I am very interested in linen postcards and would love to be able to create images in the same style with photos I take.

I have been trying to figure out how but with no luck. I've tried working with a variety of filters. Oil paint filter is not the right direction. A combination of the dry brush and cutout filters starts heading in the direction, but even at low levels and using a soft light blend these start feeling more like a cartoon than a postcard.

A reduction in contrast, increase in saturation, and some blur all help get in the right direction but is far from the result I am looking for.

I have been able to get the texture right by blending a photo of some linen, but to me this is the less important part of the process.

Any suggestions on how one might be able to achieve this look?

Original linen postcards were created using black and white photos that were retouched by hand. This sort of gives them an interesting cross between a photo and a painting.

Thank you for any thoughts or suggestions on how to get this style!

enter image description here

  • I don't mean to come across snarky, but at times the only way to mimic a hand-crafted appearance is to hand craft it. i.e. manually paint a photo - even if done digitally.
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 20:00
  • @Scott Not snarky at all. If (digitally) painting the photo is what needs to be done then that's just the way of it. Though I do hope to explore other ways first. I have never digitally painted a photo. Any suggested resources or tips?
    – Rush
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 20:04
  • Just web search for "Colorizing Photo Photoshop" -- Lots of various methods.
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


Personally I think you're on the right track but it's hard to say without seeing your attempt.

Orignal image


I duplicated the image and applied a Dry Brush filter, set the blending mode to Linear Light. Then added a B&W adjustment layer set to color blending mode and Contrast adjustment layer above because old B&W photos usually had high contrast


To get the color back, I duplicated the original image and exported the original image as a gif with 64 colors. Put that image back in, applied a gaussian blur, and set the blending mode to color. Since this is a painting I think the limited color palate helps. Last result was to add a linen texture on top and set to multiply.

Final image




You can get a kind of hand-coloured effect using Photoshop CC's recently added Neural Filters.

You don't actually have to use a black and white image, it will also recolour an ordinary colour photograph as though it were black and white. The filter gets some of the colours a bit wrong, but that's the beauty of it.

Here's an example:

This is the starting image

enter image description here

Do Filters > Neural Filters, and enable the Colorize filter, with settings as shown below. The "Retro Brown" profile is quite effective. Then enable the Profile Intensity option, and move the slider to 100%

enter image description here

Here's the result

enter image description here

Stick a texture on top, layer mode Overlay. Background filled cream.

enter image description here

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