View Full Version : Comic book coloring in photoshop

10 October 2007, 02:56 AM
Here are 3 comic book colorings I've done recently in Photoshop for a class. Actually the 2 Teen Titans were for the class, while the other is an original idea done by the instructor. I'm trying to get him to hire me as his colorist (He's planning to have 6 indy issues out by this coming convention season of his own comic). He took a look at it today in class and said it was ... a good start. I now know that I need to tap into the CGtalk forums for help. Any advice is so much appreciated. I've looked at examples of professional quality work but just don't know what to do or where to begin fixing. He loved the cartoony one the best by far.

Note: The 2 Teen Titans images were of course drawn by a professional so I'm only using them here for educational purposes. Also the quality of all three needed to be deteriorated for the sake of file size.

10 October 2007, 02:58 AM
As you can see I'm missing out on a lot of tonal variation and I'm not adding anything as a colorist that the penciller hasn't already drawn....

...I think...

10 October 2007, 09:32 AM

yes indeed... I would like to suggest to start with using at least 3 tones per object... light medium and dark... in most places I could only distinguish between light and dark, with the exception of the last cartoony one where the main guy seems to have the three values.

Second... in the battle scene I can't distinguish the soldiers from each other... they all have the exact same colours applied to them... they are all one shape and actually downplay the lineart. So a bit more variation is needed here as well. I am not saying every character should have their own colours but adjacent shapes need to be set apart.

Third... colour depth ehm.. there is such a thing as a colour perspective in which the colour becomes less contrasty and more blue going towards the horizon. You could use this to better distinguish foreground from background and give the image a whole lot more depth.

The other thing I notice is that you work primarlily in a technique called cell shading... made famous by the 2d animated feature of days gone by.. but still seen a lot in manga comics and cartoons. Looking at the drawing style of your tutor it would seem he is looking for something a little more modern... more soft transitions from tone to tone and a lot more variation in colour. To get those techniques down I suggest a more painterly feel or visit this site:
It really has everything you'll ever going to want to know.

Try an other page using above tips and post it! we'll see if we can help you further!

10 October 2007, 09:41 PM
Here's the updated version. I worked on greater contrast in colors and more tonal variations. Thanks big time for that link - some great tutorials there! I'm still feeling a bit in the dark about painting gradations though, but I think I made some significant improvements. Any thoughts...

10 October 2007, 08:24 PM

good update... it looks far better already.

But it still isn't perfect... I think you need to work on focus a little here... ask yourself what is important in the image.. what is going on? Look at the direction of the image (it has to do with perspective lines and empty spaces and the line of action... mostly the overal composition of shapes. Since the drawing is already there.. you'll have to complement and develop the ideas and meaning of the penciller.

What I am trying to say is that the creature although it is green (which stands great against green) is still rather smalll and insignificant.. mostly becasue the red is overpowering... you can't look anywhere else. The flow of the image is the hero... straight in front (which should have a little more detail then the rest (he is in focus)) and the creature he is fighting... all the rest is less important and should therefor also catch less attention.

If I were you I should work on getting the hero and the creature more apart from the rest.. make them pop... Also another site (which has free downloads I believe) are the videotutorials from brian haberlin... (

the technique of to those shiny color variations is called cut and fill... search from some tutorials... there are more out there that are also very good

And keep posting updates.. I am very curious were you'll end up!

10 October 2007, 02:52 AM
Here's another update. I darkened the "other" soldiers and slightly lightened the "hero". I had a real hard time trying to deal with the fire. I simply couldn't justify doing a whole lot with it because it's an explosion. How could I tone such a thing down? Well...I tried going in the smoke direction and relying more on an actual explosion pic. By the way, I went to that site you gave me a link to. I immediatley bought the "comic book style" tutorial and I love it! Thanks again matsman.:thumbsup:

10 October 2007, 09:23 AM
Very good!! :thubsup: It looks to me you did it :)

Now I have only one crit remaining and that involves the metal... that is something real hard to get right... Now your metal is just gey and highlights... I am missing the hard contrast you usually see on a metallic surface.

So to finish this I would try and work a little more dark into those surfaces to give them more shape and variation and I think you are finished then.

BTW. yeah... brian haberlin is good... sometimes a little too good... since he makes it all look so easy :) ... BTW have you had a good rummage around on the forum there as well? since people doing the tutorials show their work there and get crits and comments.. And I think learning from other peoples mistakes is almost as good as learning from your own.

Good work!

10 October 2007, 06:38 AM
Here it is. this is about the extent of my knowledge...for today.

10 October 2007, 08:11 PM
I think you can be happy and move on to a new piece... the more you practise the better you get.. and practising on only one piece of lineart is not that challenging.

So I suggest you keep this as it is and start with something fresh... If you haven't got lineart lying around head over to and download some.

Try one with not to many characters this time so you can really focus on detail and material!

I'll stick around to crit if no one else will. :thumbsup:

11 November 2007, 06:13 AM
Here's a new one I just did in one night. I tried to use friscette cuts but it didn't seem to suit this piece as well as just airbrushing the whole thing (in my opinion). Because of the mood, I wanted to avoid getting "highlight happy" and kept it fairly dark. Any thoughts anyone?

I also have another question. What am I "allowed" to do in terms of using other peoples line art? Obviously I'm assuming I can color them for practice sake, but how would I say go about putting together a portfolio of work? I can't help but think to ask if it would be considered "stealing" or "cheating" to put something like this in a protfolio. Keep in mind that I'm new to this side of things having spent all my time on this forum until now talking 3d. Thanks alot...

11 November 2007, 10:15 AM

Nice to see another one! ehm.. first the last question about copyright...

Lineart is a finished product in a lot of cases.. there are still lots of comics printed B&W lineart only. So like using someone else's rig for animating (even when just for learning or for a reel/portfolio) it is considered good practise to ask for permission. And always mention who did the lineart.. like when colaberating with a texture only artist... (which is basically a colorist).. and if the pecil was done b someone and the ink was done by someone else, then mention both.
To get marvel or dc linart.. you'll have to have contacts... but there are a lot of talented pencillers out there looking to get even better. A while ago i was asking advise on an abbey chase model I did over at the j. scott cambell forums.. and they have some amazing talents over there. So maybe check up on that if you run out of practise material.

Now crits...
I can't define a light direction.. it seems to come from right above but also from the left and right. I think the best way to go is to pick one main light and complement that one with a secondary lightsource... don't make it too complex.
The hair needs a little more contrast ( not more saturation) so deepen the darkest color and up the highlight maybe a bit. Furthermore I find that the piece lacks overal detail... The highlights on the coat dont seem to follow the wrinkles and the bodysuit can use a little more muscle definition. Gambits nails need a little polish.. they are really dull right now because thay are skin colour. The belt seems to detailed and is in my view a little to light in colour.
Maybe give the smoke a little highlight or shadow and make it seethrough.
And finally... the faces.. they need a lot more work. I want to see some cheek definition, the lines from nostrils to corner of the mouth aren't there.
(not that they should look old.. always a big danger)

Hope to have helped! Cheers!

11 November 2007, 06:02 AM's what I have right now. The differences are subtle but it's at least 10% better...I think. I worked on the lighting direction, more details, more darks, etc. I was afraid to add much detail to Rogue's face because I don't want her to look all manly or "old" as you mentioned. I really struggled with her hair. Thanks so much for the crits...I value it greatly.

11 November 2007, 09:55 AM
Hi, saw the update... it is indeed subtle... though it looks better so you are going in the right direction.

I would add to the points mentioned in my previous post (still have a problem with the fingernails for instance, so don't forget to check up on that) a few new ones.. try when coloring hair to color in streaks. This will create the soft, fluffy and streaky appearance hair has, as well as not having it look like a helmet (like the top of fogues head comes very close to).

I think you may have slightly overdone the contrast on the wrinkles in gambits coat.. they are really hard and I think you can still push the lighting a bit further, don't be afraid of

Maybe you want to play with shadows with soft edges and with hard edges. For instance I think the dropshadow from rogues hair on her forhead could do with a hard edge instead of a soft one.. but experiment... see what works on which places...

Oh and if you want to quickly play with some lights in photoshop you could use the filters> render> lighting effects.. it isn't 3d but you can get some impression of where the light would go.. and you can make some nice backgrounds with it... when playing with all the lights parameters.

11 November 2007, 01:14 AM
Here's probably my last stab at this one. I redid Rogues hair and Gambits coat. A little more detail on Gambit's fingers (subtle) and a little more tweaking to Rogues face. I'll pick another one out. Thanks again.

11 November 2007, 11:05 AM
wow... what a difference.

The first thing that caught my eye was the lightinig detail on the belt though.. good work on that :)

hair looks better, coat looks fine... you got the other sleeve as well this time. And the hard shadow works really good in communicating the roundness of the forehead.

Rogues second leg could use a little more work.. but I am okay with you going on to another piece :p

maybe as practise on lighting and shape try to do this one in grayscale?

11 November 2007, 11:14 AM
sorry.. double post... my internet is getting old :)

11 November 2007, 04:47 AM
Great idea to go grayscale. I had heard/read the advice to paint grayscale before and it really is a great way to work on value contrast and form without the distraction of hue and saturation. That and it was fun! :)

Anyway, I think I have a much better contrast of value here. Do you think it's too dark overall? Can't tell you how much I appreciate the help. I wanted to be a comic book penciller when I was 13 (I'm now 26). I've been away from this sort of thing for so many years and now I'm trying to learn as much as I can in a short time period.

11 November 2007, 05:56 AM
Man, I'm really enjoying what you're doing here. The differences that were made during the first illustration are especially evident - great stuff! Can't wait to see how the new one progresses.

11 November 2007, 10:50 AM

that is funny... I had the same dream when I was that age :) ... but once I heard what kind of job it is to draw for a comic book... and discovered the amazing quality/speed comicbook pecillers should posess I gathered that I was not good enough... however I have gone on drawing and colouring beside my current main focus (3d). So I do know the techniques and I have developed my "eye" for detail and colour (I am now 25) So the stories are quite alike :) Maybe once I am thrity I can still try the comicbook thing :D

But lets go towards critisism.

Something I hav notice from the beginning... and somehting I think you should work on a little... is to spend some more time on backgrounds. What you did was a quick gradient without any depth and it brings our colours not really to a higher level. I suggest working in you background a little and try to make it a full part of the picture... In the current colouring the background is really flat. From front to back colours lose contrast due to atmospheric interference... this is also why colours further back become more blueish and why depth fog works in games.
There is only grayscale but the grayscale is getting darker towards the horizon (you tried making a light in the sky?) but feels the wrong way around. Secondly that light is your secondary light but it looks like a sun (definitely primary if not inside or in the dark)

Following above depth rules the contrast on the ground in the foreground needs to be upped a little to bring it a little closer towards us the and image less flat.

I think you did a great job setting the character apart from the environment and that should definitely stay... there is only one problem and that is that the smoke seems to come from her back... I don't know where is should come from (maybe its supposed to be from her back) but you have to choose... does it come from her back... then it needs to be more a part of the chracter and if it is far in the background it still needs to be lighter and less detailed.

Finally I would like to mention the differences about self shadows and "drop" shadows... Mostly dropshadows are less gradiated and have a harder border then selfshadows which are usually heavily gradiated and quite soft. Both get darker with harder directional light and lighter with more diffuse light, but dropshadows are more affected then selfshadows by this.
My point is that in the current image the character is outside on what seems to be quite a sunny day but the dropshadows seem rather light still. I suggest getting a photograph from past holiday, decrease the colours and look at the scales from shadow to light and see if you can reprocuce that to a certain extend (it always needs to fit the image so you need to tone it up or down a little)

Wel... that is a whole big text and I hope I haven't been rambling and all of it is helpful.

Maybe it's a good idea to copy paste stuff from here and from tutorials and things you have heard... and found really useful. That way you can make a sort of checklist of thing you could think about when working. I find that when doing this I incorporate certain thought processes faster into my workflow.

Looking forward to the update!

11 November 2007, 12:22 AM
I'm back!...After a new 3d render and a new video card (I guess I mental rayed the old one to death?). I do have an update. Sorry it's not much but I really don't know what to do with backgrounds. I wasn't trying to put a sun in the sky at all but just placing a random gradient in the back. :shrug:

I totally understand now about the contrast between the ground and the fire in the sky after looking at some reference material. The thing is...if I don't see much detail in the line art, I don't have a clue what to put there. Sometimes rocks just sort of blend together. Thanks again matsman...

-Thanks staticpen for the input.:)

11 November 2007, 12:15 PM

Well... that's no problem... you shouldn't make to much things up that aren't in the lineart... you usually end up with a style mismatch.. but skies and ground texture are somewhat of an exeption, as is leaves in foliage... if you can give more depth by suggesting more leaves thatn are actually drawn you are doing better than just colouring it green :)

This piece has some very nice atmosphere now.. very dark and foreboding. Even though it was just a small update.

Some things that could be done include.. some swirly texture within the smoke, some highlighted strands in the hair, slightly harder specularity on the suit and maybe just a tad ligher sky and ground... but very little. So you can more clearly see the lines.
And then you can introduce some colours... I would reccomend some blue tones and different greyish (blue greyish, red greyish, etc.) hues for the stones.

Sorry to hear about your videocard.. my pc was out for half a year because that happened (very bad dutch computer store, were I will never ever show my face again)

Looking forward to more!

11 November 2007, 09:19 PM
Here's another! A few things to point at:

1) I tried to cut the highlights instead of airbrushing them all. I needed to use the smudge tool on them all they came out so pixelated. I even dared to try turning the anti-aliasing off for a second but it didn't help (then turned it back off).

2) I wanted to have the swords be the primary light sources but had to keep making adjustments based on the line art. Do you think I'm guilty of over-rendering multiple light sources? The thing is-they're huge glowing swords!

3) I'm afraid of skin details. I don't want to make her unattractive because I was afraid of not having enough detail. I think I need to do one with a male face with real hard light to help me understand the facial details, then I'll have a better idea as to how I can "imply" it softly without much detail.

I spent more time on this one than the others. By the way, I have 3 weeks left for this semester and a final 3d project I need to start (I'm doing a dragon). I won't be here much for a little while.

11 November 2007, 10:43 PM
Hi... nice work.

(1) yes you get jaggies sometimes.. I suggest working a little bigger so that doesn't show. You are not making pixel art here...

(2) Not everywhere... the highlights are not always very logical... but maybe that is because of the lineart. Especially the highlights on the front leg wouldn't show since the swords are at best beside and seem even further back. However I find the arms are very well done... they read good and seem to be properly lighted.
The hair however need lots of work.. it has to much light on it... even if it was that shiny the highlights would be smaller.

(3) good idea to start with a burly man who can't get an uglier :D I find the face not very good in the lineart here... so that might also be the case why I find the face strange looking... but I think your cheekbone is a little bit of on this side... If I look at the other side of the face it seems higher.

Finally... I feel you can do some more with the sash AND I find the swords a bit over the top and would rather see another gradient in the lineart's light aura then as it is now completely white... that would bring out the swords better.

And don't worry about not having time... happens to all of us... as soon as you are starting up again I will receive a mail since I am subscribed to this thread.

Actually just as an afterthought I would like to do one simultanious with you in the new year... ( very busy myself :) ) that would be fun and then we can compare differences.. and I get to do the 2d more (if I count texturing towards 3d, i do far to little 2d stuff)

So... good luck with your dragon and see you around!

11 November 2007, 03:11 AM
Here's a couple I'm happy with it.:)

12 December 2007, 06:59 AM
I'm back! I have news too. Remember I said in my first post that I wanted a colorist job for an upcoming comic book? I got the job.

I've been coloring character sketches for a week or so now. We're still looking for a publisher at the moment but it's exciting to be onboard. The only reason of course is that you helped me to grow so fast. Looking back at my first 3 images in my first post I can see just how far I've come.

I did that "ugly face with hard light" coloring that I talked about. It turned out to be more of an exercise in value than anything else. Unfortunately the file size was too big that I needed to grayscale it in order to post it here. I've seen people post images straight onto the post but I don't know how to do that.

12 December 2007, 11:47 AM
Woohoo!! Congratulations my friend! :scream: :thumbsup:

You take all the credit. It is you who accomplished this... I merely expressed my thoughts.

To post an image directly... you need the url to the image file (which has to be on a server, you own or any of the free services like photobucket and such). Then during posting you can hit the yellow button (second row, 5th from the right) and paste your url in there... that button will automatically put the html code for showing images into the post. If you know html you can also do that by hand (I believe it was " here goes the url " and it shows up)

Really like that joker you colored. I am also curious to see the colour version...
Feel free to mail it to me, or maybe you could use "save for web" in photoshop and put a lower quality jpeg up?

Once again cheers on getting the job! Later!

12 December 2007, 11:48 PM
Here goes...

12 December 2007, 04:18 PM
I think this one is your best to date... (I just copied the img code at the photobucket link (lowest option on the right)

however I do have one crit. The colour on his left shoulder and collar look a little blurred for some reason, and I think you could improve the colour qualtity by adding some blueish tones to the light... the colour is too perfect right now.
The strange thing is that this doesn't bother me in the least on the gloves which I think is the same technique.

Great stuff man :thumbsup: looking forward to the next picture :)

05 May 2008, 04:13 AM
New one! This is for an additional portfolio pieces while the book I'm already coloring for is still deliberating with publishers (I can't leak any pages out yet). The penciler is Dexter Wee (who gave kind permission - he's the artist on my book). I did a little digital ink treatment as well. There will be a few more like this coming your way. My only concerns with this piece were whether or not to leave the skin as is without any darkening effects from the environment, whether to add fire in the back, and whether I got the hair OK (with the front looking kinda peach like that).

05 May 2008, 10:28 AM
I would vote for darkening her skin up a little.. that way the whole becomes a little more 3 dimensional at the moment te skin and the sword are fighting to be the brightest in the drawing and since they overlap it kinda becomes 1 big bright spot.

The hair looks good at first glance but for a pinup I would spend a little more time for some more detailed shading, so that even at the second and maybe the third glance one would still see strands.

Finally no fire in the back because that would only bring more bright colours in the picture.. I would however like to see some smoke cloud... the sky seems very empty right now.

The ink seems very crips and nicely done however looks pixelated with some lines. Have you inked on a higher dpi then colour? That is usually done to get crisp lines and ulitmate speed.

Great job, also on finishing your first book! great news!

05 May 2008, 04:18 AM

Here's the update (more smoke, no fire, new hair, slightly darker skin).

Here's another one. I know I need to show sequentials. There's another page that follows this that will be on it's way shortly. Thanks so much again. By the way these are all rather low res web images I'm coloring here, certainly nothing to be printing.

05 May 2008, 09:27 AM
Skin and sky are much better skin could still be a little darker at places. The light seems come from abover front, is that correct? Shadows may be a little darker, underside (especially between) of her legs for instance to really put here on the ground.
BTW is the sword a lightsource... i'm missing shadows from it... but it isn't that neccesary I guess... since I only notice it now having seen the picture about 10 times. :)

The hair still looks rather messy to me. The white highlights are too white to be natural, there seem to be holes near underside (right next to the arm for example) you have dubbed to be hair and applied your base colour to... but no shading and since there is a question of it maybe not being hair looks a little out noncommited.
And finally I think you tried to light individual strands and lost the bigger picture of the hair as a whole.
I do not know how helpful it is but knowing witchblade being a character with long hair usually quite nicely drawn and rendered I found a few pictures to study. For better and bigger try searching yourself :)

Notice they used the dodge tool to highlight the hair... which I am not fond of because it is quickly overdone... but you might try it out.

Finally on the spiderman page... I think your colour choice is very interesting... with the lightblue and the red backgrounds... tell me your thoughts on why. Mostly the red backgrounds are reserved only for the spidersense pictures. And the purple green and blue building gives notice you live in a very colourful world :) which is fine, but noticeable.

But the biggest thing you have to work on is the white highlights. On the hair it seems weird on the hulk too. Adjust that layer with a hue-saturation darkening the white and adding some green. Remember that almost no white in the real world is true white so if you want to go for bright highlights then you are safer going with a slight tint in it. The only exeption being very shiny surfaces (like glass, varnished stuff and metal) and actual lights which are brighter then your eye can actually process. They have a white spot... but it is within very lightly coloured halo.

So that was a long post. Keep going man. we are talking details and rather quick adjustments here.

05 May 2008, 01:14 AM

Another slight skin darkening, adjusted the hair again, moved the light source a bit more to the left, and added a little more shadow. Thanks for the references. No the sword isn't a lightsource. The hair was a bit weird before. The reason I held up on the detailing on some of the hairs was to drop them back away from you. I tried this time to do a lightness adjustment on certain parts to mimick that.

I toned the saturation down on the buildings to draw attention away fom them. I redid the Hulk altogether. Note that I was using a lot of dodge tool to get those really white highlights. This time I tried the method of putting the brush tool on screen mode to build the highlight up gradually. Lastly I used the red background because red is the compliment to green so the Hulk would pop off the page more (and I desaturated it into that dark pink like tone just to make it go farther back).

05 May 2008, 08:06 AM
Yes yes yes! we are getting there... the girl really pops. Only crit I have left is that her left leg (our right) needs a bit more contrast it is now very evenly darker which makes it very two dimensional.

Ah quite nice, with the complementary colours. I guess you first tried orange? It would be interesting to see how that looks... but it might completely fall out of tone with the rest.
The hulk also looks much and much better. When you say the white came because of the dodge tool... then you know why I said last time the dodgetool is quickly overdone :)
It seems you also tweaked spiderman since the red from his suit jumps out from the page... very good.
I think the page will become better if you try some more contrast, in the figures on the foreground in the first panel. And to use a gradient instead of a pure grey in the last image behind the Hulks speedlines.
Finally something you gotta wrestle with is the captains shield in that same image it kinda blends in with spidey and is a fault from the penciller... but you have to solve it I am afraid... make sure it is clear that the hulk isn't hit by spiderman but by the cap.

I think that's it... there could still be done some detail work on the girl with some small shadows, and the bra strap but that is minor but probably worth the time if this is going to be a portfolio piece... those have to be the best you can do at the moment.

Good progress... make those pictures pop!

05 May 2008, 04:33 PM

I wasn't completely sure what you meant about the foreground characters on the 1st panel so I did what I could. I added saturation to the shield with some "shinys". Stronger gradient on the speed lines behind Hulk and a slight darkening to Spideys hand behind it. Yes I totally see how the dodge can get out of hand and I'm glad you stopped me when you did! Thanks again.

05 May 2008, 08:15 PM
Ha another update!

:) I see you found the bra strap.. well to add to that... the ring on her loincloth gives shadow too.. as well as the armbracer.. and optional you could put some shadow underneath the hair at our left side of the head... add a little harder shadow on the elbow to give more depth to the foreshortened arm.
And the contrast on the leg in shadow could be still a bit increased.. at least the darks could be a bit darker... I think the light is about okay.

The characters in the foreground on the first panel are the scared citizens in front of the buildings. To simulate depth you can bring the contrast up on the foreground, which complements the slight desaturation of the buildings you did earlier. Things in the foreground have the biggest contrast in real life so it's nice to be able to use that. I see you made them darker which is a good beginning... but only half, the whites could be a little whiter still. And I suggest keeping the darker tones where the buildings are behind them.

I think the orange looks good too also because it complements the fire in the building thus staying in the colourpalette better and it still is the opposite of green which makes the hulk stand out.(You could even add some in the last panel, for instance behind those speedlines (those still kinda bug me :blush:) to make full use of that colour and bring out the hulk there too)
What do you think? this better or is you heart still with the red background? Its your piece you have to decide :)

What you did to solve the problem of the shield is really very good. It really flies off the page now. Congrats on that. Superb job! :thumbsup:

05 May 2008, 10:18 PM

Yah I finally found the bra strap. The Orange looked better to me because it was less demanding of your attention. This new one is rough. I'm having alot of trouble with it and I'm considering scrapping it altogether. Would I be rude if I said I think the artist didn't shine real well on parts here? It seems like the smoke is all over the place and I'm not sure how to make it all look well placed on the page with the way they creep into each other from other panels. The lightly rendered buildings have given me a hard time as well.

05 May 2008, 01:50 PM
Okay here we go again :)

first panel seems the best. captain america comes forward nicely, but that could be enhanced with some small and sharp highlights and a bit blue'er blue to set him apart from the buildings more.

The closeup of the hulk needs way more contrast to make it interesting, it feels like his focused anger glance is more like, "hej, I see an icecream stand" If you where the penciller I would have recommended using speedlines to focus on the eyes but maybe you can do that with dark and light tones... very dark at the edges of the panel and then high contrast with blazing eyes in the middle (not fire, just bright)

Third panel seem like the stones need to come forward while the brow smoke/dirt should go back... you can even make the gradient go more into the building to make it even more part of the background. I think the hulk is lighted incorrectly and should be lit from almost straight above.

I have indeed no Idea what panel 4 is supposed to be... I think the penciller was trying to create some sort of extending crack in the earth effect... I think you may say that panel could be avoided. But going with the earth splitting open I would suggest you try to make some sort of lighter line, trying to follow the shapes in the drawing to simbolize in the background the earth splitting like we can't really see. Does that give you a starting idea to colour those last panels?

Finally panel 5 seems quite alright a crit also extending to panel 4 is to give the clouds more speed. right now the lines indicate more or less a eruption of dust, while your colours seem to be more like a gently upwards flow of smoke. So try to capture the violence of the dust erupting upwards.

I once suggest we both do the same page/ picture to compare styles... you up for that... this weekend possibly?


05 May 2008, 04:39 PM

I think this is much better. Thanks for the push. I especially think the eyes (second panel) look much better. I really need to stop color the light straight on so much. I see a character and I color the light straight ahead. I guess it's a comfort zone I need to get out of. I went with darkening the rock to separate them from the "ground blast" which is more important. Do you think the light lines I added are OK? The other question I have is Cap's red gloves are done differently than the shield (gloves were screen brushed and the shield was dodged with cuts). Is that good because it's separates them or does it look odd and out of sync?

I'm totally up for the challenge. Do you want to pick the image? Whenever you're ready.

05 May 2008, 05:43 PM
YEAH! that second panel is what I'm talking about! Great!
The third panel is also quite pretty and I don't see anything that could add right now.
The last two however could still use some more mayhem... in panel 4 there are some speedlines diagonally in the middle... accentuate those.. and panel 5 also has some of those in the upper lefthad corner.

Quick question... what is happening with the green flash? where is that coming from... is the hulk back to his normals self or what? It feels rather unfitting... but then again I don't know what happens on the next page...

The thing with the gloves and shield does not register as weird or out of place... I say go for it and use different techniques whenever you feel for it. Shows the difference in material and texture. Style is always something to watch out for though so no painted colours and screen colours since that would look out of place. but other then that.... the world is your mollusc (quote from terry pratchett :) )

I'll gladly choose the image... I think I want to go for a two character pinup... any preference or things you hate? And BTW I am not that good... no professional here. I'm mainly a theory guy, getting it exactly the way I want is always a struggle... So I wouldn't look upon it as a challenge :) more as a style, technique comparison.

05 May 2008, 05:24 AM
Style is always something to watch out for though so no painted colours and screen colours since that would look out of place. I wanted to ask you to elaborate on this. I'm not sure exactly what you mean. By the way, I had no idea what was going on with that little green blast at the bottom (it was in the pencils, I just gave it a hold).

05 May 2008, 03:03 PM
Okay... So here is the long version.

Style is a very personal thing and mostly, for known artists, it is a trademark. (Not to say you gotta develop a style, you will do so in time, everyone does) But it is also a creative tool.

I for example like warm saturated colours and have a sweetspot in contrasting images that makes me go, wow... But I am not fond at all about bloom effects or small wriggles.
And while that is a wonderful way to do things but I am also employed to do a realistic game environment... which means I have to go real, so no contrast, lots of different shades of grey and lots of muddyness.

Same thing goes on in the disney studio's. They have a style there wich requires more or less cellshaded characters and when you put those into a 3d environment, like in atlantis... you get some clash of worlds.. or better a fight among styles and it takes a lot of effort to make it seem like one whole, complete picture.

So while different kinds of shading and techniques are kinda cool, as is high contrast stuff, a friend of mine is really into the two colour pictures, he takes two main colours those are the only ones with full saturation in places and the rest is greyish. Which is great but mixed with the disney style or my style the image just falls apart.

The point I make is while you can mix techniques you have to focus on the complete picture and if you are that good that you can do multiple styles and switch between them use that to your creative advantage. But when mixing it will get harder when the style gets extremer, taking frank millers style for instance and mixing that with hello kitty... I is possible but it would need lots of careful attention before you can pull that one succesfully.

That's the full filosophical version on style in colouring.

And with screen colours I mean using those rub off screens that they use in manga's instead of cross-hatching. and painted colours... well thats what the old dutch masters do
... but also in some comics (storm for example)

No preference then, for the lineart I am going to choose?

05 May 2008, 03:18 PM
Thanks alot, no preference.

05 May 2008, 04:48 PM
Okay... I narrowed it down to two.

First there are the pencils from ed benes displaying superman, wonderwoman and batman. I believe for a JLA cover.
EdBenes_JLA (

Second there is this piece, by whilce portacio, depicting an xforce character with cool tatoo.
Both are interesting enough, the second leaves more room for experimentation, the first is just too cool not to do. So I am torn.

Please help me out here :)

05 May 2008, 10:26 PM
I'd go with the JLA. Only thing though the link isn't looking good on my end, lots of green squares at the bottom.

06 June 2008, 09:23 AM
Oh... sorry, problem with the upload... I will fix it immediately. Nice one... let's go then!

06 June 2008, 12:17 AM

Just did this today.

06 June 2008, 06:15 AM
Nice one scott! very much your personal style... I have had only a little time so I just laid out my flats amd started building the highlights on the guys in the back. I am going to try my best to finish it this week... but am not completely sure I will.
Anyhow I have already some critisism but actually want to wait until I finished mine, just to see if you can spot it yourself... But since that isn't this quickly maybe I will upload a small wip later today, it'd might give you some ideas.

06 June 2008, 09:05 PM
No need to rush at all. I ran into some personal trouble that kept me from working on it for a while (I thought I was late). Take your time and thanks.

06 June 2008, 04:42 PM

What do you think of this?

06 June 2008, 07:27 AM
Hi, to start: Sorry to have kept you waiting... hope the personal problems weren't too serious :thumbsup: I haven't had more than a few hours time since last reply but I have a preliminary here... still need to do a lot of the batman and touch up on superman and wonderwoman, like the hands (I hate doing hands both 2d and 3d :p)

Here is the link (so that I don't really hijack the thread)
My colours on the ed benet piece (

I like the new picture. I think it is a finished piece. However I do feel it lacks detail and interest for such a large image, that is partly the pencils and partly the colour. You could try to try a little more flaming shapes in the background... it is now a hot cloud after an explosion which is fine but a little more shape would increase interest.

Second I think you could've done a little more with the rocket probably... it's kinda non descriptive now... could be a big bullet, a rocket, a bomb... I don't know. add a red nose maybe a little green and since it is metal the highlights have usually a high intensity to them, research what kind of ballistic ammunition, there are ton's of images on the net of this kind of stuff.

But all that is rather extra, you did a good job and given it exactly what was needed.

07 July 2008, 09:36 PM
what do you think of this WIP?

07 July 2008, 05:33 AM
Wow.. very nice moody piece... still in wip though... need lots more shadowing around the chest, fire gives very hard shadows... and you might want to turn the heat up on those flames a bit.

Love the lighting on the gastank an especially the headlights.
I have doubts about the purplish shadow rims though... since the light from the headflame would be warm and the shadow is very cold. I think you tried to make it night by introducing some blueish hue.. but I think you should keep that out of direct light.. like the skulls on the ground, the backlight of the front wheel (its perfect as it is), back of the motorcycle.

And possibly the sky could use some bluish or purplish hue too... otherwise it won't make sense to have it lighter at the bottom.

Nice and I think quite some improvement! :thumbsup:

07 July 2008, 04:35 AM

Here's the new one. No K values and the ink level is under 300% all over (I got an unanimaous "It's too dark you'd make the inker mad" from everyone who saw it). One person told me it's by far my best work yet and I think so too.

07 July 2008, 07:26 AM
Hi, was away for a few days... I agree on both points.. it is your best work till date and the inker will probably be furious with you :p

very nice... looking forward to seeing if you can take what you did here to a more conventional level.

:shame: And I will finish my colours... had some other stuff to do and forgot about it too... soon, I promise

07 July 2008, 04:25 PM
very nice... looking forward to seeing if you can take what you did here to a more conventional level.

Not sure what you meant here?

07 July 2008, 11:12 AM
Oh sorry... probably used a wrong expression there... I mean that this is an image that is perfect for dramatic lighting... but since every comic consists of 300 pictures there are numerous pictures where you have less or no opportunity to actually take it this far.

However those images should have the same kind of bang this image has... So that is what I mean, I was curious as how you are going to apply the stuff you did to create this image to more ordinary images with less dramatic opportunities.

So the conventional level I am talking about is all that fluff that is needed to tell a story but not especially interesting for colouring or even as an art piece...

Hope that clears it up :)

07 July 2008, 07:34 PM

What do you think? I'm going through this entire issue of Dragon cross right now (this is page 3). I apparently impressed the penciler with this one so I wanted to share it with you.

07 July 2008, 11:14 AM
I really like the colourpalette! nice work. Can't be much better, only thing that bothers me, but can be forgiven if you are doing a complete book in a week :) ,is that the last picture can have a little more detail in it.

I think the neck scars can be a little lighter to show it is definitely a scar, it just seems a little weird now... and there are some lines on the face indicating lights or shadows that are not complemented by the colours, especially the round shape on the chin.

And possibly a little more saturated red, just to accentuate the importance of the character. The reddish brown is the same all over... which makes it a little boring, I only think that is a problem in the last image though... try a little difference in saturation between the trims, seal, and the thing he controls the bird with... what is it called in english?

And I just notice that the distance between that characters that stand with the back towards the camera and the bird can be a bit exgagerated by darkening the shadows of the front characters just a bit more.

But a very nice and moody piece I like it!

07 July 2008, 08:57 PM (

I just can't wrap my head around this:

panel 2 especially has major issues with lighting. I don't know how to handle objects close to the viewer but in shadow. I know objects closer to the viewer need high contrast but how do you get that when they have no direct light hitting them?

07 July 2008, 08:10 AM
Well the answer is easy... with indirect light... but I think that doesn't help you very much :)

In this case I would make the background very dark to start with... meaning the man behind them... his cloak and breastplate. I think that helps alot already.

I would also make sure both children have the same brightness more or less... and vary the colours just slightly... that'll get rid of the dark dress and overly light tunic.

And then there is the light bouncing from the floor ceiling and walls... which basically means that the deeper the cavity the darker it is and all the other stuff is more or less lit the same way... then you can add a few highlights along the hairline... light always seems to capture those little hairs and you are good to go.

Another way to approach it is by starting with a dark to light gradient from left to right and then adding in the floor and ceiling bounces... that'll be easier to get right probably.

Hope that helps... also I think this page is not finished yet but a little more colour would be nice! :)


Edit: PS:
The darkness in the first panel behind the drape definitely needs a gradient too... it is too much a flat shape now.

08 August 2008, 07:24 AM ( ( (http://http//

I finally have permission to post pages from the comic I'm hired on to color (It's on Platinum's top 3 contest right now). I touched them up a little since I did these over the Spring. I especially had trouble with the last one because it's supposed to a perfect daylight scene but it looks dull to me. (Also, sorry I have no idea why only one image is showing and the others are links, I don't no what changes that). Thanks

08 August 2008, 01:16 PM
Nice work scott. I love those fighting scenes... the big overview is very busy and you can do better creating distance with the colour I think. The airship seems to be pasted on and not really in the scene. And the fighters up front are more or less lost in the detail of the city.

The other pages are great work and I love it.
I have no idea either why they don't show up... the links work okay from the update email anyway... the last one in the post seems to have an image tag in the url though...

working on anything else recently?

Thanks for sharing!

09 September 2008, 10:43 AM ( ( ( (

Thanks...four more...another pin-up on the way...

09 September 2008, 10:57 PM (

new one

09 September 2008, 10:54 AM

got some crits... page 15... that background colour... ewwww :argh: especially with the yellow of the suit... it becomes a sort of dirty soup or vomit (okay it ain't that bad, but you understand what I'm saying) so that's not a page I would spend my time looking at for long.
It's muddy.

And on the pinup... love the colours only I think that the very soft shading contrasts with the hard shadow/reflection lines in the lineart. Also the shading on her left (our right) leg seems to be a bit off. Shoulders are to heavily highlighted.. beware of those overly dodged places.
And it is a good idea to put a small shadow/light below the gem stones to make them more a part of the costume!

Have Fun!

09 September 2008, 11:48 PM (

Slight update. I wasn't sure what you meant about the "very soft shading contrasts with the hard shadow/reflection lines in the lineart". Any better?

09 September 2008, 10:57 AM
Yep much better! you got it... one final small suggestion is to put a slight purple hue over the whole costume. This to set it a bit more apart from the skin, in some areas only the lines show where the skin starts and the costume stops.

BTW that is a suggestion and I am not completely sure if that is the ultimate solution.

Other than that very nice work!

I have it side by side right now... maybe a very slight glow on her eyes... but you might have tried that already.

Good show!

09 September 2008, 07:43 PM (

What do you think of these?

09 September 2008, 09:42 AM
Hi scott! keeping busy I see :)

That rocketeer one is nice, even thought you refrained from the normal metallic look that he normally has. I really like the oldish look normally seen on this character. But this is refreshingly different and really nice for a cover or something along the lines.

In the spiderman you also tried to do a new colour palette for Carnage which is usually more purplish. And while it works I think the page has too much of the same level red in it. So my comment on that one is to make the difference between the reds bigger.
A darker base on Carnage with more of a shine will probably be good, or you could mix in a little blue or even yellow to set him apart if you want to play a bit more.

So basicly it is good to not use the standard colours that everyone uses but try to make the characters as individual as possible so they don't merge into coloured blots (which I am not saying they do, but I am exaggerating a little)


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