Secrets of Coloring

What is Comic Book Coloring?

When you hear the word “coloring” maybe the first image that comes to mind is a box of crayons or a set of magic markers… and that’s really where it all begins!

With the advent of computer coloring, we now have an infinite number of ways to manipulate the image.  So back to the first question, what is coloring?  Well, it’s pretty much everything between the lines.  Our friend Steve Oliff calls it the “silent soundtrack”… the symphony that sets the mood, draws the eye and adds the explosive punch to any piece of artwork.

There are an unbelievable number of technical variables that must be juggled in order to achieve a great piece of artwork!  You need to have an understanding of color theory, rendering, values, contrast, lighting, blending, saturation etc. etc.

And then there’s the style/theory end of the spectrum… how do you create an effective piece… something that’s dramatic and interesting!

Secrets of Coloring 1

Dan’s course is also now available on Skillshare!

Secrets of Coloring 1 is a course that we designed with the novice to professional artist in mind.  In Secrets, Dan covers all the basics, from flats to special effects, to get you on the path toward creating your own comic art work.  More importantly though, you’ll be learning how Dan approaches a page stylistically…. there are a million ways to color a page, this is Dans approach.

Secrets and Philosophies from the guy who colored 100 issues of Spawn (not an exageration!), The Romita/Straczynski Amazing Spiderman run, Steve Dillons Wolverine, Punisher & Bullseye plus a thousand and one other pages.

Note: Dan uses an older version of Photoshop (CS2), which is what he uses regularly.  This course applies to ANY version of Photoshop that you may own.

Tools of the Trade

What do you need to color your own artwork?

1. A Computer or iPad/Android Tablet

Desktop/Laptops are preferable when using software such as Photoshop, just for the sheer processing power.  But there are a number of available apps for tablets that make them a very usable alternative.

2. Software

Photoshop is the industry standard tool… however, it can be expensive.  If you only have access to a tablet, I’d suggest looking into the Photoshop app (a slimmed down version of the PC/Mac version) or Procreate (mac only).

If you’re on a PC/Mac and have a limited budget, my first suggestion would be a program called Krita.  It’s freeware/open source and you can do a heck of a lot with it.  I’ll be doing some coloring tutorials using Krita very soon.  KRITA LINK

3. Drawing Tablet

If you’re using a Touchscreen or iPad/Android Tablet, then this section does not apply.

If you’re using a Desktop/Laptop, then I’d highly recommend purchasing a Drawing Tablet.  The reason for the tablet is that they give you variable degrees of pressure when drawing (unlike a mouse which is on/off – full pressure or no pressure).  Now, if a Tablet is out of your ballpark, don’t despair, you can use a mouse to very excellent effect!  In our “Secrets of Coloring 1” tutorial set, Dan uses a mouse throughout to show what can be done.

Wacom is the industry standard drawing tablet…. they’re great tools, but once again, expensive.  

If you’re on a tight budget, there’s are other options.  There’s the Bamboo…. and there are a number of really inexpensive tablets at Amazon by brands such as XP-Pen etc. that will get the job done (definitely test and make sure you’ve got a quality tablet…. I haven’t used these other brands but wanted to make sure that you’re aware of the option).

The other possibility is Ebay.  My experience with Ebay has been excellent… there are a lot of folks that will sell their old equipment when they upgrade to something new and you can get a killer deal on a very usable piece of equipment.  And honestly, don’t worry about whether or not it’s “outdated”….  unless you’re a graphic designer, the function keys and most of the other bells and whistles will be pretty useless.  (just make sure that you can find suitable drivers for your system).  For example, my brother still uses his 20+ year old Wacom Digitizer II (which I would NOT recommend as it’s serial port only… but you get the point).