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Full text of "THE ART OF RETOUCHING AND IMPROVING NEGATIVES AND PRINTS"

63-14393 



771 .k J69a2 

Johnson 

The art of retouching and 

Improving negatives and prints 





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HA SP 5 IFF 



THE ART OF RETOUCHING 

AND IMPROVING 
NEGATIVES AND PRINTS 



THE ART OF RETOUCHING 

AND IMPROVING 
NEGATIVES AND PRINTS 



BY ROBERT JOHNSON 



FOURTEENTH EDITION 

Revised and Enlarged 

BY ARTHUR HAMMOND F.R.P.S. 




1941 

AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHIC PUBLISHING CO. 

BOSTON, MASS. 

U.S.A. 



COPYKIGHT, 1930, 1936, 1941 
AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHIC PUBLISHING Co. 



Fourteenth (Third American) Edition 
Revised with additions, 1941 



Made and Printed in the United States of America 
by The Plimpton Press, Norwood, Massachusetts 



PREFACE 

The first edition of this book was published about 
thirty years ago and it ran through many editions. It 
was revised and rewritten by T. S. Bruce and Alfred 
Braithwaite, both well-known experts. Mr. Bruce was 
for a number of years a most successful teacher of re 
touching, conducting personal classes in his own studios 
on Hampstead Heath, as well as correspondence courses 
in all English speaking countries. He was the inventor 
and manufacturer of " ISTegaf ake " erasing pencils, 
which were very widely used. Mr. Braithwaite ranks 
high among photographic finishers and is a competent 
teacher. 

Changes in equipment and methods in recent years 
have made it necessary to bring the book up-to-date and 
this is what we have endeavored to do in the present 
edition. Most of the old material in former editions has 
been retained with the exception of references to meth 
ods and materials that are now no longer used. Bruce's 
" IXTegaf ake," for example, is no longer on the market, 
but its place has been taken by other things such as 
brushes of spun glass, and by various reducing pastes, 
such as Eastman Abrasive Reducer. But the methods 
of 1941 are much the same as those of 1910 as far as 
pencil work and etching are concerned. There is as 
much need for the use of common sense as well as man 
ual skill in retouching now as there was then. There is 



631-139; 



PREFACE 

very little difference in the materials that are now used 
for negative retouching, except that razor blades are 
almost always used for etching instead of the regular 
etching knives that were used and recommended by Mr. 
Bruce. 

In finishing and coloring photographic prints and en 
largements there have been some rather drastic changes. 
The use of the airbrush has become almost universal 
owing to its efficiency and speed. Modern methods of 
coloring have also superseded those advocated by Mr. 
Braithwaite. These modern methods have been fully 
dealt with in the present edition, but all of the very 
sound advice as regards coloring and working up en 
largements given in the earlier editions by Mr. Braith 
waite has been retained and will be found to be very 
helpful by those who are contemplating taking up such 
work. 

Much additional information on the subject of mak- 
ing-up the face before taking the picture has been in 
cluded, as this is a very effective means of avoiding the 
necessity for much retouching. In view of the fact that 
much of the portraiture of today is done on very small 
films and the print is made by enlarging from the 
small negative, it is far more difficult to retouch these 
small negatives so that the retouching will not show in 
making an enlargement than it is to retouch a larger 
negative that is to be used for contact printing, so that 
much information has been added on the making of en 
larged negatives and working on these and on prints. 

Any suggestions that may be sent to the publishers 
as to the improvement of later editions will be welcome. 
Boston, 1941 

vi 



CONTENTS 

PART I 

NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE RETOUCHING 
PREFACE v 

CHAPTER I WORKING MATERIALS 3 

Why Retouching Is Necessary Soft-Focus Lenses 

Diffusion in Printing" Lighting Possibilities 
of Retouching Advice as to Materials- Spotting 

Causes of Pinholes and Airbells Sharpening the 
Pencils Cleaning the Pencil Abuse of Pencilling 

Varied Pencil Points Applying the Medium 
Removal of Retouching 

CHAPTER II USING THE TOOLS 25 

Use of Window Shades To Shut Out Side Light 
Working by Artificial Light The Dimming Switch 

Position at Desk Distance from the Negative 
Holding the Pencil Knife and Abrasive Work 

How to Hold the Knife Sharpening Knives 

Abrasive Pastes Example of Knife and Abrasive 
Work Double Working Practice Negatives 
What to Look For What Stroke to Use How 
to Avoid Eye Strain Blending 

CHAPTER III MODELLING 44 

The Forehead Wrinkles The Cheek The Lips 
and Mouth The Nose Eyes and Eyebrows 
The Chin The Ears The Shadow Cheek The 
Neck, Bust and Arms 

CHAPTER IV METHODS OF WORKING 55 

Children's Faces An Example of Retouching 
Babies and Aged People Retouching a Man's Por 
trait Accidental Scars Regarding Anatomy and 

vii 



CONTENTS 

Likeness Freckled Faces The Ordinary Face 
The Best Touch Direction of the Touch Me 
chanical Device for Retouching Construction 
Operation Etching Practice Work Reducing 
Paste 

CHAPTER V USE OF MAKE-UP 76 

Street Make-up Not Suitable Applying the Make 
up Correcting Defects with Make-up 

CHAPTER VI- OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS OF 
RETOUCHING- 82 

Landscape and Architectural Negatives Paper 
Negative Process Ma'king a Paper Negative 
Eliminating Texture Mediobrome The Abra 
sion Tone Process Chemical Etching Dupli 
cating Film Groundglass Substitute Working 
on the Back of the Negative Papier Mineral 
The Airbrush Blocking Out Negative Varnish 
Softening Edges Etching Away the Back 
ground Filling in Scratches on the Negative 
Retouching Photographs of Animals Etching a 
Single Figure from a Group Straightening Crossed 
Eyes 

PART II 

FINISHING AND COLORING PHOTOGRAPHS 

CHAPTER VII MONOCHROME FINISHING 107 

Working Up Enlargements in Monochrome Cloudy 
Backgrounds Vignetting Fixing the Powder 
Brush Work The Hair, Eyes, etc. Crosshatch- 
ing Stippling The Scraper General Remarks 

CHAPTER VIII THE USE OF THE AIRBRUSH 125 

Description of the Airbrush Air Supply Posi 
tion at the Easel Colors Preparing Colors 
Preliminary Practice The Principle of Airbrush 
Work A Hint as to Roundness Use of Frisket 
Paper Working Up Portraits Working Up 
Landscape Pictures Cleaning the Airbrush 

viii 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER IX COLORING ENLARGEMENTS IN WATER 

COLORS 137 

Color Terms Explained The Kind of Print That 
Is Best for Coloring Brush Washes Flesh Tints 
The Eyes Shadows, etc., on Face Coloring 
Hair Draperies 

CHAPTER X FINISHING IN OIL COLORS 

Characteristics of Color The Russian Method of 
Applying Oil Colors The Kind of Print for Color 
ing Applying the Colors Portraits Land 
scapes Working Up Enlargements in Black and 
White and Colored Crayons 



PAUT I 

NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE RETOUCHING 



CHAPTER I 
WORKING MATERIALS 

Adding density to a negative by working on the nega 
tive with a finely-pointed lead pencil, or removing den 
sity from the negative by rubbing with an abrasive 
mixture or by shaving down the film with a sharp knife, 
is usually termed retouching, and portrait photogra 
phers, since the introduction of the dry plate, have de 
veloped and practiced such methods of improving their 
negatives until retouching has become a necessary part 
of the production of an acceptable portrait. 

The methods used in retouching have been modified 
and improved from time to time and new materials have 
been introduced, but the operation still remains very 
much the same as in the days when the dry plate was 
first used in photography. 

Shadows on a negative are more or less transparent, 
and therefore shadows, such as lines and wrinkles on the 
face, can be built up and either partly or entirely re 
moved by adding density to the negative in those parts. 
At first such work as this was done with a brush and 
color on each individual print, but this was too labori 
ous, and it was not very long before the idea of modify 
ing the negative was tried out and found to be entirely 
practical. India ink and water color were used with a fine 
brush on the negative, but later it was found that the 
work could be done far more easily and more satisfac- 



RETOUCHING 

torily with a lead pencil. It is necessary to prepare 
the surface of the film by applying a resinous medium, 
to give sufficient tooth to make the use of a pencil 
practical. This used to he done by rubbing the film with 
finely powdered pumice, but now a retouching medium, 
or dope as it is called, is always used. 

Except for the fact that removable leads are used in 
a lead-holder instead of the usual cedar-covered pencils, 
the pencils used for retouching are exactly the same as 
those used for any other purpose to which a pencil is 
applied. As the retoucher has to use a long, fine point, 
the adjustable holder is more convenient because it can 
be used to protect the lead when the pencil is not in use. 

Retouching in its simplest form is simply the applica 
tion of lead to the surface of a negative in those parts 
which are not sufficiently dense and which therefore 
would appear too dark in a print made from that nega 
tive. It will be found to be a comparatively simple mat 
ter to work over those transparent parts with a finely 
pointed pencil until they are gradually built up and 
strengthened under the application of the lead so that 
they blend, more or less imperceptibly, into the sur 
rounding parts, and are therefore partially or entirely 
eliminated. 

The opposite effect, namely the removal of density 
from the negative to make certain parts appear darker 
in the print, is done by gently scraping the surface of the 
film with a very sharp knife so that some of the silver 
deposit is actually shaved off. All kinds of knives have 
been recommended for this, but most of the practical re 
touchers of today use a safety-razor blade, or part of a 
blade, in preference to any other type of knife. There 



WORKING MATERIALS 

are also certain abrasive mixtures, usually in the form 
of a paste, which can be applied with a tuft of cotton or 
with a cloth stretched over the finger tip. For some 
purposes this method of reducing is better than using 
a knife. Both knife and paste are used by practical 
retouchers throughout the world. 

It will be seen, therefore, that there are entirely prac 
tical means of adding or removing density and it is only 
necessary for the requisite skill to be developed by prac 
tice, so that the modifications of the negative will not be 
visible on the print. 

WHY RETOUCHING Is NECESSARY. There are cer 
tain defects, inherent in the photographic process, that 
make it difficult or impossible for a photographer to get 
in the print just what is desired. 

The tremendous improvement in the color sensitivity 
of modern photographic emulsions has almost entirely 
eliminated the difficulties of earlier days when certain 
colors would always appear in a photograph as lighter 
or darker in tone than they appeared to the eye. At 
that time red-sensitive emulsions were unobtainable and 
therefore the colors at the red end of the spectrum would 
be reproduced very much too dark. At the same time 
these emulsions were very strongly sensitive to blue so 
that the colors at the blue end were too light. This, of 
course, can now be corrected by the use of panchromatic 
emulsions and suitable color filters. 

In many instances, too, a little carefully considered 
make-up of the subject before making the exposure will 
tend to minimize photographic shortcomings very con 
siderably. The improvement effected by these means is 
often so marked that it is possible to work with a minia- 

5 



RETOUCHING 

ture camera, making the prints by projection from the 
small negative, and to get an entirely satisfactory result 
without the need for any mechanical retouching. How 
ever, there is still the possibility of faulty lighting caus 
ing deep shadows that must be modified by a little care 
ful retouching. 

Sometimes there are patches of uneven pigmentation 
on the skin that are not apparent to the eye, or there 
are freckles or other slight blemishes that should be sub 
dued or eliminated in order to improve the portrait. 
These are more or less transparent on the negative and 
can very easily be built up by the careful application of 
pencil work. 

The photographic lens is an instrument of great pre 
cision, but it does not discriminate between the essential 
and the unessential, and so when the lens is used in such 
a way as to give clear definition of detail where it is 
wanted, there is often equally clear definition of detail 
where it is not wanted. The lens does not create lines 
and wrinkles and blemishes on the face, but it merely 
reproduces them when they are there and makes these 
unimportant details just as prominent as the important 
ones. Therefore it is sometimes necessary to subdue 
such imperfections or to remove them entirely by means 
of the knife or the pencil. 

SoFT-Focus LENSES. Many photographers use 
lenses that are so designed that they do not give critically 
sharp definition, and when used intelligently and skil 
fully, such lenses often impart a very charming quality, 
but still, the lens is impartial, and by softening the defini 
tion where it is desirable to do so, we soften it also where 
it is not desirable and so we often lose more than we gain. 

6 



WORKING MATERIALS 

DIFFUSION IN FEINTING. In addition to these spe 
cial lenses, there are a number of devices that are used 
for softening the definition in making a projection print 
from a sharp negative. There is the Eastman Diffusion 
Disc, a piece of glass ruled with concentric circles and 
radiating lines, that can be placed over the lens of the 
enlarger in projection printing and that will impart a 
pleasing quality to the print. There are three types of 
these discs giving slight, medium or strong diffusion. 
They do not increase the time of exposure. 

Another similar device is the Misonne " Soft-Sharp " 
screen. This is made of celluloid and as its use does not 
displace or alter the size of the image on the enlarger 
easel, it is made in such a way that a part of the lens sur 
face is left uncovered. Thus the uncovered portion of 
the lens can function normally to give a foundation of 
sharp definition which is combined with the slightly sof 
tened definition given by that part of the lens that is cov 
ered with the indented celluloid. As there is no displace 
ment of the image when using this screen, the amount of 
diffusion can be controlled at will by using the screen for 
the entire time of exposure or for only a part of the time. 
Both the Eastman Diffusion Disc and the Misonne Soft- 
Sharp screen may be used on the lens on the camera in 
making the original exposure, thus giving an effect that 
to some degree approximates the effect that would be 
secured by the use of a soft-focus lens. 

There are many other ways of getting softened defini 
tion in enlarging, for instance by covering the lens with a 
layer or two of fine mesh material such as a portion of a 
silk stocking, bolting cloth or fine cheesecloth, or by de 
liberately imparting a slight amount of vibration to the 

7 



RETOUCHING 

enlarger, or even by blowing a cloud of cigar smoke into 
the path of the light rays between the lens of the en- 
larger and the easel while the sensitive paper is being 
exposed. 

Such methods are, however, rather uncertain, espe 
cially the last two, but nevertheless it is possible by some 
such means to impart a suggestion of breadth to an en 
largement and to get rid of some of the " tightness " that 
is sometimes detrimental to the success of a pictorial 
photograph. 

Another popular method of getting rid of very sharp 
definition is by using one of the many varieties of " tex 
ture screens." Such a screen is usually a piece of cellu 
loid with either a grainy surface rather like groundglass, 
or a more or less definite pattern to give various fabric 
textures such as the " Satin," " Oxford " and " Home 
spun " screens manufactured by Agfa Ansco, or an in 
definite effect like the same maker's " Ripple " screen. 
The screen is placed in contact with the sensitive paper, 
preferably under a piece of clean glass, and the exposure 
is made through the celluloid screen. Such screens in 
crease the necessary exposure from two to three times 
but for certain types of pictures where broad, sketchy 
effects are desired, the result is really quite pleasing. 

It is possible also to obtain interesting effects by print 
ing through the back of the sensitive paper or through 
a piece of tissue paper or adhesive, dry-mounting tissue 
laid in contact with the paper. 

LIGHTING. Sometimes the lighting that is used is 
such as to emphasize certain lines on the face and some 
times highlights are introduced where they should not 
be, so that some retouching is called for to correct these 

8 



WORKING MATERIALS 

mistakes. Sometimes there is a frown or a slight scowl 
on the face of the sitter which causes certain lines on the 
face to be unduly pronounced. By softening or remov 
ing such lines, the expression can be very much improved 
without spoiling the likeness. 

POSSIBILITIES OF RETOUCHING. A very skilful re 
toucher can make drastic changes in a face, such as clos 
ing a mouth that is opened too far so that the teeth are 
showing, straightening eyes that are slightly crossed or 
even putting into the negative eyes which may have been 
closed while the exposure was made. Such things as 
these demand great skill and should not be attempted 
until the worker is really expert in the use of his tools, 
but it is quite possible to do such things and make the 
results appear entirely natural in the print. 

The comparatively slight amount of retouching that is 
usually called for in a well-lighted and properly exposed 
portrait is by no means difficult to do, and anyone who 
possesses a certain amount of manual dexterity as well 
as good eyesight can become in a comparatively short 
time sufficiently expert to do simple retouching. 

Even if nothing more is done to a negative than to re 
move the obvious defects and to subdue too prominent 
lines, that negative will be very much improved and will 
yield a far more pleasing print than if it were not re 
touched at all. In professional studios, a good deal more 
than this is done however ; the entire face is blended and 
modelled so that there are no harsh lines or deep shadows. 
A clever retoucher can do this without destroying the 
likeness. The general public often demands a good deal 
of retouching in portraits, but it should never be over 
done or carried so far that all the character and expres- 

9 



RETOUCHING 

sion in the face are lost. The experienced retoucher will 
do more with a few strokes of the pencil than the unin 
telligent worker could do in an hour, for retouching is 
a branch of photography in which experience counts 
for much. 

The beginner in retouching must first of all make him 
self familiar with the appearance of a negative and must 
get used to the reversal of the lights and darks. When 
we speak of highlights on a negative, we mean the dens 
est parts of it, the parts that appear lightest in a print, 
and of course shadows on a negative are the more or less 
transparent parts through which the light can penetrate 
in printing so that those parts appear dark in the print. 
It takes a little practice to discriminate between the 
shadows that are blemishes, such as freckles, etc., and 
those that are a necessary part of the modelling of the 
face. There must be a certain amount of shadow in 
order to give a suggestion of roundness and solidity and 
to indicate the shape of the features. A little actual 
work on a few negatives will soon enable the beginner 
to tell the difference between the shadows that should 
be removed and those that should not be touched and 
so, at this time, we will proceed to give the beginner some 
idea of his tools. 

ADVICE AS TO MATERIALS. After having made sure 
that you are physically suited for retouching, proceed 
to get the implements that are required. These are not 
expensive and it is always advisable to get the best. Al 
though it is possible to use ordinary cedar pencils, it 
will be far better for the beginner to buy one or two of 
the lead-holders specially intended for retouching, and 
an assortment of loose leads of varying degrees of hard- 

10 



WORKING MATERIALS 

ness. The different makers have different ways of in 
dicating hard and soft leads. Some of the leads are 
numbered, No. 1 being the softest and No. 6 extra hard. 
Other makers indicate the quality of the leads by the 
letters B (black) and H (hard), the No. 1 lead being 
marked BB or BBB, No. 2, B or BB, No. 3, HB (hard 
and black, the degree of hardness that is generally most 
useful for average work) , No. 4, H or HH, No. 5, HH 
or HHH and No. 6, HHH or HHHH, and so on. The 
worker must have two or three pencils of different de 
grees of hardness for use on different kinds of negatives 
or on different parts of the same negative. On a thin 
negative, where only a very slight amount of pencil work 
is needed, a fairly hard pencil should be used, while, on 
a denser negative or on parts where a heavier deposit of 
lead is called for, a soft pencil must be used or it will be 
impossible to apply sufficient lead. This is largely a 
matter of practice and the worker will very soon acquire 
the ability to decide which grade of lead is best suited 
to different parts of the negative. 

It is possible to make the retouching medium or dope 
that is applied to the negative to provide a tooth for the 
pencil work, but it will be found far more satisfactory 
and just as economical to buy this ready prepared. 
There are several good formulas for retouching me 
diums. An excellent one, recommended by L. P. Clerc 
in " Photography: Theory and Practice " is to dissolve 
gum dammar in benzene, or, better, in a mixture of equal 
volumes of benzene and turpentine in the proportions 
of one to two ounces of gum to twenty ounces of the 
benzene and turpentine mixture. Then add a few drops 
of oil of lavender or castor oil. A simple way to make 

11 



RETOUCHING 

a suitable medium is to leave some turpentine for some 
time in a poorly stoppered bottle so that it is partly ex 
posed to the air. After a little time it will become partly 
resinified, due to oxidation by the air. 

A good retouching medium can also be made by thin 
ning Venice turpentine with ordinary spirits of turpen 
tine until it has about the consistency of molasses. If it 
should prove to be too thin, let it stand in the sun for 
a while ; if it is too thick, add some more spirits. 

Retouching medium should always be kept in a well- 
corked bottle as it will spoil quite rapidly if it is left ex 
posed to the air. 

Besides the pencils and retouching dope, the follow 
ing articles should also be obtained : 

Retouching desk or easel 

Reading glass or magnifying glass 

Etching knife or a few razor blades 

Small spotting brush 

Assortment of spotting-colors, sepia, black and white 

Small can of abrasive paste 

Sandpaper block for sharpening pencils 

Bottle of " Groundglass Substitute " 

Some old, soft handkerchiefs or surgical cotton for 

applying the dope to the negatives 
Some negatives to practice on 

It is not at all difficult for anyone who is handy with 
tools to make a thoroughly practical and efficient re 
touching desk. As a matter of fact, a wooden box with 
the top and bottom removed and a board put in diago 
nally at an angle of about 60 degrees, to act as a support 
for the negative, will do very well. An opening must 

12 



WORKING MATERIALS 

be cut in this board through which the light can be trans 
mitted. A second-hand radio cabinet of the old style 
with sloping front can easily be adapted to this use. An 
adjustable and folding retouching desk can be pur 
chased for a few dollars and if much work is to be done, 




FIG. 1 

it will be found to be well worth while to invest a little 
money in a reliable outfit, though it is easy to make one. 
Figure 1 is a sketch of a suitable retouching desk that 
could be easily constructed and that would be excellent 
for occasional work. The center section, A, may be en 
tirely of light wood such as plywood, or it may consist 
of a frame and a piece of heavy cardboard. The parts 
marked C and D may be similar to A though it is a good 
plan to make the foundation part, D, heavier and more 
solid than the other two pieces. The three parts are 
hinged together as shown in the sketch and some means 
must be adopted to keep them separated, as shown, when 

13 



RETOUCHING 

the desk is in use. On the inside of the frame, on the top 
of Cj it is a good plan to tack a piece of leather or oil 
cloth, as shown at 5, with a series of loops for keeping 
at hand retouching pencils and other small tools, as 
shown. 

If a desk is bought, do not get one that is too small. 
A large desk is well worth its extra cost in the added 
comfort and convenience. 

In modern practice the retouching desk usually has an 
almost vertical front that is sloped backward not more 
than a few degrees. Many people prefer to sit upright 
at their work and find that it is more healthful and far 
less fatiguing than bending over. 

A well-known and popular piece of equipment that 
serves as an excellent retouching desk is the Graflex 
Enlarg-or-Printer. This will accommodate negatives 
up to 8 by 10 or, with the extension top, negatives as 
large as 11 by 14. The light is projected upwards from 
the bottom, and a negative that is laid upon the glass top 
can be evenly illuminated. Two light intensities are pro 
vided and the construction of the lamphouse provides 
sufficient ventilation and heat radiation so that there is 
no danger of overheating the negative. The height of 
the platen top is adjustable and the top may also be tilted 
to give a more convenient angle for working. The 
Enlarg-or-Printer is a most convenient accessory for use 
in working on paper negatives. 

A regular printer, either the commercial or home 
made variety, may, of course, be used as a retouching 
desk or for a convenient support for a paper negative or 
positive that is to be worked on with pencil or crayon, 
though, if much such work is to be done, a vertical or 

14 



WORKING MATERIALS 

nearly vertical support for the negative will be found 
to be more convenient and much less tiring. 

The reading glass should not be used all the time, but 
it will be found very handy for extra fine work and for 
the final smoothing up of the work. 

Although there are many good knives on the market 
that are specially designed and manufactured for re 
touching, most of the practical retouchers of today use 
a safety-razor blade, preferably one with a rounded cor 
ner rather than a sharp corner. Very often the practi 
cal retoucher either breaks a blade in two so that he has 
one sharp corner and one rounded one, or he uses differ 
ent makes of blades. This gives a choice of blades which 
are used according to the kind of work that is needed. 

The spotting-colors and brush are used for spotting 
out pinholes and similar defects in the negative that are 
too big to be easily remedied with the pencil. There is 
a knack in spotting that can very easily be learned. 

SPOTTING. Transparent spots on a negative, 
though they are usually caused by carelessness, cannot 
always be avoided. They are sometimes caused by dust 
particles on the film which keep the light off the film 
when the exposure is made and therefore when the nega 
tive is developed there are transparent spots where there 
was no light action. Such spots as these are known as 
pinholes and they can be avoided by making sure that the 
plate or film is free from dust. The use of a brush for 
dusting plates or films when they are loaded into the 
holders is not advised. Plates and films are very care 
fully packed and elaborate precautions are taken at the 
factory to avoid dust, so there is not likely to be any dust 
on the film when it is taken from the box in which it was 

15 



RETOUCHING 

packed, but a brush that is kept in the darkroom, pos 
sibly lying on a dusty bench, is likely to be full of dust 
and the use of such a brush would be very apt to put more 
dust on the film than it removes. In loading glass plates 
into the holders, it is a good plan to give the edge of each 
plate a slight tap on the bench before putting it into the 
holder. That will dislodge any dust particles there may 
be on the plate. If films are used, tap the back of each 
one with the fingernail before loading into the holder. 

Another reason why a brush should not be used is that 
the friction of the brush on the plate or film tends to 
electrify the surface a little, so that any dust that is in 
the atmosphere is attracted to the plate and adheres to 
its surface. So do not use a brush for dusting plates or 
films, but take special care to keep the inside of the 
camera and the holders as free from dust as possible. 

CAUSES OF PINHOLES AND AIEBELLS. Plates and 
films are apt to get dusty if they are left for some time 
in the holders and are carried around a good deal in an 
auto or other conveyance. It is a good plan to dust the 
inside of the camera and the inside of the holders occa 
sionally with a slightly damp cloth or one that has been 
very slightly moistened with just a trace of glycerin. 
This should be done after the camera has been carried 
on a long trip in a train or auto, especially in dry weather 
when the roads are dusty. It is also well to avoid leav 
ing the plates or films in the holders for a long time be 
fore they are used. 

Defects of another kind will sometimes be found on 
negatives. They are usually larger than pinholes and 
are almost always circular in shape, as they are caused 
by airbells adhering to the film during development. 

16 



WORKING MATERIALS 

Carelessness in pouring on the developing solution is 
usually the cause of airbells. The developer does not 
reach the spot covered with the air and therefore that 
spot is not developed and will fix out in the hypo as a 
round, transparent hole. If the films or plates are de 
veloped in a tray, airbells can be avoided by passing a 
wad of cotton, or the tip of the finger, very lightly over 
the entire surface of the film immediately after it has 
been immersed in the developer. 

How TO SPOT A NEGATIVE. Such spots as these, if 
they should occur, are best spotted out with a fine brush 
and either opaque color or India ink. The color should 
not be applied too wet or it will only form a ring around 
the transparent spot and make matters worse. The 
usual method is to place a little of the color or India ink 
on the thumbnail or a porcelain slab and allow it to dry. 
The brush should then be very slightly moistened with 
the lips and a very little of the paint taken up on the 
extreme point of the brush. Then apply the tip of the 
brush to the spot on the negative, being very careful to 
place the tip of the brush as nearly in the exact center 
of the hole as possible, and if the pinhole is a small one, 
it will be removed with one touch of the brush. If it is 
a large hole, two or three such touches may be necessary, 
but be careful to avoid putting on the color too thick. 
Try to apply the color so that the pinhole or airbell will 
match its surroundings and so blend into the negative 
that it will not show at all in the print. 

Figure 2 shows how a pinhole that has been spotted 
might look under the microscope. No. 1 shows the right 
way to spot a pinhole, while No. 2 shows how it ought 
not to be done. In No. 1 there is a white circle around 

17 



RETOUCHING 

the spot but this would blend in with the surrounding 
tones when printed and would not show at all, whereas 
the overlapping of the brush strokes in No. 2 would 
cause the spotted pinhole to show white when printed 
which might be even worse than if it had not been spotted 
at all. If the pinhole is in a dense part of the negative, 
such as the sky in a landscape picture, it will need a 
heavier application of color than if it is in a more trans 
parent part of the negative. If the pinhole is in a part of 





FIG. 2 

the negative that is more or less transparent, it would be 
better to retouch it very lightly with a hard retouching 
pencil instead of using paint and a brush. If the paint 
is applied too heavily, the spotting will show as a light 
spot in the print and will entail some spotting on each 
print to remove it. The knack of spotting such defects 
in negatives is one than can be acquired very easily with 
a little practice. A very convenient assortment of 
spotting-colors in the form of a series of celluloid sheets 
coated with dry colors, black, white, and red, can be pur 
chased very cheaply at any photographic stock house. 

The sandpaper block for sharpening pencils can be 
bought of almost any artists' supply store or photo 
graphic dealer. It is a piece of wood about an inch and 
a half wide and six inches long, to which are attached 
several pieces of fine sandpaper, one on the top of the 
other. When one piece is worn out, it can be removed 
and a fresh piece exposed for use. 

18 



WORKING MATERIALS 

SHARPENING THE PENCILS. As a great deal de 
pends upon the sharpening of the pencils and the preser 
vation of the point, it may be advisable to give full di 
rections to achieve those ends. The lead should be let 
out about an inch and a quarter from the screw-cap of 
the pencil holder and then this securely tightened. The 
pencil is then lifted from the table between the thumb 
and second finger of the right hand, which makes the 
butt end of the holder protrude just beyond the side of 
the hand below the little finger, the pencil holder thus 
crossing the palm of the hand, with the little and third 
fingers bent under the holder and lightly supporting it 
while the weight of the first finger tip is resting on the 
extreme unsharpened point of the lead. Hold the sharp 
ening block in the left hand or place it just on the edge 
of the table and bring the pencil down on it at an angle 
of about forty-five degrees, resting the lead perfectly 
flat across the sandpaper. Then pass the lead across the 
surface of the sandpaper with a bold and steady motion 
from right to left, at the same time rotating the holder 
continuously between the second finger and the thumb. 
This double movement requires some practice, but by 
doing it slowly at first, it will soon be mastered. The 
tip of the first finger should rest lightly on the end of the 
lead until it begins to find its point through the light 
pressure and then the tip of the finger should be gradu 
ally drawn down towards the screw-cap of the holder 
until the pencil is finely sharpened to a taper point, not 
bulging in the center, then suddenly slanting off, but a 
true gradation from the screw-cap to the delicate tip, as 
shown in Fig. 3, No. 1. The pencil must always be kept 
in this condition and if little pieces break off, as they are 

19 



RETOUCHING 

apt to do with the beginner, and with irritating fre 
quency, then loosen the screw-cap, let out the lead a 
trifle, screw up again and repeat the sharpening process 
as described and so renew the point. Keep the point al 
ways the same length and be very careful to protect the 
points of the pencils when they are not in use. 

CLEANING THE PENCIL. After sharpening, many 
retouchers remove the fine dust clinging to the pencil 
by drawing it through a soft cloth. Some use a piece 
of blotting paper or soft wrapping paper, passing the 
lead over the paper in the same way as it was rubbed on 
the sandpaper block, but the best method of removing 
dust from the newly sharpened pencil is to rotate it over 
the soft flesh between the thumb and the first finger of 
the left hand while drawing it over and away from that 
part. This certainly dirties the hand, but then, so does 
the sharpening, but the proper pursuit of the art comes 
before all such slight considerations. Retouchers get 
into a very smudgy state at times. 

The lead must be cleaned after sharpening, because 
there is usually a speck or two at the point which would 
be deposited on the negative directly the pencil is 
brought to its surface. This would make a speck on the 
negative that would have to be removed either with a 
knife or with the wooden end of a small paintbrush han 
dle covered with a soft rag and lightly touched with re 
touching medium. This should be just flirted over the 
surface and it will usually remove the speck of dust at 
once, but it may be necessary to rub the medium down 
on the negative. 

First attempts at sharpening the leads generally re 
sult in many breakages, and the novice thinks he has 

20 



RETOUCHING 

taken up an expensive hobby. The tip of the first finger 
resting on the point of the lead when being sharpened 
prevents much of this wastage, but undue weight from 
the wrist must always be guarded against. To attain 
the correct rotary movement of the pencil between the 
finger and the thumb, the beginner can practice on the 
back of a piece of sandpaper, or on any smooth paper, 
until the knack of performing the double movement is 
acquired. Then, when confident that the right action 
has been attained, the complete operation can take place. 

Careful attention to the sharpening and treatment of 
the pencils will remove many of the initial difficulties 
that beset the path of the beginner, hence the necessity 
for these somewhat detailed directions. 

ABUSE OF PENCILLING. While you must keep a 
long, sharp point on your pencil, you can use a more 
stumpy point for strengthening highlights on drapery, 
but here is something that should be avoided: it often 
happens that it is difficult to strengthen the highlights 
on a figure owing to the drapery being of soft material, 
but in the picture there may be certain accessories, such 
as chairs, screens, vases, books, etc., which catch the 
light; and because it is easy to do so, some retouchers 
strengthen these highlights wherever they can, so that 
the figure appears to be lost in a number of brilliant ac 
cessories, just as some indifferent pianists, when they 
are accompanying a solo, hammer away at the instru 
ment as if the accompaniment constituted the leading 
motive of the music. Do not let your zeal for retouching 
carry you to this extreme; within its proper limits, re 
touching can be a vast improvement to a photograph 
beyond that it is an obtrusive absurdity. 



WORKING MATERIALS 

VAEIED PENCIL POINTS. Figure 3, No. I, shows 
the proper working point of a No. 3 Hardtmuth lead (a 
favorite professional pencil) 1-J to lj inches in length: 
No. 2 shows the point of a No. 3B pencil, about J inch 
in length, used for strengthening the highlights on dra 
pery, etc. ; and No, 3 shows a chisel-pointed 6B pencil, 
the softest pencil made, used for putting in broad high 
lights. 

The desk and the pencils being ready, nothing remains 
but to apply the retouching medium to the negative and 
then, in the correct position and with the right move 
ment, to commence work. 

APPLYING THE MEDIUM. Whatever retouching 
medium is used, and there are many varieties on the 
market, it will be found that directions as to their use 
are usually given with them. 

In applying the medium to the film and this ap 
plies to all makes the main thing to avoid is having 
the medium too thick so that it leaves the film in a sticky 
condition, more fit for catching flies than for retouching. 
The first finger of the right hand should be covered 
smoothly with a piece of soft rag, such as an old and well- 
washed handkerchief. Tip the bottle so that the me 
dium touches the cork and then withdraw the cork and 
apply the medium that is adhering to the cork to the 
cloth on the finger tip. This should then be rubbed 
firmly over the part of the negative that is to be re 
touched, rubbing with a little pressure and in a series 
of circles cutting one another. The medium should be 
applied to the parts that need to be retouched and the 
edges should be softened off, so that there is no abrupt 
edge where the medium stops, as this might show in a 

23 



RETOUCHING 

print. When the negative is a small one, not larger than 
3% by 4j, the entire surface should be covered, as this 
will avoid showing edges and the cost of the medium is 
not high. High-grade surgical cotton which is practi 
cally lintless may be used if suitable old and soft rags 
are not available. 

The negative should be placed on a level surface while 
the medium is being rubbed on and if it is a glass plate, 
some care must be taken to avoid breakage. 

Do not apply too much medium. Rub it down 
smoothly. Use only a very little and then rub it well 
in, as if you were trying to rub it off. 

REMOVAL OF RETOUCHING. Unsatisfactory at 
tempts at retouching may be removed with the finger 
rag slightly moistened with spirits of turpentine (the 
best), and then the negative is remediumized with the 
regular retouching medium for another trial. There is 
no need to remove all the work, unless all of it is un 
satisfactory, but only the part that has to be done over. 

Retouching can also be removed with the medium it 
self. A second application of retouching medium right 
over the part that has been worked on will remove the 
old retouching and prepare the surface of the negative 
for another attempt. 



CHAPTER II 
USING THE TOOLS 

And now let us suppose that you are ready to com 
mence work. Choose a north light if possible, as it is the 
least variable, or, failing that, a northeast light, but al 
ways avoid sunlight. Use a strong and solid, straight- 
edged table, such as an ordinary kitchen table, placing 
it close up against the wall just below the window, so 
that it is firm and unshakable. 

Set the desk right up to the edge of the table and do 
not allow any ledge on which to rest the elbow, for if you 
do that you will retard the free action of the pencil all 
the time. Allow sufficient room on the table at the right 
of the desk for all your materials, extra pencils, knives, 
brushes, spotting-colors, and so on. 

Open the retouching desk with the carrier or other 
device that holds the negative at an angle of about 60 
degrees or even less, for to have too great a slant compels 
the retoucher to lean over the work more than is neces 
sary, which is bad for the health and is a very tiring posi 
tion. It is advisable to have a really first-class desk and 
one that is of fairly good size. It should be large enough 
to take a negative 11 by 14 inches in size, especially if 
enlarged negatives or prints are likely to be worked on. 
A good, large desk is a real comfort to work at and it well 
repays the initial expense, for after a proper outfit has 
been acquired, the cost of retouching is very little, for 

25 



RETOUCHING 

the pencils, medium and other things will last a long 
time. Therefore if much work is to be done, a good, 
roomy, well-made desk will be a good investment. 

Some desks are fitted with a mirror to reflect the light 
through the negative, but this should be used only when 
the light is very poor. To work with too strong a light 
is detrimental to the eyesight and fatal to good results. 
From practical experience it has been found that white 
blotting paper is about the best material to use as a re 
flector. It throws a good, even light through the nega 
tive and there is no glare. There should be a piece of 
opal glass or fine groundglass fitted behind the opening 
in the desk, on which the negative is placed, and then the 
white blotting paper should be laid below the ground 
or opal glass in such a position that it throws an even, 
diffused light through the negative. 

USE OF WINDOW SHADES. You will find that you 
can easily regulate the amount of the light that falls on 
the reflector and so make it suit exactly the density of 
the negative you have to work on, by raising and lower 
ing the window shade. If you have the cord within easy 
reach, you can raise or lower the shade when it is neces 
sary to do so without leaving your seat. If you have to 
work at a window on the sunny side of the house, you 
can diffuse the light by using a white shade, preferably 
one that is so arranged that it can be pulled up from the 
bottom of the window, with a dark shade also that can 
be pulled down from the top. 

A soft, reflected light must always be used, one that 
is not too strong to obliterate the delicate gradations in 
the negative, but strong enough to show all the detail 
clearly- If the light is too strong it will be impossible 

26 



USING THE TOOLS 

to do good work, but a light that is not strong enough 
will be apt to strain the eyes. This is a point that should 
be carefully observed. You will soon get into the habit 
of adjusting the window shade so that you will get the 
best possible light. 

To SHUT OUT SIDE LIGHT. Some workers tack 
pieces of brown paper along each side of the top of the 
desk and then down each side of the carrier frame, but 
a better plan is to use a piece of heavy cardboard or thin 
wood about two or three inches wider than the top of the 
desk. Side curtains can be attached to this and it can 
be laid on the top of the desk with a strip of wood in 
front to keep it from slipping down. In this way you 
can block out all the side light and the whole thing can 
be lifted off easily when it is not needed. 

WORKING BY ARTIFICIAL LIGHT. A great many 
professional retouchers use only artificial light for re 
touching. It has the advantage of being always uni 
form. Electric light is now so universally obtainable 
that it will be rare indeed when any other form of arti 
ficial light will have to be used, but even a kerosene lamp, 
used with the addition of a jeweller's globe filled with 
water tinted blue-green, makes a good substitute for 
electric light and provides a very pleasant light to work 
by in the event of electric light being unobtainable, but 
as the majority will no doubt be in a position to use 
electric light, details as to its most effective use for re 
touching will be given. 

Probably the most convenient method is to use a 
goose-neck desk lamp and place it so that the light shines 
down on to the white blotting paper reflector previously 
described, so that only reflected light is used to pass 

27 



RETOUCHING 

through the negative, not direct light. The intensity of 
the illumination can easily be controlled by varying the 
distance between the electric lamp and the reflector. 
The nearer it is placed to the reflector, the stronger will 
be the light. Some workers use direct light diffused with 
two pieces of opal or ground glass, but it has been found, 
from actual experience, that the reflected light gives a 
more even illumination that can very easily be regulated. 

THE DIMMING SWITCH. A dimming switch by 
means of which the strength of the light can be varied 
is a great convenience if negatives of widely varying 
density have to be retouched. Such a switch can be ob 
tained at any electric supply house. 

If an exceptionally dense negative is being worked 
on, too dense to allow the light to properly penetrate 
even when the light is brought fairly close to the re 
flector, one of the groundglass diffusers can be removed, 
or even, in extreme cases, both of them. Such exception 
ally dense negatives should be avoided whenever it is 
possible to do so, as they are not at all easy to retouch. 
For the average negative, of average density, an ordi 
nary 50-watt lamp can be used and the light will be just 
about right with one opal or two groundglass diffusers 
and the blotting paper reflector. The light can be in 
creased a little, if necessary, by raising the blotting pa 
per reflector, so that it is a little nearer to the negative. 

If an exceptionally thin negative is being worked on, 
it may be necessary to use an additional opal diifuser 
between the negative and the light. This will add den 
sity and show the delicate detail more clearly. 

POSITION AT DESK. The position adopted when re 
touching is of the utmost importance if the work is to be 

28 



USING THE TOOLS 

carried on for many hours, as in the case of professional 
retouchers, and even if only for a short period it is better 
to be in comfort than not. Sit in an upright chair with 
a cushion at your back for ease combined with solidity 
of position, and then, placing your hands under the seat 
of the chair, lift or jump yourself forward so that your 
legs are well under the table and your body just lightly 
touching the edge of it. You will then be sitting erect 
all the time you are at work, and your back being so well 
supported by the cushion, you can work for hours at a 
time without suffering the slightest fatigue. If you do 
not get well up to the table, then you are tempted to lean 
over, and the whole time you are retouching you are in 
a strained and uncomfortable position that is positively 
bad for the health. 

DISTANCE FROM THE NEGATIVE. You should look 
down upon the face to be retouched, and the distance 
your eyes should be from the work depends entirely 
upon your own particular vision. Some retouchers have 
to peer closely into the negative, others can see better 
when they keep away some considerable distance. The 
ordinary reading range is usually about right for re 
touching, and the larger the head you are working, the 
farther away you can keep from it. It is usually best 
to keep well away from the work and not look too closely 
at it except, possibly, for working on very fine detail. 
By keeping away from the work you will find it much 
easier to attain breadth and smoothness. 

If you are using a desk in which there are openings of 
different sizes to accommodate different sized negatives, 
you will find it is best to use a mask of black or heavy 
brown paper with a small oval opening, about two inches 

29 



RETOUCHING 

by three, cut in it and laid over the negative, exposing 
only the part to be worked on through the small open 
ing. This will not only serve to protect the negative 
from possible injury through contact with the hand, but 
it will also rest the eyes and keep the light that is passing 
through the negative from being so strong and dazzling 
as to obliterate delicate gradations and detail. 

HOLDING THE PENCIL. The pencil should be held 
naturally, in much the same way as you would hold it 
for writing, with the fingers near the screw-cap of the 
holder and not too far away from the point. The pencil 
must be held very lightly. Work on the side of the point 
rather than the extreme tip with about as much slant 
to the pencil as in ordinary writing. If you use the ex 
treme tip of the point and work with the pencil too much 
upright, the result will be apt to be scratchy and the work 
will be slow. 

KNIFE AND ABRASIVE WORK. In the retouching of 
all negatives, knife work or any reduction of density by 
means of abrasive methods should always be done first if 
anything of the sort has to be done. The film must be 
absolutely dry before any work on it with a knife is at 
tempted. In damp weather it may be necessary to warm 
the negative over a stove or radiator to be sure that it is 
entirely free from moisture. 

Pencil work follows the knife work and sometimes it 
is necessary to touch up the knife work a little with the 
pencil after the negative has been doped. Then, if there 
is any spotting to be done or any work with a brush, that 
should come next. 

It will be found that the majority of negatives need 
only pencil work and on many of them only a very little 

30 



USING THE TOOLS 

work of any kind. Knife work should never be done 
just for the sake of experimenting, but should be used 
judiciously and only when it is really needed. If the 
developing, fixing and washing of the negative have 
been done carefully there should be very little need for 
spotting. 

There are a good many varieties of high-grade etch 
ing knives on the market and all of them are good and 
are capable of giving excellent results when used skil 
fully and intelligently. Figure 4 shows eight typical 
etching knives, all of which have their special uses. No. 
3 is made to fit into the ordinary lead-holder and is a very 
handy little accessory. Although there are a great many 
retouchers who prefer to use knives like those illustrated, 
many of the present-day practical workers find that a 
safety-razor blade is just as effective and in some re 
spects is better than a knife because, when new, it is 
really sharp and because it is possible to do with a razor 
blade everything that can be done with a knife, from 
the etching of a fine line to the entire removal of the 
background. 

How TO HOLD THE KNIFE. Most of the knives 
illustrated would be held in much the same way as you 
would hold a pen or a pencil and the edge of the blade 
should be nearly at right angles to the surface of the 
film. As each retoucher, in time, acquires his own 
" touch " with the pencil, so he will get into different 
ways of holding and using the knives effectively. Slav 
ish copying of another's methods, either from ocular 
demonstration or through the medium of books, is not 
at all desirable. The art student at first imitates the 
technique and color schemes of the different masters in 

31 



RETOUCHING 

the great galleries of the world, but gradually breaks 
away and finds his own inspiration and goal if not, 
he remains a copyist only. So, in retouching, the student 
should try to be original ; he should try different meth 
ods and then select the ones that he finds are best suited 
to him. 

Some of these knives can be used more effectively if 
they are held with the handle passing right under the 
palm of the hand and the blade held between the thumb 
and the first and second fingers. They may be held in 
such a way that the soft edge of the thumb and the tip 
of the first finger are actually touching the surface of 
the film when the sharp edge of the knife is used in very 
much the same way as a carpenter's plane, scraping 
gently and evenly, a very little at a time, on the part 
of the film that is to be reduced in density. It will be 
found that the worker has considerable control over the 
knife when it is held in this way. 

This is the way, too, in which a razor blade should be 
held, if a blade is used instead of a retouching knife. Or, 
perhaps, it would be better to say that this is the way 
the present writer has found to be the most effective after 
many years of such work with razor blades of all kinds. 
Other workers may find other ways more suitable, and 
if so, each one should work in the way that he finds is best. 

SHARPENING KNIVES. Needless to say, good work 
can be done only with a knife that is absolutely sharp, 
and so it will be necessary either to sharpen the knives 
yourself or to have them sharpened frequently by one 
who really knows how to do it. A carborundum stone 
is usually found to be the best for obtaining the very 
keen edge that is needed on these knives. The stone 



4 5 
FIG. ,4 



RETOUCHING 

should be oiled with a few drops of machine oil and the 
knife should be held between the thumb and first and 
second fingers, with the handle under the palm of the 
hand and with the blade flat on the surface of the stone. 
The blade should then be passed lightly but firmly over 
the stone in sweeping, curved strokes from heel to point 
and " against the edge " from left to right. Then turn 
the blade so that the other side of the edge is on the stone. 

To sharpen a knife properly is a job for an expert. 
Many people find it difficult to do a really satisfactory 
job. The use of razor blades instead of regular retouch 
ing knives will do away with all need for sharpening 
because, when the razor blade gets too dull, it is easy 
enough to replace it with a new one. But for such work 
as the average retoucher will need, it will be found that 
a razor blade will hold its edge for a very long time. 

There are on the market a number of holders for razor 
blades and for those who prefer a knife with a handle, 
one of these holders will be found very handy. The 
photographer has to a slight extent solved the problem 
of what to do with old razor blades, for even a blade that 
is no longer keen enough to be used for shaving can be 
used for a wide variety of photographic purposes besides 
negative etching. 

ABRASIVE PASTES. There are abrasive mixtures to 
be had, such as Eastman Abrasive Medium, which is in 
the form of a thick paste which probably consists of a 
fine abrasive powder mixed with a heavy grease. They 
are used to reduce the negative by friction. They may 
be applied by means of a piece of cloth wrapped around 
the finger tip, or by means of a wad of cotton. They 
are particularly useful for fairly large areas that need 

34 




FIG. 5 



USING THE TOOLS 

to be reduced in density and, when used on a small wad 
of cotton wrapped around the end of a small stick, can 
be used effectively for reducing small highlights that 
may be too prominent, such as are sometimes found on 
the breastbones of ladies in evening dress, or for intro 
ducing halftones and shadows where they may be needed. 
Even the expert user of the knife can find many occa 
sions where such a method of reducing is preferable. 

EXAMPLE OF KNIFE AND ABRASIVE WORK. Fig 
ures 5 and 6 show an example of what can be done with 
the knife and other methods of reducing. The negative 
was made for " alterations and repairs." The spots and 
freckles were put on with greasepaint, the cigarette was 
intended for ultimate removal and one eye was pur 
posely slightly closed. It was decided that a slice taken 
off each cheek would make the subject look more roman 
tic, that balance in the eyes would give him a straighter 
outlook on life and that the finger mixed up with his right 
ear might as well be amputated. Being against a dark 
background, the finger presented a better and quicker 
job for the knife or razor blade rather than for abrasive 
paste, and it was carefully etched away. 

The cigarette was " consumed " partly by abrasion 
and partly with the knife. The eyeHds were balanced 
by the same means. The line between the lips and the 
line of the upper lip, which had been raised when the 
cigarette was held there, were also corrected. The nose 
was thinned at the top, and a piece was worked off each 
side of the jawbone to complete the modifications. As 
the removal of the finger left the hand rather too straight 
from the knuckles to the finger joints, a portion of a first 
finger was pencilled in to break the line. 

35 



RETOUCHING 

DOUBLE WORKING. When the negative is on a glass 
plate, it is double worked by retouching first in the usual 
way and then, when as much lead as possible has been 
applied and the film has become too smooth to take any 
more, flowing the negative with a clear, hard varnish and 
then retouching further on the varnish. When films are 
used instead of glass plates, the retouching can be done 
on both sides of the film, if it is not possible to apply 
sufficient lead on one side. 

These few operations show what can be done by the 
skilful use of a knife and an abrasive paste and there are 
many other similar uses for these useful tools. 

PRACTICE NEGATIVES. The negatives selected for 
your first attempts at retouching should, if possible, be 
sharply focused portrait negatives, preferably of coarse- 
featured subjects with a few but not too many 
freckles. It would be a good plan, if you can do so, to 
select a few subjects of this kind and make a number of 
negatives for retouching practice. They must be fully 
exposed and properly developed. Should you not be in 
a position to make such negatives yourself, discarded 
portrait negatives can often be obtained from a local 
photographer. When selecting negatives for practice 
work, it is best to begin with a head that is of a fair size, 
one that measures about three or four inches from the 
chin to the top of the head, and of a subject with blem 
ishes on the face, such as freckles, as the beginner will 
be able to observe his progress more readily on a negative 
of this sort than on one with few imperfections. 

It is always a good plan for a beginner to make a print 
of the negative before doing any work on it, one that is 
fully printed to a good depth, so that all the imperf ec- 

36 




FIG. 6 



USING THE TOOLS 

tions show clearly. This may be either a proof on 
printing-out paper or a finished print on D. O. P. By 
comparing this print with another one made from the 
negative after it has been retouched, the effect of the 
retouching can be clearly seen and appreciated. Some 
times, too, a beginner finds a print helpful to refer to in 
order to make sure which of the transparent portions of 
the negative should be filled in, and which are shadows 
that are needed to show the modelling or the shape of 
the features. 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR. To begin with, it is advisable 
to select a large freckle or other blemish, and by work 
ing over it with the pencil, try to break it up and obliter 
ate it. The spots and blemishes on the face, being of 
different shapes and sizes and of different degrees of 
transparency, will require different strokes of the pencil. 
Some may require a series of straight or slightly curved 
lines placed close together or crossing one another. 
Some small blemishes may be removed by using two or 
three small comma-shaped marks. Different workers 
have different ways of applying the pencil and there is 
no advantage in using one particular kind of stroke in 
stead of some other kind. Whatever stroke you use, it 
must be such that you cannot see it when the negative 
is held against the light, nor must the stroke be definite 
in a print from the negative. Three or four light touches 
will often make the average freckle entirely unnotice- 
able. Always be very careful not to do too much and get 
too much lead on the negative. Try to remove the im 
perfection completely, using as few strokes as possible. 
The weight of the stroke will govern this to a great 
extent. 

37 



RETOUCHING 

WHAT STROKE TO USE. Do not worry too much 
about what stroke you ought to use. Use any stroke that 
seems to you to be best fitted for the particular spot you 
are working on. It does not matter how the retouching 
is done so long as you succeed in filling in and obliter 
ating the blemishes so that they merge and blend into 
the surrounding areas and there is no indication of any 
pencil work. Some blemishes may need only a touch of 
the pencil point, others may require a little gentle 
stippling with dots, with zig-zag lines, minute " figure 
eight " strokes of the pencil, or a mixture of several 
strokes, before they disappear. When the blemish is 
properly treated, neither the blemish nor the strokes 
used in obliterating it should be seen. 

Try to do just as little as possible. Too little is better 
than too much, and the usual tendency is for a beginner 
to do too much at first. When you have removed one 
blemish, pick out another and work on that, using any 
stroke that seems best. By using all kinds of different 
strokes, such as parallel lines, cross hatching, comma- 
like marks, " figure eights," and so on, you will soon find 
out whether you have any decided preference for and 
success with any particular one of them, and you will 
soon adopt, unconsciously, the methods best suited to 
you. It is better to work in this way than to try to copy 
some particular stroke used by someone else or one that 
has been described to you. Try several strokes and se 
lect the ones you like best. 

One important thing you must always keep in mind, 
and that is never to let the pencil point touch any part 
of the film where no application of the lead is needed. 
In filling in a freckle, keep the pencil point away from 

38 



USING THE TOOLS 

the edges or you will only make matters worse. The 
lead is to be applied only to those parts where there is 
insufficient density. Work from the center of a freckle 
or other blemish, filling in just up to the edges but being 
careful not to go over the edges. If the transparent spot 
is irregularly shaped, follow the shape with the pencil 
point. Go into all the corners but be careful not to 
darken the surrounding parts. When you have finished 
one spot, take another and continue to fill in the obvious 
blemishes till they have all been removed. They will not 
be all of the same density ; some will be more transparent 
than others, and they will need different treatment. The 
less pronounced the blemish, the lighter must be the ap 
plication of the lead. 

After cleaning up the most conspicuous spots as care 
fully and as completely as possible, sit back from the 
work and take a general view of the whole surface of 
the face. You will probably find that there are patches 
of uneven density on the face and though you have 
worked out the small transparent spots, you still have 
some blotches and patches. 

The evening up of these blotches and patches of vary 
ing density is what is known as blending. It should be 
done by sitting well back from the negative so that you 
get a general and comprehensive view of the entire face, 
and using a longer and lighter stroke of the pencil, work 
ing very lightly between the patches till they are merged 
and blended together and the surface appears to be 
smooth and even. 

The subject of blending will be taken up in greater 
detail later. On your first attempt you will probably 
not do more than fill in some of the blemishes, and you 

39 



RETOUCHING 

should work at this until you have acquired some dex 
terity before going on to more advanced work. If you 
find on your first attempt or two that you are putting on 
too much lead, do not be discouraged. That is a very 
frequent mistake that is made by beginners. The best 
thing to do is to rub on a little more retouching medium 
erasing what you have done and start over again. 

It is best to begin with the blemishes in the denser 
parts of the negative and, after they are removed, go 
on to those that are in the halftones and shadows. In 
the thinner parts of the negatives your strokes must, 
of course, be much lighter, and it may be necessary in 
the light parts to use a harder lead. If you find that 
the lead is being applied too heavily and that the strokes 
show too much, use a harder lead. If, on the other hand, 
you find that after working over a transparent part it 
does not gradually become filled in, the lead may be too 
hard and you had better try a softer lead. You will 
soon learn how to adapt the grade of lead to the work 
that you want to do. As a rule, a medium lead should 
be used, except for very dense or very transparent parts 
of the negative. 

After you have removed the prominent blemishes, it 
would be a good plan to make another print and com 
pare it with the one that you made before starting work. 
You will notice considerable improvement, but you may 
find that still more work is needed to remove some of the 
blemishes so that they do not show at all. If so, do a 
little more work on the negative until that part of it ap 
pears more even. 

Only by careful practice and repeated trials can you 
thoroughly master this elementary part of retouching, 

40 



USING THE TOOLS 

This is the important stage of the work, and when you 
have gained enough experience to be thoroughly fa 
miliar with the removal of blemishes in the most effective 
way and with the least possible number of strokes, you 
will have advanced a long way. 

How TO AVOID EYE STRAIN. If you find that your 
eyes become tired after you have been retouching for a 
little while, it may be because you are straining your eyes 
in the effort to see the imperfections. Do not peer too 
closely at the negative. Sit back and work in as easy 
and as comfortable a position as possible and in a lei 
surely manner. Do not try to do too much at first. Be 
sure, too, that the light coming through the opening in 
the desk is of the right strength, for if it is either too 
strong or too weak it will be apt to cause some eye strain. 
The light should be just strong enough so that you can 
see all the delicate gradations in the negative and detail 
in the shadows as well as in the highlights. Be careful 
not to have any light falling on the negative from behind 
you or from the side. The only light should be that 
which is transmitted through the negative. Light strik 
ing directly on the negative will tend to obliterate detail 
and cause eye strain. 

Be careful not to have your chair too far from the desk 
so that you have to lean over the work. A leaning posi 
tion soon becomes tiresome. If your fingers become 
cramped from holding the pencil, it may be that you are 
holding it too tightly. Always hold the pencil loosely 
and try to use it in a free and easy manner. Cultivate a 
natural and easy position, sitting upright and avoiding 
any position of the hand or arm that is not perfectly 
natural and easy. 

41 



RETOUCHING 

BLENDING. As has been mentioned before, the work 
you have been doing in filling in and removing blemishes 
will make it easier for you to see another defect in the 
negative that will become more or less visible as soon as 
the obvious defects have been cleaned up. There will be 
an unevenness and, in some cases, blotchy appearance, 
and it is the connecting and linking up of these blotches 
and uneven patches that is known as blending. 

In blending you should sit well back from the negative 
so that you get a broad and comprehensive view of the 
negative instead of closely peering into fine details. 
Hold the pencil loosely and work with a very light but 
sweeping stroke between the uneven patches, until they 
blend and merge imperceptibly into each other. As a 
rule, only a very little pencil work will be needed, but it 
must be in just the right place. 

As when removing defects, it is best to start the blend 
ing in the denser parts of the negative and work steadily 
through to the more transparent parts. As the forehead 
in a portrait negative is usually the most strongly lighted 
part, it is usual to start with the forehead and work 
gradually down. It is only after the conspicuous blem 
ishes have been eliminated that the unevenness or patch- 
iness can be seen and, of course, it varies in different 
negatives. 

The actual work in blending is not at all difficult. 
The only precaution to take is to avoid working too 
heavily; the blending must be done very lightly and with 
a free and flowing stroke. By working lightly and 
freely in the lighter parts between the denser patches, 
you will link them together and get a more even texture 
on the face. Do not be afraid of making mistakes ; con- 

42 



USING THE TOOLS 

fidence can be acquired only by working firmly. Ex 
periment if you like by trying different strokes, for the 
right method that is to say, the method that suits you 
best can be found only by experiment. After some 
little practice you will find that you can apply just the 
right amount of lead and in the right places to produce 
the desired results. You will find that often only a very 
little work is needed to get rid of the patchiness. You 
may even be surprised to find how little work is called 
for. In all retouching you should try to get the desired 
effect with the least possible amount of work. 

After you have blended the forehead, go on down to 
the cheek and then over the entire face. Always begin 
on the most opaque portions and work down to the deep 
est shadows. With a beginner there is always a tend 
ency for the pencil strokes to be too heavy, and as it 
usually requires a heavier stroke to build up the high 
lights, the first few strokes may be placed on the negative 
without the danger of their showing too heavily. As the 
work progresses, you will gain better control over the 
pencil, and as you gradually work down into the shad 
ows, you will find you can use a lighter touch and thus 
properly blend the more transparent portions of the 
negative. 

If you will follow the directions closely and work con 
scientiously you will find that, sooner or later, the work 
will become simple and easy. It is advisable to work on 
the same negative several times until you find you are 
able to get the effect you desire. By making a proof 
after each attempt, you can estimate your progress. 



CHAPTER III 
MODELLING 

A sculptor, in making a portrait bust, has to get the 
shape of the features correctly modelled or he will not 
get a good likeness, and similarly a photographer has 
to indicate correct modelling in a portrait. The shapes 
and contours of the face are indicated by the highlights, 
halftones and shadows and therefore, if any of these are 
altered, the modelling will be affected. 

The posing and lighting of the sitter the correct 
ness of the exposure and the proper development of the 
plate or film are factors that affect the modelling in a 
portrait. Naturally, as the modelling in a portrait is the 
light and shade on the face, the manner in which the 
face is lighted is an important consideration. If the ex 
posure is not correct, the balance of the lights and shad 
ows will be disturbed and it will be incorrect also if the 
negative is much over- or underdeveloped. But if the 
operator and the darkroom man have performed their 
parts properly, the retoucher will have a negative to 
work on in which the contours as well as the outlines of 
the features are correctly indicated by the sequence of 
light, halftone and shadow shown on the negative by 
variations in the density of the silver deposit. 

In retouching a negative, care must be taken not to 
alter the modelling. The removal of blemishes and im 
perfections and the blending, already described, will not 

44* 



MODELLING 

affect the modelling if done carefully and not overdone, 
but as soon as the retoucher begins to lighten shadows 
and accentuate highlights, he will, if he is not very care 
ful, change the modelling or shape of the features and 
so destroy likeness. 

You will get a good idea of what is meant by modelling 
and the indication of modelling by means of gradations 
of light and shade if you will think of a white globe such 
as is often seen with an electric light inside it. When 
the electric lamp inside the globe is lighted and the globe 
is equally illuminated on all sides, there is really no way 
of telling the shape of the globe by the lighting, but if 
you were to see that same globe under different lighting 
conditions, such as, for instance, with light falling on it 
from a single window, there would be a highlight at that 
point on the globe where the direct light from the win 
dow is reflected from it and this would blend off gradu 
ally, through halftone, into shadow on the side away 
from the light. The sequence of light, halftone and 
shadow on the white globe would clearly indicate its 
spherical shape and a correctly exposed and developed 
negative taken of the globe under such lighting condi 
tions would show in the negative the varying tones. 

A human face, properly lighted and correctly photo 
graphed, will appear round and solid if the highlights, 
halftones and shadows are correctly distributed on the 
face. Each separate feature has its highlights, halftones 
and shadows, and if any of these highlights, halftones 
and shadows are altered, the shape of the feature is 
changed and the likeness is affected. 

THE FOREHEAD. Consider, for example, the fore 
head in a properly lighted portrait. There must be 

45 



RETOUCHING 

roundness and modelling in the forehead, for the shape 
of the forehead is of vital importance in expressing char 
acter. Character is shown, not only by the lines and 
wrinkles on the forehead, but also by the little promi 
nences or elevations on the forehead which will be indi 
cated in a well-lighted portrait by infinitely delicate 
gradations of tone on the negative. It is a serious mis 
take, therefore, to work over the forehead with the re 
touching pencil until it is just an even expanse without 
any modelling. That is just what is often done by 
thoughtless retouchers, but it is obviously incorrect. As 
a matter of fact, if the lighting is just a little too flat and 
there is a tendency for the forehead to appear too evenly 
illuminated, it would be permissible for the retoucher 
to work over the highlights on the forehead very, very 
gently, strengthening and accentuating them just a very 
little. 

WRINKLES. Wrinkles and lines on the forehead in 
dicate individual characteristics which become more pro 
nounced with age. Long vertical furrows across the 
whole front of the forehead are indicative in most cases 
of benevolence, therefore it is essential that care be ex 
ercised in pencilling such wrinkles in the negative of an 
elderly person. To remove them entirely would destroy 
the likeness. It is quite likely, however, that a young 
child, in making an effort to be very good and keep quite 
still while having a picture taken, may wrinkle up the 
forehead in a way that is not at all natural to that child. 
In such a case it would improve the likeness to remove 
such wrinkles. Perpendicular wrinkles between the eye 
brows, above the nose, are said to denote honesty, so it 
would be a mistake to remove them. On a smooth, young 

46 



MODELLING 

face, however, such wrinkles might be produced by a 
temporary frown, in which case it would improve the ex 
pression if such wrinkles were removed. 

A retoucher must think of such things as these and 
must always keep in mind the vital importance of re 
taining character and likeness. 

THE CHEEK. There is a great variety in the model 
ling of the cheek. Some are round and full, some hollow. 
Some have rather prominent cheek-bones. If there is a 
high color, either natural or artificial, on the cheeks, it 
may appear on the negative as a shadow owing to the 
tendency of red to photograph too dark. This may need 
attention on the part of the retoucher. 

As regards expression of character, a high cheek-bone 
is said to indicate the animal nature in an individual, 
therefore it might be permissible to spread the highlight 
just a little on an unusually high cheek-bone, working 
it down a little, which will tend to improve the expres 
sion. If it is done carefully and not overdone, a very 
slight modification such as that will not affect the like 
ness but will tend to improve it. 

In working on the cheek, care must be taken to pre 
serve the roundness. In working around the eyes, do 
not make the mistake of taking out the shadow under 
the eye. Sometimes there seems to be a second shadow 
a little below the one immediately under the eye. This 
second shadow usually may be removed entirely, as it is 
nearly always a sign of fatigue or ill health. 

Sometimes the line from the nose to the corner of the 
mouth is very strongly marked. This line is known as 
the labial furrow. It may often be softened and sub 
dued, but should not be removed entirely or the model- 

47 



RETOUCHING 

ling of the cheek will be destroyed. The direction of 
the light on the face will affect the labial furrow. If, 
through faulty lighting, the furrow has been too strongly 
emphasized, it may be subdued and softened. Do not 
overdo the retouching of the cheek; that would tend to 
make the cheek appear puffed and bloated and would 
destroy likeness. 

THE LIPS AND MOUTH. It is a well-established fact 
that character is expressed by the shape and the pro 
portionate size of the features. Comparatively few re 
touchers give much consideration to this subject, yet it 
is one that deserves attention. Physiognomy, phrenol 
ogy and character reading are actual sciences that can 
be relied upon absolutely to give a perfect reading of the 
character of the individual, provided you understand the 
principles involved. 

It is not possible to take one feature and judge the 
character of the individual from that. Other features 
might counteract the indications. In the science of 
palmistry allowance must be made for opposing indica 
tions and the same is often true in reading character 
from the face. The nose, for instance, might by its shape 
indicate that the individual possesses strong commercial 
instincts, yet the balance of the head might discredit this 
entirely. 

Much is expressed by the shape of the mouth and lips. 
Signs of honesty are expressed by a firm, steady mouth, 
while selfishness is indicated by a closely shut mouth. 
The thinner the lips, the less the affection. The more 
the teeth are shown, the more the love of applause. 

The expression is shown mostly in the eyes and mouth 
and the mouth is the most mobile feature. As a general 

48 



MODELLING 

rule a pleasing expression is shown by lines that are 
turned upward. A downward tendency gives a grim* 
ness and severity to the face. In order to see the extent 
of the influence that the curve of the mouth has on the 
expression, draw on a scrap of paper a couple of circles 
to represent the outlines of two faces. Put in two dots 
for eyes and a perpendicular line for the nose. Then 
put in a curve like a half moon for the mouth; in one 
let the line curve upwards and in the other downwards. 
The result will be that you will have a suggestion of two 
faces with totally different expressions. A little careful 
retouching on the corners of the mouth can often be done 
to modify a tendency towards a downward curve. 

In retouching the mouth in ordinary portrait nega 
tives it is usually necessary to make only very slight al 
terations, such as filling in small cracks that may show 
in the lower lip and softening the shadows at the corners 
of the mouth. The modern tendency towards a some 
what excessive application of make-up to the lips should 
be discouraged as far as possible, for it produces an un 
naturally deep shadow with an abrupt edge instead of a 
gradual blending. If any modification in the shape of 
the lips can be made, it should, if possible, have a tend 
ency to make the lips follow the shape of the " cupid's 
bow," which is always regarded as being desirable and 
pleasing. 

Great care must be exercised not to remove the little 
furrow that is often seen in the center of the upper lip. 
If the face has been properly lighted, the modelling in 
this furrow should be fully retained. 

One fact to be observed particularly in retouching 
mouths is that, no matter how the negative may be 

49 



RETOUCHING 

lighted, there is very seldom a marked black line between 
the lips. There is darkness, certainly, but if the head 
is lighted from any point above the level of the mouth, 
you will observe that there are three depths of tone on 
the lips unless these natural tones have been obliterated 
by a too liberal application of lip-stick. The lower lip, 
being the most strongly lighted, will be lighter in tone 
than the red part of the upper lip, but the upper lip will 
throw a shadow on the lower lip, and this shadow 
will be or should be the darkest of all. Of course this will 
show more plainly on negatives in which the head is a 
good size. Under many lightings, there will be a small 
but often quite definite highlight on the lower lip which, 
by its shape and its position, indicates the size and shape 
of the mouth. 

THE NOSE. Being the most prominent feature of 
the face, the nose requires special care in modelling. 
There is often a prominent highlight on the bridge of 
the nose and the shape of this highlight indicates the 
shape of the nose. It must be remembered that the bone 
structure extends only a little way down the bridge of 
the nose and beyond that point is cartilage. This change 
is often indicated by a slight break in the line of light on 
the bridge of the nose. There is a tendency too for the, 
nose to become a little thinner and narrower just at that 
point. There is usually another strongly defined high 
light on the tip of the nose and it is the position of that 
highlight that determines more than anything else the 
length of the nose. 

In the case of a markedly crooked nose, it may be ad 
visable to straighten the highlight by a little careful etch 
ing and pencilling. A retrousse nose may be lengthened 

50 



MODELLING 

a little by slightly lowering the highlight on the tip of 
the nose. Such modifications as these must never be 
overdone or the likeness will be destroyed. 

EYES AND EYEBROWS. There is no portion of the 
face that requires such careful handling as the eye and 
eyebrow. Very often the eye gives the whole expression 
and this may be easily ruined by the least overworking 
on this part of the face. Intelligent handling, however, 
may often materially improve the expression. 

If the eye on the shadow side of the face needs to be 
built up just a little, a slight strengthening will give a 
more pleasing effect and still not change the expression. 
This must never be overdone, however, and the balance 
of light and shade must be preserved. 

The shadow under the eye must never be entirely re 
moved. It may sometimes be lightened if it is very dark. 
The lines at the outer corner of the eyes, which are usu 
ally described as " crow's feet," are very characteristic 
of the individual and, though they may often be subdued, 
they should never be removed or the likeness will be seri 
ously affected. People who laugh very readily often 
have such lines at the outer corners of the eyes and in 
dealing with lines and wrinkles on the face, the age of 
the subject must always be considered. Lines and wrin 
kles that occasionally appear on a very young face may 
usually be removed entirely, but in the case of an older 
subject this would be entirely wrong, though they may 
be modified considerably. 

When the face is lighted by artificial light coming 
from two or three different sources as is often the case 
at the present time, there may be several spots of re 
flected light on the pupil of the eye and when this is the 

51 



RETOUCHING 

case, it is usually best to take out all except one the 
most important one. If there is any doubt as to which 
one this is, make a print and paint out the highlights and 
so find outVhich are the ones that should be etched off. 

The eyebrows probably will need very little retouch 
ing especially now when it is customary to make up the 
eyebrows so carefully. You may sometimes find a sub 
ject where the eyebrows meet or almost meet above the 
nose. As this is apt to give a frowning expression to 
the face and is not considered to be at all attractive, it 
is permissible to modify this considerably and even to re 
move a little from the inner corner of each eyebrow. 

THE CHEST. In profile views especially, character 
is shown by the chin. A well-shaped, square chin is re 
garded as a sign of honesty, a strong, dominant person 
ality is indicated by a projecting chin, while a receding 
chin indicates the absence of such qualities. Sometimes 
with subjects who are inclined to be stout, there is a full 
ness under the chin that is not at all pleasing. This can 
often be modified by careful use of the etching knife as 
well as the pencil. In a front view of the face this is not 
so easy to do; however, by working away the folds in 
the flesh with the pencil and by careful rubbing down or 
etching of those parts that are too strongly lighted, it is 
possible to give the subject a very nicely shaped chin. 

If there is a deep dimple in the chin, it may be modi 
fied by a little careful retouching, but it should never be 
entirely eliminated, for to do so would tend to broaden 
the chin and the likeness would be very much impaired. 

THE EARS. In profile views of the face, one ear is 
usually shown very distinctly and even the ear shows 
traits of character. An ear, for instance, that is inclined 

52 



MODELLING 

to be pointed at the top and is joined to the head without 
any lobe at the bottom indicates that the owner of that 
ear is inclined to be selfish. A long, narrow ear is said 
to show ambition. A well-rounded ear that is almost as 
wide at the bottom as it is at the top shows a vital tem 
perament. The " physical " ear is pointed at the top 
and the " mental " ear is pointed at the bottom. 

Not much retouching is needed on the ear as a general 
rule. It is generally advisable to keep the ear as sub 
dued and as unobtrusive as possible, lest it attract un 
due attention. 

THE SHADOW CHEEK. In retouching a three- 
quarter view of the face lighted with an " ordinary " 
front-side lighting, so that one side of the face is illumi 
nated and the other side is in shadow, the shadow cheek 
should usually be left to the last. 

You will need a very delicate touch and after having 
worked on the lighted parts of the face your touch will 
have become much lighter and you will have good control 
over your pencil. This will enable you to control the 
work in the shadows of the shadow cheek and prevent 
the pencil marks from being too heavy. 

There will be a highlight on the cheek, just as there 
is on the other cheek, but it will be very faint and barely 
visible unless, of course, there is a secondary lighting on 
the shadow side of the face. There may be a strip of 
light on the edge of the cheek from a spotlight. 

THE NECK, BUST AND ABMS. In retouching the 
neck, bust and arms we must adopt a method of handling 
the pencil which should get over the ground as quickly 
as possible and yet print with the desired effect. We 
should work with a broad and open style, with the eyes 

53 



RETOUCHING 

well back from the negative, using the pencil freely and 
easily and watching very carefully the general direction 
of the pencil strokes. 

On the neck, the stroke should be across the neck, 
never up and down. On the bust we may change the 
direction of the pencil strokes and instead of making 
them follow the curve of the jaw, have them make an 
angle of about forty-five degrees with the perpendicu 
lar, although almost any direction except directly up 
and down is allowable. On the arms, the direction of 
the pencil strokes should be anything except parallel 
with the length of the arms or at right angles directly 
across the width of the arm. 

Very few ladies like to show a bony or scraggy neck, 
and therefore all indication of muscles such as the large 
one proceeding from the back of the ear to the collar 
bone, which is used for turning the head from side to 
side, should be removed, at least as far as the perpen 
dicular character is concerned, leaving, however, an indi 
cation of its insertion in the breast-bone, which indica 
tion marks the limit of the length of the neck. 

In retouching the arms we have a very great variety 
in the texture of the skin, but one style of handling will 
be found sufficient. Let the touch be of a scumbling 
character, taking any direction except parallel with the 
length of the arm. If the arm is hanging down, the veins 
on the hand may become more prominent than is desir 
able. If this is the case, the veins may be removed en 
tirely. On no account should the marking in front of the 
elbow be taken out, as that produces a wooden effect. 



54 



CHAPTER IV 
METHODS OF WORKING 

In retouching negatives of portraits, one of the first 
considerations on the part of amateurs and beginners is 
to attain texture, and in so doing they waste valuable 
time and energy on a subject that really does not de 
mand that expenditure. The cause of this mistake is the 
same that produces many others on the part of the tyro ; 
he endeavors to get a good result without any definite 
idea as to what that result should be and thinks that if 
he produces a nice stipple he has retouched the face, for 
getting in the first place why it is desirable that a stipple 
should be there at all and, in the second place, what it 
should represent. 

The writer has seen instructions to retouchers in which 
they are advised to work with a succession of marks re 
sembling commas dots, in fact, with tails to them; 
others advise working with small circles, with straight 
lines, or cross-hatching, or dots alone, and in many other 
different methods. Such advice may be given with per 
fect honesty and the persons giving such advice may be 
perfectly capable of producing good results by the meth 
ods that they advise, but, in the writer's opinion, such 
instructions serve only to confuse the novice and retard 
his progress. It is impossible for any one person to 
work precisely in the same way as another and it is un 
wise for a beginner to attempt to follow exactly the 

55 



RETOUCHING 

movements of another hand. The best plan is to study 
carefully those parts of the negative that need to be 
strengthened and the parts to be removed or altered and 
make sure that the work is done with a certain degree 





F 



'S&V^ f V'\ 

to 






FIG. 7 

of finish. Then we will find that the texture will, in a 
measure, take care of itself. 

Suppose, for instance, we have to retouch the face of 
an old man, a deeply lined and rugged face. Common 
sense will tell us that if we work at it until the skin looks 
as smooth as a child's, it will be far from true to nature. 

In order to show, rather crudely perhaps, how a nega 
tive might look after it has been retouched, let us study 
Fig. 7. These are intended to represent parts of a nega- 

56 




FIG. 8 



METHODS OF WORKING 

tive very much enlarged so that the pencil marks can 
actually be distinguished. If you will look at them at 
arm's length through half -closed eyes so that the fine 
details are lost, you will get the general effect. In the 
square marked E we see a smooth and fine-grained area 
with a light streak running through it which might be 
the way a wrinkle would look when very much mag 
nified. Such a line might be retouched by one stroke of 
the pencil, but such a stroke when seen under the micro 
scope would appear to be made up of a series of dots and 
the final result might be as shown in the square F. 

In G we see a rather coarse-grained portion of the 
negative separated from a finer-grained portion by a 
quite distinct shadow and, after this has been blended 
and softened, it would look rather like H. 

I indicates how a negative might look in the case of 
a face rather thickly sprinkled with freckles. Each one 
of the freckles would be represented by a transparent or 
nearly transparent spot which would have to be filled in 
with pencil marks to make it blend into the surrounding 
area. After retouching, this portion of the negative 
might appear as in J. 

The idea is to show that much can be accomplished 
with only a little work on a negative. In many cases all 
that is necessary is to blend the lights and shadows to 
gether so that one merges into the other without being 
perceptible and this often can be done with just a few 
touches of the pencil. 

A certain amount of discrimination must be used in 
retouching and no hard and fast rules will apply in every 
case. One's methods must be differentiated according 
to the nature of the work in hand. Observe the charac- 

57 



RETOUCHING 

ter and texture of the skin in the negative being worked 
upon and try to produce the same effect. Some faces 
are patchy but soft. Do away with the patchiness, but 
leave the surface smooth. 

CHILDREN'S FACES. Children's faces cannot be too 
delicately worked, and the softer and chubbier you leave 
them, the more natural they will appear. Strong light 
ing and heavy retouching will tend to add age to a child's 
face. Some children have many freckles ; these it is al 
ways well to remove; no one has ever asserted that 
freckles constitute beauty. 

In the faces of young men and women there should be 
no deep lines or wrinkles. There must of course be light 
and shade and modelling, sometimes even deep shadows 
that it is desirable to leave. It is in retouching the faces 
of women of middle age that there is the greatest need 
for the exercise of some discrimination and tact. If you 
do not make them youthful enough, you may offend, 
yet, if you flatter certain sitters too much, they will 
quickly object. In dealing with photography on a busi 
ness basis and in making portraits that are to be readily 
salable, it is perhaps advisable to err, if at all, in the 
direction of overdoing the retouching rather than doing 
too little. In retouching the negatives of elderly people 
you can modify and soften the indications of age, and 
you can soften the skin and reduce the wrinkles very 
slightly, but it would be a great mistake to put a smooth 
stipple all over such a face. 

AN EXAMPLE OF RETOUCHING. A careful study of 
the two photographs, Figs. 8 and 9, and the explanatory 
sketch, Fig. 10 will show what can be done to bring out 
very clearly the youthfulness of the subject, 

58 




FIG. 9 



METHODS OF WORKING 

One of the important reasons for retouching, after all, 
is to make the subject look younger in the picture than 
she is apt to appear in an unretouched portrait however 
carefully the face may have been lighted. Of course in 
modern practice this is usually taken care of by a little 
careful make-up of the face before the picture is taken, 
but it is necessary for a portrait photographer to know 
what can be accomplished along these lines by a little 
simple retouching. 




FIG. 10 

The sketches in Fig 10 are purposely rather exag 
gerated in order to show more clearly what are the lines 
and shadows that indicate age and to what extent they 
may be modified or even removed altogether without de 
stroying the likeness. 

The lines indicated and numbered in the sketch are 
what may be termed " age lines " and these are; (1 ) the 
horizontal wrinkles on the forehead which have already 
been referred to and it has already been pointed out that 
in the case of a child or a young person it is usually 

59 



RETOUCHING 

desirable to remove such wrinkles entirely, (2) the lines 
under the eyes, (3) the line or shadow from the nose 
to the corner of the mouth, known as the " labial fur 
row," which has also been referred to on a previous 
page, (4) the deep shadow in the corner of the mouth 
which has obliterated the teeth, and (5) the shadows on 
the neck. 

Whether these should be entirely obliterated or 
whether they should be merely softened will depend on 
the age of the subject and on the photographer's good 
judgment. In the case of the labial furrow, it has al 
ready been stated that, while this may often be subdued 
very considerably, it must never be removed entirely or 
the modelling of the cheek will be destroyed. Lines un 
der the eyes may usually be removed entirely, but not 
the shadow, though a very deep shadow may often be 
lightened a little without detriment to the likeness. A 
very deep shadow in the corner of the mouth may well 
be lightened and, if the teeth are showing, an indication 
of the teeth may be added. An appearance of youth- 
fulness may often be simulated by slightly turning up 
the corners of the mouth while working around it. The 
lines in the neck may usually be removed completely, but 
always be careful not to remove the shadows that indi 
cate the modelling. 

A comparison of the two photographs, Figs. 8 and 9 
will show that, while only a very little retouching has 
been done, the youthfulness of the subject has been en 
hanced quite appreciably, but the likeness has not been 
altered. 

BABIES AND AGED PEOPLE. The faces of babies and 
very old people usually require only a very little re- 

60 




FIG. 11 



METHODS OF WORKING 

touching. If the photographer has been careful in ar 
ranging the lighting and if the negative was fully 
exposed and properly developed, it will be hardly neces 
sary for the retoucher to do anything at all. There may 
be pinholes or similar defects that have to be removed 
and there may be some slight blemishes of the skin that 
will call for a slight amount of elementary pencil work, 
but, apart from that, it is very seldom that any retouch 
ing is needed. Most children have clear complexions, 
and to add an artificial " stipple " to the negative would 
destroy its characteristic beauty. There should be no 
" grain," for a child's skin is so soft and smooth that it 
has no grain. 

The faces of aged people are just the reverse. The 
skin is not soft and smooth, but it has a characteristic 
texture. Every feature is full of character which has 
been gradually molded through the years that the in 
dividual has been fighting the battles of life. This 
should of course be retained and so the retoucher should 
rarely do more than remove minor blemishes of the skin. 

Wrinkles should not be removed altogether, but if 
a harsh lighting has been used and the wrinkles have 
been very strongly accentuated, they should be softened. 
As a rule a rather soft, fiat lighting is best suited to old 
faces. There is already so much character in the face 
that it does not need to be emphasized by the use of a 
contrasty lighting. 

RETOUCHING A MAN'S POETBAIT. Notice in Fig. 
12 how the shadows blend into each other. They have 
been softened, but not removed entirely. Notice, too, 
how each highlight gains in prominence by the surround 
ing shadows. It is important always to preserve the tone 

61 



RETOUCHING 

and " color " of the face, for the general tone of the face 
suggests the color. Notice in this example how the labial 
furrow and the heavy shadow at the corner of the mouth 
have been softened but not removed entirely. It has not 
been modified as much in these two pictures as in those 
of the young woman. It is generally better, as a rule, 
to retouch a man's portrait only a very little, for there 
is always danger of smoothing up the face too much and 
destroying the likeness. 

The vertical shadow above the nose and between the 
eyebrows in Fig. II has been softened but not removed 
entirely. To do so would be very apt to spoil the like 
ness. There is one shadow, however, that may usually be 
removed entirely in an adult face, as has been done in this 
example, and that is the lower shadow under the eye, not 
the one immediately below the eyeball, but the lower 
shadow that is seen quite plainly in Fig 1 1 . This shadow 
is usually an indication of fatigue and it often shows far 
more plainly in a photograph than it does in real life, 
It may be removed entirely without affecting the like 
ness and its removal will improve the expression very 
much. 

ACCIDENTAL SCAES. In addition to the retouching 
of normal defects such as freckles and strongly accentu 
ated shadows due to faulty lighting, a retoucher some 
times has to deal with actual scars on the face which are 
the result of some accidental injury. An example of 
such a scar is shown in Fig. 13 and, as will be seen in 
Fig. 14, it has been completely eliminated. This was 
done, of course, by carefully working on the negative 
with a pencil of the right degree of hardness. Such a 
mark on the face can be treated in just the same way 

62 




FIG. 12 



METHODS OF WORKING 

as a wrinkle or a freckle or a heavy shadow, but instead 
of being softened or subdued, it is worked upon until it 
is removed completely. Fine, careful work is called for 
and the pencil work must be carefully blended into the 
surrounding tones so that the pencil marks do not show 
at all. 

REGARDING ANATOMY AND LIKENESS. A photo 
graph is not a microscopic study of anatomy, therefore 
do not attempt to reproduce every pore of the skin as 
some retouchers do. If you were going to paint a por 
trait, you would not take a fine brush and draw in sepa 
rately every hair on the head, but you would try to rep 
resent the masses of hair as masses. The same idea 
applies with equal force to the texture of the skin. An 
artist will try to represent as much as possible with one 
touch of the brush. 

Every good portrait negative should show clearly the 
good points as well as the defects in the face, the charac 
teristic shape of the features and the anatomy of the 
face, and the retoucher should never alter these except 
that he may to some extent modify and improve when 
ever possible any defects in the face that may be unduly 
prominent. How far a retoucher may go in doing this 
has been taken up in the consideration of each separate 
feature. Crooked noses, double chins, eyes that are not 
quite straight, prominent or poorly shaped ears are some 
of the defects that may be corrected in the negative in 
order to obtain a more pleasing and a more salable print. 
The modification of facial defects should be taken care 
of as far as possible in the posing and lighting of the 
subject, for there is a great deal that can be done towards 
subduing some such defects by careful selection of the 

63 



RETOUCHING 

best point of view from which to photograph the face. 
A good operator will do all he can to make it unneces 
sary for the retoucher to undertake any very drastic 
modification of the negative. A slightly crooked nose, 
for instance, is often far less noticeable when seen from 
one side of the face than from the other. The better 
side, as a rule, is the side from which the nose appears to 
have been pushed. A double chin is far less prominent 
if the head is well raised and a standing pose is taken 
rather than one seated and with the head dropped. If 
the eyes are very unequal, a profile view, showing the 
better eye, may be the solution of the difficulty. Ears 
may be shaded and placed in deep shadow so that their 
prominence is subdued. After a clever operator has 
done his best, an equally clever and experienced re 
toucher can do much towards improving the artistic ef 
fect in a portrait. 

But retouching should never be overdone so that it 
destroys the likeness and natural expression. Half 
tones and shadows must be fully respected, for upon 
their contrast with the highlights depend the roundness 
and modelling of the features. You can blend the edges 
of tones, and grade one tone into another, removing and 
filling in obvious defects such as freckles or other flaws 
in the skin, but do not change the modelling or the like 
ness will be affected. 

Occasionally you can strengthen highlights a little if 
they need it, and when you do so, begin with the fore 
head where the highlights are usually the strongest, and 
work downwards. Endeavor to accomplish your re 
sults with as little work as possible. The less the amount 
of lead applied, the better the results obtained. High- 

64* 




FIG. 13 



METHODS OF WORKING 

lights that are just a little too strong may be pencilled 
around very softly and graded into the immediately sur 
rounding tones. This will usually tend to reduce them 
sufficiently. 

FRECKLED FACES. In the case of freckles, it is ad 
visable softly but determinedly to nibble them out as you 
work along, taking them feature by feature, and not go 
ing from one part of the face to another. With one bold 
attack, work out each freckle as you come to it. 

THE ORDINARY FACE. To return to the ordinary, 
unfreckled face. Proceed to fill in whatever shadows 
or dark markings you intend to remove, and bear in mind 
there can be only one part of a head that will have the 
highest light on it, so be careful to make all other lights 
subservient to that highest one. There is also one 
shadow that is deeper than the others ; do not therefore 
fill in all shadows so that they are equal in depth, as that 
will produce flatness. When you have done this, you 
will see that the negative looks patchy. Fill in the larg 
est patches with any movement of the pencil you find 
most convenient (bearing in mind that if you do not 
work with stippled dots you will make lines) and, al 
though it is impossible to lay down a system as infallible 
and declare that it is the only one, yet it may be of service 
to some to know of a method which has been attended 
with complete success. 

THE BEST TOUCH. All pencilling on the negative 
must be of the lightest possible character except where 
extra sharp edges or heavy shadows may call for a bolder 
and more determined attack. The line touch, either hori 
zontal, diagonal, vertical (on the nose only) , or the first 
two curved to follow the general direction of the fea- 

65 



RETOUCHING 

tures, with the pencil running here, there and every 
where seeking the broken and ragged edges of the dif 
ferent tones and grading them away until lost to 
sight, is undoubtedly the quickest and most satisfactory 
method of retouching, especially when it is varied with aD 
occasional cross-hatch to blend and knit the whole, and 
then on again, seeking edges to devour, for leaving edges 
and raggedness and the wholesale removal of halftones 
and shadows are the cardinal sins in retouching. 

There are many other touches used by skilled work 
ers, from the cross-hatch to the comma, the tight, nig 
gling stipple and the irritating dotting or tap-tapping 
of the point of the pencil almost dead-on and at right 
angles to the negative, which is indeed enough to make 
the worker " dotty " with its nerve-racking, monotonous 
sound. 

According to the writer's experience, where illustra 
tions of the different touches have been shown on a large 
or small scale without a teacher's supervision, the effects 
attained by the novice have been simply disastrous, for 
he has accepted them literally and boldly and has hatched 
heavily, has dotted and circled all over the face indis 
criminately, cutting through the feature and face lines 
in the most appalling manner, and so increasing the 
density where no density was required. Retouching is 
an art of delicacy and long-practiced skilful treatment, 
and no stereotyped, conventional " touch " can be truly 
effective, for it must of necessity be constantly broken 
and altered to follow the tones, edges and gradations as 
shown in the unretouched negative. The running line 
touch is the least dangerous of any and is certainly the 
easiest in the hands of a beginner, especially if continued 

66 




FIG. 



METHODS OF WORKING 

in a circular direction closely or broadly according to 
the part to be worked, and he is advised to keep strictly 
to it until almost without knowing it he finds his own 
" touch " just as the schoolboy in time acquires his own 
" fist " in writing. 

To attempt the finishing of a face with a regulation, 
even-weight touch is to court disaster, for the long ex 
perienced professional seldom thinks of the touch or the 
stroke that he employs. He instinctively changes from 
one touch to another according to the effect he wants 
to produce. 

DIRECTION OF THE TOUCH. The lines should usu 
ally tend to go across the surface you are working on, 
following the natural curves of the face. A safe rule 
is to let the pencil follow the curve of the eyebrows in 
working the forehead, tailing off at a diagonal slant into 
the temples, especially in the treatment of wrinkles. On 
the cheeks work with the curve shown by the lower eye 
lids and on the jawbone or face line work softly with the 
line and in the direction in which it runs. Never cut 
through the face line, wrinkles, crow's-feet, or any of the 
pronounced lines of the face, but always work with them. 

We have all seen the stripe down the side of a soldier's 
trouser leg ; it carries the eye with it and makes the leg 
look longer. Horizontal lines would have just the oppo 
site effect and would give a suggestion of breadth, so 
whichever way your lines incline, they will lead the eye 
in that direction and will convey a suggestion of height 
or breadth according to the direction in which they run. 

On the highlights of the forehead, the cheek bones, 
the tip of the nose and chin, the touch may be circular, 
especially on the chin, but for increasing the highlight 

67 



RETOUCHING 

on the bridge of the nose, the touch should be at the same 
slant as the line of the nose, in a series of lines parallel 
with the nose line as shown by the shadow side of the 
face. This increased line of lighting must be softened 
off on both sides and not left like a streak of whitewash, 
as is so often seen, and neither must it commence right 
at the root of the nose and run down its entire length, 
but it must commence and end exactly where shown in 
the unretouched state. It cannot be too strongly em 
phasized that the strokes, lines, commas, cross-hatching 
or whatever it may be, must never be done so that they 
actually show as such. 

MECHANICAL DEVICE FOE RETOUCHING. The use 
of electric retouching machines is now becoming very 
common in professional establishments and their use has 
been found to result in a speeding up of the work and 
a more uniform touch. They have been found also to 
afford relief from nerve strain, which is an important 
consideration when retouching is done continuously for 
many hours. Of the several such machines that were 
placed on the market some years ago, the only one that 
has proved to be practical and thoroughly efficient is the 
Gilbert Electric Retoucher, " The Little Speedster," a 
pencil vibrated by electricity that reduces drudgery and 
fatigue to a minimum and makes retouching a pleasure 
instead of an irksome task. 

These machines are capable of giving a stroke of vary 
ing quality, suitable for work of any grade, from a coarse 
stipple to the finest possible stroke, and this is done auto 
matically by a simple adjustment of a screw connected 
with the oscillator. 

The electric retoucher gives the stroke by automatic 

68 



METHODS OF WORKING 

vibration and all that is necessary is for the operator to 
know where to place the lead and then guide the pencil 
over the negative, as in ordinary retouching. 

It is best to use a long point, from one and a half to 
two and a half inches long, and of course the degree of 
hardness of the lead must be adjusted according to the 
character of the work in hand. 

CONSTRUCTION. In the Gilbert " Little Speedster " 
the oscillator is placed on the end of a retouching pencil. 
A pencil is furnished with the outfit, although any pencil 
or lead holder of a proper size to fit the shell may be used. 
Connection for the electric current is furnished by a light 
weight flexible cord conductor and a transformer that 
screws into any electric socket. The device may be ob 
tained to operate on any current, either direct or alter 
nating, or it may be used with dry cells if electric current 
is not available. 

OPERATION. Mr. Gilbert makes the following sug 
gestions on the use of the " Little Speedster." A hard or 
a soft lead should be used according to the density of 
the negative or of the part that is being worked on. The 
longer the point, the finer the work. For fine work the 
point should be about two and a half inches long. For a 
coarse stipple do not have the point so long, nor quite so 
sharp. Do not lift the pencil from the negative except 
to inspect the work. Look ahead as you work, beginning 
on the highlights and working down to the deepest shad 
ows. The weight of the pencil lightly applied to the 
negative is usually sufficient for average work, but a 
little more pressure may be applied if needed to fill in 
heavy lines. Have plenty of diffused light coming 
through the negative so that it is not necessary to sit close 

69 



RETOUCHING 

to the negative in order to see where to apply the lead, 
but do not have so much light that the delicate gradations 
are obliterated. A little careful practice with the " Little 
Speedster " should make any beginner at retouching 
really expert in a few weeks. The machine will do the 
work and will do it right if it is properly guided, and an 
amateur will find that by the use of such a machine he can 
do retouching that is equal in every way to that of the 
most expert professional. 

ETCHING. Etching, or reducing the density of the 
negative by means of a knife, should not be taken up 
until the retoucher has gained some experience in the use 
of a pencil. By means of the pencil, shadows can be built 
up and can be partly or entirely eliminated, and trans 
parent blemishes can be removed. By means of etching 
you can reduce highlights that are too strong and you 
can remove objectionable parts entirely from the nega 
tive if that should be desirable, so that by a combination 
of retouching and etching you can make practically any 
alteration that you may desire on the negative. High 
lights on prominent bones in the neck may be subdued, 
crooked noses may be straightened, the contour of the 
figure may be improved and may be reduced in size if too 
stout, and many other things may be done without very 
much difficulty when some dexterity in the use of the 
knife has been acquired by practice. 

Careful practice is the secret of success in the use of 
the etching knife and the knife must be really sharp. 
Some retouchers think that a thin, flexible blade such as 
a razor blade is not of much use for etching, while others 
find such blades entirely satisfactory. The great advan 
tage in using a safety-razor blade is that a new blade is 

70 



METHODS OF WORKING 

usually very sharp and is in good shape to use, while a 
regular retouching knife, such as those illustrated in Fig. 
2, has to be sharpened carefully and expertly with a 
slightly bevelled edge instead of a thin edge like a razor 
blade. 

As a matter of fact we believe that good work can be 
done with either type of knife and that the preference 
for one or the other depends entirely on which one the 
user has become accustomed to. Mr. T. S. Bruce, an ex 
pert English professional retoucher and teacher of re 
touching much preferred etching knives of the types 
shown in Fig. 2 and was not at all enthusiastic about 
safety-razor blades, while, on the other hand, the reviser 
of the present edition would not want to use anything 
but a razor blade for etching. It is largely a matter of 
personal preference and we believe that any type of 
knife, as long as it is in good condition, can be used suc 
cessfully after the user has learned how to handle it to the 
best advantage. 

Skill in the use of the etching knife can be gained only 
by constant practice. 

PRACTICE WORK. Before attempting to etch any 
part of a negative that is a valuable one, you should pro 
vide yourself with a few discarded negatives and practice 
etching on them. Negatives with opaque, dense back 
grounds are to be preferred, as they afford a better op 
portunity for practicing. Every worker must find out 
for himself the manner of holding the knife that suits him 
best, but we believe that it will be found best to hold the 
blade of the knife between the thumb and the first and 
second fingers, in such a way that the side of the thumb 
and the tip of the first finger are actually in contact with 

71 



RETOUCHING 

the negative while the blade is being used. The blade 
must be held perpendicularly to the surface of the nega 
tive, with practically no slant. If it is slanted at all, the 
blade should lean towards you and not away from you, 
but too much slant is apt to cause you to cut too deep and 
with the blade held perpendicularly you can better con 
trol the depth of the scraping or shaving of the surface 
of the negative. 

The secret of success in etching is to use the blade very 
lightly. The first few strokes should make practically 
no perceptible mark but with continued light strokes of 
the knife a gradual change will take place and the film 
will become thinner where the knife has been applied to 
it. Do not use the point or corner of the blade, as that 
will scratch the film and not shave it smoothly. The point 
should be used only when you want to etch a fine line. 

The only way to become expert with the etching knife 
is by practice, and so the would-be retoucher must get 
as much practice as possible on discarded negatives, so 
that he will feel perfectly free at first to try different 
methods of working and of holding the knife without the 
fear of spoiling a valued negative. A dense, white back 
ground gives plenty of scope for etching and some nega 
tives with such backgrounds should be secured if it is 
possible. 

On a plain white background you can see the effect of 
your work more distinctly ; you can see whether the knife 
is scratching the film or is shaving smoothly. You have 
a large area on which to practice, and such preliminary 
practice should be kept up until you can control the knife 
and can produce any effect that you desire. 

If the knife scratches and does not shave smoothly, it 



METHODS OF WORKING 

is either because it is not sharp enough or because it is not 
being held properly. The exact angle at which to hold 
the blade will soon be discovered after a little practice. 
Usually when it is perpendicular it will shave nicely 
without either cutting the film or scratching it. If the 
top of the blade is leaning too much towards you, the 
knife will scratch the film instead of shaving smoothly. 
If it is sloping the other way, the knife will be apt to cut 
too deeply. Keep in mind always the need for extreme 
lightness and delicacy in etching. A single stroke of the 
etching tool on the film should show no perceptible effect, 
but after repeated strokes a slight thinning of the density 
of the film should be visible. 

One difficulty the beginner may experience at first is 
in placing the knife on the exact place where the etching 
is needed. This is another thing that will be easily 
learned after a little actual experience. 

REDUCING PASTE. An etching knife is almost indis 
pensable for many purposes, and a really competent re 
toucher ought to be expert in its use, yet there is another 
method of reducing density that is often more convenient 
than the use of a knife. By means of a reducing paste, 
which is made up of a very fine abrasive powder mixed 
with a heavy grease, large areas in the negative can be 
smoothly, easily and fairly quickly reduced in density. 
To darken drapery or to reduce highlights that are too 
strong, or bring down the overexposed parts of a nega 
tive such as windows in an interior view into better 
relation with the rest of the negative, the use of a reduc 
ing paste is very effective. 

The paste can be applied with the finger tip by taking 
up a small quantity of the paste on the finger tip and 

73 



RETOUCHING 

then rubbing with a circular motion over the part of the 
negative that is to be reduced. You will find that it re 
quires only very little pressure to reduce the density of 
the space to which you have applied the reducing paste. 
The more heavily the film is rubbed, the more quickly 
will the density be reduced. By means of a light or a 
heavy pressure you have absolute control over the blend 
ing and you can get almost any desired result. Begin 
by rubbing lightly at first and then increase the pressure 
a little if quicker action is desired. 

The secret of successful reducing with abrasive paste 
is in the amount of pressure that is used when applying 
the paste. By practice you will soon learn the exact 
amount of pressure that is best, and it is well worth while 
to become familiar with this method of reducing density. 

If you do not care to use your finger in applying the 
paste, you can stretch a piece of canton flannel over the 
finger tip and use that instead of the uncovered finger. 
If you want to apply the paste to a small or very narrow 
part of the negative, you can make a stump by rolling 
some cotton over the end of a thin stick and working it 
down with some of the paste into a blunt point. 

There are many occasions on which the etching knife 
or reducing paste should be used in actual professional 
work. Sometimes the eyebrows are not well shaped or 
are uneven. It is a simple matter to etch in a small por 
tion to make them balance or to improve the shape. 
Sometimes a little hair can be etched in if there is a bald 
spot on the head that is rather conspicuous. Sometimes 
there has been a too liberal application of a greasy prepa 
ration to keep the hair flat, which causes the hair to catch 
the light too strongly, so that there are highlights that 

74 



METHODS OF WORKING 

are too conspicuous. In the latter case, the film should 
be etched only just enough to match the surrounding 
parts. In a case where the nose is noticeably crooked, it 
may be necessary to etch away a portion of the highlight 
on the side towards which the nose curves, and pencil in 
a little light on the other side, to straighten the line of 
light. Of course such work as this must always be done 
so carefully that there is no indication of any such modi 
fication on the prints. 

Always make proofs from the negative that are to be 
etched before doing any etching, so that you can see ex 
actly what needs to be done. 

On a portrait of a lady in evening dress the outline of 
the neck and shoulders often needs to be modified and, 
after making a proof print and indicating the changes 
on that, the outline, when it is satisfactory, should next 
be marked on the negative. Then reduce, with paste, 
either on the finger tip or on a stump, any highlights on 
the neck or shoulders that may be too strong. Some 
times a small chamois stump will be found practical and 
serviceable for applying the paste. When this has been 
done, etch away carefully those portions of the shoulder 
and neck that are to be removed entirely, working care 
fully till those parts that have been etched match per 
fectly with the background. 

When the etching has been completed, apply retouch 
ing dope in the usual way and proceed with the retouch 
ing. If there are any places where the etching has been 
overdone, they can be built up with the pencil. Do not, 
however, apply the retouching dope until all the etching 
has been completed, for it is not so easy to etch the film 
after it has been doped. 

75 



CHAPTER V 

USE OF MAKE-UP 

When the motion-picture cameramen discovered that 
the faces of the famous stars did not have the beauty and 
glamor that was so necessary, they proceeded to correct 
this serious defect by carefully making up the faces in 
such a way as to eliminate entirely the need for retouch 
ing which was obviously impossible on every one of the 
tiny images on the hundreds of feet of film. Then the 
users of miniature cameras making negatives only twice 
the size of the standard movie frames appreciated the de 
sirability of this idea and they adopted it in their portrai 
ture with very satisfactory results. For some time now, 
in commercial studios where models are used, suitable 
make-up of the model's face has been regarded as a nec 
essary and important preliminary because it almost en 
tirely eliminates the need for any subsequent retouching 
on the negatives or prints. 

In the professional portrait studio of today it has been 
found that the application of some special make-up be 
fore making the exposures has a very definite sales value 
besides giving a smoother and more pleasing rendering 
of the skin texture. It minimizes very much the need for 
retouching and often makes it entirely unnecessary to do 
any retouching at all. It also makes the client feel that 
she is receiving special and individual attention instead 
of being just another sitter. 

76 



USE OF MAKE-UP 

The make-up that is used in portraiture is what is de 
scribed as " straight " make-up. It is very different 
from " character " make-up such as is often used on the 
stage. It should never show, but should be used only to 
emphasize the good points and subdue or hide defects. 
Skilful make-up can be used to modify a nose that is too 
broad or too long, to fill out cheeks that are a bit hollow, 
to improve the contours of the mouth by making thin 
lips appear a little fuller or thick lips a little thinner. 
The eyebrows may be given a more pleasing curve and 
may be lengthened or shortened and the eyes may be 
greatly improved; very deep-set eyes may be brought 
forward or eyes that are too prominent may be a little 
more heavily shadowed. With a little care, all such 
things as these may be done without the subject appear 
ing to be obviously made up. 

STREET MAKE-UP NOT SUITABLE. Because of the 
fact that the panchromatic materials that are almost uni 
versally used today are strongly sensitive to red, the gen 
eral tint of the foundation greasepaint is rather defi 
nitely tan or brown. The ordinary street make-up must 
be avoided as it will not give satisfactory results. 

The straight make-up that is suitable for portraiture 
is really not at all difficult to apply when the proper 
materials are used and suitable materials for photo 
graphic make-up are readily obtainable. Make-up kits 
containing all the cosmetics needed for the straight 
make-up suitable for portraiture are obtainable from 
Max Factor and Elizabeth Arden. Other similar kits 
are supplied by Miner's, Inc., 12 East 12th Street, New 
York, and by Hampden Sales Association, Inc., 251 
Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y. And each of these 

77 



RETOUCHING 

concerns furnishes a booklet that explains clearly just 
how the various items may be used to obtain the desired 
effect. 

APPLYING THE MAKE-UP. The first thing to do is 
to remove all street make-up entirely and thoroughly 
cleanse the face with soap and water. This is followed 
by the application of the foundation greasepaint. The 
coloring of the panchro greasepaint can be selected to 
suit a blonde or brunette, young or elderly person. The 
colors range from light tones of tan to darker, warm 
browns, the low numbers indicating the lighter tones and 
the higher numbers the darker shades. For a young girl 
the numbers recommended are 26 for a blonde and 27 for 
a brunette. 

This foundation greasepaint should be applied very 
sparingly. About one quarter of an inch squeezed from 
the tube is usually sufficient. Squeeze this amount into 
the palm of the left hand and then, with the finger tips 
of the other hand apply the greasepaint in dabs and spots 
all over the surface that is to be covered. Now remove 
all the greasepaint from the fingers and, after dipping 
the hands into cold water, spread the greasepaint as 
evenly as possible all over the face. Dip the fingers into 
cold water from time to time and blend the greasepaint 
thinly and evenly so that you have a smooth and thin ap 
plication. It is always best to work from the center out 
wards. 

A little careful make-up around the eyes sometimes 
is needed. Panchromatic eyeshadow or lining color ap 
plied to the upper eyelids, blending off imperceptibly as 
it is carried up towards the eyebrow, will tend to make 
the eyes appear larger and brighter. If the eyes are 

78 



USE OF MAKE-UP 

naturally rather deeply set, it will not be necessary to in 
crease the shadow by the use of eyeshadow. It should 
not be used below the eyes for that would give an appear 
ance of haggardness or age. The eyebrows may be 
shaped and strengthened with the eyebrow pencil, but 
any such lining must be very soft and delicate or it will 
appear theatrical. 

The lips should next be made up and in choosing the 
most suitable lipstick it must be remembered that when 
panchromatic film is used the red lips are apt to be over 
corrected and thus come out too light in the picture. 
Therefore, as a rule, a darker shade of lip rouge than is 
ordinarily used is often needed. It is best to let the client 
apply the lipstick herself and generally it is best to fol 
low the natural contours of the lips ; however, lips that 
are too thin or too full may be modified by extending the 
application of the lipstick beyond the natural border in 
the case of thin lips or by keeping within the natural 
border if the lips are too full. 

When the foundation greasepaint has been smoothly 
applied and the eyes, eyebrows and lips have received 
proper attention and treatment, the next step is the pow 
dering of the entire face and throat. The powder should 
be applied rather generously with a powder puff and any 
surplus may be brushed off gently with a powder brush 
or removed by careful patting with a clean puff. When 
applying the powder, pat it on and do not rub. Be care 
ful to see that there is no excess powder around the nos 
trils and at the corners of the eyes or mouth. After re 
moving excess powder from the lips, have the subject 
moisten the lips with the tongue which will give a 
smooth, velvety texture. After powdering, the eye- 

79 



RETOUCHING 

brows may need to be emphasized by using the brush or 
a moistened finger. 

If mascara is used, it should be applied last of all and 
to the upper eye lashes only. This is a delicate job and it 
is best to let the subject do it herself. 

CORKECTING DEFECTS WlTH MAKE-UP. It is pOSsi- 

ble to do a good deal in the way of correcting faulty facial 
contours by the addition of highlights or shadows or by 
slightly emphasizing existing highlights or shadows. It 
is best, as a rule, not to do anything of this sort unless it 
is really necessary, but there are times when it may be 
used to good advantage. 

If the nose is too broad, it may be made to appear 
narrower by blending a delicate shadow up and down 
the length of the nose on both sides. For this purpose a 
foundation greasepaint a shade or two darker than that 
used for the base may be used. Broad temples may be 
narrowed by applying the shadow up and across the 
temples, starting at the eyes and carrying the shadow 
up to the hairline. Cheek bones that are too wide may be 
corrected by applying shadow alongside of them and a 
double chin may be modified by applying shadow to that 
portion of the double chin which you wish to eliminate. 
For this purpose a darker base or lining color may be 
used. 

All such modifications as these must, of course, be done 
before the final powdering and any such shadows must 
be very carefully blended so that there are no perceptible 
lines or edges. Only a very small amount of the darker 
greasepaint is needed to create the illusion of a delicate 
shadow. 

After a little practice one may become very proficient 

80 



USE OF MAKE-UP 

in applying make-up and it will be found that far more 
pleasing pictures may be obtained and the need for re 
touching may be entirely eliminated if the face is care 
fully made up with the proper panchromatic make-up 
before making the exposures. Then careful lighting and 
suitable exposure and development of the negative will 
give results that are highly satisfactory both to the sub 
ject and the photographer. 



81 



CHAPTER VI 

OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 
OF RETOUCHING 

There is a very prevalent idea that retouching needs 
to be supplied only to portrait negatives, but there is 
a number of other subjects that can be greatly improved 
in very much the same way. 

LANDSCAPE AND ARCHITECTURAL NEGATIVES. Re 
touching when applied to landscape and architectural 
subjects is usually referred to as " handwork " or " con 
trol in printing " rather than as retouching, but as all 
such work as this is obviously nothing but retouching in 
a broader sense, it will be described at some length in this 
chapter. 

In negatives of landscape subjects there is often too 
much contrast ; there may be blurring of foliage through 
movement caused by a strong breeze ; often there are a 
number of unnecessary details included in the picture, 
some or all of which might well be removed, or there may 
be a lack of suitable clouds in the sky. Another very fre 
quent defect is an incorrect or unpleasing rendering of 
landscape values. 

PAPER NEGATIVE PROCESS. There are ways of cor 
recting such defects by means of retouching, both with 
the pencil and with the knife or with reducing paste. It 
is a very common practice now for a pictorial worker to 
make an enlarged positive, either on film or on paper, 

82 



OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 

and do some necessary work on the positive, and then, 
from the positive, make a paper negative on which fur 
ther modifications may be made. By working in this 
way there is no need to use knife or reducing materials 
because both positive and negative modifications may be 
made, either on the positive or on the negative by adding 
density where it may be needed. If the positive and the 
negative are both made on a single weight, mat surface 
paper, either or both may be worked on with pencil, 
crayon, powdered graphite, crayon sauce, water-color 
paint or stove polish. It is interesting to note that stove 
polish is the means that is preferred by one of the leading 
exponents of the paper negative process, Dr. Max 
Thorek, in whose book, " Creative Camera Art " may be 
found a detailed explanation of his own individual meth 
ods of working. As there are several excellent books on 
the subject of paper negatives, it will not be necessary 
here to do more than give an outline of the process, leav 
ing it to each individual worker to develop his own meth 
ods of attaining the results he wants. 

MAKING A PAPER NEGATIVE. The simplest way is 
to make from the original negative a projection print of 
the desired size. This, of course, will be a positive, but 
as it is to be used for making a paper negative by ordi 
nary contact printing, the positive print must possess the 
characteristics of a good negative. It must be soft in 
contrast not brilliant and it must be sufficiently 
well exposed and fully developed so that all the details 
and gradations are clearly visible when the paper posi 
tive is examined by transmitted light. It must be re 
membered that the scale or range of gradation of any 
paper is comparatively short and therefore there cannot 

83 



RETOUCHING 

be a long range of contrasts either on the positive, the 
paper negative or the final print from that negative. 
The enlarged positive should show some silver deposit 
in every part except in such extreme highlights as, for 
example, the catchlights in the eyes or the highlights on 
the teeth in a portrait, or the sunlit edges of cumulus 
clouds in a landscape picture. 

Any modifications that may be desired may be made 
on this paper positive by working either on the back or on 
the front, or both, with pencil, crayon, etc. Then, when 
the work is completed, a paper negative is made from the 
positive, by contact printing again on some single-weight 
paper such as P.M.C., Defender Veltex, Dassonville 
Opaline Parchment F, etc. 

If the original negative is very soft and it is necessary 
to increase the final contrast, a paper like Kodaline or 
Translite (coated on both sides) may be used. 

ELIMINATING TEXTTJUE. If it is desired to elimi 
nate the paper texture as much as possible, this can be 
done by printing through the paper base. In this way 
any inequalities in the texture of the paper will be equal 
ized by corresponding differences in density of the emul 
sion and when viewed by transmitted light there will be 
no evidence of paper grain. Sometimes, however, it is 
desirable to retain the paper texture and this can be done 
by making the positive in the usual way by projecting 
the image on the emulsion side of the paper, and by print 
ing the paper negative with the emulsion side of the 
negative in contact with the emulsion of the paper posi 
tive. 

This method of making a print offers tremendous pos 
sibilities in the way of modification of the final picture. 

84 



OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 

In landscape pictures it is possible to eliminate unneces 
sary details ; the shapes of tree masses may be improved; 
gaps in the foliage through which bright patches of sky 
are visible may be filled in; telegraph poles and wires 
may be eliminated and many other improvements may 
be made, as may be desired. 

In portraiture, too, there is often need for similar 
control, and by means of the paper negative process, 
highlights may be emphasized backgrounds may be 
worked in and other necessary or desirable changes 
may be made. The paper negative process offers tre 
mendous possibilities for personal control. 

MEDIOBEOME. A method of working up prints that 
is becoming increasingly popular as it becomes better 
known is the process that is used by the famous Belgian 
pictorialist, Leonard Misonne. He calls it " medio- 
brome." This is a simplification and modification of the 
oil printing process that M. Misonne has used for many 
years and it is capable of greatly improving a pictorial 
photograph. An enlargement or a contact print is made 
in the usual way, on mat surface paper, but the print 
should be just a bit lighter than it is intended to be when 
it is finished. Then a little megilp or some kind of 
" print lustre " is applied to the print by rubbing it 
evenly with a wad of cotton over the entire surface, and 
while the surface is still tacky, a coating of oil or bromoil 
pigment is stippled on with a bromoil brush in just the 
same way as when inking up an oil or bromoil print. 

As the print has not been selectively tanned and hard 
ened, the pigment will adhere equally in every part of the 
print, but it can be applied lightly or more heavily in 
places where a little or a greater amount of darkening is 

85 



RETOUCHING 

desired. Then this stippled coating can be removed with 
an ordinary eraser in those parts of the print where it is 
not needed. Highlights can be strengthened by rubbing 
off the pigment ; clouds can be worked in, in very much 
the same way as they would be worked in on a bromoil or 
an oil print and, of course, the shadows can be darkened 
by allowing the pigment to remain in the shadows. By 
this means a lot of local modification is possible in a 
photographic picture, either a landscape, a seascape or a 
portrait and the extent of the modification is limited only 
by the skill and experience of the worker. 

THE ABRASION-TONE PROCESS. This is a method of 
modifying prints that has been worked out by William 
Mortensen of California. It is used for the elimination 
of flaws and for getting rid of unwanted details as well 
as for the improvement of gradations and for emphasis 
for pictorial effect. Instead of stippling on an oil pig 
ment with a bromoil brush, a finely powdered crayon 
powder is rubbed over the surface of the print with cotton 
and is worked into the surface of the print by means of 
finely powdered pumice. Other materials used consist 
of Wolff's BB carbon drawing pencils, Chinese ink that 
comes in sticks, safety razor blades for lightening shad 
ows, kneaded eraser and an ordinary pencil eraser for 
working in highlights. Complete details as to this very 
interesting process are given in Mr. Mortensen's book, 
" Print Finishing/' so there is no need to describe it in 
full detail here. It is a process that has great possibili 
ties and it can be used for any kind of pictures, figure 
studies or outdoor subjects. 

CHEMICAL ETCHING. In the last few years a tech 
nique in the use of chemicals to reduce the image density 

86 



OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 

has been introduced. One of these is the Etchadine 
method which is based on the use of an oil solution of 
iodine which attacks the silver image to form silver io 
dide. The method may be used on a print (on paper) 
or on the negative film. 

The products needed for this etching process are the 
Etchadine control medium, Etchadine blendoil and 
Etchadine thinner. Spread the control medium evenly 
on the surface of the print or negative that is to be etched. 
Keep the medium spread around evenly with a wad of 
cotton for not less than one minute. Then wipe up the 
excess medium from the picture surface with the cotton 
and squeeze the excess medium out of the cotton, letting 
it run back on to the picture surface. Continue alter 
nately squeezing the cotton and mopping up the picture 
surface several times until the surface is free of the ge 
latinous precipitate which will gather in the cotton, caus 
ing it to feel slick. 

Thin some blendoil in a separate dish with a few drops 
of thinner from one to ten drops of thinner to each 
drop of blendoil. Mix thoroughly with a brush and then 
apply the mixture to the part of the picture that is to be 
etched. The application of the blendoil should be timed 
by counting ; the longer the count, the greater the depth 
of removal of the image will be. The etching action is 
stopped by rubbing the area quickly but lightly for a 
few seconds with the same tuft of cotton which still con 
tains some of the control medium. 

When the etching is finished, the print or negative 
should be rinsed in water and then fixed for from three 
to ten minutes in a fresh, plain hypo bath made up in the 
proportion of one ounce of hypo to four ounces of water. 

87 



RETOUCHING 

The negative or print is then washed and dried in the 
usual way. 

The complete removal of a background may be accom 
plished by using full strength or nearly full strength 
blendoil. For certain work, such as on commercial pho 
tographs where a clean-cut outline is required, lineoil is 
recommended instead of blendoil as lineoil will hold its 
outline better. Lineoil will penetrate more slowly but 
to a greater final degree of bleaching. 

For such work as this it will usually be necessary to 
use a retouching desk that may be adjusted to a hori 
zontal position. 

Chemical reduction with Etchadine should precede 
pencil work and should not be used if abrasive or knife 
has already been used. 

The materials needed for the Etchadine method of re 
ducing are manufactured and distributed by Jamieson 
Products Co., 219 Avenue F., Redondo Beach, Calif. 
DUPLICATING FILM. The very prevalent use of the 
popular miniature camera for portraiture has made it 
necessary sometimes to make an enlarged positive from 
the original tiny negative and then, from the positive, 
to make a new negative either the same size as the en 
larged positive or still further enlarged. Instead of re 
touching the small original negative, whatever retouch 
ing that is necessary may be done both on the enlarged 
positive and on the final negative. There are special du 
plicating films available on which it is possible to make 
an enlarged negative direct, without the necessity for 
making a positive, but the possibility of retouching a 
positive transparency as well as the larger negative may 
be very desirable. 

88 



OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 

GHOUNDGLASS SUBSTITUTE. Some of the older 
methods of correcting defects in portrait or landscape 
negatives that were in common use in the professional 
studio should be described as many of them are still thor 
oughly practical and are still often used in a modified 
form with the present day materials. Groundglass sub 
stitute, for example, was often used by flowing it on the 
glass side of a glass plate and then there was produced 
an excellent surface on which to apply powdered crayon, 
carbon pencil, paint, and so on, and the groundglass sub 
stitute could be scraped away if greater transparency 
was needed. In this way it was a simple matter to make 
desirable modifications in the final picture; to put in a 
background, to strengthen highlights on the dress, or to 
make even more drastic modifications. Today this 
method is still just as useful as ever and can be used even 
when the negative is made on a celluloid film, for the 
groundglass substitute can be flowed on to a piece of 
clear glass to which the film can be attached with scotch 
tape. 

Groundglass substitute may be purchased from any 
dealer in photographic supplies. Those who are inter 
ested in making such things will find the following for 
mula very satisfactory : 

Gum sandarac 90 gr. 

Gum mastic 20 gr. 

Dissolve in ether 2 oz. 

Add benzole 1 to 1^ oz. 

To apply this groundglass substitute to the glass side 
of a negative or to a piece of plain glass, proceed as fol 
lows: 

Be sure that the glass is perfectly clean and free from 

89 



RETOUCHING 

dust and lint. An excellent way to clean glass is to use 
a block of charcoal. Rub the glass first with wet cotton 
and then with the charcoal block and finish with a piece 
of well-washed linen that is free from lint. Hold the 
glass in the left hand, with the thumb at the extreme 
corner and the fingers supporting the glass underneath, 
and try to have the glass perfectly horizontal. Pour a 
pool of groundglass varnish into the center of the glass 
plate a little more than enough to cover the plate 
and immediately tip the plate gently so that the varnish 
will run down into the right hand top corner. Just as it 
reaches the corner, tilt the negative gently so that the 
varnish will run towards the left hand top corner, then 
guide it down towards the left hand bottom corner and 
finally into the right hand corner, tipping the negative 
over the mouth of the varnish bottle so that any excess 
will run back into the bottle. The varnish will set al 
most immediately, with a surface that very closely re 
sembles ground glass. There is a knack in applying the 
groundglass substitute that will be acquired after one or 
two trials. The important thing is to go slow and avoid 
jerky movements in tilting the negative to guide the flow 
of the varnish. Tip the negative only very slightly and 
gradually, so that the varnish will flow in a continuous 
sweep over the entire surface of the glass, from the right 
hand top corner, along the top, down the left side and 
across the bottom and then back into the bottle. It must 
not be done too slowly and deliberately or the varnish 
may begin to set before the plate is entirely covered. 
Try not to get any of the varnish on the film side, but if 
a little should get on to the wrong side of the plate, it can 
be removed with denatured alcohol. 

90 



OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 

If you are using films instead of glass plates, you can 
flow the substitute on a piece of clear glass the size of 
the film and then bind the film to the glass, or you can 
use a piece of real ground glass and bind the film to that. 

WORKING ox THE BACK OF THE NEGATIVE. When 
the plate has been coated on the back with groundglass 
substitute, you have a fine surface on which you can work 
with pencil, paint or crayon sauce applied with a stump. 
In this way you can build up a portion of a negative that 
may be almost or entirely blank through faulty manipu 
lation of the camera or through poor covering power on 
the part of the lens. If there are parts that should print 
out a little darker, such as clouds in a sky that is too 
dense, you can scrape off the groundglass substitute in 
those parts so that the light will penetrate more easily. 
In doing so, be careful to blend off the edges so that they 
are not apparent in the print. The thickness of the glass 
will give a little diffusion which will help to prevent the 
edges showing too plainly. 

You can add density to this groundglass surface with 
a pencil of any degree of softness. You can use ordinary 
drawing pencils, as you do not need the fine, sharp point 
of a retouching pencil, or you can use a soft lead with 
a chisel point, as shown in Fig. 1. You can use pow 
dered crayon on a stump, or water color applied with a 
brush. 

If only a line or two is needed or if there are only a 
few highlights that need to be strengthened, this can be 
done directly on the glass, without applying any ground- 
glass substitute, by using a special pencil that is made for 
marking on glass, china or metal. Such a pencil can be 
obtained from any photographic dealer. 

91 



RETOUCHING 

PAPIER MINERAL. Another favorite way of pre 
paring a negative so that parts of it can he strengthened 
by the addition of handwork on the back is to attach a 
piece of thin tracing paper such as " papier mineral " or 
onion skin paper or even a very fine grained tissue 
paper to the back of the glass plate, and then work 
on that with pencil, paint or crayon. The paper should 
be laid in water and thoroughly wetted before it is ap 
plied. A narrow strip of mucilage or liquid glue is ap 
plied to the glass, close to the edge, and then the wet 
paper which has been pressed between two sheets of blot 
ting paper is attached and pressed down carefully so that 
it sticks to the glue at the edges of the glass plate. By 
wetting the paper before it is applied, it will expand a 
little and then when it shrinks again in drying it will be 
found to be perfectly flat and tightly drawn so that it 
presents a good surface on which to work. 

Such paper is less transparent than ground glass or 
groundglass substitute and will hold back the negative 
more in printing. If there are parts that are too dense, 
the paper may be cut away with a sharp knife, to help 
on those dense parts, or the paper may be made more 
transparent in those places by means of an application 
of a solution of one part of balsam to six parts of tur 
pentine. 

THE AIRBRUSH. The airbrush is now used very ex 
tensively in photography, especially by commercial pho 
tographers and- those who make photographs for adver 
tising purposes. Not only is the airbrush used in working 
up prints, but it is also used on the negative, for put 
ting in backgrounds and for building up negatives. A 
portrait photographer could make good use of an air- 

92 



OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 

brush for working on the print or on the negative, and a 
retoucher who has acquired some skill and experience in 
the use of the airbrush would find it very helpful to him 
in his work. For working up enlargements, either in 
black and white or in color, the airbrush is an ideal instru 
ment and this use will be taken up in further detail in a 
later chapter. 

BLOCKING OTJT. Sometimes in commercial photog 
raphy it is necessary to block out the entire background 
so that it will be opaque on the negative and will print 
out white in the print. This sort of work calls for some 
practice and a very steady hand. Blocking out is usually 
done on the film side of the negative, following the out 
lines closely and carefully, either with a fine brush or 
with a fine pointed pen such as is used for making maps. 
If the edges of the object that is being blocked out are 
straight, such as in a piece of machinery for instance, a 
straightedge may be used to guide the pen. For curves, 
it is sometimes possible to find one that will fit on the 
celluloid forms used by draughtsmen. Otherwise the 
edges and outlines must be followed carefully by hand. 

Either opaque or waterproof drawing ink may be used. 
That is a matter of individual choice, as either of them 
serves the purpose very well. When a pen is used, it 
must be handled very carefully and the film must be per 
fectly dry and hard! or the pen will be apt to scratch. 
Whether you use a pen or a brush, work very carefully 
and do not have too much ink or opaque on the pen or 
brush. 

Some workers use an ordinary retouching desk with 
the carrier frame lying back as far as possible. Others 
prefer a glass topped table with an artificial light under- 

93 



RETOUCHING 

neath, so that the negative can be perfectly flat all the 
time. Turn the negative in any direction that is most 
convenient. Work away from corners and not into them 
and always work outwards from the center of the nega 
tive. 

The usual method of working is to outline the subject 
carefully with the pen and then extend the outline with 
a brush until it is about half an inch wide. Then the rest 
of the negative that has to be blocked out can be covered 
with opaque paper cut to the required shape, so that it 
overlaps the opaqued line. 

Two coats may be needed. It is a good plan, after 
the first opaque line has been completed, to set the nega 
tive aside to dry before putting on the opaque paper. 
When it is dry, examine it carefully to see if there are 
any places where a little more ink or opaque is needed. 
If a large number of prints are to be made from the 
blocked-out negative, the ink or opaque can be protected 
from rubbing off by the application of a coat of clear var 
nish over the entire negative, or over those parts that are 
not covered with black paper. Regular negative varnish 
should be used, and it is applied in just the same manner 
as was described for the application of groundglass sub 
stitute. 

NEGATIVE VAENISH. There are several kinds of 
negative varnish. S ome are applied to the negative cold, 
while for the application of others it is necessary to heat 
the negative. Of course the cold varnish is the only kind 
that should be used for films, though either kind can be 
used for glass plates. 

SOFTENING EDGES. Sometimes a photographer is 
called upon to block out the background in a portrait or 



OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 

figure study and this has to be done in a slightly different 
way. If opaque were used with a brush or pen, the edges 
would be too hard and clear cut. To get a softer edge 
and make the outlines of the figure blend a little more 
gradually into the background, use a soft retouching 
pencil and work in the outline with that. When you 
have gone all around the figure with the soft pencil, you 
can extend the line to a width of about half an inch or so 
with a brush and opaque. A flat brush, such as is used 
by showcard writers, is best to use for this purpose. 

Another way of softening the edges and outlines 
would be to do the opaquing on the back of the negative 
instead of on the emulsion side. 

In applying opaque with a brush, do not have the 
brush too wet so that the opaque is too thin to make a 
light-tight coating on the film. Have it just moist 
enough so that it can be applied easily with one stroke 
of the brush. 

ETCHING AWAY THE BACKGROUND. Occasionally 
it happens that it is necessary to make the background 
black in the print instead of white and in order to do this, 
anything that shows in the background must be etched 
off the negative. 

There are two ways of doing this. Either the knife 
or razor blade is used in the way that has already been 
described and the background is gently and carefully 
etched down until it is sufficiently transparent to print 
out dark in the print, or the emulsion is removed entirely 
from the plate, leaving just the bare glass. 

Although this latter method is seldom used at the pres 
ent time, it is necessary for a retoucher to be familiar with 
it. The negative must be perfectly dry. If the weather 

95 



RETOUCHING 

is at all damp, it would be a good plan to dry the negative 
thoroughly over the radiator or near a fire before you be 
gin to work on it. Then put the negative on the retouch 
ing desk or the glass topped table and with a sharp- 
pointed knife trace around the edge of the image as 
closely as possible, making a clean cut right through the 
emulsion, down to the glass. 

Now take the negative and dip it in water, just for 
a second or two. Blot it off and put it back on the desk. 
Take the knife and, starting about an eighth of an inch 
outside the original cut, with a slanting stroke, run the 
knife through the emulsion to meet the first cut, so that 
you can peel off the emulsion all around the outline. 

When you have cut the emulsion, soak the negative 
again in water. Then, starting at one corner, rub your 
thumb over the film so that the emulsion will work loose 
from its support and you can roll the emulsion right off 
the negative down to the part that has been removed with 
the knife. Be very careful not to scratch or damage the 
part you want to print. 

Wash off any small particles of emulsion so that the 
background is clean and transparent and then set the 
negative up to dry. This will give you a negative with 
a clear, transparent background that will print out black 
in the print. You must be very careful in making the 
first cut around the outline, as it is difficult to correct 
any errors. 

If you do not want the outline to be quite so sharp and 
clean-cut, you can etch or shave down the edges instead 
of cutting right through, so that the outlines will blend 
into the background more gradually. 

A black background like this is not used as often as 

96 



OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 

a white one. Pictures that are so treated are, as a rule, 
photographs of commercial subjects and are therefore, 
usually, pictures from which reproductions are to be 
made for advertising or other purposes. For reproduc 
tion purposes a white background is generally better 
adapted than a black one. 

FILLING IN SCRATCHES ON THE NEGATIVE. There 
is one thing you will find you can do very easily after you 
have gained some experience in the use of the pencil and 
the etching knife, and that is the retouching of scratches 
or slight abrasions on the negative. If you have tried to 
fill in a scratch with the pencil so that it will match and 
will blend into its surroundings, you will have discovered 
that it is a difficult thing to do, as it is almost impossible 
to get the lead on evenly. 

The best thing to do in such cases is to etch the scratch 
with the point of the knife and shave down the edges of 
it until they are smooth. Then you will find that it is an 
easy matter to fill in the scratch with the pencil so that 
it will hardly show. 

RETOUCHING PHOTOGRAPHS or ANIMALS. Photog 
raphers are very often called upon to take pictures of 
favorite animals, such as horses, dogs, cats, birds, and in 
one respect they are all alike they move at inopportune 
moments so that the retoucher is called upon to re 
store ears that have been laid back, paws that have 
changed their position, tails that have been wagged, etc. 
The modern, ultra-rapid plates and films and the very- 
fast lenses that are now obtainable have mitigated these 
movements to a great extent, but still they occur, in the 
studio at least. 

Pedigreed animals often have to be photographed in- 

97 



RETOUCHING 

doors, either in their own stables or kennels or in the show 
pens, while they are on show, and very often the light 
that is available is not of the best. The owners of highly 
bred and very nervous animals sometimes object to the 
use of flashlight, as it is liable to startle the animals. 

Sometimes we have negatives of dogs with two tails. 
In such cases, select the better one and with the knife or 
abrasive paste remove the lights on the other and with the 
lead pencil fill in the shadows ; the same with horses with 
four ears. Such phenomena would doubtless be very in 
teresting to the naturalist, but the owner of the animal 
would perhaps fail to recognize such a photograph as a 
good likeness of his property. 

Negatives of dogs with long hair sometimes cause 
trouble. When the hair is dark-colored, black or red 
dish-brown, care must be taken to avoid underexposure. 
If we have a negative of a collie, a retriever or any animal 
with dark-colored, long and shaggy hair, and the animal 
has moved a little, it is comparatively easy to sharpen 
up the negative with a few judicious touches, but when 
it is a smooth-coated animal, a horse or a smooth-coated 
dog, there is very little that can be done, though some 
times such a negative can be improved by etching away 
the double outlines and filling in with pencil. Some 
times a horse flicks the tail and appears to be tailless in 
the picture. A clever retoucher can sometimes restore 
the tail. The shape of the tail in its normal position hav 
ing been ascertained, preferably from personal observa 
tion, and a rough sketch having been made of it, the 
retoucher can often introduce a tail by the aid of the 
etching knife, with highlights added where necessary 
with a soft lead pencil. 

98 



OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 

It often happens that people owning valuable or fa 
vorite animals like to be photographed with them, and 
you pose the owner, with the dog (let us suppose it is a 
Newfoundland or a collie or a black retriever) sitting 
down by the side or in front. Well, the owner's face is 
very white compared with the color of the dog, so that 
either the dog is underexposed or the owner's face gets 
exposed too much. The photographer must do the best 
he can with the negative in the darkroom and then the 
retoucher can flow groundglass substitute over the back 
of the negative, scraping it off over those parts that are 
too dense and working over parts that are too thin until 
an even and properly graded print can be made from the 
negative. 

Dogs, horses, etc., often have to be on a leash or held 
by the reins and some photographers will have the tail 
held at the right pose with the aid of string. All such 
things, where they show in the print, have to be removed 
from the negative. Those parts that are dense in the 
negative must be carefully etched down with the knife or 
razor blade and then any retouching should be done 
where it is needed with the pencil, after applying re 
touching dope to the negative in the usual way. If such 
work is carefully done, there will be no trace of the leash 
or reins in the print. 

Unsightly bumps or ugly lines in horses, dogs or other 
animals can be improved by knifing or lead pencilling, 
according to the requirements of the part and subject. 
Sometimes a sitter may be so posed that the hand inter 
feres with the outline of a dog or cat sitting on the own 
er's lap, and quite ruins the picture. In such cases the 
hand should be removed entirely if it can be done in such 

99 



RETOUCHING 

a way as to suggest that the hand is behind the animal 
or is covered with draperies. The same skill and light 
ness of touch that are required in the use of the pencil and 
knife for portrait work are also essential in treating such 
defects as have been enumerated, for unless such work is 
done carefully and in such a way that it will not be ap 
parent in the print, the result will be worse than the de 
fects that it professes to correct, and it would be better 
not to touch the negative at all. 

ETCHING A SINGLE FIGURE FEOM A GEOUP. There 
is one thing that a photographer is very often called upon 
to do and that is the separating of a single figure from a 
group. Sometimes it is an old daguerreotype or ambro- 
type and sometimes a recent print on D. O. P. Usually 
the first step is to make as good a negative as possible by 
copying, and if the single figure is to be enlarged, it is 
usually as well to make the single figure a little larger 
in making the copy. Sometimes a lot of skilful work is 
called for in separating a figure from the other members 
of a group. 

In Fig. 15 we show the result of copying a single fig 
ure from a group made from a badly marred ambrotype. 
No. 1 is a reproduction from the original, No. 2 shows 
the first stage of the work, No. 3 illustrates the second 
stage of the work, while No. 4 reproduces the complete 
portrait. 

In beginning to do such work as this, the first thing 
to do is to remove the surrounding objects from around 
the head and shoulders. In the case illustrated the first 
thing that was done was the separating of the child's 
head from the mother's shoulder and giving a natural 
outline to the waist and shoulders. This was done by 

100 




FIG. 15 



OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 

first outlining the shoulders with the point of the etching 
knife and then gently etching away part of the child's 
face. Then the entire background was blocked out care 
fully with opaque in the manner described on another 
page. In a case of this sort it is better to outline the sub 
ject first of all with a soft pencil to prevent the outline 
from being too hard, then the rest of the negative can be 
painted over with opaque or can be covered with black 
paper. If a film is used instead of a glass plate, the 
blocking out may be done on the film side instead of on 
the emulsion and this will tend to make the outline a little 
softer. 

The merging of the lower part of the figure into the 
background is done by vignetting. An opening is cut 
in a piece of cardboard the shape of the image on the 
negative. The edges of the opening are cut like the teeth 
of a saw in order to blend and soften the junction and 
make the figure blend gradually into the background 
without any hard outline. The cardboard is then at 
tached to the printing frame and the opening is covered 
with a piece of tracing paper to diffuse the light. An 
other way to diffuse the outline is to have the cardboard 
vignette separated from the negative about half an inch 
or so by nailing strips of wood to the printing frame if 
the sides are not already high enough, and then putting 
a little absorbent cotton under the vignetter, between the 
card and the glass in the printing frame, pulling out the 
cotton in such a way as to permit the light to filter 
through it and give a gradual blend to the printing. 

Of course any retouching that is needed can be done 
on the negative in the usual way, but it must be done 
carefully and in such a way that the likeness is not 

101 



RETOUCHING 

changed. After the print is finished and has been washed 
and dried, the edges may need to be softened a little by 
working on the print with a stump or a tuft of cotton 
dipped in a little crayon sauce. The clouded effect in the 
background is obtained in that way. This requires only 
a very little crayon and care must be taken not to put on 
too much. This rubbing in of the crayon sauce, soften 
ing the lines and slightly clouding the background, com 
pletes the picture, as will be seen in No. 4. 

STRAIGHTEXING CROSSED EYES. Of the corrections 
that have to be made to eyes in a portrait possibly the 
most frequent is the straightening of crossed eyes. 
There is a lot that can be done in the making of the nega 
tive to assist the retoucher and save a considerable 
amount of work if a little care is taken in the posing and 
the selection of the point of view. It is often possible to 
photograph such a subject in profile so that only one eye 
is shown and there is usually one eye that is better than 
the other. However, if both eyes are to be shown in the 
picture, one secret of success is to get the straight eye 
perfectly natural, paying no attention whatever to the 
other one. If both eyes are crossed, turned in or out, 
as the case may be, then we must endeavor to get the best 
position possible for one of them before making the ex 
posure. The most difficult eyes to straighten when mak 
ing the negative are those where one eye turns in and the 
other out, for in such cases it is really difficult to obtain 
a normal condition of either eye. 

If one eye is normal and the other needs straightening, 
first make a tracing of the good eye on a piece of tracing 
paper and place it on the glass side of the negative over 
the defective eye. Of course the drawing must be in- 

102 



OTHER APPLICATIONS AND METHODS 

verted and has to be attached to the negative with the 
drawing next to the glass. Fig. 16 shows a case of 
crossed eyes. No. 1 of this illustration shows exactly the 
appearance of the eyes before altering, No. 2 shows the 
first stage of the work done, and No. 3 presents the eyes 
both balanced and which appear very natural. 

In beginning the work we first obtain, as said above, 
a pencilled outline of the normal eye on a piece of tracing 
paper, working from the glass side of the negative. 
With this obtained, we invert the outline and place it 
over the opening of the defective eye, attaching the paper 
to the negative temporarily with a little paste if it is a 
glass plate or with paper clips if it is a cut film. Then, 
turning the negative over, with the film side upwards, 
we trace the outline of the iris of the eye with the point of 
the etching knife. 

We next rub down the white of the eye with reducing 
paste. This not only reduces the strong whites, but also 
blends the outlining done with the etching knife. Then 
we pencil the black portions of the original iris and pupil, 
building up the white of the eye in the left hand corner. 
As a considerable amount of work is required to elimi 
nate the heavy black shadows, a very soft lead should be 
used. When this has been completed, we next proceed 
to work in the iris of the eye. This is done with the etch 
ing knife, shaving the entire opening in the outline of the 
iris except a small speck to be left to supply the catch- 
light. With the iris reduced to the proper stage and the 
catch-light rightly located, we then proceed to etch the 
pupil of the eye which, in this case, the eyes being very 
black, should be carried only one shade deeper than the 
iris. 

103 



PART II 

FINISHING AND COLORING PHOTOGRAPHS 



CHAPTER VII 
MONOCHROME FINISHING 

For coloring photographs in water colors the student 
needs to exercise a little care in the selection of his mate 
rials. As one artist may work on the same subject in a 
different key from another, so he may also use, in part 
at least, a different set of colors. But the following list 
will be found suitable and reliable. Colors that are very 
fugitive have not been included in this list. 

Chinese White Lemon Yellow 

Light Red Naples Yellow 

Vermilion Burnt Sienna 

Rose Madder Lamp Black 

Alizarin Crimson Indian Red 

Cadmium Emerald Green 

Yellow Ochre Prussian Blue 

Raw Sienna Permanent Blue 

Indian Yellow Cobalt Blue 

Gamboge Raw Umber 

Roman Ochre Warm Sepia 

All of these colors can be obtained from a dealer in 
artists' supplies. 

It will be necessary to provide oneself with a high 
easel, mahlstick, several palettes of one kind or another, 
sable brushes, a scraper, various rubbers, among which 
is a hard typewriter eraser. All these things may be 
placed on a table on the right of the easel 

107 



RETOUCHING 

Sit or stand so that the light falls on the picture from 
over the left shoulder. Work in a cool light, as nearly 
as possible from the north, at a window that is suffi 
ciently high and that is fitted with shades that can be 
drawn either up from the bottom or down from the top. 
The lower shades should be drawn up so that the light 
starts at a height of about five feet or so from the floor, 
provided the window is high enough to allow of this. 
The strength of the light must be regulated according to 
circumstances. It should not be so strong as to be daz 
zling, nor should it be too weak. 

Good brushes, preferably sable, are indispensable 
the writer prefers flat sable brushes. The brushes are 
better to work with when they are just a little worn, but 
the extreme tip of a new brush it may be only a single 
hair may be cut off very carefully with a sharp knife. 
A "No. 12 fitch brush is useful for washes. 

WORKING UP ENLARGEMENTS IN MONOCHROME. 
Finishing an enlargement may mean much or little. It 
may mean highly finished work, carefully studied, and 
necessarily requiring considerable time in its execution ; 
a finish of this degree is usually required in the studios 
of the higher class of photographers. As between what 
may be termed this maximum of finish and the minimum, 
there are various shades or degrees that vary according 
to the price. A minimum finish may mean merely put 
ting in a background, either with powder-color or with 
the airbrush, and a slight, general touching up and spot 
ting of the enlargement. 

The writer will assume that the aim of the student is 
to do good work and to do it in the spirit and with the 
feeling of an artist. It will be obvious that artistic work 

108 



MONOCHROME FINISHING 

can proceed only from artistic thought. Every stroke 
and every touch must have its reason and be a means to 
an end, not an end in itself. 

Various methods may be employed in the working-up 
of an enlargement. Pure brush work is not now as gen 
eral as it was, though it must continue to be of prime con 
sideration in many cases. 

The colors required for monochrome finishing are few, 
chiefly black and various shades of brown. For ordinary 
black or gray bromides, carbons and platino-types, lamp 
black is generally used. The student must decide for 
himself the colors that he will use but we may mention 
that for practically all shades of brown, including any 
shade of sepia, or of the ordinary photographic color (as 
in redeveloped prints on developing-out paper) and 
even for Bartolozzi red, it will be found that combina 
tions of black, burnt sienna and Indian red mixed in 
proper proportions, will provide any tint required to 
match the tone of the print. The mixing must be done 
with care and nicety. For sepia tones of great variety, 
lamp black and burnt sienna will be found to suffice in 
most cases, but in some instances a little Indian red may 
be required to be added, especially for carbons. A little 
Indian red added to lamp black will give what is known 
as a warm black. Black and Indian red with a dash, it 
may be, of burnt sienna will produce various shades of 
photographic color. For sepia enlargements, sepia 
(warm or ordinary) may be used at the worker's discre 
tion. It may require modification in some cases, to give 
the exact color. 

It is important to the artist as to everybody concerned 
that all prints for finishing should be of the best possible 

109 



RETOUCHING 

quality, not weak or underdeveloped, but strong and 
brilliant prints, properly exposed and fully developed. 
Bromide enlargements, even those made by firms which, 
by reason of their standing and the quality of their work, 
charge higher rates than others, are nowadays so cheap 
that it would seem hardly profitable to get inferior prints 
for the sake of saving a f ew cents. Of course the higher 
class of professional photographers may be trusted not 
to do this ; they see to it that their artists shall have the 
best possible enlargements to work upon. 

There are methods of working by which a weak print 
may be strengthened and improved, but speaking gen 
erally, and without reference to those who make airbrush 
finishing a special and almost exclusive study, we do not 
advise that the quality of the enlargement, the detail, 
the light and shade, should ever be sacrificed to methods. 
Let the enlargement be as good as possible; the artist 
will still have plenty to occupy him. 

It is pleasant to preach a doctrine of perfection, and 
still more pleasant, though more difficult, to put it into 
practice; but unhappily the artist is too often " cribbed, 
cabined and confined " by the reluctance of many people 
to pay a fair price for a good thing. So by force of cir 
cumstances, it comes to pass that the conscientious artist, 
whose fingers may be itching to give of his best, has 
sometimes to glance at the clock. 

An enlargement may be finished entirely and through 
out with the brush, in which case the background must 
be washed in, softened at the edges, hatched and stippled 
until the desired effect is attained. If the face, hands, or 
other parts are too white, they must be toned down with 
soft washes of color. But this exclusive brush work is so 

110 



MONOCHROME FINISHING 

little in demand for monochrome finishing that it will be 
safe to assume that it is generally expected that quicker 
methods will be at least conjoined with brush work; and 
the prices for finished work paid by the public are based 
on that assumption. 

The writer feels that he will better meet the practical 
requirements of the times by not dwelling upon brush 
work pure and simple, important as is the part which 
must always be played by the sable brush. 

For backgrounds, faces, draperies, etc., the airbrush 
and powder colors are now used almost to the exclusion 
of anything else. They are so much quicker, so clean and 
smooth in hands which have become skilful. But, though 
quick, they, too, as well as brush work, though in a lesser 
degree, take time. Things at best cannot be done with a 
wave of the hand. The artist working professionally 
must have a thorough knowledge of these methods if he 
is not to be left behind in competition with others. If 
others use the airbrush, he too must have one and must 
be expert in its use. It may be added " she " also, for 
the work is falling more and more into the hands of 
women. 

In working up an enlargement, choice may be made 
as to the treatment of the backgrounds, faces, draperies, 
etc., between the airbrush and powder colors, or the two 
may be combined, each supplementing the other, and 
either or both may be combined with brush work. 

POWDER WORK. Powder treatment must have its 
due recognition, as it has certain advantages, both for 
monochrome and color work. It may be mentioned in 
passing that practice in this method is a good foundation 
for a proper subsequent understanding of the use of the 

111 



RETOUCHING 

airbrush, as the effect of both is in many ways not dis 
similar. 

We will now suppose that the enlargement is fixed on 
the easel and that the work begins. It may be a large 
vignetted head fourteen by seventeen or larger of 
a lady in white or light drapery. There should always 
be a guide print for reference. 

First prepare the surface by rubbing it over either 
with fine pumice powder or powdered French chalk, or 
mat-surface powder, using a pad of absorbent cotton. 
This removes possible grease marks. The loose powder 
should be carefully dusted off with a soft, dry cloth. 

Assuming that the enlargement is a gray or black bro 
mide, for powder treatment Winsor and Newton's blue- 
black is recommended. It is sold in bottles. It is cooler 
in tone than lamp black and is as nearly as possible the 
tint of the ordinary gray bromide, especially after fixing. 
The method of fixing powder color will be explained 
later. This black does not require any admixture of a 
cooling tint. It must be well and thoroughly mixed with 
pumice powder not too fine in grain, but not too gritty. 
Plenty of pumice powder should be used, especially for 
backgrounds and the toning down of too white faces and 
light draperies. Where deeper tones are required, the 
proportion of pumice powder would be less, as the 
greater the amount of that powder employed, the lighter 
is the effect : so that toning down can be done in any gra 
dation, darker as the case may be, or lighter almost to 
the point of invisibility. The powder may be mixed in the 
shallow lid of a cardboard box. It should be rubbed on 
with a pad of some soft material, absorbent cotton being 
perhaps the best thing to use. 

112 



MONOCHROME FINISHING 

CLOUDY BACKGROUNDS. In putting in a vignetted 
background begin over the shoulder on either side where 
the tone would usually be deeper, and then graduate up 
wards and outwards, softening off very carefully to the 
edges of the vignette as the pad becomes decreasingly 
charged with powder. Then rub in the loose powder 
with the tip of the finger, or with more than one finger, 
filling in patches or darkening where required. This 
finger work will be found to give a grain more or less, 
sometimes very pleasing and resembling a stippled ef 
fect ; but this will depend to a great extent on the grain 
of the paper that is being worked on. Patches of loose 
powder may be removed or at least softened with a dry 
sable brush. In addition to finger work, for large sur 
faces, the flat side of the hand may be employed, but usu 
ally the fingers are sufficient. A flat, rather large 
camel's hair dusting brush is a practical necessity for re 
moving loose particles of any description. 

VIGNETTING. Great care should be taken not to 
spread out the vignetting too far on either side, and to 
see that both sides properly balance each other. NOT 
should the vignetting go too high over the head, some 
times not over the head at all. Backgrounds should be 
soft and atmospheric, with a receding effect. There is 
much scope for taste and fancy in their treatment, but 
not always has the artist liberty to do what his feeling 
might suggest ; there is commonly a background more or 
less vignetted already in the enlargement, and that must 
be taken as it is and made the best of. Fancy, and artistic 
fancy be it added, sometimes runs to having no back 
ground at all, or but slightly at the base of the figure, 
But fancy may also suggest wild, storm-driven clouds 

113 



RETOUCHING 

encircling the head of a placid looking lady in evening 
dress! There is always scope for the imagination, but 
limits must be observed. 

Faces, hands, arms, gray hair, etc., as well as light 
draperies, can be toned down either slightly or consider 
ably, in any degree required, by the powder method, 
which may also be applied in some cases to darken dra 
peries, at the discretion of the artist. 

Having completed what effect can be obtained in the 
manner described above, the next stage is attention to 
the highlights. As the powder-color is easily remov 
able, it will be found that small sticks of eraser, pointed 
at both ends, with some soft art-gum, a piece of white 
kid and an etching knife such as that marked No. 2 in 
Fig. 4, to use for final and sharper touches, will readily 
clear up all the highlights over which the powder has 
passed, such as the lights on the nose, lips, forehead, gray 
hair, reflected lights, draperies and accessories. The 
harder pointed eraser Is the most useful: it should be 
sharpened (with a circular movement) on a piece of 
rather rough sandpaper. The soft eraser should be cut 
across so as to form triangular pieces and the sharp cor 
ners reduced by rubbing them down on paper or card 
board. 

The effect of a clouded background, as distinguished 
from a merely graduated one, is obtained by picking out 
the edges of the vignette in such a manner as to suggest 
the soft, broken edges of clouds, though not necessarily 
an exact cloud effect. To get this impression, pick out, 
but within limits, the edges with soft rubber, not in a stiff, 
abrupt manner, but more or less on the curve. This is, 
of course, as so much else, more difficult to describe than 

114 



MONOCHROME FINISHING 

to demonstrate. The picked out portions should be 
dusted with the flat camel's hair brush and will usually 
require softening more or less. This can be done with a 
tuft of cotton, sometimes with the tip of the finger or 
with a bit of fine muslin. This picking out must be done 
with taste and judgment, otherwise it w r ould be better 
not to do it at all. When well done it helps to give style 
and atmosphere to a background. Sharper definition of 
edges may be given with the harder pointed rubber. 

It will not be necessary to add that plain or solid back 
grounds may equally well be treated with powder color 
and with erasers. This powder method is applicable ob 
viously to all descriptions of subjects, outdoor as well as 
indoor; for example, clouds may be added to a land 
scape picture (a piece of a kid glove is very useful for 
this) and strong highlights may be toned down, such as 
are often found in enlargements made from amateur 
snapshots taken in strong sunlight. 

In the preliminary toning down of a face that is too 
white, or of other such parts of a picture, it is well to 
bear in mind that when the darker portions of a portrait, 
such as shadows, hair, eyes, nostrils, mouth and dark dra 
peries, come to be treated darkened or strengthened 
the face will be apt to appear whiter by contrast. 
This may be considered in advance. 

FIXING THE POWDER. When all the powder work 
is completed, the next stage before proceeding to brush 
work is to fix the loose powder. There are several ways 
of doing this, but it is best done either with the airbrush 
or by steaming, or with an atomizer that sprays a liquid 
specially prepared for the purpose. If the fixing is done 
by steaming, a bronchitis kettle is best. It has a long 

115 



RETOUCHING 

spout, but if there is a fan shaped diffuser on the tip of 
the spout, this had better be taken off. An airbrush is 
equally good for the purpose, its fine spray of moisture 
being practically the same as steam. 

Steaming has the effect of so moistening the surface 
of an enlargement, as well as the powder, that the latter 
adheres and loses its powdery character. It also has the 
effect of slightly but appreciably cooling the tone of the 
powder (as has also fixing with the airbrush). This 
must be taken into account in the case of sepia or other 
warm-toned enlargements, and a suitable allowance 
made for it. 

In fixing by steaming it is necessary to have sufficient 
heat to make the kettle boil briskly, so that an ample vol 
ume of steam may be emitted. Hold the enlargement 
face downwards over the cloud of steam, but not too near 
the end of the spout. Move it around with a circular mo 
tion so that the steaming is equally and evenly diffused 
all over the print. Do not steam the picture too much. 
With a little experience it will be easy to tell when the 
fixing is complete. A touch of the finger will show this. 
Then dry the print, but do not dry it too rapidly. 

Fixing with the airbrush is very much the same. A 
few drops of water to which a little mucilage has been 
added can be added to the water in the airbrush cup. 
Too much mucilage would give a perceptible gloss to the 
print, but a little of it tends to hasten the fixing. 

A simple but effective way of fixing powder work on 
a print is the one used by Adolf Fassbender. This con 
sists of merely dipping the print in water and hanging it 
up to dry. There is a knack in doing this that must be 
acquired before the job can be done successfully and the 

116 



MONOCHROME FINISHING 

success of the fixing depends upon leaving the print in 
the water just long enough but not too long. The gela 
tin must be wetted just enough so that it will become 
slightly softened and will partly absorb the powder, but 
if it is wetted too much the powder will be washed off in 
stead of being absorbed. The trick is to pass the print 
through the water rather slowly and very steadily and 
deliberately, keeping up a regular rate of motion and not 
pausing or stopping in the process. Grasp the print by 
the extreme edges and have plenty of water in a deep 
container such as a regular laundry tub. Lower the left 
hand right into the water, holding the print with the 
emulsion side down and slightly curved. Follow through 
with the other hand, holding the extreme right hand edge 
of the print, and pass the print slowly and deliberately 
down into the water and out of the water with a steady, 
regular motion. Bring it out and continue up into the 
air and then hang the print up to dry, hanging it by the 
edge that first comes out of the water without changing 
the direction. Any pausing or hesitation in passing the 
print through the water will cause streaks. Too much 
haste must be avoided as well as being too slow. The im 
portant thing to try for is a steady and regular motion 
slow and deliberate and then be careful to hang the 
print up to dry without reversing it after it is brought 
out of the water. As it has not been thoroughly wetted 
it will not take very long to dry. 

The effect of fixing by these methods is to reduce the 
powdery appearance: it might almost be said that the 
powder color has now become water color. After fix 
ing there will be no difficulty in doing additional work on 
the print with a brush. 

117 



RETOUCHING 

BRUSH WORK. On the assumption that the enlarge 
ment is of good quality, it may generally be taken that 
quite thin, transparent washes of color, mixed with a 
little gum arable solution, will suffice to give sufficient 
depth to shadows, hair, draperies of the darker kind, in 
cluding black cloth or black velvet coats subject, of 
course, to stronger strokes and accents that may be 
added afterwards. These thin, flat washes may be car 
ried over the shadows of the face, eyes, hair, etc. But 
there must not be too much color and the gum water 
must not be too strong. 

In the case of three-quarters or full length portraits, 
any accessories which are in a line with, or immediately 
behind the figure (such as chairs and tables) should also 
have these washes, as otherwise, and obviously, they 
would appear weak by contrast. This treatment will 
be found to bring out the head and figure from the back 
ground which, being softly treated and free from gum, 
except in certain cases at the base, will tend further to 
recede and become more atmospheric. 

THE HAIR, EYES, ETC. The pupils and general 
details about the eyes, nose, mouth, hair, draperies, etc., 
may next be attended to and these will require a sure and 
careful touch in their treatment. The shadows of the 
hair may be strengthened where necessary, care being 
taken not to overcharge the brush with color, which 
would tend to hardness. Thin, wiry lines in the hair 
should be avoided, though in some cases a little extra 
definition is demanded, as where the hair in places is out 
of focus and therefore not quite in keeping with the rest 
of the portrait. Stray bits of hair may need to be worked 
out or modified and there may be touches required here 

118 



MONOCHROME FINISHING 

and there, but, speaking generally, the hair does not call 
for anything like elaboration in monochrome finishing. 
The pupils of the eyes must be sufficiently defined, 
but on no account be too black and bead-like, and they 
may be made in some cases especially with children 
slightly larger than they appear in the photograph, 
as there is a tendency for them to contract a little in a 
bright studio light and still more so if the picture has 
been taken in a strong outdoor light. The greatest 
care must be taken with the iris of the eye, with the 
eyelids and the eyebrows, or false effects may easily 
result. In some prints it may happen that the eyelid 
catches the light too much. It should be toned down 
with the brush. Care should always be taken not to do 
too much to the eye lashes, as an artificial or doll-like 
effect may too easily be given. Speaking generally, eye 
lashes should be only suggested and never clearly de 
fined. The eyebrows require care and must not be 
strengthened to excess or they would become untrue in 
effect. They demand soft treatment, avoiding a 
strongly marked or pencilled appearance. 

CKOSSHATCHING. Crosshatching for high class 
work is an important method, but it is not demanded as 
much now as in past years, for reasons which do not re 
flect on its value when well done, which is not too often. 
It is a method of brush work which is at once easy and 
difficult; easy when done merely mechanically, difficult 
when done artistically and with feeling. For back 
grounds it must be soft and free: it is not pleasing in 
hard, stiff lines. It should be done with a brush suffi 
ciently large and somewhat worn at the point. It can 
be softened in parts with a pointed eraser. Soft, broad 

119 



RETOUCHING 

crosshatching In backgrounds may conduce to an added 
eff ect of atmosphere. It is good for faces and draperies, 
but it must be put strictly in its right place. 

STIPPLING. Stippling with the sable brush must 
always compel consideration, though there are now aids 
to it and substitutes for it that in past days were un 
known. It is a combination of soft stippling touches and 
hatching, and applies not only to the face and hands, but 
more or less to other parts, such as patchy draperies and 
backgrounds, and sometimes a little to the hair. In 
rough copy enlargements from old, small, faded photo 
graphs, there is generally enough of it required to make 
the most ardent stippler happy for a great part of his 
working day. Stippling gives the final effect of soft 
ness and finish. But it must be done only where artistic 
feeling suggests. Too small a brush should not be used 
for the general stippled effect, though, of course, a 
smaller one would be necessary for little spots and re 
touching marks. If there are many of the latter, it may 
be well to clear at least some of them away with a re 
touching pencil, a black chalk crayon such as is specially 
made for use in working up enlargements and has no 
gloss. The pencil must be finely pointed. Such a pen 
cil will be found very useful for spotting black-and- 
white prints of all kinds, either contact prints or enlarge 
ments. 

In stippling the brush should on no account be over 
charged with color, which should generally be thin and 
transparent. The color should not be too wet, but yet 
sufficiently so to hold the hairs of the brush well to 
gether. Artists naturally vary in their touch and some 
thing must "be left to individual feeling or tendency. 

120 



MONOCHROME FINISHING 

Speaking generally, one would stipple a face according 
to the suggestions it offers in the print as to grain and 
texture, filling in the interstices and patches and smooth 
ing up generally. 

It is necessary in stippling to sit or stand well back 
from the easel, so that the light and shade, the " hills and 
valleys " of the face, may be seen in due perspective and 
be the better appreciated. The eye will the more readily 
perceive where the work is needed. No one part of the 
face should be fully stippled before proceeding to other 
parts. If done too near, the effect of the stippling will 
appear uneven when seen at a proper distance, which 
may be greater or less, according to circumstances, but 
often at a near approach to an arm's length. It would 
not generally be done with the extreme tip of the brush, 
but with a more or less flattened point, so as to get the 
touch soft, diffused and open, with an eye all the time 
on the general contour of the face, as well as all detail. 

It may be borne in mind that in many enlargements 
from negatives which have been well retouched, there is 
not a little stippled grain with which the brush stippling 
will merge. The general effect when finished would 
still be that of brush stippling. The scraper may also 
in some cases largely contribute to the stippled effect. 

THE SCKAPER, The scraper is so important that it 
may be said to be practically indispensable. The writer 
uses the ISTo. 2 knife, as shown in Fig. 4, and finds it very 
satisfactory. It must be kept carefully sharpened at the 
point, using a smooth oilstone. 

Surfaces, especially those of bromide papers, vary 
and some take more kindly to knife work than do others. 
Given a surface which is responsive or even moderately 

121 



RETOUCHING 

so, the scraper will remove or clear up dark spots or 
patches about a face, whether of color or such as may be 
in the original print. It can be used on backgrounds 
and other parts and for the sharpening of highlights and 
reflected lights. It must be used patiently but with a 
light hand, not digging into but deftly and lightly shav 
ing the surface, in just the same way as a knife is used 
on a negative. 

GENERAL REMARKS. It does not enter into the 
scope of this book to give pre-eminence to any one 
method of working, but rather to indicate the different 
methods which may be of practical service to an artist 
who has to meet the varied requirements of up-to-date 
photographic studios. There is no thought here of dis 
couraging brush work. But what practically results in 
most cases is that various methods are worked in one 
with another, each for what it is worth in any given case, 
whether in monochrome or color. 

There are some enlargements that lend themselves 
easily and invitingly to airbrush treatment ; prints that 
are of a rather chalky nature with strong shadows and 
clear highlights. The scraper, pointed erasers and oc 
casional touches with crayon pencil or brush all would 
combine with the airbrush work. The airbrush has be 
come a practical necessity to most, if not all, professional 
workers. 

In working up rough copies with a coarse " copy " 
grain, say, from an old, faded photograph, there are 
cases where something appreciable must be done to clear 
the way by the use of powder color over the drapery 
and background especially, as it tends more or less to 
cover the rough marks and patches: the same remark 



MONOCHROME FINISHING 

would apply to the use of the airbrush. General brush 
work and spotting would then follow. But there are 
some cases of copy enlargements where neither powder 
color nor airbrush will help much, if at all. 

In working up copy enlargements, the artist should 
always haye, if possible, the original photograph from 
which the enlargement has been made, as a guide, for 
keeping the likeness in such cases is of paramount im 
portance. 

When an enlargement is made from a weak original, 
perhaps out of focus, with little, if any, clear definition 
of the eyes and other features, but still with the sugges 
tion of a likeness, too much should not be attempted in 
the direction of " sharpening-up," as otherwise what 
likeness there is may be lost. The greatest care and 
judgment are necessary in such cases and even then com 
plete success is not always assured. Enlargements from 
amateur snapshots are not uncommon in this connection. 

In finishing enlargements of outdoor subjects, such as 
a lady sitting in a garden, or a family group with per 
haps a background of foliage, the first consideration is to 
give increased value to the head and figure, and to sub 
due any strong points of light that may appear in the 
background. It may happen that such points of light 
come close to the head and these at least should be sof 
tened and subdued as they may otherwise tend to confuse 
the outlines. 

When an artist is engaged on a number of enlarge 
ments, it may be advisable not to go straight through 
with one before beginning another, but to finish them 
in stages. This gives relief to the eyes from too long 
dwelling on one subject. 

123 



RETOUCHING 

The subject of working up enlargements is a wide 
one and these remarks could be greatly amplified. The 
writer well remembers the first correspondence lessons 
he gave ; he was amazed at the amount of matter there 
was to write about. 

In these pages he has endeavored to be as simple and 
as intelligible as possible. The methods described are 
generally indispensable, but they must be well mixed 
with brains ; and to overdo any method, however quick 
in itself, is not to save but to lose time. 

Much may be learned by the study of good engrav 
ings, reproductions from paintings by eminent artists, 
and generally by keeping the eyes open. 



184 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE USE OF THE AIRBRUSH 

There is an instrument with which color can be ap 
plied to photographs of all kinds, in large even washes, 
in a comparatively short time; with which color can be 
applied to any surface, mat or glossy paper, film or 
glass, with equal facility; with which backgrounds can 
be worked in, either on the negative or on the print ; with 
which beautifully and evenly graded vignettes can be 
made, on the negative or on the print, with surprising 
ease, and with which highlights can be accentuated and 
built up on the negative and on either side of the nega 
tive. This instrument, which is now very extensively 
used in modern studios for a variety of purposes, is the 
airbrush. 

DESCRIPTION OF THE AIRBEUSH. The airbrush is a 
mechanical tool of rather delicate construction and be 
fore it can be used successfully its mechanism must be 
thoroughly understood. The principle of the airbrush 
is very similar to that of the sprayer. There are two 
valves in the airbrush, so arranged that by means of a 
current of compressed air a fine spray of color is pro 
jected upon the surface to which it is to be applied. 

One valve of the airbrush is a needle valve which, when 
open, allows the color to be projected by means of a jet 
of air; the other is the air valve, opened by means of a 
plunger which is operated by pressure of the finger. On 

125 



RETOUCHING 

most of the latest models of the airbrush, these two valves 
are controlled by the same lever. 

A downward pressure on the lever opens the air valve 
and admits a current of air from the pressure tank, the 
volume of air being controlled by the amount of pres 
sure applied. A backward motion on the same lever 
controls the needle valve and by means of this needle 
valve the amount of color can be regulated. It may be 
either a fine, hair line or a fairly broad spray according 
to the extent to which the valves are open. 

The application of this spray to the surface that is be 
ing worked on can also be varied according to the dis 
tance at which the brush is held from the surface. In 
this way a skilled airbrush operator can apply color 
either in well-defined lines or as evenly diffused spray, 
according to the effect to be produced. 

Both of the valves of the airbrush can be regulated 
and adjusted for fine lines or for broad spraying at the 
discretion of the operator. As the needle valve has only 
a very small opening, the color must be free from grit 
and dirt or the tip will become clogged and the color will 
not pass through. This can be remedied by cleaning out 
the tip by running warm water or alcohol through the 
tip or, if that fails, by using a reamer which must be used 
very carefully to avoid bending the tip. 

There are several different makes of airbrushes. All 
of them are good and though they may vary a little in 
the details of their construction, the general principles 
are the same in all of them. 

The airbrush was invented by Charles L. Burdick of 
Chicago in 1892 and was introduced into England a year 
later, where it is known as the Aerograph. 

126 



THE USE OF THE AIRBRUSH 

Am SUPPLY. There are several methods that may 
be used in supplying the air for the brush. Either an 
automatic pump electrically controlled or the liquid car 
bonic gas outfit can be recommended. It is very impor 
tant to have the air pressure uniform. The amount of 
pressure is not so important as long as it is even. Details 
and complete working instructions accompany each ma 
chine. When using the liquid carbonic gas tanks you 
will have to have, in addition to the tanks, a pressure-re 
ducing gauge to reduce the high pressure coming from 
the tank to a suitable working pressure for the brush. 

From this pressure gauge the air passes through a 
rubber hose into the brush where it is held until a down 
ward pressure on the distributing lever allows it to pass 
through the air duct and into the air cap, where it passes 
through three small openings into the color tip and 
thence through the valve onto the paper. The air cre 
ates a suction which draws the color from the color cup 
into the color inlet, thence around the needle and out 
through the color tip to the surface that is being worked 
on. 

POSITION AT THE EASEL. The position at the easel 
should be such that you can sit upright and in a comforta 
ble position. The brush must always be held at right 
angles to the work on the easel, otherwise you will not be 
able to control the application of the color. 

COLOES. The color to be used in an airbrush must be 
of the finest grade and must be absolutely free from dirt 
or grit. There are several firms that prepare colors es 
pecially for use in the airbrush. Such colors are readily 
obtainable from any reliable firm handling artists' mate 
rials. If you are not sure of the color, it should be 

127 



RETOUCHING 

strained through fine muslin before being used in the 
airbrush, for a little grit in the color might cause you 
a great deal of trouble. 

When you are practicing with the airbrush and are 
learning how to use it, it will be best to use lamp black or 
color that is not waterproof so that you can use the 
same photograph several times. You can wash off the 
color with water and do the work all over again, whereas, 
if you were using waterproof inks you could not wash 
off the color. Therefore if you were to make any mis 
takes you would have to get another print to work on. 
In working up enlargements or other photographs pro 
fessionally, however, it is customary to use waterproof 
colors, as they are far more permanent, and such pictures 
are usually hung on a wall, where fading will soon be 
come evident if poor colors are used. 

For coloring photographs with the airbrush or for 
working up enlargements in monochrome, you can use 
either the specially prepared liquid colors or you can 
mix the colors, yourself. Permanent colors should be 
purchased in pans. A number of one ounce vials will 
also be needed, each one carefully labelled with the name 
of the tint for which it is to be used. 

PREPARING COLORS. Remove the color from the pan 
in which it comes, break it up into small pieces, and put it 
into the bottle prepared for it. Then pour about half an 
ounce of distilled water into the bottle with the color. 

When the colors are thoroughly dissolved, each one 
must be carefully strained through a piece of fine muslin 
to eliminate all grit. Place a piece of muslin over the 
top of a clean bottle or other suitable receptacle and fil 
ter each color through a separate piece of muslin. As 

128 



THE USE OF THE AIRBRUSH 

each color is filtered, rinse out its bottle and pour the 
color back into the bottle. This color is then ready for 
use after diluting to the required strength. 

The color can be diluted for use in the airbrush by 
putting the color into the color cup on the airbrush and 
adding water. If you use a brush to stir the color in the 
airbrush color cup, you must be sure it is one that does 
not shed hairs, for these hairs would clog the brush and 
cause you trouble. 

Airbrush artists who do work requiring the use of 
several colors usually provide themselves with several 
color cups for the different colors. This saves time, 
but it is not absolutely necessary, as the cup can be very 
easily and quickly cleaned without removing it from the 
brush. 

PRELIMINARY PRACTICE. The first thing to do in 
learning to use the airbrush is to practice making good, 
even lines. Attach a sheet of clean, white paper to the 
easel and draw on it, with the airbrush, a series of hori 
zontal lines. Try to make these lines as even as possible 
in width and density. This will teach you how to con 
trol the brush and how to start and finish a line without 
there being a dot at the beginning and end of the line. 

The secret of success in making such lines is to start 
the movement of the brush before opening the valve and 
to stop the flow of color at the end of the line before stop 
ping the movement of the brush. This needs some prac 
tice and it is very important that you should acquire this 
knack and that it should become almost instinctive, 
otherwise it will not be possible for you to do good work. 

The fineness of the lines is governed by the distance 
the brush is held from the paper when making the lines. 

129 



RETOUCHING 

The closer the tip of the brush is to the paper, the finer 
the line will be. For very sharp lines the point of the 
airbrush may even rest on the paper if the brush is held 
at a slight angle. 

If work is being done on a small photograph or draw 
ing and fine, sharp lines are needed, the brush may be 
set for a fine line by means of an adjustment for that 
purpose which will be found on most of the popular 
makes of airbrushes. The instructions that come with 
the instrument will explain how this may be done. Some 
artists use a stick or a rest for the hand wiiile making 
lines and no doubt this is useful at times, but the little 
finger of the hand holding the instrument may rest on 
the paper, and the other hand can also be used, if neces 
sary, to steady the airbrush. 

There is no doubt at all that it is a good deal more 
difficult to learn how to use the airbrush for making lines 
than it is to learn how to make tints and even washes of 
color, but when once the technique is mastered, it will 
be found that it is possible with the airbrush to get lines 
of varying degrees of softness and with a quality that no 
other artist's tool can give. 

After having practiced making good, even lines, try 
to make a series of dots of an even size and density. 
Then practice making circles and curved lines. In mak 
ing a circle some practice will be needed to make the ends 
of the line join neatly and without showing where they 
join. 

When you have acquired the knack of controlling the 
flow of color so that you can begin and end a line with 
out any thickening of the color at the beginning or end 
of the line, and can make lines that are even throughout 

130 



THE USE OF THE AIRBRUSH 

their entire length, then try to make an even spray, tint 
ing a circular or rectangular area with an even wash of 
color so that it is perfectly smooth and even. 

THE PRINCIPLE or AIRBRUSH WORK. The color 
leaves the point of the airbrush in a gradually expanding 
spray or, in other words, the color which is in the air 
forms a cone with its hase on the paper and its apex at 
the point of the instrument. It is obvious therefore that 
the farther from the paper the brush is held the broader 
will be the surface covered. This, with the fact that the 
amount of color delivered through the point of the air 
brush determines the depth of the tint or line, is, broadly 
speaking, the whole theory of its application. 



FIG. 17 



The Aerograph Co., Ltd. 
FIG. 18 

But there are many points of consideration which 
must be understood in order to make practical applica 
tion of the method. For instance, the airbrush does not 
make a flat and even tint unless the color is applied in 
overlapping strokes. This is best explained by means 
of the diagram. Let Fig. 17 represent diagrammati- 
cally, in cross section, the layer of color deposited on the 
paper with a single stroke of the airbrush. The color is 
deeper in the center and decreases gradually in depth 
and density at both edges and so, in order to make a flat 
tint, it is necessary for the strokes to overlap, as shown in 
Fig. 18. This will produce a tint that is sufficiently even 

131 



RETOUCHING 

in tone for all practical purposes. It is obvious from 
this that in order to make a good, even tint, the artist 
must make definite strokes with the airbrush just as 
the water-color painter does with his brush and the 
strokes must be parallel and overlapping. It is impos 
sible to get an even tint with an aimless, circular mo 
tion, for, wherever the lines crossed, the color would 
be deeper, and a very uneven result would be secured in 
that way. 

To practice spraying, it is a good plan to cut an open 
ing about three or four inches square in a piece of stiff 
paper or celluloid and place it over a piece of white 
paper. Then try to blow in this square with an even 
wash of color. Open the valve a little, so that you will 
get a good, wide spray and, holding the brush about six 
or eight inches from the paper, work with a swinging, 
freearni motion across the opening, at an angle of about 
forty-five degrees. Keep your finger on the valve and 
control the color so that it flows only while the brush is 
in motion, shutting it off at the end of each stroke. Ap 
ply the color lightly at first and gradually add color until 
the required depth of tint has been obtained. 

A HINT AS TO ROUNDNESS. It is not possible to get 
a really sharp, clean-cut edge in airbrush work unless a 
protective mask or template is used, and it is just because 
of this that it is possible to get with the airbrush the 
slightly diffused outline that tends to convey an impres 
sion of solidity and roundness. Except for special ef 
fects, it is generally advisable to keep the outlines soft. 
The camera sees with only one eye and when the picture 
is sharply focused, the edges and outlines are inclined to 
be crisp and hard. But people look at objects with two 

132 



CD 




o 
O 



&JO 

o 



THE USE OF THE AIRBRUSH 

eyes and therefore every rounded object presents two 
outlines to the spectator. You cannot make two outlines 
in a portrait, but you can give a slightly diffused outline 
which will go a long way towards conveying the impres 
sion of roundness and solidity. 

That is just the reason why many pictorial photog 
raphers like to use a lens that is not fully corrected and 
in which there is left a slight degree of chromatic aberra 
tion. Such a lens will tend to soften outlines and edges 
and will therefore give a better suggestion of roundness 
and solidity. The airbrush gives soft edges and this is 
something that can be used to advantage by the artist. 

Figure 19 shows two balls which, if the printer and 
engraver do justice to the reproduction, will show this 
point. A looks like a hemisphere that is rounded on its 
face and flat at the back, while B looks like a sphere or 
ball, round on all sides. One appears to be adhering to 
the background and the other has atmosphere all around 
it and has roundness and solidity. In both the shading 
is practically the same and the only difference is in the 
outline. In A the outline is sharp and clean-cut, while 
in B the outline is diffused. 

USE OF FKISKET PAPER. It is sometimes necessary 
to get a sharp, clean-cut edge when working up some 
kinds of commercial photographs with the airbrush and 
in order to do this a mask, cut out of celluloid or tough 
paper, is held in contact with the work. Sometimes a 
thin, tough paper known as f risket paper is used to pro 
tect the parts of a drawing or photograph that are not to 
be worked on or that are to be worked on later in a differ 
ent color. 

The frisket paper is usually attached to the photo- 

133 



RETOUCHING 

graph or drawing with rubber cement and then the part 
that is to be worked on is uncovered by cutting away the 
frisket paper with a sharp pointed knife. Of course the 
cutting must be done very carefully, so that the knife 
does not go too deep and cut the picture. The frisket 
paper is transparent and the picture under it can be seen 
sufficiently clearly to serve as a guide in cutting. After 
cutting and removing the paper, the rubber cement can 
be easily rubbed off with the finger tips. This cement 
is quite harmless and will not damage the most delicate 
photograph or drawing. 

Commercial photographs are often worked up very 
extensively by means of the airbrush and masks of fris 
ket paper are used. Sometimes a piece that has been cut 
out is again replaced after that part of the photograph 
is finished, and another piece of frisket paper is cut out 
and removed. In this way different parts of the picture 
can be worked up in different colors or different shades 
of the same color, and clean-cut edges will be secured. 

An enlargement to be worked on with the airbrush 
should be mounted on a good, stiff mount, preferably by 
the dry mounting process, so that it will be perfectly flat. 

WORKING UP PORTEAITS. For working up a por 
trait w r ith the airbrush it is rarely necessary to use frisket 
paper. It is not necessary to cover the face and figure 
when blowing in a light background. With a little care 
you can work around the face without getting much 
color on it. Even if a little color does get onto the face, 
it will probably not be noticeable. 

The addition of a suggestion of clouds to a plain, white 
background is comparatively simple after some skill has 
been acquired in the use of the airbrush. Usually only 

134 



THE USE OF THE AIRBRUSH 

a very light tint is needed, but the brush must be prop 
erly handled so that the flow of color is properly eon- 
trolled. The color must be even and must be nicely 
blended at the edges. 

WORKING UP LANDSCAPE PICTURES. Landscape 
prints can often be much improved by spraying in a sug 
gestion of clouds on a blank sky. Sometimes the fore 
ground needs to be darkened a little and scattered high 
lights toned down. Very often only a little work is 
needed to improve a picture very much. 

In addition to working on the print, you can also work 
on the negative, and on either side of the negative, 
whether it is film or glass. Parts that print out too dark 
can be held back with a light, even wash applied on the 
glass side of the negative which may be wiped off where it 
is not needed. 

CLEANING THE AIRBRUSH, It is very important al 
ways to keep the airbrush perfectly clean, otherwise it 
will be impossible to do good work. If colors are used, 
the brush must always be carefully cleaned after using. 
Colors often contain a little gum which becomes very 
hard on drying, so if color were allowed to dry and 
harden in the tip of the airbrush it would be very hard to 
clean it. 

Cleaning should be done as follows : immediately after 
using the brush and before the color or waterproof ink 
has had time to dry and harden, open up the valves and 
then clean the color cup thoroughly. Fill the color cup 
with clean water and run it through the brush. Do this 
several times. After a thorough washing with water, re 
move the needle and draw a thread of fine silk through 
the tip to clean it and to remove any adhering color. 

135 



RETOUCHING 

Flow one or two cupfuls of water through the brush 
while the needle is removed. Then blow air through the 
brush till it is thoroughly dry. Then replace the needle, 
being sure that it fits properly, and pass a little more air 
through the brush. Then turn off the air, disconnect 
the brush and replace it in its case. 

An expert airbrush artist should never have any diffi 
culty in finding employment, for there are many other 
uses for the airbrush besides in working up photographic 
enlargements. The airbrush is used very extensively in 
show-card writing, in staining and gilding picture 
frames, tinting and dyeing fabrics and feathers, in china 
painting and in bookbinding. A special form of air 
brush is used in finishing automobiles. 



136 



CHAPTER IX 

COLORING ENLARGEMENTS IN WATER 
COLORS 

As much in the foregoing pages dealing with mono 
chrome applies also to the methods of coloring, it will 
not be necessary to repeat everything which has already 
been stated. 

In order that colors may be used intelligently, it is nec 
essary for the colorist to know a little about color and 
color combinations. There are actually only three pri 
mary colors, namely, red, yellow and blue. All other 
colors, shades and tints are made up of one or more of 
these primary colors in varying combinations. When 
two primary colors are combined, the result is what is 
known as a secondary color. When yellow and blue are 
mixed together the result is green, and the green varies 
according to the proportions of yellow and blue. It may 
be a yellowish green or a bluish green. Red and yellow 
when combined produce orange, and red and blue make 
purple. Green, orange and purple, then, are secondary 
colors. 

When secondary colors are combined, we get tertiary 
colors. Thus, orange and purple mixed together make 
brown. Green and orange in varying proportions will 
give varying shades of green olive green, bottle green 
and so on. Therefore, with only a very few tubes or 
cakes of color it is possible to get a wide variety and 

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RETOUCHING 

range of colors, all that you would need for coloring a 
portrait or a landscape picture. 

The following list of color combinations is given as a 
guide in mixing some of the most frequently used tints : 

For Brick red, use brown and scarlet 

Blue-black deep blue and dark brown 

Bottle green dark green and light blue 

Cherry dilute brilliant red 

Dark red scarlet and dark brown 

Emerald green light green and gold 

Gray violet and light green 

Gray-blue violet and light green^ with an ex 
cess of violet 

Gold deep yellow and a little scarlet 

Lavender dilute violet 

Lilac dilute violet 

Maroon scarlet and dilute violet 

Neutral tint violet and dark brown 

Olive green deep yellow and violet 

Orange scarlet and deep yellow 

Plum violet and dark brown 

Purple scarlet and blue 

Tan Jighfc brown and dilute orange 

Wine violet and scarlet 

When the coloring is being done with transparent 
water colors or aniline dyes, varying shades and tints can 
be obtained by washing one color over another instead of 
mixing the two colors together before applying them. 

COLOR TERMS EXPLAINED. The term complemen 
tary color is applied to the third primary color that is de 
scribed as being complementary to a combination of the 
other two primaries. Thus, red is complementary to 
green because green is a combination of the other two 
primary colors, namely, yellow and blue. Similarly, blue 

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COLORING IN WATER COLORS 

is complementary to orange, which is composed of the 
two remaining primaries red and yellow and yellow is 
complementary to purple. 

The terms warm and cold are also applied to colors. 
Yellow and red are known as warm colors and blue is a 
cold color, therefore orange is one of the warmest possi 
ble colors. Green may be either warm or cold accord 
ing to whether the yellow or the blue predominates. 

Certain colors harmonize well with other colors. As a 
general rule, complementary colors or tints containing 
complementary colors will harmonize. Different shades 
of the same color usually do not go well together. It 
would not look well, for instance, to have scarlet, salmon 
pink and magenta all in the same picture, though, vary 
ing shades of green would probably harmonize. 

No definite rules can be given as regards harmony of 
colors. Some colors will harmonize and some will not. 
The following suggestions may be useful : 

Light brown will harmonize with blue or green 

Brown blue or red 

Flesh blue or dark green 

Scarlet blue or green 

Carmine green or orange 

Rose light blue or yellow 

Wine yellow or light green 

Light green rose or blue 

Olive green red or orange 

Dark green crimson, magenta or orange 

Gold or yellow blue or violet 

Blue yellow or orange 

Violet light green or yellow 

Orange violet or blue 

Blue-gray buff or pink 

Neutral tint red or yellow 

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RETOUCHING 

THE KIND OF PRINT THAT is BEST FOR COLORING. 
A photograph to be colored presents one difficulty; 
namely, it is already a picture in monochrome that 
is to say, in one color. It will be necessary to destroy or 
neutralize some of this color. A print for coloring should 
usually be a little lighter than one that is not to be col 
ored, but not too light. It should not be so light that it 
needs building up. If it is a portrait to be colored it 
should show every detail, so that it does not have to be 
redrawn. However, this will depend to some extent on 
the method of coloring that is to be used and on the capa 
bilities of the artist. For coloring in pastel, for instance, 
by an artist who does not need to rely implicitly on the 
photograph, but who can build up the rather faint image 
and still retain the likeness, a very light print is pre 
ferred. But this is something more than the mere color 
ing of a photograph. An experienced artist learns 
where his strength lies and he may be left to judge for 
himself what kind of print he prefers, though often 
enough he has to take things as they come and has no 
choice in the matter. 

BRUSH WASHES. When carrying brush washes of 
color over an enlargement, it may often help the color to 
flow more freely and evenly if the surface is moistened 
with w r ater. The water can be best applied with a wad of 
cotton or a small sponge and the enlargement should be 
held at an angle to permit of the color flowing gradually 
from the top to the bottom. The washes should approach 
to full strength, as any excess of color, if merely in 
patches, can be readily modified by a little work with 
rubbers, erasers, etc. 



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COLORING IN WATER COLORS 

FLESH TINTS. : The wash of color on the face should 
be applied quickly, so that there is time before it is dry 
to put in extra tints, such as on the cheek, one tint flowing 
softly into the other, though this does not always work 
out according to hope or promise. The idea is for the 
tints to blend as evenly as possible without showing any 
sharp water lines. Before the color is dry, wash the 
brush, squeeze it out more or less, and remove any color 
that may have gone over the eyes, eyebrows, etc., and 
from just where the forehead joins the hair. This must 
be done expeditiously and neatly. It may be added that 
there is usually a little extra flush of color about the chin, 
the nostrils and ears. 

For flesh tints no arbitrary rules can be given as to 
precisely what colors to use, but it may be stated that for 
most complexions a mixture of rose madder and yellow 
ochre will suffice, especially if the face is bright and clear 
in the print, with rose madder mixed with vermilion for 
the cheeks and lips. These colors are quite permanent. 
There should be sufficient vermilion, as otherwise the 
cheeks, etc., would appear too pink. On the other hand, 
if there be an excess of vermilion, the tendency might be 
to an unnatural or even a bricky effect. The flesh tint 
should incline to coolness in the highlights. There is no 
occasion, except it may be in very rare and exceptional 
cases, to use Chinese white for the lights of a face. 

THE EYES. Cobalt blue is a suitable color for blue 
or blue-gray eyes, with modifications. Pure blue eyes 
hardly, if at all, exist, except in the imagination of those 
who are convinced that they possess them ! In such cases 
it may be judicious to do at least not less than jus 
tice to the eyes. It need hardly be pointed out that in 



RETOUCHING 

treating the whites of the eyes, there is generally in chil 
dren and younger people a faint tinge, slightly inclining 
to blue, which diminishes as age advances. 

For brown eyes of various shades, burnt sienna comes 
in usefully, again subject to modifications. Of course 
the color of the photographic basis of the print has to 
be considered and allowance made accordingly. 

SHADOWS, ETC., ox FACE. For emphasizing the 
lines of the eyelids, nostrils, lips and the deeper shadows 
of a face, burnt sienna mixed with alizarin crimson may 
be recommended. For giving additional warmth to 
dark shadows, orange chrome mixed with vermilion 
(more or less, according to circumstances) may be used, 
but this should not be done to excess or the shadows may 
appear too red where only warmth is required. Cobalt 
blue will give coolness about the temples or wherever a 
cooling of the flesh tint Is required. In many subjects, 
especially old or elderly people, there is just a suggestion 
of a green tint under the eyes. The ears in many photo 
graphs catch the light and are often too prominent on the 
lighted side. As the ear recedes from the face it ought 
to be properly modified, as its highlights are subsidiary 
to those of the face; it is, In its degree, in perspective. 
For the shading of halftones a mixture of cobalt blue and 
raw sienna may be suggested. 

For very bright and delicate complexions, and espe 
cially if the face in the print is rather dull, Naples yellow 
instead of yellow ochre may be recommended. It is an 
opaque color, but bright. It is good for small tinting 
and miniatures. For certain dark or olive complexions 
Roman ochre is good ; raw sienna might also be used as 
an alternative. There are other yellows which might be 

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COLORING IN WATER COLORS 

mixed with rose madder for flesh tints, but there is a 
tendency in artists, the longer they live, to worry them 
selves less about " other colors." They are inclined the 
more to stick to those which they know to be reliable and 
adequate to their purpose. But, of course, ideas on this 
point the choice of colors vary, and artists might 
even come to blows over it. 

The ability to paint a true and natural flesh tint is a 
gift of nature and it is to be feared that he who does not 
possess that gift will not greatly succeed, though mere 
tricious flesh tints are common enough and have a suc 
cess of their own. But as to gift, he will not know until 
he has tried. 

What is termed a flesh tint is in fact a combination of 
many tints. 

Photographic colorists rarely receive proper direc 
tions as to the coloring of enlargements and other prints. 
Instructions which read: "Fair complexion, blue eyes 
and brown hair," are not very illuminating. The direc 
tions should be more descriptive. Far more to the point 
were some instructions which the writer once received 
from a photographer who was sending a picture of a 
young lady to be colored: " Hair red, complexion tal 
lowy." The artist understood. 

COLORING HAIR. In coloring hair there are so many 
shades, ranging from the palest flaxen to the darkest 
brown or black, that this part of the subject can be only 
lightly touched upon. There is no such thing as yellow 
hair, and a too decided suggestion of yellow should be 
avoided. Various colors may be used for hair, such as 
sepia, burnt umber, Roman ochre, yellow ochre, burnt 
sienna, lamp black, etc., more or less modified and often 



RETOUCHING 

blended. Black with a little sepia will give the effect of 
very dark brown hair approaching to black. Allowance 
must be made for the color in which the photograph is 
printed. If it be in brown ( which is usually the best as a 
basis for coloring), for dark brown hair, black almost 
alone might be used. If the photograph is a gray bro 
mide, obviously more brown would be needed if too cold 
an effect is to be avoided. The highlights on dark hair 
should incline to a coolness of tone, a suggestion which 
could be given with cobalt blue. 

Roman ochre or yellow ochre is suitable for various 
shades of golden hair, with sepia, burnt sienna or other 
admixtures which may be required to give the exact color. 
In some young children there is occasionally a very light 
flaxen tint in the hair, partially approaching to white. 
This may be rendered with a thin wash of yellow ochre 
mixed with Chinese white, modified at discretion, the 
deeper shadows being treated with, say, warm sepia and 
the lights brightened with Chinese white mixed with 
yellow. 

White or gray hair should not be tinted too coldly or 
with too blue an effect, and there should be sufficient 
warmth in the shadows. 

DKAPEKIES. The treatment of draperies is a large 
subject. If the enlargement that is being worked on is 
of a warm color and the drapery is, say, black or navy 
blue, the underlying tint has to be covered, subject to 
such slight suggestion of warmth as may be allowed to 
remain in even the darkest draperies, at least in the shad 
ows. If black, a mixture of lamp black, or blue black, 
and prussian blue or indigo, may be used, with a little 
alizarin crimson to give a slightly purple tint a tint 

144 



COLORING IN WATER COLORS 

which helps to reduce the brown basis. As even a wash 
as possible should be secured, but not with an excess of 
color, and Chinese white mixed with lamp black should 
be introduced into the lighted portions of black drapery. 
But if treated with the brush alone, much subsequent 
hatching and working up will be necessary. The defini 
tions of draperies (as in black coats, etc.) should not 
be too hard, or in too straight lines, but more or less 
broken. 

For pale tinted draperies, such as light blue, helio 
trope, pink, etc., some little admixture of Chinese white 
is suggested where the most delicate light tints are called 
for. Certain pale blues, as in ribbons and sashes, incline 
very slightly to green, in which case a little yellow may 
be mixed with cobalt blue, with or without Chinese white, 
as may be required. 

Pinks vary in shade, some colder and others warmer. 
There is salmon pink, for example : rose madder mixed 
with orange chrome will give this. 

A cream tint, lighter or darker, can be composed of 
yellow ochre mixed with Chinese white, with perhaps a 
slight dash of vermilion. 

Any shade of heliotrope can be made by mixing cobalt 
blue, or permanent blue, with rose madder or alizarin 
crimson, and sometimes a little Chinese white for the 
paler shades. 



145 



CHAPTER X 
FINISHING IX OIL COLORS 

First make a careful selection of colors, brushes, etc, 
You will need several other small articles, such as pale 
drying oil, turpentine, knife, eraser, etc. The same list 
of colors used in water color painting will do, substitut 
ing flake white for Chinese white. But a much greater 
variety of brushes is necessary. You should have a few 
large, flat, hog-hair brushes for large surfaces such as 
plain backgrounds, etc. ; smaller ones for hair ; stumpy 
flat ones for painting flesh ; long, thin, badger brushes for 
painting anything that requires a long line; small flat 
sables for finishing delicate and minute parts; large 
badger softener for blending colors, and, by the way, this 
should be used as charily as possible ; a tube of megilp ; a 
few rags for wiping brushes, or wiping out any part 
which you have painted and which does not meet your ap 
proval ; and a large, flat, wooden palette, either the ellip 
tical or the oblong shape. I prefer the former. Let it be 
light and pale in color, but not too yellow. And although 
the following rule is by no means common, even among 
artists of first rate repute, yet it would not be contro 
verted by the very best; and that rule is : " Always keep 
your brushes and your palette clean." See that after 
setting your palette you do not put the caps on the wrong 
tubes ; clean all the waste color off your palette after a 
day's painting; wash your brushes in clean turpentine; 

146 



FINISHING IN OIL COLORS 

wipe your palette knife ; keep everything scrupulously 
clean; make a habit of it and you will never regret it. 
The comfort of commencing a day's work and finding 
everything clean and in good order cannot be overrated. 

To commence a portrait in oil, if the photograph is 
printed in carbon on the canvas stretcher, first cover it 
with some priming, such as a wash of very thin starch 
with mucilage in it, and when it is dry, begin by setting 
your palette, thus : flake white in the corner nearest your 
thumb ; next, yellow ochre ; and so on, making the colors 
deeper in tone as they get farther from the white. 
Colors that are similar keep together, such as the reds, 
the blues, the yellows, so that the deepest and most 
sombre colors are the farthest to the left. Let them go 
around the palette, leaving a space in the middle for mix 
ing. And now proceed to the first painting. 

The rule of laying on those colors first which are to 
represent lights, as in water color painting, is entirely 
reversed when working in oil colors. The lights should 
be the last consideration. 

It is impossible to lay down arbitrary rules for the 
composition of color or, at least, to say that such a com 
bination is right and another wrong. All we can do is to 
give illustrations. So we will assume that we have to 
paint a portrait of an old gentleman, with white hair, 
grayish white beard and moustache, slightly bald; face 
strong and rich in color, inclining to florid; the head 
turned almost full towards us, with the light falling on 
that side of the face that we see most of, but lighting 
directly, however, a good deal of the other side. This 
is a common style of portrait and one that often has to 
be painted. 

14*7 



RETOUCHING 

Commence by mixing terre verte, brown madder, a 
little raw sienna and a very little light red. Let this 
mixture incline to a warm gray, and with it paint in those 
parts which are near the deepest markings of the face, 
such as the shadow below the eyes, the edge of the cheek 
by the whisker on the shaded side (and whenever you 
are working over a tolerably deep shadow on the photo 
graph you may add a little flake w r hite to render the 
color more opaque, and so destroy the color of the photo 
graph) under the eyes. You may add a little yellow, as 
the shadow there is somewhat greenish in tone. 

Now r mix yellow ochre, flake white and light red and 
a little emerald green may be added to take away the 
crude intensity of the red and yellow, and with it paint 
carefully those parts which are between the extreme 
highlights and the grays of the middle tone. Let this 
combination incline to a weak, yellowish red. 

Now mix flake white, emerald green, cobalt, and the 
least touch of light red and a very little burnt sienna and 
with it lay in the middle tints on the forehead and nose. 
These may be kept cool in color. Now mix terre verte 
with burnt umber and flake white and a very little cobalt, 
and with it touch the flesh just where it meets the hair of 
the whisker, moustache, and the hair at the sides of the 
head; and as the subject is slightly bald, you may carry 
this cool gray around the top of the head. Now mix 
burnt umber, rose madder, and emerald green, making 
an opaque, warm color, and with it paint broadly the out 
lines of the eyes. The lips may be touched with pure car 
mine ; the upper lip may have a little light red added to 
the carmine. You may now proceed to the lights. Mix 
yellow ochre, flake white, and the merest touch of light 

148 



FINISHING IN OIL COLORS 

red, the whole forming a yellowish white ; a little emerald 
green will not be amiss to keep it low in color. With a 
broad, flat brush paint firmly first the lights on the fore 
head, next the cheek-bone, the nose, etc. The eye we 
will assume to be a bluish gray, and in painting this do 
not make it violet ; very few people have eyes that color. 
Antwerp blue, emerald green, and white will do ; and re 
member that what is called the white of the eye cannot be 
painted with white, but must be made a bluish gray. The 
pupil may be touched with Antwerp blue and sepia. 
Endeavor to avoid the use of black anywhere. Next, 
with a little carmine and white, touch the inside corner of 
the eye and the cartilage of the nose. 

You may now proceed to the coat, which we will as 
sume to be black. Let us consider there are only three 
gradations of light and shades on it lights, halftones 
and deep shadows. The halftones may be painted with 
a mixture of Vandyke brown and Antwerp blue, the 
whole forming a brown, not blue. The shadows can be 
touched with the same color mixed, but inclining to blue ; 
a little crimson lake may be added with advantage. The 
lights with the same colors in combination, but inclining 
to a bluish gray, so that we have the shadows and lights 
cool, and the middle tones warm. The middle tones will 
occupy a much greater space than both lights and shad 
ows ; and I may here say a word about the handling of 
the brush in draperies. If you are painting a heavy fold 
either in a curtain, a garment, or any woven material, 
let the direction of the stroke made by your brush be 
nearly at right angles with the fold, never down its 
length; and in painting the halftones, do not let your 
color go over the surface to be occupied by the lights ; 

149 



RETOUCHING 

leave a space for them. All painting in oil should be 
mosaic, each touch occupying its own space and going 
no farther. M. Legros used to demonstrate the value 
of this system by painting portraits, using only the pal 
ette knife with which to lay on the colors, and the effect 
produced was magnificent. All the great portrait paint 
ers adopt the principle. The portrait of Thomas Carlyle 
by G. F. Watts, R.A., is a splendid example. 

Having got so far, you may next rub in the back 
ground, which may consist of terre verte and sepia, in 
clining either to the green or to the brown. If you want 
to break it up at all, let that part you make darkest be on 
that side of the head which is in shadow, not close up to 
the head, but as if it were the shadow of the head thrown 
upon a wall at a little distance. Do not, for the sake of 
effect, paint your background darkest on the light side 
of the head, and lightest on the dark side. You will cer 
tainly get contrast, but it will be horribly vulgar. You 
may paint in the necktie, if it is visible, and collar, put 
ting the shadows of the collar a warm gray, inclining to 
yellow. This will do for the first painting, which must 
be allowed to get quite dry before proceeding any fur 
ther. When it is dry, which will be in two or three days 
if you have used much drying oil and longer if you have 
not, first sponge the painting with clean, cold water until 
the water will almost stand on it ; dry it carefully with 
a clean cloth, and if there are any pieces of color obtru 
sively prominent, they may be removed with the eraser. 

You may now proceed to finish. You may strengthen 
the color on the cheeks by scumbling over it with a brush 
sparingly charged with the same color as at first, but 
yellower or redder as your taste dictates. The grays 

150 



FINISHING IN OIL COLORS 

of the face should be done next and here great care is 
necessary, so that they do not degenerate into dirt in 
stead of shadows. The nose and forehead may be rubbed 
over with thin washes almost of light red, pink, madder 
and yellow ochre, very thin. The hair may be glazed 
with gray, inclining to yellow. The eyes may be touched 
up and lightened wherever they seem to need it. All 
shadows may be strengthened and remember the sec 
ond painting is only to strengthen and correct the first. 
And now touch up the lights, strengthening them wher 
ever they seem to need it, and do not use the softener in 
finishing a head ; it may be used slightly in connecting the 
touches in the first painting, especially on the large sur 
faces, but not afterwards. 

Glaze the coat with crimson lake, Antwerp blue and 
raw sienna, inclining to warm purple. Touch up the 
lights in a strong, brushy style and strengthen the back 
ground, making it deeper or lighter as you think fit. Do 
not let the outline of any part, either on the face or fig 
ure, be a hard, sharp line. Some photographers like it 
so, but it is utterly false in art and anyone with the slight 
est knowledge of the scientific laws of light and our 
physical powers of appreciating them, may demonstrate 
it for his own satisfaction if he wishes to. 

CHARACTERISTICS or COLOR. I may here mention a 
few of the characteristics of color which may possibly be 
new to some amateurs. The reason that some of the old 
time chromo-lithographs appeared so cheap and tawdry 
is not that the printers did not know how to print them 
any better, but because they actually were cheap. The 
colors were crude and raw without any complementary 
colors to act as a foil. 

151 



RETOUCHING 

A cloak or dress of any black material will have two, 
at least, distinct colors in its composition. Generally 
more ; if the lights are warm, the halftones will probably 
be cool, and vice versa. Black hair will often have the 
lights blue, in which case the halftones will be warm. 
I have seen a green robe painted with the lights a dis 
tinct light red, like the russet on a green apple. I have 
seen purple robes with the lights a decided orange, and 
so on; and this is correct in art. Of course it must not 
be taken too literally. All pigmentary colors have a 
very large amount of gray in them ; but the only condi 
tion under which any object is quite colorless is when 
it is in total darkness when all things are colorless. 
When anything is in the light, it takes to itself reflections 
from surrounding objects, which fact contains one of 
the elementary principles of harmony of color. 

THE RUSSIAN METHOD OF APPLYING OIL COLORS. 
The method just described of applying oil paint with 
brushes is, without doubt, the most satisfactory method 
and the result when the work has been done by a 
skilled and experienced artist is most attractive. The 
need for greater speed in production and lower prices 
have made it necessary to develop newer methods that 
are better adapted to meeting those demands and so 
there is a method of coloring photographic prints with 
oil colors by rubbing on the colors with a wad of cotton, 
a method that is very satisfactory and, at the same time, 
rapid and comparatively easy. There are complete sets 
on the market containing all that is needed, put up in 
convenient boxes at a very reasonable price. Either 
Marshall's Transparent Oil Photo Colors or Roehrig's 
Photo Oil Colors can be strongly recommended. These 

152 



FINISHING IN OIL COLORS 

sets include fifteen colors put up in tubes, the colors be 
ing: Flesh, Cheek, Lip, Carmine, Cadmium Yellow, 
Raw Sienna, Tree Green, Oxide Green, Blue, Cobalt 
Violet, Sepia, Verona Brown, Viridium, Cadmium 
Orange and Neutral Tint. There is also in the box a 
tube of medium, a bottle of dull finish varnish, a package 
of cotton, paper stumps and complete instructions for 
working. If you wish, you can buy the tubes of colors 
separately and there is a selection of about forty colors 
to choose from. 

You can use a regular painter's palette on which to 
mix the colors, or you can use a piece of glass or opal, and 
in addition to this you will need one or two erasers 
hard and soft and a few small brushes for fine detail 
work. 

Many people make stumps by covering the end of 
little wooden sticks with cotton and they use these for 
applying the colors, using a different one for each color. 
You can use meat sticks or skewers the little wooden 
sticks that are used by butchers for rolled roasts and 
can apply the cotton very quickly and easily by taking a 
small wad of cotton in the left hand, laying the pointed 
end of the stick on the cotton and twisting the stick so 
that the cotton is wound tightly and evenly around the 
end of the stick. A number of these cotton stumps may 
be prepared beforehand so that there will be plenty of 
them available while you are working. 

The medium that comes with the regular set of colors 
should be mixed with turpentine. Only the best quality 
turpentine should be used. You will find in the direc 
tion sheet full details as to how much turpentine should 
be used to dilute the medium. 

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RETOUCHING 

THE KIND OF PBIXT FOR COLORING. Any good 
print on practically any kind of paper may be colored 
with oil colors, and as the colors are transparent and are 
applied in thin washes, the shadows and other details in 
the print will show through the color. Therefore the 
print must be a good one, with good gradations and de 
tail both in the shadows and in the highlights. Either a 
black and white or a sepia print will be suitable for color 
ing. If warm colors are to be used reds, browns or 
orange the sepia print will add depth and richness, 
but for a picture to be colored with cooler colors, such as 
a snow scene, for example, a black and white print would 
be more suitable. 

Unlike the method of coloring that has been described, 
in which the colors are applied with a brush, the colors 
used in the Russian method do not cover up and obliter 
ate the photographic image. The photograph is tinted 
rather than painted, and yet there is a richness and depth 
to the color that is very pleasing. 

The print to be colored may be of any size, but the 
method is best adapted to prints that are not too small, 
preferably eight by ten or larger. When a little experi 
ence has been gained in applying the colors, it will be 
found that even larger prints than eight by ten can be 
colored evenly and fairly quickly with comparatively 
little trouble. 

When you have selected the print that you want to 
color and have decided what colors you want to use, you 
can proceed to set your palette. Along the upper edge 
of the palette or the sheet of glass squeeze out from the 
color tubes just a very little of each of the colors you ex 
pect to use. Of course the colors may be mixed and 

154 



FINISHING IN OIL COLORS 

blended, either on the palette or by applying one color 
over another. 

APPLYING THE COLORS. Before applying color to 
the print, you must prepare the print by rubbing a little 
medium over the entire surface. Take a wad of cotton 
and dip it in the medium that has been diluted with tur 
pentine according to the instructions, and then rub it 
over the entire print. Wait a few minutes and then take 
a piece of clean, lintless cotton cloth and rub off the sur 
plus medium, rubbing the print down till it appears to be 
dry. Now the print is ready for the color and the way 
the color is applied is as follows : Take one of the stumps 
that you have prepared by wrapping cotton around the 
end of meat sticks, dip it in the color that you want and 
rub a little color more or less roughly over the part where 
that color is to be applied. Then, with a clean cotton 
stump rub over this rough application of color and even 
it up. When you have done this once, you will see how 
it may be done and you will realize how simple and easy 
this method of coloring really is. You do not need to be 
very careful about keeping the color within the bound 
aries where it is to be, for any color that overlaps onto a 
part where it ought not to be can very easily be rubbed 
off with a wad of clean cotton, or if that does not remove 
it completely, just a touch of medium applied with the 
cotton will remove the color. 

Colors can be blended, just like transparent water 
colors, by applying one color over another. The colors 
are transparent, so that the shading and detail in the pho 
tograph show through, giving shadow and halftones to 
the picture. You can deepen the shadows a little if that 
is necessary. 

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RETOUCHING 

PORTRAITS. In coloring portraits, try to get a good 
flesh tint. For light complexions sometimes a touch of 
yellow may be added to the regular flesh tint to make it 
a little lighter. The color on the cheeks is added after 
the flesh tints have been applied to the face. Eyes and 
other details will have to be colored with a brush. 

LANDSCAPES. Landscape pictures can be colored 
very quickly and effectively by this method. As a rule, 
the sky should be colored first, and the color can be 
rubbed all over the sky portion of the picture. Then, if 
there are any clouds, the color can be taken off the clouds, 
leaving them white. If there is water in which the sky is 
reflected this should be colored next. Then the green 
in grass and foliage and other colors for tree trunks, 
fences, houses, etc. Small items like flowers in the fore 
ground should be put in with a brush. 

If you do not care to use the photo oil colors that are 
put up in sets, you can use regular oil paints such as art 
ists use. Those manufactured by Winsor and Newton, 
or Devoe or any other good maker will be found to be 
entirely satisfactory. The megilp that artists use is 
about the same as the medium that is supplied with the 
oil color sets and can be used instead of the regular me 
dium. After the paint is thoroughly dry, another ap 
plication of megilp or medium will impart a little more 
brilliancy to the colors. Some colorists use the Nepera 
Waxing Solution, a preparation manufactured by East 
man Kodak Company for bringing out detail and adding 
a luster to photographic prints. 

WORKING UP ENLARGEMENTS IN BLACK AND WHITE 
AND COLORED CRAYONS. Enlargements for this treat 
ment should be on paper more or less rough, according 

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to size, and especially according to the size of the head. 
Conte pencils, both black and white, A. W. Faber " Cas- 
tell " Polychromes Pencils and other varieties may be 
used. It is not necessary to confine oneself to black and 
white and sepia, for crayons can be obtained in all colors 
and the enlargement may be worked up in any color or in 
several colors. 

The background may be rubbed in with powdered 
crayon, white faces modified and the highlights picked 
out, as previously described. Sometimes the head alone 
is printed and the bust or figure left to be drawn in with 
crayon. The stump and the fingers all play their part 
in such work as this which admits of considerable indi 
viduality in treatment. The pencils, as a rule, should 
be used in a free and sketchy manner. Some free and 
decided, but not too hard, hatching and cross hatching 
will help to give artistic effect to the background. Cer 
tain unobtrusive touches with the brush, where required, 
will help without affecting the general impression of 
crayon work; the same may be said of the airbrush, 
which may also be used in conjunction with pencil and 
brush. 

Some experience of crayon drawing would be an ante 
cedent condition of good work of this kind. In a still 
larger degree this remark would apply to colored crayon 
work which, as a rule, would be practically impossible, 
as would good work in oils, without a preparatory art 
training. Artists who have had such a training should 
not have much difficulty in doing work on a basis wholly 
or in part photographic. 

Whether they work on a photographic print or en 
largement that is dark or light in the printing is a matter 

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that must be left to their discretion and to the method that 
is used in the working up or coloring. When the photo 
graphic print is to be colored with transparent water 
colors or aniline dyes, or with oil colors applied by the 
Russian method of rubbing on the color with a wad of 
cotton, a fully printed photograph is needed, so that the 
details and gradations will show properly through the 
color, but for working up with crayon or with oil paint 
applied with a brush, a light print may be used and the 
details and gradations put in with the crayon or paint. 
The lighter the print, the more the artist will have to 
create and the more will his ability be put to the test to 
preserve the likeness and the character of the subject, 
as they are insistently required to be preserved from the 
photographic standpoint. 



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