I'm gonna start this off just like every other blog I read and say that it's been a long time since the last post. I know. I've been mega-busy. I'm married now. I'm a much wiser man than the guy in my last post. Been half way around the world. Got tons of stuff in the works that should be surfacing pretty soon, but that's another post. So onto the task at hand...
Someone requested me to do this. I feel like I am still learning all the time and am by no means an authority on anything, but here it goes: my process for quick coloring in comic books. I hope it can shed a little insight on someone else.
To begin, I loosely sketch out a thumbnail at about 2 or 3 inches in height which I use for the page layout. Here I include notes for myself as to what I might want to change, colors I have in mind, etc. Once it's done, I blow it up to full page size and use it as an underlay; often moving things around through out the process. As you can see, I ended up moving around the three panels at the bottom into a more dynamic arrangement.
I pretty much go right into finished lines from my thumbnail. This is probably a horrible idea, but it's just how I work. I will do a more detailed underlay though, if I have a crazy perspective shot or a close up on faces or hands... anything really difficult.
Here I start flatting out the piece. This consists of basically coloring in the lines. I isolate forms/ objects of importance where I don't want the color going into an object next to it. For instance, the girl in the second frame is all blue on it's own layer. The coffee table underneath is a peach color on the layer below her. Basically I am separating objects by using color. In the image below, I have 4 different layers that I am isolating with; each layer holding a different color. Then I hit the "Preserve Transparency" button and now I can't color outside of those color fields.
The rest is pretty basic rendering techniques really. Unfortunately, I don't do tonal underlays like the good painters do. I only do that if I am actually painting with brushes. Here I will go straight into color.
Now I start laying in basic tones of how I want the piece to feel and start setting the mood with color. I am trying to establishing the local color for every item in the image. I am making the important items in the frame stand out by their colors. Pushing and pulling things until a hierarchy is formed by the colors. Remember this needs to read quickly. The viewer needs to see first what you want them to see first. One way to accomplish that is through color choices.
For the girl, I begin by establishing her main flesh tone. Once that's in, I start in on either the darks or the lights, depends on the mood. If I start in on the darks first, I will start with her main value and then go a little bit darker in all of the areas I want dark. Then I go a bit darker the farther I go out, in order to fully express the volume. Then darker and so on, until I hit the darkest value that I want for her shadows to be. Then I do the opposite for the lights. It's all about light source, intensity, value and temperatures.
Once the flesh is done, I start on the dress and do the exact same thing. Now I am also making sure that these colors all look like they go together and blend.
Step back. Change some things. Notice I made a color shift in the wall at this stage. Something just wasn't feeling right to me overall so I had to change it. Add the highlights only on the important things. Put the icing on the cake. Done.
Again, this isn't the best way to do it; it's just the way I am working at the moment. I hope it helps!
PS_My equipment is a 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac running Mac OS X v. 10.5.8 (Gonna get Snow Leopard in a couple days) Work in Corel Painter 9.5 and PS3. I've found both programs to be better at certain tasks than the other. This piece was done entirely in Painter. I use this tablet.