Q&A: ex­pres­sion

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

Jac­quie Penn, Eng­land

An­swer

Tom replies

Your choice of comics colours may look good on screen, but might print much mud­dier than you pre­dicted. So I make most of my colour de­ci­sions based on spe­cific ink val­ues that I know will print well. Back in the old days of comics, colourists had a lim­ited pal­ette: ini­tially 63, then later 124 colours, each of th­ese colours con­sist­ing of a com­bi­na­tion of cyan, ma­genta and yel­low. .

For this rea­son, I al­ways keep track of the ink pro­por­tions I’m us­ing by in­putting my colour val­ues numer­i­cally, us­ing the CMYK slid­ers in Photoshop’s Color menu (I al­ways work in CMYK mode if the work is in­tended for print). I usu­ally use mul­ti­ples of five, so the ba­sic flesh tone I used here equates to C= 0, M=15, Y=20. Then I used di­rect mul­ti­ples of that to add shad­ing (for ex­am­ple, C= 0, M=30, Y= 40).

This leads to a very nat­u­ral gra­da­tion of colour that seems rich and or­ganic, even if it isn’t photo re­al­is­tic. This sys­tem also helps you pre­vent black creep­ing into your colours, which will muddy them up and ob­scure the de­tail in the inks.

I use a bright, old school colour pal­ette to com­ple­ment the clean line work and the fun sub­ject mat­ter. This fan­tasy pelt uses odd colour­ing and an ar­range­ment of large scales to con­vey a strong sense of other-world­li­ness. Each of th­ese sil­hou­ettes feels recog­nis­able as an an­i­mal pelt, even with­out colour or fur de­tail. You can go wild with tex­ture and de­tail.

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