Musings of a Designer on Jewelry, Crochet, Crochet Patterns, Knitting, Running a Crafty Business, Movie Costumes, Books, Art, Design, Steampunk & the Geek Girl Life

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hand Tinting an Engraving -- Marie Antoinette in Color

I love to hand tint and digitally color old illustrations and engravings. Especially fashion plate images. I recently was introduced to an absolutely fabulous blog of free vintage and Victorian clip art called The Graphics Fairy. This one of Marie Antoinette in a fancy dress full of bows and with ostrich plumes in her hair practically begged me to colorize it. Let's go through the steps to hand tint a black and white engraved illustration.1) Decide on your image. This is how the original Marie Antoinette image looked. Make a copy of the original image to work on. Every time you make a significant change, make a fresh copy to continue working on. You will thank yourself later if you have an artistic mistake and just need to go back one step vs. starting over from the beginning.

2) Clean it up. Remove the yellowing, fix creases, scuffs and rips, and correct discoloring.

3) Do your underpainting layer. Decide on the colors and figure out what belongs to what visually. For historical costumes, consult references if necessary to figure out what parts of the garment are related.

4) Break out the brushes and add highlights and shadows. Overpaint as many layers as necessary to get the depth of color you would like. I always prefer to finish the figure and treat the background minimally, even leaving a few bits barely tinted. I love the contrast between the bright clothing and the more subtle surroundings. I also usually give my women a touch of rouge or other make-up. This is fun to apply and helps the face, which usually has fewer engraving lines, to stand out.

And voila! You have a lovely colorized fashion plate image! This one took me about 2 hours and now is ready to be color copied and used for bookplates, journal covers, cards ..... the possibilities are endless!

I'm technically still on a bloggie break, but sometimes you just need to post :)

24 comments:

Mary Timme said...

Sometimes you do and I enjoyed this post a lot! Thanks for the info. Good stuff.

Sugar Bear said...

She looks so fabulous! I really enjoyed your tutorial as well. Thanks for the tips!
Karla

Scrappy Jessi said...

aahhhh gorgeous!!
just lovely!!
oxoxo,
jessi

Lori said...

thanks for breaking your break to bring us this gorgeousness!!! Heather your makeover here is so wonderful...thanks for sharing the process!!!

NeereAnDear said...

REALLY REALLY GORGEOUS!! I enjoyed reading your process and the tips on making copies with each change so you dont have to go back too far should you change your mind... I love the shadows and highlights that you gave the image...

FANTABULOUS JOB!!

CIAO

JO

KV said...

Wow, Heather! I am presently reading "Abundance" by Sena Jeter Naslund, her Marie Antoinette memoir novel. You did a fantastic job on colorizing this image!!!


Kathy V in NM

Heather ~Pretty Petals said...

wow this is gorgoeus, what a beautiful image... great job. xo Heather

Kristen said...

Beautiful! I love the end result~ the pastels are so soft & pretty!

Gracie said...

That looks great! I doubt I can make one that looks as good as that one. Thanks for the tute though.

And I hope your having fun on your blog break =)

By the way, I'm so bummed that Breaking Dawn is coming out later here. On the 4th of Aug. I'm soo excited about it! Can't wait to read it!!!

Alison Gibbs said...

That is beautiful
Alison

nuvonova said...

WOW WOW WOW!!

How amazing is that!! You did a wonderful job!

I'm going to see if there are any images I like!

Gina said...

terrific idea, and it looks gorgeous!

Sandra Evertson said...

This is Stunning!
Sandra

mycraftyways said...

I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and been hopelessly drawn to its deliciously feminine quality !
I've been enjoying the pictures, the tone, and the many discoveries that you brought up to me.
So, I don't know how you feel about web awards, but I took the liberty to put your blog on my list of nominees for the Brilliante Weblog award. Come by and have a look if you will :)

Waterrose said...

Oh this is a beautiful technique. Thank you for explaining how you do this. And, thanks for stopping by...yep struck by lightening. I was very lucky.

GardenGoose said...

very pretty.

Lisa said...

Love her I always wondered how people did that. So pretty.

Michelle said...

this is just so pretty!

Lisa "Oceandreamer" S. said...

That came out amazing!!! Did you print her on card stock and use regular acrylics? It's a complete transformation - I could definitely see this as part of a collage or a card. You do good work.

kathywas said...

Wow, Heather...I know absolutely nothing about digital art, but this makes me want to jump right in and get started. What a beautiful job that you did in making this image come alive!! I really enjoyed reading your step-by-step process. Thanks so much for sharing!

Ana of The Pretty Peacock said...

WOW - you rock for this post!!! :) I'm linking to you ! :)

Miss Sandy said...

Fantastic tutorial! I have some image that are well over one hundred years old and I'd love to use them in some other form than the original, now I know how! Thanks!

The Rose Room said...

Fabulous, thanks for the link to the graphics and the tutorial. Rachaelxo

puffyclouds said...

Hi, i would really lurhfve to give this a go, do i paint over the original image using watercolour???