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craigtaillefer.comThe Official Blog of Craig A. Taillefer: News, Art, Comics, Music, Ramblings, and more!

Colouring Practice

I have had a very sporadic experience with color.

I have primarily worked in black and white comics. The real exception has been for covers and I haven’t had the opportunity to do that many of them. So when I have had the opportunity/need, it seems like I am re-learning a new method each time.

Way back in the stone age at Aircel Publishing, the method everyone in the studio was using for colouring was to colour directly on the inked original art using Markers and coloured pencils. There was an air brush attachment nozzle for using the markers with a can of compressed air even.

1987_MayanStory_Pg_02     1989_DinosaursForHireGN2     1988_DinosaursForHire07

I used that technique on a back cover for Samurai #11, two covers for Dinosaurs For Hire (Graphic Novel Vol. 2 shown), as well as two unpublished short stories, and most of an issue of a comic I ended up scrapping when Aircel stopped publishing colour comics.

And that was it for colour for a loooong time. I just didn’t have the need.

When I started self-publishing Wahoo Morris I did a lot of research trying to find out what the best method for colouring was. Digital was still not the norm, especially for self-published books. Influenced by artists like Michael W. Kaluta and Charles Vess, I decided to go with a combination of painting with Dr. Martin and Kohinoor water colour dyes.

For the first issue I photo copied the line art at print size onto a small sheet of bristol paper and coloured in the hopes of getting sharper black lines. I wasn’t crazy about the results, but it sufficed. I continued the next 3 covers (the last one shown unpublished) by painting directly on the original art.
WahooMorris_01_ColourCVrArt     WM_02_Cvr_Scan    WahooMorris_03_ColourCVrArt     WM_05_AliciaCvr

I went digital shortly after this using Photoshop. I didn’t have trouble with the flatting process (picking the basic colours), and adding a few gradients and highlights here and there,  but I would always then freeze, unsure of what to do next.
WM_01_(i)_cvr     WM_vol2_01_Cvr1

For the cover for Wahoo Morris Vol. 2 # 1 (issue 4) a did a few colour holds, turning black lines into colour lines which made the colour job look a little fancier, but the technique still remained pretty flat.

For my story (with Jim Bricker) in the Image Anthology Comic Book Tattoo,  again, I coloured it using a pretty flat technique. In that story’s case I was going for a bit of a Tintin lingue claire style, so flat colours were appropriate.
God_PAGE01     God_PAGE02

After that, I didn’t need to colour again until I decided to start publishing Wahoo Morris digitally on Comixology as singles and I ran out of left over covers to use.

I have had a number of finished B&W covers waiting in line to get coloured for several months.

The biggest change came a couple of months ago when  I switched my drawing software from Manga Studio 4 EX to Clip Studio (Manga Studio 5). It has all the functionality of Manga Studio for Black & White line art, but it adds the functionality of really good painting software. And the Ray Frenden Brushes are the most natural feeling digital brushes I have tried yet. I’ve been itching to try them out for colour for awhile now.

And, about two weeks ago, wanting to add new comics to my email newsletter opt-in sequence, I quickly coloured the front cover to Sîan #1. While I’m not unhappy with how it turned out, it probably won’t make it to print as the cover was drawn as a wrap-around and I haven’t finished inking the back portion and that might change the colour choices.
SIAN_FreebieCover

A few days later, needing a piece of art for a new convention banner and cover art for the Kickstarter page, I forced myself to sit down and colour the wrap around cover art to Wahoo Morris #10 (Comixology Edition).
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I’m actually semi-pleased with how this turned out, though I will probably go in and fix a few details before it gets used in print. I feel I’m starting to get the soft modeling and more painterly approach that I was able to get with Dr. Martins and water colours fairly easily.

I have continued to get a bit more colouring practice in over the next few weeks, finishing the covers for Wahoo Morris #8 and #9, the front cover of my Unknown Vistas One Shot, and I have begun colouring the interior pages of Sîan. Though for that I am using a simper technique, as the water colour painting technique I have been using for covers would be too time consuming for an entire book!

WM_08_Cvr_01NoLogo     WM_09_Cvr_01     UnkownVistas_CVR_Colour     Sian_01_pg01_RGB

I’m going to continue picking away at colouring Sîan over the next few weeks, and I have a few other Wahoo Morris goodies that need colouring, so I should be posting more soon!

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