Restoring Printed Screened Images

“The Canadian Playboy” Jack Kingston was an extremely successful recording artist who got his start during the Golden Age of Canadian Country Music.

I was asked to clean up some old printed images that might be used for cover art in an upcoming British Archive of Country Music (B.A.C.M.) CD reissue of some of Jack Kingston’s music.   Because both colour photography and color printing were prohibitively expensive in the early twentieth century,  publicity material was often printed with a primary colour replacing black ink in an effort to make it more eye-catching. For myself I think red ink was one of the more unfortunate colors to choose.

Detail showing the imperfections in the dot pattern

Before: Eye Detail

Detail showing the repaired dot pattern

After: Eye Detail

Digital restoration of screened images from old printed matter can be extremely difficult to restore because of the screen pattern of dots. When employing digital imaging techniques it is crucial to stay within the pattern, like staying within the lines of a colouring book. When cutting and pasting portions of the image from one part of the picture to another not only is it essential that the portions match, they have to line up exactly or it can create an eye catching error worse than the ones you’re attempting to restore.

When doing a digital restoration like this one it’s good to repair “hickeys” or imperfections that were often added to images from the original print run back in the day.   Along with the fading and discoloration caused by age, there is generally wear and tear to be corrected on old print materials like this.

BEFORE: Original scan:

Original Scan of red and white print songbook cover art

Original Scan: Canadian Recording Artist Jack Kingston

In doing the restoration my choice was to go back to black and white. Although black and white images can now be colorized with a great deal of success, my personal preference is for black and white images to remain black and white. After all, black and white is the more expensive print process these days.

AFTER: The Restoration

Restored Image of Jack Kingston now in Balck and White

Restoration: Canadian Recording Artist Jack Kingston

To allow the end user flexibility I also photosynthesized the signature out of this version of the image.

I’ll let you know when I know the release date.

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