Gabe, Aaron, Ravi and Pete all worked on this poster. Gabe began by sketching in the general areas of large patterns and noting color blocks that we would need to airbrush in.
Once he had a general idea of what needed to be done, Pete took over to mask for airbrushing. Airbrushing is generally how we cover large areas of paper evenly with color. This can mean applying uniform layers of one color, or layering multiple colors on top of each other to achieve a look similar to that of most printing processes.
Masking covers certain areas of a poster or print with paper, tape or acetate and leaves other areas open so that we can paint them without worrying about getting paint on the rest of the image. Masking takes a delicate touch, patience and a good eye in order to cut through tape and acetate without damaging the paper underneath.
|Here Pete is putting his graphic design and artistic skills to use while comparing font and lettering.|
Aaron did most of the airbrushing on this piece, but Gabe got in on some of the action too. The most difficult part to airbrush on this particular piece was the background, simply because it was big and because we were not only trying to match color but also the aged patine that the poster had acquired over time.
Something that people don't often think about is how much lighting affects how we see color, but the next few photos taken while Aaron and Gabe were working on the background show how different the background looks from shot to shot.
In fact the background color was so difficult that Gabe asked John and Ravi to come give him a second opinion.
|I loved this photo because Ravi turned just as I was snapping it.|
One of the most dramatic parts as you're working on restoring a print, particularly of this size is seeing the reveal after another layer of paint has been added on. (At some point we'll do a series of photos that show just that transition, but Gabe and I are waiting for just the right project.)
|Aaron removing one of the masks to show how much has been done and just how much is lefty to complete!|
The background was the largest area that we had to airbrush, but other areas like those seen in the photo above were blocked in using airbrushing. The final touches, done by hand using colored pencils and water colors, are still to come!
Next week will be the final blog post on this Sarah Bernhardt poster! All that's left are the details that we put in by hand, so check back soon for that update!