Susan Tierney Cockburn
January 18, 2015
TECHNIQUE: Modeling Paste
January 18, 2015

TECHNIQUE: Handcoloring Digital

Dianne Poinski is a professional photographer who hand-colors her black and white photographs with PanPastel with beautiful results. Dianne lives and works in Sacramento, California.

Digital (Ink-Jet) Print Hand-colored with PanPastel – “Roses” by Dianne Poinski 

Tell us about your background as an artist.
When I was younger, I loved to sew, do crafts and play my guitar. My brother was the “artist” in the family, so I didn’t even think that I was doing “art” during that time.

My interest in photography began when my children were young and I wanted to learn how to take better pictures of them. At the same time I was in school trying to finish up and get my business degree in accounting so I could become a CPA. Taking a photography course helped satisfy the art requirement, but I was not prepared for the passion I would feel for that medium. I never finished school…. and never became a CPA.

I have taken a few classes here and there, but for the most part I am self taught.

I became a full time artist around 1995. I started out taking pictures of my friend’s kids and hand-coloring them. Then friends of friends started asking me to do the same for them. Those were my first paying jobs. Eventually I stopped taking portraits and began showing my other work at art festivals and my studio.

In 2008 I incorporated teaching hand-coloring workshops as part of my business.

Describe your artwork.
I take photographs of flowers, landscapes and architecture, print them as black and white prints and then hand-color them with PanPastel.


Digital Print Hand-Colored with PanPastel – “Illuminated”  by Dianne Poinski

Describe your creative process.
I print my black and white images on 100% cotton rag paper then use Sofft tools and brushes to apply the PanPastels directly to the surface of the print.

When did you first begin using PanPastel Colors?
I first began using PanPastels shortly after I started shooting with a digital camera.  I think early 2009. I fought going digital because the biggest challenge was going to be – figuring out a way to still hand-color and produce “originals”. For years I printed fiber based prints in the darkroom and used photo oil paints on these prints.  Since I was now printing pigment prints on cotton rag paper, using oil paints was no longer an option. Other methods I had seen of coloring digital prints with pastels did not have the same translucent quality that the oil paints possessed.  It was this quality that I was not willing to give up and PanPastels was the answer.

Digital Print Hand-Colored with PanPastel – “Soft Tulips” by Dianne Poinski

What do you see as the benefits of using PanPastel in your work?
It’s clean, simple and the colors are beautiful.

Who / what are your creative inspirations?
I am always inspired by nature as well as the work of classic painters and photographers.

What has been your most exciting moment so far, as an artist?
I have had many exciting moments including the moment I realized that I was still going to be able to hand-color prints even though I was no longer shooting film and printing in the darkroom. Seeing my work published and sold as prints and posters in Cost Plus and Linens & Things, was pretty exciting too.

“Pond Reflections” by Dianne Poinski

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt in your journey as an artist?
That nothing stays the same…in photography the technology is always changing and you have to learn to adapt to it.  Having to learn to hand-color using completely different tools, materials and medium is a great example.

What are your artistic goals for the future?
I want to continue learning as much as I can about digital photography and printing. I would also like to study more color theory to become more confident about my use of color with PanPastels.

Any upcoming events / launches you’d like to mention?
I am self publishing a book of floral images all hand-colored with PanPastels later this year. I also plan to release an e-book and eventually also self publish a book on the technique of hand-coloring with PanPastels.

I will have new workshop dates on my website soon.

Dianne Poinski Head Shot


For more information on Dianne and her artwork :
Dianne Poinski’s Blog:
Hand Colored Photography Studio Journal
Dianne’s Website:
Read Dianne’s article on hand-coloring:
“Why I hand-color”


Next artist interview: Leonard Jagoda – a painter specializing in equine art