new workflow.

‘Fantasmagorica’ – ?!

Is that a word, or have i just added to the unending creation of new words/expressions that the internet/computer world seems to have spawned?! I think i have seen it somewhere before…

Maybe a more literal description of these images would be ‘sandwich’ – which is what this is photographically speaking – two negs sandwiched together in the negative carrier, printed like that. You can’t alter anything about the negs, you got what you got, and that’s it. Both these are mysterious – a close-up of a cactus and a distant mountain horizon, both contrasting against each other. Both taken in Nevada in 2008. Color can definitely give this some topspin, so i embark on what has become my new work technique – water colors first, then oil colors, then a few final tweaks w/ photoshop.

The first one is pretty straightforward, not as mysterious, i added some photoshop enhancements to the color.


With a P’shop Hue/Sat layer:


Here’s the progression on the second print – first watercolors:


Then oil colors:


Then i once again added a blue gradient at the top:


I find there are 3 ‘layer options’ that add this gradient in various slightly different ways – ‘multiply’, ‘overlay’ & ‘color burn’. I tend to go for ‘overlay’.

BTW, if you want to know more about darkroom montage, here’s my ‘silverwizard’ blog:


If you have any inkling you might like to find space on your bookshelf for a few of my images as books?

Desert Trip


California Beach Trip


A few good links to check out:


‘A beautiful mess’ !indeed!

Handcoloring and painting photographs



The ‘terminator’ (ahnold s.) always sez … ‘ah’ll be back’ – so will I.