hand coloring

Introduction to Hand Coloring Inkjet Prints

Introduction to Hand Coloring

Here are the tools and pastels that I use. When I first started experimenting I would make a powder out of pastel sticks and then apply that. The powder allowed for the detail of the photograph to come through the color. I was very happy when I discovered Pan Pastels which has eliminated the job of having to make the powder. The applicators and art sponges also come from Pan Pastel.



Use a piece of matte foam core or a paper towel to wipe off excess pastel before applying it to the print. I also recommend using a daylight balanced light when hand-coloring. If this is not possible, take your print to a window or outside every once in awhile to check on your color.I also suggest that when hand-coloring an image for the first time, make an 8 x 10 practice print and try different colors and make notes that you can go back and refer to when you begin your “official” print.Begin in the middle of the print. Start with the darker areas and carefully apply color. Use a very light touch. It is easier to add more color than to take it away.

You want to think of this as a layering process. Apply the pastels with the applicator and then use the sponge to gently spread the color more evenly. Use a rubber kneaded eraser to gently lift and blend color. Apply your base colors first, usually the darker colors. Use the tones of the black and white print as a guide. After that, come back and add lighter color as highlights.

Start studying nature. Look at all the colors in a leaf. It’s not just green. It has greens, yellows, blues and peaches. Use this knowledge to improve your coloring skills.


I know this only a small amount of information but I wanted to share it anyway. The most important thing is to have fun. Hand-coloring is a personal expression and there is really no right or wrong way to do it. Just enjoy!


Interested in learning more? Click here: Hand Coloring Workshop

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