Tinting prints with watercolors

December 21, 2005

Prints are generally tinted with oil-pased paints and such, but watercolors can also be used and quite successfully. Just take a look at Russell Mobely‘s page on the matter.

 The process isn’t terribly complicated but you’ll need to experiment a bit to fine-tune it. Unlike oil-based paints (like Marshall’s Photo Oils) you can’t easily wipe away errors when using watercolors, as some watercolors tend to leave a permanent stain even after they’re washed away.

Basically, start out with either regular fober-based photographic paper, or watercolor papers (like Arches watercolor paper) which is covered with silver gelatin emulsion (“Liquid Light”) over it. Then print your picture as you would normally. Once you have a few completed prints ready to experiment with, you can start with the water coloring.

You may want to sepia tone the prints first, but be carefull since the combination of sepia tone and water colors can lead to some odd colored results. So, its best to mask off areas that you don’t want sepia toned with regular rubber cement glue before toning. The glue can be washed off later, revealing the original bw tones underneath.

Rubber cement can also be used to mask off areas that you don’t want to be watercolored.

You can use watercolors (Winsor & Newton, or Dr. Ph. Martin’s) in combination with color pencils (Berol Prismacolor) and even oil-based paints. The watercolors can be added using a brush, sponge or qtip.




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