This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
15. The pencil is the agent employed, in retouching, to remove transparent or semi-transparent imperfections and blend the high-lights and shadows as well as the halftones. The pencil employed must not be gritty, nor should it be soft or mushy. For the beginner, it is advisable to use a reasonably hard lead, such as a Faber's HHH or any drawing pencil of equal hardness. After some experience, and when you begin to master the touch required and are able to control the application of the lead, it will be advisable to change to an HH lead. This latter will be found very suitable for the majority of workers.
The Materials Required. The absolutely necessary articles required for retouching are few, but no work should be attempted without them. The following outfit will be required to prepare the work of this instruction:
Retouching Outfit. 1 Retouching Easel.
1 Magnifying Glass.
1 Lead Holder.
1 HHH lead.
1 HH lead.
1 BB lead.
1 No. 1 Faber's Spotting Brush.
1 Cake Spotting Opaque.
1 Bottle Retouching Fluid.
1 Box Schriever Etching Paste.
15x7 Printing Frame.
Object Of Retouching Desk. The retouching desk or frame is necessary for holding the negative so that it may be held conveniently and permit of strong light being reflected through it, thereby exposing the imperfections and making it possible to see and easily remove them. The negative must be properly supported in this frame so as not to require holding in position. Both hands can then be free, thus enabling you to view the work you are doing from any point, thereby concentrating your attention upon the removal of the imperfections and modeling to the desired degree.
Preparing The Negative. With the easel provided, the next step is the preparing of the negative. The surface of the film of the negative (the side which is to be worked upon) is usually so very hard and smooth that the pencil touches will not adhere. For this reason it is necessary that the negative be properly prepared to receive the pencil strokes.
Retouching Medium. There are two kinds of retouching medium, either of which can be purchased from any photographic supply dealer, or you can prepare it yourself. One medium is called retouching dope while the other is retouching varnish. The former is quite thick and gummy and is applied to the negative by means of a tuft of cotton, or a Canton flannel cloth. The entire negative is not prepared; only the space covering those portions you wish to retouch is doped. After applying, the dope must then be rubbed in a circular motion until nearly dry.
21. The retouching varnish is very thin and is, therefore, applied by flowing the entire plate. Do not confuse these two mediums.
22. To prepare retouching dope yourself, proceed according to the following formula:
Balsam of Fir...............................
23. This is a very simple preparation and supplies a most excellent retouching medium and for the beginner gives the best of satisfaction. If, after applying the medium to the negative, it does not take the lead freely, add from 1/8 to 1/2 oz. of ordinary resin to the medium - the amount of resin depending upon the amount of tooth you desire. Be sure to keep the bottle, in which the dope is prepared, well stoppered, for the turpentine easily evaporates, leaving a thick mass in the bottle, which, if applied to the negative, in this condition, will give you a very tacky surface to work upon and will not produce smooth results.
24. Another retouching dope which works satisfactorily, is prepared by mixing:
Oil of Levender...............................