Saturday, March 18, 2006

Of Bitter Souls

Zombies ahoy!

I guess it's ok to post this as Chuck's already put it up on the Markosia forum. Anyway, this pin-up, which I've provided the colours for, is set to appear in the Of Bitter Souls trade paperback which is coming soon from Markosia (I'll let you know exactly when it's coming out as soon as I can). I guess I recently officially became a "professional" comic book artist when I received a cheque from Markosia for a couple of pin-ups I did for The Lexian Chronicles which they haven't used (and I don't blame them, really...I was pleased with them at the time but looking at them now I could do so much better, and I'll be redoing them as soon as I have the time). This colouring work, however, should see me officially become a "published" comic book artist as Of Bitter Souls creator Chuck Satterlee has said on the Markosia forum that it's definitely going in the trade. So now I owe Chuck two as it was apparently him who suggested that Visionary get in touch with me regarding Project HERO.

This page was a real blast to colour. I love zombies and some of my favourite films are zombie movies. I was trying to evoke a feeling of those old EC horror comics with the colours on this. I didn't specifically reference any of that stuff, but that's definitely the feel I was going for.

In case anyone out there's interested in my colouring technique. I tend to lay down basic blocks of colour, choosing mid-tones for each area. Then I add shading and highlights using the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop. There are as many ways to colour comics in Photoshop as there are people, it would seem, but I'm really comfortable with this method. It just seems to work for me. The background is a gradient fill on a seperate layer. (Well, there's a little more to it than that, but I'm not going to share all my secrets!).

Hopefully this will be the first of many colouring jobs. Like inking, you never get that daunting "staring at a blank page" moment with colouring.

Elsewhere in the wonderful world of comic book art, I've been discussing some changes to pages 4-5 of Project HERO with Chuck (Sellner) from Visionary, and the subject arose of how delicate some comic book artists can be when their work is criticised, or changes are asked for. I found it mildly amusing that Chuck went to great lengths to reassure me that they still loved my art even though they were asking for changes. Coming from a position of working as a professional graphic designer I'm used to spending hours on a piece which I think is absolutely stunning, only to have the client turn around and rip it to shreds and ask for it to be completely changed (while admitting that they don't know anything about design but they know what they like). These people have no consideration for your feelings as an artist, and why should they? At the end of the day they are paying you to fulfil their vision....not your own! It's exactly the same in the field of comics. Yes, comic book art is art...but it is commercial art. I feel sorry for editors who have to constantly deal with bruised egos and so called "artistic temperaments." It's unprofessional and it's detrimental to the business as a whole. If you want to make it in this business (and I have in no way made it yet) you have to have a thick skin and actively welcome criticism.

Phew...rant over.

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