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 :)