Colouring Comic Art Tutorial
Post on 06-Nov-2015
olouring comics has long been the lowest rung on the creative ladder, partially due to technological
inadequacies and also due to the constant reprinting in cheaper formats in just black and white. But in recent years the floor has opened up, enabling colour to take almost centre stage on
In the last of a three-part tutorial Frazer Irving show the basic methods he employs when colouring an illustration for comics.
the page, giving more opportunities for colourists to explore the medium and readers more variety in their product. This, I am in no doubt, is due almost entirely to the wonders of graphics tablets and Adobe Photoshop. For this tutorial I will be using an A3 Wacom Intuous3, G5 Apple Mac, and a 30-inch Apple monitor. Go on, envy me
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Frazer IrvingCOUNTRY: UKCLIENTS: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, 2000AD
Frazer hasfive years experience drawing for comics, CD
covers, magazines and other products. He uses digital and traditional media together, and thinks that 2000AD is the baddest and bestest comic in the galaxy.www.frazerirving.com
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1 Separate coloursThe first stage in colouring for me and almost every other professional colourist I know of, is what we call flatting. This is often a job that we give to assistants who dont mind the menial tasks that our creative egos cannot stand, and Im no exception. The idea behind this is that you paint in areas of colour that correspond to the spaces/areas that you wish to be separate in the illustration, ie, clothing, hair or skin, etc. Using the Magic Wand tool, you select the areas in the line art (on the top layer) that you wish to fill, then create a new layer beneath that one and fill with a colour. The colour itself isnt so important, as this will change later. Whats really important is that you lock that layer so that the area of flat colour can be painted over easily. You do this for the whole image, grouping areas of flats onto their own layers such as skin or background or bike bits.
2 Balance it rightNow I have to decide the overall colour scheme. This is usually achieved by eye-balling a colour in the swatches and just filling that layer with it, though you can also use the hue/saturation function for subtle tweaking. Its important here to get the tonal balance right, even though you can alter it later its crucial to bear in mind that painting with colour is a contextual experience, where each element of the image affects the way you perceive the other.
3 Painting shadowsHaving chosen basic colours, the next step is to pick an area of flat colour and start painting the shadows/highlights in. I tend to start with the shadows and do this for all the image and then add the light later, but this is by no means a hard and fast rule. Here youll find the benefits of locking each layer, as you can paint swiftly and loosely over the area without worrying about bleeding over the edge.
4 HighlightsThe next stage I go to is the highlights. Sometimes I like to paint highlights on a new layer that sits above the rest as the highlights can sometimes be quite minimal yet often need noodling and fixing, and I find it easier to do that on a new layer.
Quick technique Colouring comic art
6 Dodge/BurnUsing the Dodge/Burn tools, I paint into the fill, making the most of the textures inherent in it. Seeing as its a flaming bike, the effect works quite well and sets off the flatter/smoother textures of the rest of the image quite nicely.
Help your eyesSet your desktop to a neutral grey when using colour, as colourful desktops can distract the eye and lead to poor colour choices.
5 Scanning Its now time to get involved with some scanned elements. I have many watercolour textures that I use for this kind of art, and I apply it in the same way I do with flat colour. The texture is pasted behind the line art and its hue/tonality is modified until I like it.
7 Adding depth A final layer is added above all the others where I can paint special effects such as fire over the line art as well. This adds depth to the image and helps to give it that painterly edge that we all seem to want from comic art these days. The image is then flattened, converted to CYMK and sent off to be printed.
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