Colouring In Practice

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I’ve been trying out some techniques for the forthcoming comic book project.

Due to time constraints, I’m looking for a style that will be efficient, but give the work a certain amount of character. It would be nice to do everything in watercolour (like The Old Goat at the top of the page) but it would mean every page would take a week to do. I still haven’t ruled out a traditional approach just yet; it depends on what deadlines I’m confronted with.

This is what I have so far:

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The first stage is a rather scribbly pencil layout – I scan that in and place a sheet of paper over my monitor and trace out a more civilised line which I then ink with Faber Castell artist’s pens.

Once that’s in the computer, I drop in a texture to break the harsh blacks up (it’s scrunched up crepe paper). It has a slightly sepia tone, which in my strange mind means the drawing looks like it was done in squid ink and thus suits the subject matter (read Conrad’s The Demon’s Watch to get a feel of the world I’m inhabiting). The colour is applied in Painter, using a watercolour brush which gives the speckled look. I felt that using flat colour (more common in comic book colouring) didn’t give me the rough look I was after.  Lastly, I take the work into Photoshop and add some dabs of digital paint here and there, mostly using a kind of broken pastel brush.

So that’s how things are progressing – the next step is to do a test episode (once it’s written) and refine things. It’s important to find a look everyone’s happy with and stick to it, as there’ll be no changing it mid-story.

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P.S. I’m guest blogging today over at David Fickling books – visit there to see my first ever comic work!

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