Select a well - defined Photograph, one of light color is preferable, and the background free from spots; it is also well to have a duplicate copy to refer to in case of necessity - a copy of two different sittings. Always select a good subject, as a good portrait depends much on a good model. In sitting for a photograph, take your own natural and easy position several feet in front of the background, with your eyes a trifle above the camera. Avoid all superfluous surroundings, such as fancy chairs, table covered with books and other objects, making your face a secondary affair in the picture.
Preparing the Photograph. Take a piece of White Glue about the size of a hickory nut, and about one-half the quantity of pulverized alum; dissolve in half a wine-glass of warm water and it is ready for use. Apply the mixture with a flat camel-hair brush to the photograph; cover the entire face of the picture, care being taken not to get it too wet. When dry, wash it in clean cold water with a sponge to remove any superfluous matter that may rest upon it. It may be necessary to go over it a second time, as it is essential that the paper be well hardened to work upon. You may test, it by applying a drop of the color to one corner and if it washes off and leaves no stain the paper is in good condition for the work. Albumen paper can often be worked without using this preparation, but should be sponged off with cold water.
The colors used are in cakes: Dry Carmine, Rose Madder, Crimson Lake, Venetian Red, Indian Red, Vermilion, Chrome Yellow, Indian Yellow, Roman Ochre, Gamboge, Cobalt, French Blue, Emerald Green, Indigo, Prussian Blue, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Sepia (Brown), Vandyke Brown, Madder Brown, Ivory Black, Chinese White, Constant White.
Burnt Umber, mostly used for the hair; Vandyke Brown is one of the most used of browns, although Sepia may be said to be the most useful in black silk and satin, when mixed with Lake, Indigo and Gamboge; Sepia and Lake for the eyebrows and hair; Sepia and Indigo form a gray, very nice for background. Of Red, Carmine is the most brilliant; Rose Madder the most useful in flesh, especially in youths; in elder persons add Vermilion; Crimson Lake is very useful for flesh tints; Light Red, Venetian and Indian Red can be used for nearly the same purpose.
Coloring. Commence upon the face with the flesh tints, using for this a good size Sable brush; go over the entire face and wait till dry. Use for the lips a little Vermilion and Lake. Now go over the background, and then the draperies. Deepen the Carnations, touching the eye and mouth with Lake; also the hair with the proper color. Touch the under lip with Rose Madder enough so as it may look natural. The white of the eye in youth is nearly blue, in old age it becomes yellow, in middle age it is white. You must vary your tints to correspond.
The iris must be laid in with transparent color, then shaded, then finished with Chinese White. The pupil is touched with a dark color and the speck of white laid on last. Use the same color for Mack or brown as used for the hair, viz.: Light Red and Chinese White, and neutral or Purple tint and White for the latter. The face is now nearly finished; it only remains to add a few touches to the eyes and mouth, and impart life and expression to the countenance. If the person be dark, use Sepia and Purple Lake, equal proportions; but if fair, dispense with most of the Sepia. Next complete the background, after which finish up the hair over the background; after the last shaded parts of the hair lay on the high lights. Burnt Umber is most useful in brown and auburn hair; Indigo, Sepia and Lake, or Lake, Indigo and Gamboge, are the colors used for high lights, the lights inclining to a purple tint, the blue predominating. Keep the hair in masses; a good sized brush is needed. In painting cloth fabrics it will be well to use the local color at first very light, much more so than you desire it to be when finished. A black coat: begin by laying in a weak local wash as directed, and when it is dry go over the folds with a thin shadow color, which will prevent them being obscured by the next local wash. Having repeated this two or three times, you will find the garment to be as dark as necessary, but the shadows will be feeble; you may strengthen them with Sepia and Lake. A good black for gentlemen's drapery is made of Indigo, Lake and Gamboge. When a blue-black is required, first make a purple-blue and then add the Gamboge till the tint is changed into black. In shadowing, always carry your pencil the way the folds run, instead of across them. The colors for backgrounds for fair people are blue, purple and greys. Dark complexions should have dark background. Stone is represented by a tint formed of Carmine, Indigo and Yellow Ochre, and the more distant you wish it to appear the more must the Indigo prevail. A background nude of Cobalt, Burnt Sienna and a little Rose Madder works well. Madder Brown and Cobalt answers for the same. A purple cloudy ground is made of Indigo and liquid Carmine or Lake. An opaque ground, of a chocolate color, is composed of Lampblack and India Red.
Paint curtains over the background and put on the lights with body colors.