Do it yourself Photo finish

Written by Stewart Schooley, compiled by Patrick Franzis

Getting Started

Learn this in three steps!

If you have the motor skills to write your name it means you can smear paint, doodle with a pencil, and use any of the information presented here. Remember, all you're doing is coloring a piece of paper that already has the wood grain on it. The only "art" you do is make color choices. The same thing you do when you work with stains and toners.

1- Start by buying three Prismacolor pencils, a yellow/brown, a red/brown, and a dark brown. Practice on small black and white prints and reduced color prints. Learn about using the paint thinner and how often to re-wet the back. Learn about accenting grain lines and burl spots. Learn that you will not use up your pencils in a hurry.

2. You're on the way!-Add two tubes of cheaper grade oil paints. A Yellow Ochre and a Burnt Sienna. Learn on small prints about using the paint thinner, mixing the oil colors with oil based stain, doing touch up over the oil paint with color pencils.

3-All the way! Add a few more color pencils plus Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber oil paint. Some more oil colors and pencils later when you have become an expert. Use one of your creations to make a color copy print. You'll now need the Polycrylic.

Why do this?

1- Good wood grain images are not that easy to find. They almost always have to be touched up. Unless you have an expensive high-powered editing program, the information presented here is the cheapest way to do it. Plus it saves you money on printer ink.

2-Ink Jet color prints will fade if exposed to light. Oil colors and Prismacolor pencils are made with permanent pigments and provide protection from fading when put over ink jet prints. If you are going to use ink jet prints without any of the information here, you should at least do your print in reduced color and then use pigmented spray can toners over it.