• Atlas at War! Stages of Art Restoration

DR: We asked Allan Harvey to give readers a “behind-the-scenes look at his work restoring an Atlas at War! graphic. In the following, Harvey walks us through this process.

AH: Here’s a panel from a 1952 story drawn by Joe Sinnott. You can see [1] that the paper has deteriorated due to the passage of time and looks a sepia color, the image itself has faded slightly and so lacks definition, and, worst of all, suffers badly from a printing error where there has been slippage and the cyan plate is no longer in alignment. Fixing problems like this can take a long time depending on the severity.

First, I load a high-resolution scan of the page into Photoshop and strip off the color information, which results in a very washed-out image [2]. I work on this extensively, methodically working my way around the panel cleaning off any artifacts or errors that were left on the paper by the original printing process, such as line drop-outs, and I darken the linework and black areas to their proper density [3].

At this point, I have what is essentially a clean black and white file. I then reintroduce the color information that was removed in step 1 and work on it, again removing defects such as staining and age deterioration, and I fix any serious color misalignment.

Once finished [4], I have a clean, sharp digital file, free of defects and ready for printing.