Hand coloring a black and white photograph is a beautiful way to add a personal touch and artistic flair to an otherwise monochromatic image. There are several mediums that can be used to add color to a photograph, including watercolors, oils, crayons, acrylics, dyes and pastels. Each medium has its own unique characteristics and can produce a different effect on the photograph, allowing you to create a one-of-a-kind work of art that truly reflects your creative vision. Whether you’re looking to breathe new life into an old family photo or create a stunning piece of art, hand coloring a black and white photograph can be a rewarding and enjoyable process.
Drawing inspiration from the techniques of the old masters of photography, I hand colored an aged black and white photo of my mother and her younger brother. I selected this specific photograph because of my affection towards it and the belief that it was an ideal candidate for the hand coloring process.
• Black and White photograph
• Watercolor, Oils or Acrylic Paints
• Artist Grade Colored Pencils, Oil Pastels, Pastel Pencils
• Water, Solvent
• Cotton Swabs
• Blotting Paper
• Pencil Sharpeners
• Fixative Spray (Optional)
Begin by carefully selecting the photograph you wish to hand color. Choose an image that has clear details and sharp edges. Make a copy of the photograph, so you can practice hand coloring techniques before applying it to the original.
Once you have selected the photograph you want to hand color, the next step is to gather all the necessary materials. Use artist grade-colored pencils, artist brushes, watercolor, oils, acrylic paints or cotton swabs. Additionally, it is important to have a clean workspace and proper lighting to ensure that you can see the details of the photograph clearly.
Before you start hand coloring, it is a good idea to examine the photograph closely and plan your color scheme. Consider the mood or feeling you want to convey through the colors you choose. For example, warmer tones like red, orange and yellow can create a cozy and nostalgic feeling, while cooler tones like blue and green can create a serene and peaceful atmosphere.
You can start hand coloring the photograph. Start by lightly applying color to the photograph with your colored pencils, taking care not to press too hard and damage the paper. Layer the colors gradually, using a light touch to create depth and texture. To blend the colors, use a soft brush to lightly stroke over the colored areas. You can also use a cotton swab to gently blend colors or remove any excess pigment.
After you are finished hand coloring the photograph, you can use a fixative spray to protect the photograph and prevent the colors from smudging or fading over time. However, be aware that some fixatives may change the texture of the photograph. Test the fixative on a small area of the photograph first to ensure that it does not alter the color or texture. (Fixatives are optional).
Hand coloring a black and white photograph can be a time-consuming process, but the results can be stunning. By adding color to a monochrome image, you can breathe new life into any photographs and create unique pieces of art.