Friday, June 8, 2012

The Mummy Revitalized

In the last few months we have worked on a lot of contemporary silkscreens and it has been a joy to see the range of posters that are being produced. Most of the silkscreens that we have done have only needed minor work; fixing dents and creases with a couple needing ink loss restored. However, we received a Martin Ansin The Mummy a few weeks ago that had 3 tears along the top that went all the way into the image.

Pictured: This is the before photo that the client took.

Our first step was to put it through John's Isinglass process to get the piece flat and on a board so that we could begin restoration work. (If you have questions about what the Isinglass process is, you can check out the blog we did about a Tyler Stout Lost silkscreen.)

Pictured: Martin Ansin's silkscreen of The Mummy before we began work on it,

Once the print was soft mounted on the melamine board, Melissa took charge of the piece. The resizing process had helped with the tear, but there was still a ridge that needed to be prepped for restoration.  

Pictured: The Mummy after it had been through the Isinglass process and was temporarily mounted to a melamine board.

Prep work is all about feel and one of the things that distinguishes Poster Mountain from a lot of other restoration studios is the amount of prep work that we do on a piece. It may not look better once it has been through the prep department, but it feels better and that makes all the difference when you begin to lay paint down.

Pictured: The tear has been prepped so that while you can still see it, you can't feel it.

Once Melissa had burnished the tear flat she masked off everything but the red to begin airbrushing. Airbrushing looks best when there is as little as possible paint laid down on the surface. You also have to have a good eye for colors in order to match and build up layers of paint so that everything looks just right. For this piece is was very important to keep the airbrushing to a minimum, so she's only applying paint to the affected area, and no place else.

Pictured: Melissa airbrushing the red. Don't worry, the red that looks like its all over the cream paper is actually the over-spray on the acetate that protects the paper and is the exact reason that we mask each piece that gets airbrushing.

 With the red airbrushed in Melissa used watercolor to blend the airbrush in with the original red ink.

Pictured: After the red has been airbrushed and the masking removed. See, I told you we didn't paint on the paper color!

After the red had been restored to its former glory, Melissa worked on the black and the paper color using the same combination of airbrushing and watercolor as she did in the red. Restoration is a constant process of layering colors to revitalize what was lost.

Pictured: Here Melissa is blending in the red airbrushing before beginning to work in the black.

When I asked her, Melissa said that the trickiest part of this project was airbrushing the tear to match the paper color. Not something that most people think about when they look at a piece that has been restored, but she spent a lot of time matching the natural texture of the paper with the the airbrushing she was doing.

Every minute that Melissa put into this piece was well spent because the final product looks amazing!

It should be noted that several crucial steps in our process have been omitted. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via email at or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: and Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog!