Happy (Belated) '08

Well here we are, a week & a half into 2008 already & I'm only just getting around to wishing you all a Happy New Year. I do have an excuse...hot on the heels of Christmas, I came down with the flu & today has been the first day that I've felt halfway human again. So anyway, please accept my best New Year greetings in the form of a big ol' wobbly bowl of yellow custard & jelly - appropriate, eh? :) In other news, I was featured yesterday on the modamuse design blog & got such a lovely write up, I'm flattered, thrilled & giddy - all at once. Thank you Modamuse!

I've been playing around with scissors & glue (no glitter - sorry) putting the finishing touches to my extra-special super-duper combined Dec/Jan giveaway. I'll be announcing it as soon as I've finished making the prizes, which should be in the next couple of days.

Don't forget, to be eligible for the giveaway, you need to be a subscriber to my mailing list - okay?

See you in a few days with the giveaway announcement & some updates to my Etsy shop!

Before & After

People sometimes ask me about my photo manipulations - how much of them is real, & how much is digital trickery. I thought I'd post a few before & after pics...I don't know about you, but I find them interesting to look at. Firstly is the original photo I used for Gone to Earth: Plate One. As you can see, I even gave the poor boy a new face!

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Although photo manipulation, retouch & restoration aren't my main line of work, I still do some commissions from time to time, & also like to do them sometimes just for enjoyment. I find restoration very relaxing...kind of like unravelling a big ball of tangled string (but rather more creative!), you can zone out & just lose yourself in the painstaking detail of the task.

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It's incredibly difficult to colourise a B & W photo convincingly. Sometimes you want that flat, over-painted look that has a kind of retro quirkiness, but other times you might want to bring the photo to life in a more realistic way. Skin tones are particularly hard to do. No one's skin is uniformly one colour, you have to add those subtle variations like a little redness on the nose & maybe blueish shadows under the eyes.

A friend of mine bought a cardboard folder full of glamour photos from the 1940s & I had a lot of fun messing with them. As you can see from this example, the original has degraded with time; the mid-tones & shadows are quite flat. I've tried to freshen it up, not only with colour, but also bringing back some dimension with tonal adjustments, & painting in some highlights. Her face & arm are quite flat in the original so I've rounded them out in the colourised version with some airbrushing. The hair is still pretty flat & there was not much I could do to bring back the lost detail. I've added a few subtle highlights, but I didn't want to overwork it & make it look too painted.

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