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Colorization Tutorial

Mads Madsen is an expert colorizer that has kindly collaborated with HistoryColored to create a series of videos showing you how to color a black and white photograph. Mads began colorizing in 2009/10 and was one of the founders of the popular Subreddit ColorizedHistory. He has received commissions from clients such as many authors for cover art, The History Channel, The Evening Post, and The Daily Mail. You can find Mads’ work on Facebook and Instagram.

In this tutorial series, Mads will guide you on how to colorize an old photograph of Abraham Lincoln. By the end of the series, if you follow the tutorial correctly, your work should look similar to the colorization above! You can find all of the file/photo downloads and information in this article!

In order to download the full-size version used in the tutorial, click on the photograph and once it has downloaded, extract it from the .zip file. Alternatively, you can CLICK HERE, right-click the image and select ‘Save Image As’.


YouTube player

Video 1 will show you the basics of using Photoshop to colorize: opening an image in Photoshop, brush settings, preparing the image for colorization, and layer settings. If you already have a basic knowledge of Photoshop, you might be able to skip this video and go straight onto video 2. If you skipped this step and want a Photoshop document (PSD) with the layers and Lincoln photograph already prepared, CLICK HERE.

  • Eyes: #7e3541
  • Highlights: #c35b78
  • Lips: #bc6c7f
  • Hair: #7f6653
  • Skin: #c7a18e


YouTube player

Video 2 will take you through the first steps of colorization. It will guide you through the coloring of the hair, beard, skin, eyes, and highlights. In this video, Mads will provide you with Photoshop tips and tricks on the best way to add the color on the black and white photograph of Abraham Lincoln. This would be a satisfying end for many people, so if you are happy with how it looks, feel free to end the tutorial series here. The final video will allow you to enhance your work to make it look as real as possible.


YouTube player

Video 3 is the final video in this colorization tutorial. It will show you how to color the clothes and background, and it will also show you how to shade; this will make your photograph look much more realistic. This video will help you add the final touches to truly bring your image to life!

  • Shading Layers: #dae8ef

Thank you to Mads Madsen for the clear and easy to understand tutorial! Please support Mads and check out more of his work! If you followed the whole tutorial, send your results to the HistoryColored Instagram! Please let us know what you think of the video by Liking / Disliking the videos. We would also love to know how you found the tutorial! Please comment on the videos!


If you want to support HistoryColored further, consider donating! When donating to us, you are providing us with funding to provide higher quality content on a more regular basis!

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