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Faded memories come to life.

Hand-tinting photos is fast, fun, and coloring-book easy

OLD FAMILY photographs preserve images of important moments, friends, and relatives, but they're usually small in size and languishing in albums. However, by blending a familiar modern technology with an old-fashioned technique, you can take a favorite black-and-white picture, enlarge it, and create a memorable "art" print with a charm that seems at once dated, timeless, and contemporary.

But you don't need to limit yourself to old photos--or even black-and-white ones. Los Angeles artist-writer Ellen Melinkoff, who introduced us to this project, often turns contemporary color photographs into objects d'art by this method.

Anyone who can keep within the lines of a coloring book can tackle hand-tinting. Start with a print of any size. Enlarge it with a photocopying machine--one with options for changing darkness and contrast, and with good toner. Choose the percentage of enlargement you wish and copy the picture in black and white onto letter-size heavy- or standard-weight paper. (The pictures shown here were enlarged 150 to 200 percent.) Experiment with the exposure. You want a full range of tones, so it's best to steer away from heavy blacks or high-contrast prints.

In addition to the paper, the only supplies you'll need are pastels, pastel pencils, an eraser, spray fixative, and cotton swabs. The tinting is easy. Rub a pastel on a piece of scrap paper until a little powder builds up, then dab the swab in it, and use the tip like a paintbrush. The idea is to apply an even layer of each color. Don't worry about shading--the tones in the photograph do all that for you. If you make a mistake, the pastels are easy to erase. If you wish, add more color texturing with the pastel pencils. Finally, seal the print with a light coat of fixative.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:hand-tinting old photographs
Author:Whiteley, Peter O.
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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