Colorization, Restoration

& Design

Digital Restoration

Artwork restoration comes in two main forms: physical restoration of the original painting and digital restoration.

Digital restoration utilizes programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom, replacing traditional brushes and varnishes. Alongside other upscaling software, these tools breathe new life into classic artworks. Once digitally restored, the artwork is printed on high-quality fine art paper, making it accessible to a broader audience.

The process of digitally restoring old artworks encompasses a variety of mediums, from etchings and monographs to engravings and prints. The ultimate goal is to restore them to their original appearance by removing dust layers, enhancing contrast, adjusting light exposure, and repairing any damage. This restoration process serves two primary objectives: preserving the historical significance of the artwork and making it accessible for everyone to own and appreciate.

In the following gallery you can see the difference between the original work that is generally available on the Rijksstudio, Library of Congress Databank or the British Digital Library. 

Personally, restoration is a satisfying process. To re-create and see the original artwork in its brightness and color vibrancy and then to later print it on fine-art cotton paper, 

Old Photos

Most of us own at least a few old pictures. Could be from yourself, parents or grandparents or something you just hold dear. Something that is or became a part of your history. Now, most people ask one thing when it comes to colorizing old black and white photos: “How do you know what color the dress or jacket was?”


The answer is very simple. We say black and white photos, but they are actually more grey and white. Some parts are more grey and go into black. Were other parts are more white and fade into bright white. Now, imagine you are wearing a yellow jacket. You take a picture of yourself wearing the yellow jacket and then turn it into a black and white or greyscale image. The colors are not gone, they are just ‘hidden’. Looking at the picture you can tell immediately that the jacket was not dark red, or deep purple, black or deep blue. The jacket was yellow! So it would be a more lighter grey color now. This is the first step. Your eyes will help you sorting out what looks natural and correct. The darker the colors – the darker the grey or black in the photo. The lighter the color – the lighter the grey will be. Molecules bounce back the light, and thus tell their color absorption and reflection rate. From this point it becomes a search to find the right tint of yellow. And again. It is mostly your own eyes and mind that will say: “yes! That yellow looks most natural.”

This seems like an oversimplification of the process. But most of this simple patiently looking and running a color wheel over it, is at the base of colorization processes. Of course, it takes practice. But it is not as hard as most think. The hard part is patience.

Colorizing old photos makes the people in it more real and better relatable. Not only does it enhance the beauty and memories, but can also help to preserve them for future generations.